March 7, 1971, was an unforgettable day in the thousand-year history of the Bengali nation. On March 7, 1971, Dhaka was the city of the slogan, which was heated by millions of people on foot. More than one million freedom-loving people are waiting in the sea of people on the racecourse ground. Just waiting for an announcement or a call, the day before, seven and a half crore Bengalis have spent sleepless nights in excitement- what Bangabandhu will call today – what instructions will provide to the nation! The only wish of a brave Bengali is a favorite word of four letters ‘Swa-dhi-na-ta’ Independence! On this historic day in 1971, the greatest Bengali of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called for the independence of the Bengali nation. In a huge public meeting at the racecourse grounds, he thunderously declared, ‘This time the struggle is for our liberation, this time the struggle is for freedom, Joy Bangla.’ The demand for the life of the people of Bengal was echoed in this time-honored speech of the Father of the Nation delivered to the crowd at the racecourse. In this speech, the image of killing, oppression and torture of Bengalis towards Bengalis became concrete. In the face of the enemy, he instructed the Bengali nation, ‘Be ready with whatever you have.’ Inspired by this hypnotic speech of the Father of the Nation, the Bengali nation started preparing for the armed liberation war.
At midnight on Saturday, March 6, a Brigadier went to Dhanmondi’s house no. 32 and delivered the message of President Yahya to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur. On the one hand, Yahya Khan spoke on the telephone and sent a message to the teleprinter urging Sheikh Mujib to refrain from declaring independence. Dhaka GOC J. Khadim Hossain Raja made it clear to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, ‘If independence is declared on March 7, the military will attack the public meeting with all its might. In a word, Dhaka will be reduced to dust, where there will be no one to rule and be ruled. If necessary, the public meeting will be attacked by the plane. It may be mentioned that the cannon was placed from Dhaka cantonment targeting the public meeting on March 7. An olive-colored helicopter was patrolling the rally that day. In other words, if Sheikh Mujib declares independence on that day, the Pakistani military will open indiscriminate firing on public meetings and it will come as no surprise that not only thousands but millions of people have been killed.
What will Bangabandhu do – on the one hand the pressure of the student leaders to declare independence – on the other hand, there is the demand of the people – for a little wrong decision how much damage or accident can happen to the people and even a nation can be completely wiped out. On that day, March 7, he had a fever of 104 degrees and with this fever, he came to the racecourse ground. Bangabandhu gave examples of many countries of the world and also informed the family about the dire consequences of the unilateral declaration of independence. When Bangabandhu presented many examples to his family members in this critical moment of indecision, Bangamata Mahiyasi Begum Fazilatunnesa (Begum Mujib) said, ‘No, you cannot do this. You have made a permanent seat in the hearts of the Bengalis through the six points, what harm will your announcement do to them – you have thought that the Pakistan Army is waiting for your announcement. They will kill you; they will also destroy your beloved Bengali nation.’ Hearing Begum Mujib’s words, Bangabandhu held the pipe in silence for a while. Begum Mujib, despite being a housewife, was a great politician, thinker and philosopher.
When Bangabandhu, dressed in white Pajamas-Punjabi and black Mujib coat, came on stage at 3.15 pm, the more than one million heroic people of Bengal greeted their beloved leader with thunderous applause and thunderous slogan. Chhatra (Students) Sangram Parishad and BCL leaders ASM Abdur Rob, Noor Alam Siddiqui, Shahjahan Siraj, Abdul Quddus Makhan and Abdur Razzak sang a slogan to Mike from the stage. Continuous slogan roar burst the sky of Bengal. Also present on the stage were Tajuddin Ahmed, Syed Nazrul Islam, Captain M Mansur Ali, AHM Qamaruzzaman and many more.
Although Bangabandhu’s speech on March 7 was supposed to be broadcasted live on Dhaka Betar, it could not be broadcasted on that day due to the intervention of the government of Pakistan. Dhaka Betar came to a standstill in the immediate strike. Later, the Pakistani military authorities were compelled to broadcast Bangabandhu’s recorded speech the next morning. In a speech that shook the whole world, Bangabandhu uttered in a thunderous voice, ‘This time the struggle is for our liberation. This time the struggle is for freedom.
The historic inflammatory speech of this earth-shaking thunderbolt of only 19 minutes was a thousand years of passion, a thousand years of dreams, a reflection of a thousand years of aspirations, which was a firm promise to liberate Bengalis. Bangabandhu uttered in a radiant voice, ‘When I have given blood, I will give more blood, I will set the people of this country free InshaAllah.’ It was this historic speech under the leadership and direction of Bangabandhu that inspired the liberated Bengali nation to plunge into the armed struggle against the invading Pakistanis in the great war of liberation and it was through this speech that the future destiny of the Bengalis became clear.
‘Build forts in every house. You have to deal with the enemy with whatever you have. And all the roads are there – if I can’t give orders, you will close down. When I have given blood, I will give more blood, I will set the people of this country free inshaAllah. This time the struggle is for our liberation. This time the struggle is for freedom. Joy Bangla.’
Bangabandhu gave the speech in a very symbolic style. On the one hand, he told the freedom-loving people to be ready for a long struggle, on the other hand, he showed the thumbs up to the Pakistani rulers. Bangabandhu was not only a wise politician, he was a world-class diplomat. In his speech on March 7, he expressed everything like a diplomat. He says the last 23 years are a history of deprivation. He spoke about the language movement, the elections of 1954, the military rule of 1958, the six-point plan of 1966, the mass uprising of 1969, the elections of 1970, and the deprivation of Bengalis in Pakistan at that time. Gave an unwritten speech. The Pakistanis did not understand the gist of the historic speech on March 7. The only demand we had as teenagers and students at that time was freedom – we would not accept any other declaration – we didn’t understand then either – we didn’t understand, it took a long time to understand. After giving a speech of only 19 minutes, Bangabandhu ended his speech on March 7 by saying ‘Joybangla’ in the ocean of 1 million people – which is one of the best speeches in the history of the world today. Bangabandhu ‘Joybangla’ can be seen by looking at Dhaka’s ‘Dainik Ittefaq’, ‘Dainik Pakistan’, ‘Dainik Azad’, ‘Dainik Sangbad’, ‘Dainik Sangram’, ‘Morning News’ and ‘Pakistan Observer’ newspapers published on Monday, March 8, 1971. Bangabandhu’s historic speech on March 7 will be our eternal source of inspiration.
The March 7 speech of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the declaration of the country’s independence as it contained directives for the people to fight for liberation from Pakistani occupation. The March 7 speech is not only the best speech of Bangabandhu, rather it is one of the best among the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized speeches across the globe. The speech possesses the directives for the people to achieve independence of the country. The speech highlighted the history of 23 years of misrule, exploitation, oppression, and deprivation of Pakistan and called for a non-cooperation movement. Bangabandhu also instructed the Bengalis to liberate themselves from Pakistani exploitation and rule and outlined the preparations for the liberation war and the guerrilla war in 1971.
Bangabandhu addressed the divide between political gains and social rights and prioritized his responsibility towards fighting for justice by connecting the favor he owes to the people, effectively assimilating himself with the common struggle of all Bengalis. From that point on, the speech eased all parties involved as one people- what impacts the Awami League, impacts the entirety of East Pakistan; shooting innocent Bengalis is equivalent to shooting at our heart.