Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 01:57:15 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Bangabandhu's March 7 Speech : A preface to Bengali nationhood

photo by

By
15th-Aug-2017       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Prof. Dr. Mijanur Rahman :
Bangabandhu's speeches were always spontaneous and undrafted. He would never read out the text of a speech written earlier. ''While Sheikh Mujib's speeches would not be written beforehand, those could not be put in writing either," said sociologist Sardar Fazlul Karim.
Numerous articles and several books have already been written on his March 7 speech that has earned a distinguished place among the world's greatest speeches of all time. This particular speech by Bangabandhu has even made it to 'We Shall Fight on the Beaches : The Speeches That Inspired History" -- a compilation of the most impactful speeches between 431 BC and 1987 AD. The title of the book, compiled by Jacob F Field, has been taken from the famous speech by the then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the World War II. The book ends with 'Tear down this wall!' speech by the then US President Ronald Reagan in 1987. Bangabandhu's historic speech titled". The struggle this time is the struggle for independence" can be found on Page 201 of the 223-
page book.
As much as it is true that the speech in its documented form has now made an indelible mark in the political history of the world, it is also undeniable that by reading the speech or the analyses on it, one may realise its significance, but, can never grasp the essence of the true Bangabandhu in it. Let's say Bangabandhu's March 7 speech was drafted beforehand. According to his daughter Sheikh Hasina, "Abba [Father] had a cold that day.
I rubbed Vicks [anti-cold ointment] on his forehead and chest. He was lying in bed under a sheet." Let's imagine his cold turned worse and he caught fever, so much so that he barely could talk. Bangabandhu had no way to go to the Race Course Ground [now Suhrawardy Udyan] which was already teeming with people. He then had the text of the speech sent to the venue and got someone else to read it out to the people. Had it been so, how would the speech have sounded ? Without Bangabandhu, the March 7 speech is unthinkable. "Bhaiyera amar [My dear brothers]" -- could anyone other than Bangabandhu himself articulate these apparently simple words in such an emphatic way? It was Bangabandhu's presence at that very juncture of time and his own voice behind the speech that made the address one of the greatest in the world history.
Lincoln's presence was not a must at the dedication of the unionist soldiers' national cemetery in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863. Senator Edward Everett was the main speaker there. Everett's two-hour speech was followed by Lincoln's and it lasted only two minutes. Martin Luther King Jr delivered the "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963 at a programme addressed by the leaders of 20 more organisations involved in the American Civil Rights Movement. His speech was written. Toward the end of the speech, King, prompted by singer Mahalia Jackson, departed from his prepared text for a partly improvised preparati on on the theme "I have a dream" would not have mattered much if someone else, other than Churchill, had delivered the 'We shall fight on the beaches" speech on June 4,1940.
Since taking the office of the British Prime Minister on May 10 in 1940, Churchill in fact had given four speeches on the same issue at the House of Commons of the UK Parliament till June 18 that year. But that the March 7 speech in 1971 would have to be delivered by Bangabandhu was a historical necessity.
Bangabandhu is the great man, as described in the book titled "Bhobishshoter Bangalee" by S Wajed All, whom the Bengalis were waiting for and who would lead them to a dignified way of life.
It was announced on March 1 that Bangabandhu would address a rally at the Race Course Ground on March 7 and would announce the subsequent programmes. The flag of on independent Bangladesh was hoisted on March 2 and the manifesto of Independence was read out a day later. According to Sardar Fazlul Karim, "A man cannot just appear out of nowhere and claim, 'I am your leader'. Nor can others accept it in their hearts and say, 'Yes, you are our leader'. Only an armed man can become a leader by force, something not possible for an unarmed individual." Bangabandhu is both a creator of history and a creation of it.
Only he could create history with one sentence - "The history of the Bengalis is a history of colouring the roads with the Bengali blood." It was only Bangabandhu who could create an epic with a single remark -- ''You won't be able to suppress the seven crore people."
Syed Manzoorul Islam, an English literature student of Dhaka University back then, was working as an interpreter for a foreign journalist at the rally venue. He was instantaneously translating what Bangabandhu was saying. After listening to the translation for, a while, the journalist asked Manzoorul Islam to stop.
Though the pressman had no knowledge about Bengali he started listening the speech very carefully. "From his facial expressions, seemed as if he could understand every word, as if' Babgabandhu were delivering the speech in English, not Bengali," Manzoorul Islam would later say. Before leaving the venue, he asked the journalist what could happen next. "Get ready," the journalist replied. '
Bangabandhu did not stop after saying that the struggle was for Independence. He rather went on to add, "The struggle this time is the struggle for 'liberation." Even in the face of an imminent war, he was aware of the need for struggle for emancipation. The word 'independence' came up in his speech only once but '1iberation' or 'emanpation' was used quite a few times. "The people of Bengal now wants liberation", "People of this country will taste economic, political and cultural emancipation", Until my country is liberated", 'We will liberate the people of this country, Insha-Allah", and in the end, ''The struggle this time is the struggle for liberation; the struggle this time is the struggle for independence."
'The struggle for emancipation is much more significant than that for independence. People cannot feel the essence of liberation even after the end of the rule of a foreign country until they achieve economic and social emancipation. Our struggle for Independence ended in 1971. The Bengalis for the first time in their millennia-old. history got a sovereign country of their own. The newborn country had only started taking its baby-steps towards economic and social emancipation when it suffered a major setback -- the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975. The history then started taking a backward course,' one that could not be stopped yet, especially in the societal context. We were far more liberal in our views even in  the 1940s than we now are.
The society, at least a significant part of it, was not so much wrought with fanaticism : and intolerance as it is now. It's true that we are sprinting ahead in the economic context. We are likely to become a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041. But will we be able to achieve the kind of emancipation Bangabandhu had dreamt of ? He had said, ''Those who live in this land-Hindus, Muslims, Bengalis and non-Bengalis alike-are our brothers. It is your responsibility to protect them. Make sure we uphold our image."
It's time we started thinking how we through our collective efforts can build a multidimensional and pluralistic society. Liberation is more powerful, more significant  than freedom. By liberation, Bangabandhu had meant emancipation from all sorts of deprivation, discrimination, exploitation, meanness, bigotry and spiritual depravity. His daughter Sheikh Hasina is now leading us in the struggle for liberation. But it is a struggle that never ends, never stops, for people by nature strive relentlessly for furthering their liberation, for solidifying their achievements and for safeguarding their emancipation.

(Writer : Vice Chancellor, Jagannath University,   Dhaka)

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Death of another prosecution witness : Too difficult to accept as an accident


NO sooner had the Eid vacation come to an end but another murder shocked us all. The decapitated body of Sumon Zahid, a witness in a war crimes case and also the son of martyred journalist Selina Parvin was found dead in the capital's Khilgaon the day before yesterday. There ...

Business & Economy »

A delegation headed by Farzana Chowdhury, CEO of Green Delta Insurance makes a courtesy call with Dr. M Khairul Hossain, the newly appointed Chairman of Security Exchange Commission recently. Additional Managing Director and Company Secretary Syed Moinuddin Ahmed and Deputy Managing Director Wafi S M Khan of the company were also present.


Football »

England beat Tunisia 2-1


AFP, Volgograd :Captain Harry Kane came to the rescue with two goals, the second a dramatic injury-time winner, as England began their World Cup Group G campaign with a stuttering 2-1 win over Tunisia on Monday.  Gareth Southgate's men almost paid a heavy price for missing a slew of first-half ...

Football »

Harry Kane : England's new prince


AFP, Volgograd :Harry Kane rose emphatically to the World Cup challenge in England's opening match against Tunisia, scoring a last-gasp winner to give Gareth Southgate's side lift-off in Russia.It was a remarkable World Cup debut for Kane, who bore the added pressure of the captain's armband and the weight of ...

Entertainment »

I`m indebted to J.P. Dutta for life : Pooja Bhatt


Actress-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt said she is indebted to veteran director J.P. Dutta for not only making her a part of 'Border' but also for encouraging her to never change. 'Border' on Wednesday completed 21 years of its release and Pooja took to Twitter to thank Dutta for casting her in ...

International »

US won`t be made a migrant camp


President Donald Trump vowed on Monday that the United States would not become a "migrant camp" as he faced mounting pressure to stop families being separated as a deterrent to illegal immigration."The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility," Trump ...

City »

Pedestrians passing through a muddy road as the authority concerned does not repair the road for long time. The snap was taken from Bibir Bagicha area in the city's Jatrabari on Tuesday.


Editorial »

Save the flood victims and take adequate measures for post-flood rehabilitation


INCESSANT rainfall in the last few days has triggered floods in the country's East and South East districts. Thousands of people of Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Feni and Chattogram districts have been marooned as floodwater crawled to inundate their homestead and damage crops and livestock. The New Nation recently reported that Khowai, ...

Football »

A Mexico soccer fan celebrates her team victory against Germany after their group F match at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia on Sunday.


Sports »

Federer wins 98th ATP title in Stuttgart


AFP, Germany :Roger Federer claimed his 98th ATP title on Sunday with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) defeat of Milos Raonic in the grass-court Stuttgart Cup final.The Swiss great, who will be chasing a ninth Wimbledon triumph next month, beat his Canadian opponent for the 11th time in 14 meetings while ...

International »

US policy on migrant kids `unconscionable`: UN rights chief


AP, Geneva :The U.N. human rights chief is urging the Trump administration to end new policies separating migrant children from their parents after entering the United States from Mexico, saying they've affected nearly 2,000 kids in the last six weeks.Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein says it's "unconscionable" that any country would seek ...

International »

Family separation policy starts dividing Republicans


AP, Washington :The emotional policy of separating children from their parents is also starting to divide Republicans and their allies as Democrats turn up the pressure.Former first lady Laura Bush called the policy "cruel" and "immoral" while GOP Sen. Susan Collins expressed concern about it and a former adviser to ...

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina exchanging pleasantries with diplomats at Ganabhaban in the city on Saturday on the occasion of holy Eid-ul-Fitr.


Editorial »

Eid Mubarak


EID UL FITR is an important religious event celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). The Eid (Muslim religious festival) is the first and only day in the month of Shawal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The ...

Cricket »

History-making Afghanistan get baptism of fire in Test cricket


AFP, Bangalore :Afghanistan were handed a bruising introduction to Test cricket by India on Thursday as they capped their astonishing rise from war and refugee camps to joining the sport's elite.Afghan skipper Asghar Stanikzai called it a "very proud moment" as he strode onto the field at Bangalore's M. Chinnaswamy ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news