THE nation celebrates the 44th Independence and National Day today amidst festivities though the real joy of independence came on victory day the 16th December 1971. We have to remember the martyrs of the ‘black night’ of March 25 when Pakistani occupation forces carried out the massacre on unprepared city dwellers including police, BDR and other paramilitary forces to silence the people’s voice against the denial of their democratic rights. The dawn of March 26, 1971 thus ushered in the blood of sacrifice but ended in the liberation of Bangladesh from the exploitation of the then Pakistani masters who were usurping all powers treating the then East Pakistan as a colony. When President Yahya Khan refused to hand over power to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as prime minister of Pakistan after the Awami League had won a landslide majority in the 1970 elections and also refused to convene the session of the National Assembly, people here revolted. The massacre of March 25 night immediately opened the war of liberation to end in the victory of December 16 with the birth of the new nation. On 26th March 1971. It can be justifiably said that on 26th March 1971 our armed struggle began for achieving independence by establishing Bangladesh government in exile in India. The real independence was achieved nine months later. For the rest nine months, the people had to suffer and lose lives most helplessly. Bangabandhu was taken as prisoner to Lahore. His absence was felt most immensely, but he provided the courage though absent. We will agree that independence day is to be celebrated officially but today is also an occasion for recalling the aspirations of the people for free Bangladesh. The saddest aspect is that there are some people who are not ready to recognize the extreme sacrifice of the general public during these nine months resisting Pakistani Army’s occupation. But for the shortsightedness of many of our leaders, Bangladesh people’s solid unity attained during the liberation war has gone so wrong and the country’s politics become so violent and so full of conflict. The people mandated Bangabandhu to achieve democracy in free Bangladesh, but it is sad to see how a few have made democracy so difficult to establish. Still they are boastfully claiming to be pro-liberation forces. We are hopeful that our people will succeed to build a Bangladesh where they will be able to live happily and safely and in unity by implementing the democratic ideals of the liberation war. On this great occasion of Independence Day we have to be honest and truthful to say that we need new leadership and not the likes who are more emotional than competent to lead this country.