Bangabandhu’s unforgettable 7th March speech

A grateful nation on Wednesday rememberedthe speech that our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered 47 years ago on this date at Ramna Race Course before a crowd of well over two million people. Itwas an amazing event in the context of theoretical application of communication science. An incredible manifestation of modern communication concepts could be observed in this historic speech by the greatest Bangali of all times – Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangabandhu completed this timeless speech in 19 minutes by uttering between 58 and 60 words per minute.
If the contents of the speech are analysed, it is seen that it was basically a message about the emergence of a new state on the global map and a notification cum narrative on the winding up of the eastern region of the then Pakistani state as a natural progression. The 7th March speech was the main mantra and theory for an independent Bangladesh. This address was like a war-cry during the nine months of our liberation war. Whether children or juvenile, young or old, everybody became excited after listening to this speech. This speech not only united the 7 crore Bangalis then – it taught them the mantra of joining the liberation war.
It was a dialogue between the people of Bangladesh and their undisputed leader on the eve of Bangladesh’s birth. This 7 March address of 1971 was not only the greatest speech in Bengali language, it is one of the best of its type in the entire world. This is because, this speech was simultaneously the declaration of our independence and the inspiration of our liberation war. This speech will always continue to rekindle the Bangali nation with a spark of fire showing the path of realizing their goals with indomitable spirit. The fiery and ground-breaking address of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 7 March 1971 is the best example of this genre. A speech that could inspire an entire nation to join the liberation war was a rare event in history. Analysis of the importance, significance and timeliness of this speech, which contained the directives and declaration of the liberation war in Bangabandhu’s own voice, has remained a gold-mine for researchers. UNESCO recently recognized the speech as a milestone in world’s history and advancement.
The manner in which this address had invigorated and indoctrinated the Bangalis with the mantra of liberty added a new chapter in the annals of speeches. This historic address is considered to be a compulsory text at home and abroad by the experts of public speeches, researchers and communication theorists. That is why, the international periodical ‘Newsweek’ termed Bangabandhu as a ‘Poet of Politics’ in the cover story of its 5 April 1971 issue. The speech has been recognized as one of the world’s most famous speeches of its type for rousing people in the book “We Shall Fight on the Beaches: The Speeches That Inspired History”, by Jacob F. Field.
Why the name and fame of Banghabandhu endures so popularly is because he was not merely an individual. Through his unflinching dedication to his cause, matchless patriotism and self sacrifice, he has lived through the decades in people’s memory as an iconic personality. Thus, today, he is romanticised and described as a whole splendid revolution himself, an upsurge-the essence of epic poetry and history. Contemporary history has recognized him as the greatest Bengali of the past thousand years.
His greatness, the vision and promises thrown forth by him, are the basic source of inspiration of this Bengali nation. He was a very great friend of the teeming millions of our people. To the nation he is the Father. In the view of men and women in other places and other climes, he is the founder of sovereign Bangladesh.
Journalist Cyril Dunn once said of him, “In the thousands of years of history of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujib is the only leader who has, in terms of blood, race, language, culture and birth, been a full-blooded Bengali. His physical stature was immense. His voice was redolent of thunder. His charisma worked magic on people. The courage and charm that flowed from him made him a unique superman in these times.” Newsweek magazine called him the poet of politics.
Embracing Bangabandhu at the Algiers Non Aligned Summit in 1973, Cuba’s Fidel Castro noted, “I have not seen the Himalayas. But I have seen Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In personality and in courage, this man is the Himalayas. I have thus had the experience of witnessing the Himalayas.” Upon hearing the news of Bangabandhu’s assassination, former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson wrote to a Bengali journalist, “This is surely a supreme national tragedy for you. For me it is a personal tragedy of immense dimensions.”
Bangabandhu was absolutely committed to work for the public interest and the national interest with everything he possessed in his body and soul. He distinguished himself soon in his political career as the strongest advocate of Bengali nationalism. It was this particular passion that led to the rise of his ideology based on Bengali nationalism and for democracy leading to his brilliantly steering the course for the achievement of independent Bangladesh
At the United Nations, he was the first man to speak of his dreams, his people’s aspiration, in Bangla. The language was, in that swift stroke , recognized by the global community. For the first time after Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel achievement in 1913, Bangla was put on a position of dignity. The multifaceted life of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman cannot be all put together here in language or colour. The reason is : Mujib was a larger than life titanic figure. It is not possible to hold within the confines of this column the picture or the extent of his greatness. He was the supreme leader in the struggle for our national independence . The greatest treasure of the Bengali nation is preservation of his legacy. He has conquered death. His memory should be an everlasting guide to his countrymen.
It was because of Bangabandhu Sheikh MujiburRhman that his countrymen today live completely free in the air of freedom and enjoy unfettered all the opportunities for theirself development and progress and their collective advancement as a people and nation. Bangbandhu’s activities of a lifetime bestowed these great gifts on his people and the country. Today, Bangladesh is recognized as a rising power in the family of nations. Various projections by world renowned analysts have confidently projected that Bangladesh is destined to be a great economic power house only decades from now and also a force for the good and welfare of entire mankind at the world stage. When this happens, Bangladeshis will realize how much they owe to Bangabandhu for setting them on this glorious path.