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The Independence Day of Bangladesh, taking place on 26 March, is a national holiday. Bangladesh Independence Day commemorates the country’s declaration of independence from Pakistan in the late hours of 26 March 1971 by the leader of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Independence day is very significant to every nation. National Independence day of Bangladesh, the 26th March is a day of pride and glory. On this day in 1971, the proclamation of independence was declared. 

The day is a memorial to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians who died in the subsequent Bangladesh Liberation War. This national holiday is celebrated with parades and paying of respect at JatiyoSmritiSoudho. The national memorial is located at Savar near Dhaka.

Background

In 1947, Pakistan emerged as an independent state with two wings – East & west Pakistan. During twenty-four years of Pakistani rule, the people of Bangladesh were oppressed, suppressed and exploited. In Spite of having major populations, the population of Bangladesh was deprived of their political, economical and cultural rights. A deep disparity between two wings became wider & grievances and discontent among the Bangladeshis continued to grow, which resulted in an upsurge & mass revolution in 1969. But the Pakistani rulers tried to stop the mass revolution.

On 7 March 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered independence day speech at the Racecourse Ground (Present SuhrawardyUdyan). In this speech he mentioned a further four-point condition to consider the National Assembly Meeting on 25 March:

1.    The immediate lifting of martial law.

2.    Immediate withdrawal of all military personnel to their barracks.

3.    An inquiry into the loss of life.

4.    Immediate transfer of power to the elected representative of the people before the assembly meeting on 25 March.

He urged “his people” to turn every house into a fort of resistance. He closed his speech saying, “Our struggle is for our freedom. Our struggle is for our independence.” His speech on that day moved Bangladeshis’ souls. This speech is considered the main event inspiring the nation to fight for its independence.

The Operation Searchlight started on the midnight of March 25, 1971, in East Pakistan. The Pakistani Army and Pakistani Rajakar forces killed many innocent public, students, civilians, children, political leaders, political members, old people and many others and they raped many Bengali girls and women. They killed thousands of unarmed Bengali in only one night.

Sheikh Mujib was arrested on the night of 25-26 March 1971 at about 1:30 a.m. (as per Radio Pakistan’s news on 29 March 1971). A telegram containing the text of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s declaration reached some students in Chittagong. The students failed to secure permission from higher authorities to broadcast the message from the nearby Agrabad Station of Radio Pakistan. They crossed Kalurghat Bridge into an area controlled by an East Bengal Regiment under Major Ziaur Rahman.

Bengali soldiers guarded the station as engineers prepared for transmission. At 19:45 hrs on 27 March 1971, Major Ziaur Rahman broadcast the announcement of the declaration of independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur. On 28 March Major Ziaur Rahman made another announcement, which was as follows:

“This is Shadhin Bangla BetarKendro. I, Major Ziaur Rahman, at the direction of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, hereby declare that the independent People’s Republic of Bangladesh has been established. In his direction, I have taken command as the temporary Head of the Republic. In the name of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, I call upon all Bengalis to rise against the attack by the West Pakistani Army. We shall fight to the last to free our Motherland. By the grace of Allah, victory is ours. Joy Bangla.”

The Kalurghat Radio Station’s transmission capability was not enough. The message was picked up by a Japanese ship in the Bay of Bengal. It was then re-transmitted by Radio Australia and later by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

In 1952, language martyrs sacrificed their life for the sake of their mother tongue. The day is remembered as International Mother language day in the world recognized by UNESCO. Their sacrifices inspired the nation to fight against the most organized army (Pakistani army) in the world.

The victory of Bangladesh came through the supreme sacrifice of thirty lakhs of patriotic and valiant sons. Bangladesh gained independence winning the victory on December 16, 1971.

This day is observed in a befitting manner every year throughout the country. Flags are hoisted on the top of all public & private buildings. The Educational institutions celebrated the day with solemnity and honor. Various organizations arrange seminars, discussions and symposiums to observe the day. The national dailies publish special supplements and electronic media chalk out special programs to observe the day. People offer prayers in the mosques, temples & churches for the prosperity and welfare of our nation. 

This day helps us to realize the value of independence and sacrifice of our martyrs. It makes us aware that we should defend our freedom at any cost. The country has yet to defeat major issues like child labor and many others as soon as possible. The independence day celebration is our inspiration for building a happy & prosperous Bangladesh. 

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