What happened on Sunday, March 7, 1971
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed an unprecedented gathering of over 10 lakh people at the historic Racecourse Ground in the afternoon.
In his historic 26-minute speech, Sheikh Mujib declared, “This time its struggle for our emancipation, Our endeavour to independence” (এবারের সংগ্রাম আমাদের মুক্তির সংগ্রাম, এবারের সংগ্রাম স্বাধীনতার সংগ্রাম).
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman arrived at the meeting place at 3.15 pm. When Sheikh Mujib, dressed in white pajamas, Punjabi and black coat, came up on to the stage, the people greeted him with deafening applause and the slogan of “Triumphant Bangla” (জয়বাংলা).
In his speech, Sheikh Mujib appealed to the people, “Turn every home into a fortress; you have to deal with the enemy with whatever you have.”
“I do not want to be the prime minister,” he said. “We want the rights of the people of this country. If a single more shot is fired, if one more of my people are killed, even if I can’t give orders – deal with the enemy with whatever you have. Since we have given our blood to the cause, we will give more. We will free the people of this country, InshaAllah. ”
During the speech, slogans like “Rise to the cause, Bangali” (জাগো জাগো বাঙালী জাগো), “Punjab or Bangla- Its Bangla, Its Bangla” (পাঞ্জাব না বাংলা- বাংলা বাংলা), “Our identity resides in our rivers Padma, Meghna, Jamuna” (তোমার আমার ঠিকানা- পদ্মা মেঘনা যমুনা), “The name of your leader and mine – Sheikh Mujib, Sheikh Mujib” (তোমার নেতা আমার নেতা- শেখ মুজিব, শেখ মুজিব), “Valiant Bangalis, pick up your weapons – To create an independent Bangladesh” (বীর বাঙালি অস্ত্র ধরো- বাংলাদেশ স্বাধীন করো) were intermittently chanted by the assembled people.
After the announcement that Sheikh Mujib ‘s important speech would be broadcast, listeners all over Bengal eagerly waited with their radio sets. But at the last minute, the broadcast was suspeed at the behest of the military authorities; in protest the Bengali employees of Dhaka Radio went on strike and all broadcasts of Dhaka Radio station were stopped from the afternoon. The radio station came to a halt.
Late that night, the military rulers were forced to give permission for Sheikh Mujib ‘s full speech to be broadcast on Dhaka Radio.
Translated by Masuma Begum
Editorial contribution by Arghya Raihan
Researched, compiled & Edited by Sagar Lohani
Gratitude to Christina Rozario