Expressing her gratitude to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) for recognising Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s historic March 7 speech as a world documentary heritage, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said pro-Pakistan forces tried to erase Bangabandhu’s ideals from Bangladesh.
“Pro-Pakistan forces not only killed Bangabandhu and his family or banned his March 7 speech for 24 years, but they inducted Jamaat and Razakars [local collaborators of Pakistani occupation forces during the 1971 Liberation War] into the government,” she said.
Hasina, the eldest daughter of the Father of the Nation, was addressing a rally to celebrate the recognition of the historic treasure by the Unesco at Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka.
“The Unesco has recognised Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech as a world documentary heritage, but some people tried to erase the history of our Liberation War. We are ill-fated, as pro-Pakistan elements had banned Bangabandhu’s speech for 24 years as part of a conspiracy. Where will they hide their face now?” the premier said, adding that Bangladesh has been recognised as a prestigious nation in the world through this acknowledgment.
Employees of the government organised the rally attended by thousands of people, including students, teachers and professionals.
Hasina said: “The Unesco recognition clearly proves that no one can erase the history of Bangali nation. It has duly honoured all the Bangalis, freedom fighters, and family members of those who were martyred during the war.”
The rally to celebrate recognition of Bangabandhu’s speech at Shahbagh Photo: Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
Through the speech, Bangabandhu gave all the instructions for the war and informed people about their duties in absence of him, she added.
The prime minister further said: “Because my father was feeling sort of tired, my mother Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib had asked him to take some rest before he went to Suhrawardy Udyan to deliver the speech. All the leaders present, too, advised him to do so. Even some of them requested him to deliver a written speech.
“Before my father left for Suhrawardy Udyan, I heard my mother telling him ‘you know what you need to say; listen to your heart; you should say what your heart says.’ I was present there at the time.”
She added: “The Unesco recognition made us feel proud. Today we have to take an oath that we will never let our country bow down. We are a proud nation (and) we stand tall. No one can defeat us.”
Earlier the government employees also brought out a procession that began around noon from Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32 and ended at the rally venue around 2pm.
On October 30, the historic speech of Bangabandhu was included in the Memory of the World International Register.