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A speech that gave birth to a nation

  • Published at 05:16 pm March 6th, 2018
  • Last updated at 02:03 pm March 7th, 2018
A speech that gave birth to a nation
March 7, 1971 is the day the spirit of an independent Bangladesh can be said to have been born. It was after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s rousing speech that the spirit of an independent Bangladesh began to take hold in the hearts and minds of the Bangladeshi people. There can be no doubt that March 7 is truly a red-letter day in the history of Bangladesh, and is, in its own way, as important to the nation’s history as February 21, March 26, and December 16. Nineteen days later, our independence was declared, and the Liberation War began, and this march towards victory would eventually lead to the birth of Bangladesh as a proud, sovereign nation. With this speech, the unquenchable fire for freedom was lit in the souls of 75 million Bangladeshis, and there was no turning back. Apart from the tremendous historical significance of the day, the speech itself is a masterpiece of oratory, and an example of the kind of speech that resonates throughout the ages. Just like Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech or Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s address to the nation will be studied again and again, and people will marvel at the conviction, eloquence, and statesmanship present in the words. Some 47 years later, the speech still reminds Bangladeshis of the struggles that drove us forward towards the fight to nationhood. A UNESCO initiative has recently officially recognized the speech as part of the world’s documentary heritage, and rightly so. These are words that should never be forgotten.