The millions around the world who have seen the historic March 7 speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman may have noticed the two words “Call-Ready” on the microphone.
Call-Ready, a microphone company, has carried the voices of political leaders to audiences for more than seven decades now.
Recently, the historic Bangabandhu speech of March 7 was included in the Memory of the World Register by Unesco. Call-Ready played an important part in conveying Bangabandhu’s words to millions, but has yet to receive official recognition for its contribution.
Apart from the March 7 speech, Call-Ready provided microphones for the meetings and rallies of the 1952 Language Movement, the United Front’s movement in 1954, the six-point movement in 1966, the 1969 mass uprising, and the election campaigns of 1970.
Quite literally, the microphone company has carried the inspiring words and speeches that convinced people to take action and brought them out on to the streets for protests. Even now, Call-Ready always provides microphone services at Awami League rallies.
Just before the 1947 Partition, Dayal Ghosh and Haripada Ghosh, sons of Debendra Chandra Ghosh of Bikrampur, started the microphone service business in their mid-30s at Hrishikesh Lane in Old Dhaka.
The company was first named Arzo Light House, but was renamed Call-Ready a year later.
The concept of this type of service was quite new at the time, but the brothers took the risk and have now become part of Bangladesh’s history.
Call-Ready was the lone microphone service company and provided services at all major events in the then East Pakistan from 1947 to 1971.
After the death of Haripada Ghosh, his four sons Bishwanath Ghosh, Shibnath Ghosh, Trinath Ghosh Sagar, and Shambhunath Ghosh have run the family business.
When asked about Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech, Trinath Ghosh said his father and uncle, along with some 30 people, worked for two days to set up the microphones on stage at the Race Course Maidan in Dhaka.
“Bangabandhu called my father to his Dhanmondi residence on March 4 and asked him to set up microphones for the March 7 program,” he reminisced. “They set up more than 50 microphones and that covered the entire grounds as well as the Motijheel and New Market areas.”
Trinath said eight mouthpieces were set up on the stand for Bangabandhu on March 7. “My father and uncle had preserved all those microphones, but when the war started, Pakistani forces burnt down our office and houses and looted everything. Luckily, we were able to save three or four of the mouthpieces and amplifiers from that event,” he said.
He said the mouthpieces were made in Germany, and urged the government to preserve the microphones as historic symbols.
After Bangabandhu’s assassination, Call-Ready’s business suffered as the owners of the business were associated with the Awami League.
The business recovered when Sheikh Hasina returned to Bangladesh in 1981. Since then, Call-Ready has covered all AL events.
“We will provide events on March 7 this year, too,” Trinath said.
Asked if his father wrote anything about the experience of March 7 or his close connection with Bangabandhu and the Awami League, Trinath said he had not. “My father never left any writing about that.”
Trinath further said apart from covering Bangabadhu’s speech, Call-Ready also covered speeches by Indira Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat, Pranab Mukherjee, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Despite being such a remarkable part of Bangladesh’s history, Call-Ready has not received the recognition it deserves, Trinath said.
“Everyone got recognition for their part in the Liberation War. But my father and uncle were never recognized for their contribution,” he said. “We want that recognition for Call-Ready, and the attention and help to preserve the equipment which has such historic significance.”