Bangladesh is observing 52 years of independence

The nation has begun commemorating the lost souls of 1971

Published : 25 March 2023, 08:04 PM
Updated : 25 March 2023, 08:04 PM

Bangladesh is observing 52 years of its independence from Pakistan by remembering the 30 million martyrs of the nine-month Liberation War. 

The day will be heralded with gun salutes at dawn on Sunday. President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will lead the tributes to the martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Memorial in Dhaka. 

The British quit the Indian subcontinent in 1947, but the people of Bengali-dominated East Pakistan were left shackled by West Pakistan rulers’ oppression for decades before Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the Bengalis to independence in 1971.

As the Bengalis were preparing for an armed struggle after he called for independence in his historic March 7 speech in 1971, the Pakistani forces swooped down on innocent civilians in one of the most horrific genocides in world history on the night of Mar 25 that year.

Before being arrested by the Pakistani forces, Bangabandhu formally declared independence on Mar 26. 

Bangladesh finally defeated the Pakistani forces on Dec 16 that year and Bangabandhu returned home on Jan 10, 1972, ushering in fully fledged celebrations, but three million lives were already lost in the war.

Bangabandhu was assassinated in the massacre of his family three and a half years later after he laid the foundation for development while rebuilding the war-torn nation. 

Decades after the country’s journey backwards during military rule, the Awami League returned to power with Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina at the helm, taking the charge to sail the nation towards the path of development.

Hamid, in his last National Day message as the ceremonial head of state, said people-oriented and sustainable development, good governance, social justice, transparency and accountability must be ensured in the country in order to achieve the desired goal of Independence.

"It is our sacred duty to ensure a safe, happy, beautiful and prosperous Bangladesh for the new generation," he said.

Hasina, in her message, called upon all Bangladeshis to nurture the spirit and ideals of the Liberation War and participate in building a country free from hunger and poverty. 

"I remember with the most profound respect the greatest Bengali of all time, the great architect of Bangladesh, the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, under whose firm and far-sighted leadership we got an independent country," she added.