March is the month of independence in Bangladesh. Today, the nation will be celebrating its 49th Independence Day of Bangladesh. Bangladeshis celebrate this national holiday to commemorate the country’s declaration of independence from Pakistan in 1971 and to pay tribute to the fallen war martyrs who made Bangladesh a state of its own. Just like Ekushey February, the day is a heart-rending reminder for the lives lost in the nine-month period of the Liberation war. Read below to know about its significance and things you can do on the Independence day of Bnagladesh.
It all started when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won the Pakistani General Election in 1970 with a significant majority. However, the Pakistani Military government under Yahya Khan was unwilling to let go of power. Over time, the parties tried to work out several agreements and negotiations but they never followed through. Eventually, it was apparent that they were not going to hand over political power to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Upon seeing the reluctance, during an interview on 25th March, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called out openly for a negotiation. That was the night the war began when the Pakistani Army started Operation Searchlight and participated in mass street killings.
The guerrilla war continued for nine months and ended on December 16, 1971 when West Pakistan finally surrendered. In the first few months of the war, the Pakistani Army liberated numerous parts of the then East Pakistan. It took time, but slowly the Bengali guerrillas regained their momentum and secured power in most parts. During this time, many Bengali refugees fled to our neighboring country, India, and the Bengalis residing in West Pakistan chose to seek refuge in Indonesia. Others were willing to stay and fight with all they had to ensure that Bangladesh gets the recognition as a separate, sovereign state. The liberation war resulted in approximately 3 million civilians’ deaths and the emergence of a new nation on the map.
A lot of people are unaware of this but during that time, London was also making major contributions to the Bengalis. The Bangladeshi expatriate community in London participated in several mass protests that helped bring attention to Bangladesh’s call for independence. People from all over the worlds celebrates the Independence Day of Bangladesh every year.
Marking the day
Independence Day consists of seminars, meetings and discussions, cultural programs, exhibitions and fairs held in various parts of the city. Hence, there are lots of events and activities on the Independence Day. The Prime Minister and the President along with other government officials head to the National Memorial (Jatiyo Sriti Shoudho) at Savar early in the morning and place flower wreaths in order to pay homage to the war heroes who gave up their lives for the nation. Usually, a thirty-one gun salute also takes place in the morning. To observe this day, leaders from different political parties, freedom fighters, and people from all over the country come together to place flower wreaths at the memorial.
Many people participate in peaceful rallies wearing Red and Green bandanas and shouting patriotic slogans in the morning as a mark of gratitude for the martyrs who put aside their lives to liberate their motherland.
Independence Day today
Last year, the month of march reached another landmark because the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) stated that Bangladesh will be obtaining a place in the list of developing countries. On this day, the national flag is hoisted on top of many government and private buildings. Many organisations celebrate this day in a befitting manner. Television channels and radio stations typically air special programs, keeping the theme of the Independence Day of Bangladesh. On the other hand, newspapers print out additional supplements to feature the significance of the day. Old homes, hospitals and jails serve special menus to its inhabitants. Indulge yourself in the event and activities on the Independence Day!
How are you planning on celebrating the Independence Day of Bangladesh? Let us know in the comment section below!