The observance of Independence Day evokes in us a feeling of both pride and pain. Pain in the sense, that we are reminded of the genocide that had been unleashed upon the Bengali nation that cost us 3 million dead and the loss of the brightest among the intelligentsia. It was on this day, forty-three years ago that we united as one to fight for our rights and dignity and endured a nine month long war against the Pakistani occupation forces and their collaborators. This morning, we pay tribute to the visionary political leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to our freedom fighters and many unsung heroes but for whose signal contribution; freedom would have been long in coming. We also acknowledge the assistance rendered by India and our foreign friends during those dark days.
It is also a time to look back in remembrance to the martyrs who laid down their lives in defence of freedom, the two hundred thousand Bengali women who went through despicable agony at the hands of the occupation forces and the ten million Bengalis, who as refugees, suffered untold agonies that year. The prime message we take in from the day was the leveling down of all differences, sharing the woes and forging unprecedented unity in our ranks which led us to the journey on the road to freedom. But the hopes and aspirations of economic emancipation to follow political independence are yet to be fully realised.