In March 1971, Dhaka Radio introduced Bengalis to a riveting song. Joi Bangla Banglar Joi Hobe Hobe Hobe Hobe Nischoy turned out to be a point of reference for all of us as moved toward freedom.
Patriotic songs were a fundamental premise upon which the war was waged. Shona Shona Shona Loke Bole Shona was one of the earliest of songs broadcast by the Swadhin Bangla Betar. The defining song was of course the Tagore number, Amar Shonar Bangla, which would soon become our national anthem. There were other Tagore songs we sang in those days, for instance, Banglar Mati Banglar Jol and O Amar Desher Mati/Tomar Pore Thekai Matha.
Nazrul injected the martial spirit in music through Chal Chal Chal and Karar Oi Louho Kopat. Then there was Ei Shikol Pora Chhol Moder. Abdul Jabbar's Salam Salam Hajar Salam made a signal contribution to the propaganda effort. He also sang, when freedom dawned Hajar Bochhor Pore Abar Eshechhi Phire/ Banglar Booke Achhi Danrhiye.
A poignant song was Bhebo Na Go Maa Tomar Chhelera Hariye Giyechhe Pothe. Apel Mahmood's Teer Hara Ei Dheu-er Shagor Parhi Dibo Re and Mora Ekti Phool Ke Bachabo Bole Juddo Kori added impetus to the struggle.
Soft, lilting numbers. like Ferdausi Rahman's Amar Mon Bholano Chokh Jurhano Ei Oporup Mori Mori were there as well. There were Dhono Dhanne Pushpe Bhora and Chand Tumi Phire Jao. Among the more stirring numbers were Purbo Digonte Shurjo Uthechhe and Rathindranath Roy's Amari Desh Shob Manusher.
Remember Bangla Moder Bangla Maa Amra Tomar Koti Shontan? And Banglar Mukh Aami Dekhiyachhi and Oi Pohailo Timir Ratri and Badh Bhenge Dao and Durgomogiri Kantar Moru. And don't forget Nongor Tolo Tolo and Joi Joi Nobojat Bangladesh.
Such songs as Janatar Shongram Cholbe and Banglar Hindu Banglar Bouddho Banglar Khrishtan Banglar Mussulman/Amra Shobai Bangali touched our souls. Jonmo Amar Dhonno Holo Maa-go and Muktiro Mondiro Shopano Tole Koto Pran Holo Bolidaan are songs that we will not forget.
Once victory was achieved in December 1971, some new songs were heard. Shahnaz Rahmatullah's Ek Nodi Rokto Periye remains a tribute to the valour of unsung Muktijoddhas. Saiful Islam sang Bangladesher Kobi Aami Shobcheye Bhaggoban/ Aami Likhte Perechhi Bishsher Shera Muktir Itihash.
As Bangabandhu flew home, Sandhya Mukherjee burst upon us with a moving number: Bangabandhu Tumi Phire Ele Tomar Roktim Shwadhin Banglaye. In Ogo Bondhu Tumi Chinte Paro Ki Bangla Tomar Bangla/Jaake Rekhe Gachho Ponchishe Raater Aagey, it is a silent, emotional reminder of a world the Pakistan army left in ruins.
The writer is Executive Editor, The Daily Star