Into The 46th Year of Independence

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Karachi airport after his arrest by the Pakistan junta at the beginning of the Liberation War in 1971. Photo: Collected

The nation celebrates the 45th Independence and National Day today to pay tributes to the martyrs and valiant sons of the land who laid down their lives for the country's independence.

On this day in 1971, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared independence of Bangladesh through EPR wireless at 00-30 hours on March 26 (the night following March 25) from his Dhanmondi-32 house. The great leader also called upon the people to build a united resistance against the occupation forces.

The military junta, in a bid to stop the legitimate movement of the Bangalees, arrested him on that night following his declaration of independence. They then took him to the then West Pakistan and kept him in a prison for the entire nine-month period of the Liberation War.

Earlier on the Black Night of March 25, the Pakistani forces had brutally cracked down on the unarmed people of the then East Pakistan.

But the valiant people of Bangladesh took up arms and fought for independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu.

The long-cherished victory was finally achieved on December 16 after a nine-month struggle at the cost of blood of some three million people and untold sufferings of millions more.

A 31-gunshot salute at dawn will mark the beginning of the day's celebrations today. The national flag will be hoisted atop government buildings. Major buildings will be illuminated for a festive look.

The day is a public holiday.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will place wreaths at the National Memorial at Savar early in the morning as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the martyrs.

Leaders of different political parties, socio-political organisations, freedom fighters and people from all walks of life will also place wreaths at the memorial.

The state-owned Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television as well as private television and radio stations will air special programmes. National dailies will bring out special supplements highlighting the significance of the day.

Special meals will be served at hospitals, prisons, orphanages and other public institutions.

Some navy ships will be on display open to the public at Sadarghat in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chittagong, Khulna, Mongla port and Barisal from 2:00pm till sunset.

Different political parties as well as socio-cultural and professional organisations have drawn elaborate programmes to observe the day in a befitting manner.

The programmes include hoisting the national flag, placing wreaths at the National Memorial, offering special prayers, holding seminars, discussions and cultural functions.

Liberation War Museum and Abhijatri will organise a 36-km march from the Central Shaheed Minar to National Memorial at Savar from 6:00am today, as a show of love and respect for the martyrs.

On the eve of the Independence Day, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages yesterday.

The president in his message urged all to make united efforts to accelerate the overall development and democratic advancement of the country.

“Nevertheless, we have to go a long way for achieving the desired goals of independence. I believe that sincere and concerted efforts from all strata irrespective of party affiliation are imperative to reach the goals,” he added.

In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said,“I hope that all the citizens of our country would engage themselves with utmost sincerity, honesty and dedication to build Bangladesh as a peaceful, non-communal, developed and prosperous country and help place it at a prestigious position in the community of nations.”