Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the historic March 7, 1971, speech of the Father of the Nation was the actual declaration of the country's independence as it contained the directives on taking preparation for the Liberation War.
"The most important aspect of the historic March 7 speech was that he [Bangabandhu] had given all the directives regarding taking preparation for a [guerilla] war. If it is thought from this point of view, it can be said that the March 7 speech was the real declaration of the country's independence," she said.
The PM was addressing as the chief guest at a discussion organised by the cultural affairs ministry at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC). Joining the event virtually from the Gono Bhaban, she said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had announced the declaration of the country's independence in his March 7 speech as he apprehended that he might not be alive to make a formal declaration of independence.
Bangabandhu had uttered twice "Ebarer sangram amader muktir sangram, ebarer sangram swadhinatar sangram (the struggle this time is for our freedom, the struggle this time is for our independence)," she said.
She said Bangabandhu knew that a guerrilla war would take place and for that he asked the countrymen to be ready with whatever they had to face the enemies.
Hasina said Bangabandhu had even given all the directives on how then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, would be run.
She said not a single Bangalee worked without the directives from Dhanmondi-32, then residence of Bangabandhu. "Even when Yahiya Khan came to Dhaka, no Bangalee cook at the President's House worked," she added.
"The President's House was compelled to phone Dhanmondi-32 that the president was not getting cooked food and that until you [Dhanmondi-32] ask the cooks and they would have to eat dried food."
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque and Education Minister Dipu Moni also spoke on the occasion as special guests.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid presided over the discussion and its Secretary M Badrul Arefin gave the welcome address, while Chief Coordinator of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee, Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury presented the keynote paper.
The PM said the Father of the Nation in his March 7 speech had instructed the Bangalees to take preparation for the guerilla war as the Pakistanis were taking preparation to carry out an attack on them.
Hasina said Bangabandhu had taken up a strategy that the Pakistanis would first launch attacks on the Bangalees, compelling them to retaliate. He took this strategy mainly to get international support for the Bangalees' endeavor to liberate the country from the clutches of the Pakistan occupation forces, she added.
The Father of the Nation had taken up the war strategy to give the people an independent country even by risking his life, she continued.
As the Pakistan occupation forces launched attacks on the unarmed Bangalees, Bangabandhu had started publicising the declaration of the country's independence in line with his war strategy, she said.
Hasina said the strategy of Bangabandhu worked effectively with the pouring in of international support in favour of the Bangalees during the Liberation War as the Pakistanis first launched the attack and carried out genocide and inhuman torture.
The international community had continued their support even after the Pakistani junta took Bangabandhu to Pakistan and sentenced him in a sedition case due to the war strategy taken up by Bangabandhu.
"How effective his speech was from the point of view of a war strategy! And how realistic his every step was! That is very important," she said.