When a nation speaks
The unforgettable baritone that transcends time and vision- that would be a paltry description of what Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave to the nation on March 7, 1971 at Dhaka's Suhrawardy Udyan. The historic congregation of almost 10 lakh people at the then Race Course ground (now Suhrawardy Udyan) at the end of the 20-minute speech bore witness to the all defining words: "Ebar-er shongram amader muktir shongram, Ebar-er shongram, shadhinotar shongram," (This struggle is independence, a struggle for freedom).
The extempore speech is now proudly a part of UNESCO's Memories of the World Register. Nominated for inclusion in 2016, the historic speech was finally recommended for inclusion in October, 2017. It is no easy feat as the register includes only the most significant of heritage documents. The speech shares its place in the Memory of the World Register with a total of 427 documents and other heritage collections from around the globe and the collection continues to grow.
The generations, which have not witnessed the Liberation War or have not heard the bojro-kontho of the Father of the Nation first hand, will be celebrating Bangladesh's 48th Independence Day in a week, side by side with those who have had the opportunity. The historical and political backdrop has been, time and again revisited by scholars, leaders and writers to put forth a fresh perspective in unparallel descriptive prowess. To mention the whole event by paraphrasing far better explorations is almost like placing a rock in a shelf full of precious stones. Yet every individual tries his or her best to put new meaning into the speech, be it for an interpretation in a modern context or as a history buff trying to re-create the ambience. That is, simply put, the true power of influence of what Bangabandhu created on that very day.
Standing in 2018, where now we have the opportunity to relive the full event in colourised video with high definition audio, the message still retains its original electrifying stance. For a nation that is nearing its 50th birthday, those twenty minutes in 1971 riled the spirits of the people to indomitable heights that will transcend centuries to come.
For a full list of documentary heritage inscribed to the Memory of the World Register, visit