Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s killers feared his landmark March 7 speech because of its immense strength and that is why they wanted to erase the groundbreaking speech after his assassination in 1975.
“Actually, the assassins of Bangabandhu were afraid of the historic March 7 speech of Bangabandhu as well as his philosophy. So, they wanted to kill the speech after his assassination,” Dhaka University former Vice-Chancellor Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique told BSS in an interview on the eve of the memorable day.
He said the nation was kept in dark about the landmark 7th March speech since his brutal assassination on August 15, 1975 until June 23, 1996 when her worthy daughter Awami League President Sheikh Hasina had formed government following a victory in 1996 general election.
During the post-Bangabandhu era, the youths had no idea about the speech and the great leader who led the nation to its independence from the subjugation of Pakistani suppressors, he added.
“The young generations who were born or were able to watch television or listen to radio were kept in dark about the speech for long 21 years till June 23, 1996,” he said.
Prof Arefin, also chairman of the board of directors of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), said since the assassination of Bangabandhu, the audio-visual record of his landmark speech was not disseminated or broadcast in any kind of medium until the Awami League formed the government.
He said during that period, only Awami League grassroots leaders and workers played the audio record of the speech on Bangabandhu’s martyrdom or birth anniversary.
On June 23 in 1996 just after Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina took oath at the Bangabhaban, the state-run Bangladesh Television first telecast Bangabandhu’s 7th March speech in the evening, he added.
After watching the recorded speech at the television, Prof Arefin, also a former teacher of DU Mass Communication and Journalism Department, said young students of the university told him and he also came to know from students of other educational institutions that the youths never thought that they had such a great leader.
“They might have listened to the audio record of the speech. But for the first time, the greatness of Bangabandhu and his leadership, his personality and his bravery were revealed to the young generation when they watched the audio-visual presentation of the speech,” he said.
Prof Arefin, also a communication expert, said watching the video record for the first time, the youths observed Bangabandhu’s body language, gesture and posture, wordings, and style of speaking in his fiery speech at the then Race Course Maidan (now Suhrawardy Udyan).
“Before the day, they did not get the opportunity to watch the speech. Suddenly watching the speech, a reaction was created among them,” he observed. Prof Arefin said the purpose of keeping the speech concealed was to hide the strength of the speech that encouraged the freedom-loving Bangalees in the long nine-month battle against the Pakistani occupation forces. “In the nine-month Liberation War, Bangabandhu was in Pakistani jail, but his speech was with us. And it seemed that Bangabandhu was with us. In the battle field, the freedom fighters fought the war being inspired listening to the speech,” he said, adding that during the war, the people listened to the speech through Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendro.
“I believe, it is a must to present the speech before the new generation again and again. This speech should be included in textbooks and this should be taught in classrooms,” he suggested.
Prof Arefin said if that could be done, Bangabandhu’s philosophy and personality could be disseminated before the youth generations after generations through this speech.
He said the speech itself is a great textbook and there is the necessity to teach this textbook to youths.
The UNESCO has realised this thing and that is why it has included the speech in the Memory of the World International Register, a list of world’s important documentary heritage maintained by the UN organisation, he added.
“The human civilization has come to the current form after passing thousands of years. Many human beings have contributions to bring the civilization to its modern form. Among the contributions of many great human beings, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s speech has a huge role in the emancipation of the deprived, distressed, persecuted and repressed people,” he said.
Prof Arefin said the significance of the speech now in 2021 is as important and relevant as it was in 1971 and even it will be the same on March 7 in 2050, when Bangalees will observe the day.
“If we make psychological analysis of the speech, we find the extempore speech reflected words from his hearts in a very simple way,” he said.
So, it could be called conversation not speech as Bangabandhu made the address before the nation in a conversational style as if he was talking with the people.