Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s exact political genius was revealed in his epoch-making March 7 speech in 1971 as he uttered everything and gave directions for liberation war in an intelligent way without giving scopes to the Pakistani occupation forces to launch instant assaults.
“Bangabandhu uttered everything and gave directions for the liberation war in a strategic way but didn’t declare the independence directly in his March 7 speech. If he directly declared the independence on that day, a massacre could have happened,” National Professor Rafiqul Islam told BSS in an interview.
He said the March 7 speech truly reflected his political genius, wisdom and prudence as he had given directives for all which were necessary for liberating the country without directly declaring the independence.
It was a very tough situation and crisis-ridden context when Bangabandhu delivered his historic speech as tanks were put in place and military weapons were stockpiled and kept standby ahead of the March 7 rally, he said.
Rafiqul Islam, also chairman of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee, said a Pakistani general in his reminiscing write-up said, “We all remained readied (to carry out attack) but Sheikh Mujib spoke everything in a very strategic way. For that, we could not do anything.”
“This is Bangabandhu’s prudence and leadership. He called for the country’s independence and liberation war but he made the call in a way that Pakistanis could not carry out attack,” he observed.
Supernumerary Professor of Dhaka University (DU) History Department Dr Syed Anwar Husain said the entire nation remained doubtful and worried about what was going to happen before the landmark speech of Bangabandhu on March 7.
“In the groundbreaking March 7 speech, the Bangalee nation got the clear guidelines for the coming days,” he said. He said though Bangabandhu talked about the independence in a roundabout way, he had clearly given directions for independence.
Anwar Husain, also Bangabandhu Chair at Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP), said Bangabandhu delivered his shortest, greatest and unwritten speech in 18:31 minutes comprising 1,108 words. The March 7 speech has attained the position in one of the timeless speeches in the world, he added.
“His speech became very clear to foreigners too as his body language and gesture specially the use of his index forefinger was very articulate. That is why the speech has become an asset in the world,” he said.
Referring to a write-up of former professor of DU English Department Syed Manzoorul Islam, Anwar Husain said a foreign journalist took Manzoorul Islam at the Race Course to interpret Bangabandhu’s speech on March 7.
There was a space for journalists in front of the stage, and Manzoorul’s companion pulled him there, he said.
Husain said when Bangabandhu started his speech, Manzoorul quickly interpreted the first few lines but the journalist soon stopped him and said, “Let me listen to the man. If you can, try and remember what he says and translate them later.” Throughout the speech, the journalist sat straight as he listened to every word intently – as if he understood every word, as if Bangabandhu was speaking in English and not in Bangla.
When Manzoorul was explaining the key points later to the journalist, he wanted to know “So what did the Sheikh say?”
Before Manzoorul could reply, the journalist said, “Spare your labour. I know what he said.”
Then he recounted his version of the speech which Manzoorul found very close to the original. He was amazed. The journalist smiled and said “It was simply magical”.
“It was magic indeed. There are some moments in history where magic is necessary; when reality becomes so complex and the situation so extreme that without this magical moment, people cannot stand tall on their own feet,” Manzoorul’s article read.
Before the foreign journalist and Manzoorul parted ways, he asked the journalist what he thought might happen after the speech. He thought for a moment and said, “Get ready.”
DU former Vice-Chancellor Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique termed the March 7 speech as a dialogue between the people of Bangladesh and their undisputed leader on the eve of Bangladesh’s birth.
“Bangabandhu quite adeptly adopted a conversational style while delivering this speech in order to attract the audience. This fluent and extempore speech delivered in a lucid language and style was the principal document of our liberty,” he said.
Prof Arefin, also chairman of the board of directors of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), said Bangabandhu raised questions at different stages while proper application of the ‘ask question, then answer’ prescription had taken place for connecting with the audience. Logical use of the present tense refreshed the speech while Bangabandhu had also intermingled the past and future tenses quite beautifully in his speech for the sake of a conversational style, he added.