How Bangabandhu prepared the nation for armed revolt throughout March
The seed Bangabandhu sow in historic six-point demand in 1966 got fulfilled with the 1970 general elections. Awami League gained a landslide majority bagging 167 seats out of 313 in the national cabinet of Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman became the supreme leader of united Pakistan.
But Pakistani military junta and defeated politicians did not handover the power to the Bengali majority, rather they started making excuses from the very beginning of 1971. Even the autocratic General Yaha cancelled the national cabinet assembly, supposed to be held on March 3. This made the Bengali people furious immediately after the announcement on March 1.
Bangabandhu called upon the nation for a peaceful non-cooperation movement against the Pakistani force. But military junta shot hundreds of people dead on the streets during the movement. Then Bangabandhu took to hard lines.
In line with Bangabandhu’s instruction, people enforced the general strike on March 2 and 3. Student leaders hoisted the flag of the new independent Bangla on the Dhaka University campus on March 2. Bangabandhu held a mass rally in Paltan on March 3 where the manifesto of independence was readout. The manifesto stipulated matters regarding the national flag, national anthem, geographical boundary of Bangladesh, basic principles of the state and overall outline of the state.
The strike and protests continued till March 6 and many of the freedom seekers died in the bullets of the Pakistani forces in different major cities.
Bangabandhu delivered his final directives about independence in the historic March 7 speech at the rally at Suhrawardy Udyan. He asked people to shut down all offices, courts, educational institutions for an indefinite period, which made Pakistan’s rule ineffective. Volunteer groups from Awami League marched throughout the cities to avoid any chaos.
Seeing the situation going out of control, Pakistani autocratic ruler Yaha Khan announced his Dhaka visit on March 9. And the remarks of Bangabandhu, in an interview, was: “... We are not willing to compromise.”
On March 13, the Sangram Committee was formed in every locality of the country, leading to uncertainty of the Pakistani administration.
Bangabandhu, in a statement on March 14, said: “We will continue our revolt until we achieve freedom. The spirit of freeing Bangladesh cannot be put off.”
Pakistani autocratic ruler Yaha Khan arrived in Dhaka on March 15. Talks, in name of wasting time and reinforcing their military forces and arms, started on the following day on March 16. When things were getting visible, Bangabandhu asked people to observe ‘Revolt Day’ on Pakistan’s national day on March 23. He also hoisted the flag of independent Bangla on that day on his Dhanmondi residence. The mass boycotting of Pakistani products also started across the country.
Soon after news that Yaha Khan left Dhaka in a white dress on March 25, Bangabandhu started receiving independence messages from party leaders and activists from all over the country. Pakistani forces began their brutality, mass killings and genocide over the peaceful Bengali people on the dark night. Bangabandhu declared the country’s independence in the wee hours of March 26.
The Times, The Guardian, the Financial Times, The Telegraph among other international newspapers on March 27 published the news of the declaration of independence. Following the declaration of the Supreme Leader, people from all walks of lives joined the Liberation War. Bangabandhu is the greatest person in Bengal history who made the two thousand-year-long dream come true.