Freedom is the birth-right of man. But freedom does not come down on a nation. A nation must rise itself to achieve it. Bangladesh experienced about 190 years of long British colonial rule that ended up in 1947 with the partition of Indian subcontinent and birth of two independent states viz. India and Pakistan, Bangladesh became a province of Pakistan named East Pakistan. However, the deprivation and exploitation of the Pakistani rulers created grievances and resentment among the people of East Pakistan. They rose again and revolted against the Pakistan oppressors. This time they rose for complete break up with Pakistan and voiced for an independent nation. The result is a nine month-long armed struggle against Pakistani occupation forces that culminated in the birth of Bangladesh as a free and sovereign nation in the world.
Our liberation is our glorious achievement: The most glorious and the greatest achievement for Bangladesh in the last century has been its birth as an independent nation. Bangladesh won a flag, an identity and occupied a place in the world’s map. Bangladesh became a free and independent nation and stood upright and with dignity and honor among the nations of the world. But Bangladesh had to pay heavy price for its independence. About three millions of lives have been sacrificed in the war of liberation. Many heroic sons of this soil fought bravely and achieved martyrdom to liberate their country. The country’s infrastructure, communication industry and assets were destroyed in the war.
Background of liberation war of Bangladesh: The main reason for which the nation fought for liberation against Pakistan was the audacity and denial of the Pakistani rulers to recognize the electoral triumph of the Awami League under the leadership of Shekih Majibur Rahaman in 1970. As a result the Bengalis stood up and demanded independence.
Causes of liberation war of Bangladesh: The causes of our liberation war are rooted in the social discrimination, political deprivation and economic exploitation. The people of this region had long been exploited by the Pakistani authorities like the colonial period. The Bengalis were treated like second class citizen in their own country. They were discriminated in govt. services, in business and in getting govt. right and privileges. These created anger and resentment among the Bengalis.
Political manipulation and economic exploitation were other two important reasons of liberation war. Development programmes were mainly taken up for the West Pakistan and mills and factories and infrastructural development were done there for which East Pakistan provided its earning from export. Moreover, when Pakistani authorities denied handing over power to the elected Bengalis leadership, it became obvious that it was not possible then to co-exist as two provinces and it was time for liberation. These social and cultural, economic and political factors end to our liberation war.
Declaration of war: On 7th March 1971, Shekih Majibur Rahaman while addressing a huge crowd in the historic race course ground declared that the struggle of this time is struggle for freedom, the struggle of this time is struggle for independence. On 26th March, Major Ziaur Rahman an officer in the Pakistan army declared the independence of Bangladesh on behalf of Shekih Majibur Rahaman from Kalurghat Radio Centre. From then, the students, farmers, laborers, all and sundry joined the liberation war and after taking guarilla training, fought with the Pakistan occupation forces. Colonel M.A.G. Osmani was made the Chief Commander of liberation forces and the country was divided into eleven sectors under eleven army officers to conduct the war.
The ultimate victory: The liberation forces comprised former EPR members, army personnel’s, police and freedom fighters. India provided guarilla training and other support to the freedom fighters. After nine months bloody struggle, the Pakistani army surrendered to the Allied forces at Race Course ground on 16th December 1971 (Victory Day). Thus a new and free nation was born in the world map.
Finally, thus after a sea of blood and lots of sacrifices we achieved our liberation from Pakistan. Today we are proud as an independent and sovereign nation. Our liberation war has gone down to history. Our liberation war is our living memory, our greatest achievement and our pride.