Bangabandhu’s 7 March speech hailed as ‘Magna Carta’

Ansar Ahmed Ullah
Contributing Editor,Shottobani

London: Bangladesh High Commission, London marked the historic 7 March by hosting a high-profile panel discussion titled “Contemporary Thoughts on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib’s Historic 7 March Speech: A UNESCO Documentary Heritage” at the mission’s Bangabandhu Lounge on Tuesday 7 March, where speakers observed that the speech delivered by Bangladesh’s Founding Father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 7 March 1971 is considered as the ‘Magna Carta’ of Bangladesh Independence. Furthermore, they said the 18-minute seminal speech would continue inspiring freedom-loving succeeding generations worldwide.

Paying tribute to Bangabandhu, High Commissioner for Bangladesh to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem, in her opening remarks said, “The 18-minute unwritten 7 March Speech of Bangabandhu is the Magna Carta of Bangladesh Independence.”

Noting that Bangladesh High Commission London translated the speech of the ‘Poet of Politics Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’ into Scottish, Irish and Welsh languages, the High Commissioner called upon British academia and media to initiate more research on the political significance of this UNESCO World Documentary heritage.

Irina Bokova, former Director General of UNESCO, in a special video message on the occasion, said that she was proud to be involved in announcing this historic speech as a world documentary heritage. She also said that for the first time in history, UNESCO recognised a document without a written script.

Professor Kaushik Basu, former World Bank Chief Economist and Professor of International Studies at US Cornell University, said that the 7 March Speech of Bangabandhu was the ultimate inspiration for the Bengali nation to fight for freedom and emancipation.Renowned BBC broadcaster and foreign correspondent Humphrey Hawksley, paying deep respect to Bangabandhu, said, “The 18-minute powerful speech of Sheikh Mujib at Ramna Racecourse in Dhaka on 7 March 1971 brooked no compromise in establishing democratic rights for his people.”

Quoting Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen’s Bangabandhu Birth Centenary Talk, Director of the South Asia Centre at London School of Economics Professor Alnoor Bhimani said, “Amartya Sen suggested that Bangabandhu be called “Bishwabandhu” because his ideologies were not just important for Bengal but for the entire world.” In my opinion, Bangabandhu’s values of political freedom and economic emancipation are still relevant to today’s world.”

Renowned Bangladeshi journalist and a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, Syed Badrul Ahsan, spoke on the historical aspect of the 7 March Speech and said that Pakistan Radio was supposed to broadcast the speech, but the then military ruler did not allow it, fearing its immense impact on freedom-loving people.

Secretary General and Chief Executive, UK National Commission for UNESCO James Bridge, freedom fighter Mahmud Hasan MBE and Lecturer in Media in Development and International Journalisms, SOAS Dr Somnath Batabyal also spoke on the occasion. Nooruddin Ahmed, Chair of the 7 March Foundation and Co-partner of the commemorative event, gave the welcome speech.

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