Proclamation of Bangladeshi Independence

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The declaration of Bangladesh's independence was proclaimed on 26 March 1971 during the beginning of the Bangladesh Liberation War, as the Pakistan Army launched military operations against the people of East Pakistan. The declaration was issued by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on midnight 26 March, prior to his arrest by the Pakistan Army.[1] Mujib's proclamation was relayed to Bengali nationalist forces in Chittagong via wireless telegrams.[2] Between 26 and 27 March, Awami League leader M A Hannan and Major Ziaur Rahman, the commander of the defecting East Bengal Regiment of the Pakistan Army, broadcast the declaration on the Free Bengal Radio Station in Chittagong. Zia's double-announcements, on behalf of Mujib, were transmitted by foreign ships in Chittagong Port to international media outlets around the world, as news of Bangladesh's independence spread across the globe.[3][4][5]

Text of declaration[edit]

Declaration of Independence message drafted by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman:[2][6]

Today Bangladesh is a sovereign and independent country. On Thursday night, West Pakistani armed forces suddenly attacked the police barracks at Razarbagh and the EPR headquarters at Pilkhana in Dhaka. Many innocent and unarmed have been killed in Dhaka city and other places of Bangladesh. Violent clashes between E.P.R. and Police on the one hand and the armed forces of Pakistan on the other, are going on. The Bengalis are fighting the enemy with great courage for an independent Bangladesh. May Allah aid us in our fight for freedom. Joy Bangla![6]

Spread of the declaration[edit]

A telegram containing the text of Sheikh Mujib's message reached the Mukti Bahini in Chittagong. The message was translated to Bengali by Dr. Manjula Anwar. The students failed to secure permission from higher authorities to broadcast the message from the nearby Agrabad Station of Radio Pakistan. They crossed Kalurghat Bridge into an area controlled by an East Bengal Regiment under Major Ziaur Rahman. Bengali soldiers guarded the station as engineers prepared for transmission.• M.A. Hannan, a local Awami League Leader and Abul Kashem Sandeep, Vice President of Fatiksori College declared independence of Bangladesh on behalf of Sheikh Mujib respectively at 2 PM and 7:30 PM on March 26.[7] At 7:45 PM on 27 March 1971,[8][page needed][9][10] Major Ziaur Rahman broadcast announcement of the declaration of independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

This is the Free Bengal Radio Station. I, Major Ziaur Rahman, on behalf of our great leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, do hereby declare that the independent People's Republic of Bangladesh has been established. At his direction , In the name of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, I call upon all Bengalees to rise up against the attack of the West Pakistani Army. We shall fight to the last to free our motherland. Victory is, by the Grace of Allah, ours. Joy Bangla! [11][page needed]

The Kalurghat Radio Station's transmission capability was limited, but the message was picked up by a Japanese ship anchored in Chittagong port. It was then re-transmitted by Radio Australia[12][page needed] and later by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Ziaur Rahman in an interview later with German Radio talked about his March 27 announcement (Radio interview).

M.A. Hannan, an Awami League leader in Chittagong, also made a radio announcement of Mujib's declaration on 26 March 1971.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Sen Gupta, Jyoti (1974). History of Freedom Movement in Bangladesh, 1943-1973: Some Involvement. ASIN B0006CINE2. 
  • Matinuddin, Lt. Gen.Kamal (1994). Tragedy of Errors: East Pakistan Crisis, 1968-1971. ISBN 969-803-119-7. 
  • Muqeem Khan, Maj. Gen. Fazal (1973). Pakistan's Crisis in Leadership. ASIN B0000CQRNP. 
  • Salik, Brigadier Siddiq (1977). Witness to Surrender. ISBN 0-19-577257-1. 
  • Singh, Maj. Gen. Sukhwant (1980). India's Wars Since Independence: The liberation of Bangladesh. ISBN 070-691-057-5. 
  • Safiullah, Maj. Gen. K.M (1989). Bangladesh at War. Academic Publishers. ISBN 984-401-322-4. 
  • Ali Khan, Maj. Gen Rao Farman (1992). How Pakistan Got Divided. Jang Publishers. OCLC 28547552. 
  • Qureshi, Maj. Gen. Hakeem Arshad (2003). The Indo Pak War of 1971: A Soldiers Narrative. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-579778-7. 
  • Alam Khan, Brigadier Zahir (1998). The Way it Was. Dynavis Pvt.Ltd. ISBN 978-818-158-094-8.