Independence Day (Bangladesh)

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Independence Day
The first flag of Bangladesh
The first flag of the independent Bangladesh, which was subsequently replaced by the current version.
Official nameIndependence Day of Bangladesh
Observed byBangladesh
TypeNational holiday
CelebrationsFlag hoisting, parades, award ceremonies, singing patriotic songs and the national anthem, speeches by the President and the Prime Minister, entertainment and cultural programs.
Date26 March
Next time26 March 2025 (2025-03-26)
Independence Monument at Ramna, Dhaka

The Independence Day of Bangladesh (Bengali: স্বাধীনতা দিবস Shadhinôta Dibôsh) is celebrated on 26 March as a national holiday in Bangladesh. It commemorates the country's declaration of independence from Pakistan in the early hours of March 26, 1971.

History of 26 March[edit]

In the 1970 Pakistani general election, under the military government of President Yahya Khan, the largest political party Awami League, led by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a clear majority in East Pakistan national seats as well as provincial assembly. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto conspired with Yahya Khan and changed their position, refusing to hand over power to Sheikh Mujib.[1] Negotiations began between the two sides, however the ruling West Pakistani leadership did not trust Sheikh Mujib, due to instances such as the Agartala conspiracy case. When it became evident that the promises made by the West Pakistan government were not going to be kept, many East Pakistani Bangla-speaking Muslims and Hindus began a spirited struggle for independence. On 7 March 1971 Sheikh Mujib gave his famous speech at the Ramna Racecourse, in which he called for a non-cooperation movement.[2]

Authorities, mostly West Pakistani personnel, rounded up Bengali armed forces officers, NCOs, and enlisted personnel. Forced disappearances went rampant. On the evening of 25 March, in an interview with David Frost, Sheikh Mujib still called out openly for negotiation and a united Pakistan. That night the Pakistan Army began Operation Searchlight,[3] conclusively signalling West Pakistan was not ready for a transfer of political power to the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[4]

The Independence of Bangladesh was declared on 26 March 1971 at the first watch by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman .[5][6][7] Another declaration was read out on 27 March 1971, by Major Ziaur Rahman, on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[8] Major Zia (who was also a BDF Sector Commander of Sector 1 and later of Sector 11) raised an independent Z Force brigade,[9] Chittagong and the guerilla struggle officially began.[2] The people of Bangladesh then took part in a nine-month guerilla war against the Pakistan Army and their collaborators, including paramilitary Razakars. This resulted in the death of about 3 million Bangladeshi, as per Awami league and Indian sources, in the Bangladesh War of Independence and Bangladesh Genocide.[10] The BDF, later with military support from India, defeated the Pakistan Army on 16 December 1971, leading to the end of the war and the Surrender of Pakistan.[11]


National parliament building in Dhaka illuminated during celebration

Independence Day is commonly associated with parades, political speeches, fairs, concerts, ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history and traditions of Bangladesh. TV and radio stations broadcast special programs and patriotic songs in honor of Independence Day. A thirty-one gun salute may be conducted in the morning.[12] The main streets are decorated with national flags. Different political parties and socioeconomic organizations undertake programs to mark the day in a befitting manner, including paying respects at National Martyrs' Memorial at Savar near Dhaka.[12]

Google displayed a doodle commemorating the Independence Day of Bangladesh on 26 March 2017 on their bd domain.[13] The same year celebrations were organised in Tripura, India, by Bangladesh deputy high commissioner stationed there.[14]

2021 marked the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan.[15]

Independence Award[edit]

The Independence Day Award, which is bestowed upon Bangladeshi citizens or organizations on the eve of the Independence Day, is awarded by the government of Bangladesh.[16][17] This annual award, instituted in 1977, is given for substantial contribution in the Independence War, the Language Movement, education, literature, journalism, public service, science-technology, medical science, social science, music, games and sports, fine arts, rural development, and other fields.[18]

In 2016, a total of 15 renowned personalities were honored with the independence award, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to their respective fields.[19] Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over the awards at a program held at the capital's Osmani Memorial Auditorium. The awardees are- the then Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, former Jute and Textiles Minister M Imazuddin Pramanik, late Moulvi Asmat Ali Khan, Squadron Leader (retd) Badrul Alam, former police super Shaheed Shah Abdul Mazid, M Abdul Ali, AKM Abdur Rouf, KM Shihab Uddin, Syed Hasan Imam, late Rafiqul Islam, Abdus Salam, late Prof Dr Maksudul Alam, Dr Mohammad Rafi Khan, Poet Nirmalendu Goon, Rezwana Chowdhury Banya.

Ten renowned personalities and an organization were awarded the Independence Award-2020.[20] They were: Golam Dastagir Gazi MP, Commander Abdur Rouf (posthumous), Md Anwar Pasha (posthumous), Azizur Rahman, Prof Dr Md Obaidul Kabir Chowdhury, Prof Dr AKMA Muqtadir, SM Raij Uddin Ahmed, Kalipada Das, Ferdousi Mazumder, and Bharateswari Homes.

On the other hand, the government awarded nine individuals and one institution for Independence Award-2021. AKM Bazlur Rahman, Shaheed Ahsanullah Master, Brig Gen (retd) Khurshid Uddin Ahmed, and Akhtaruzzaman Chowdhury Babu were the recipients then, while other awardees include Dr Mrinmoy Guha Neogi, Mohadev Saha, Ataur Rahman, Gazi Mazharul Anwar, and Dr M Amjad Hossain.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bangladesh Awami League". Banglapedia. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Declaration of Independence". Banglapedia. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  3. ^ "The emergence of Bangladesh". The Daily Star. 21 March 2017. Archived from the original on 17 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Operation Searchlight". Banglapedia. Archived from the original on 5 October 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Bangabandhu Shadhinota Ghoshonar Telegraphic Barta". BDNews24. Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  6. ^ সংযোজনস্বাধীনতার ঘোষণা: বেলাল মোহাম্মদের সাক্ষাৎকার. Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 October 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "March 27, 1971: Zia makes radio announcement on independence". The Daily Star. 27 March 2018. Archived from the original on 27 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Radio Interview". YouTube. Archived from the original on 3 June 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Bangladesh remembers martyrs on 46th Independence Day". Canindia News. Archived from the original on 16 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  11. ^ Ziauddin Choudhury (16 December 2007). "Remembering December 16, 1971". The Daily Star. Archived from the original on 15 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Bangladesh Air Force, 15 individuals win Independence Award 2017". Archived from the original on 16 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Google Doodle celebrates Bangladesh's Independence Day". Dhaka Tribune. 26 March 2017. Archived from the original on 17 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Bangladesh's Independence Day observed in Tripura". The Daily Star. 1 April 2017. Archived from the original on 16 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Bangladesh set to celebrate Independence Day Friday UNB". Dhaka Tribune. 25 March 2021. Archived from the original on 25 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  16. ^ "Bangladesh Air Force, 15 individuals win Independence Award 2017". Archived from the original on 16 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Air Force, 15 personalities get Independence Award". Dhaka Tribune. 23 March 2017. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  18. ^ "National Awards". Banglapedia. Archived from the original on 24 December 2021. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  19. ^ UNB, Dhaka (24 March 2016). "15 personalities, Navy receive Independence Award". The Daily Star. Archived from the original on 10 March 2022. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  20. ^ "10 named for Independence Award". Dhaka Tribune. 20 February 2020. Archived from the original on 10 March 2022. Retrieved 28 April 2022.