What it felt like to be there on March 7, 1971
My father, the late Barrister Kazi Zahurul Alam, was one of the lawyers defending Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during the Agartala Conspiracy Case.
He was also very involved in the mass movement to remove the dictator Ayub Khan and the hated governor of erstwhile East Pakistan, Abdul Monem Khan.
Those were heady days. Even as a 10-year-old, I remember the excitement and tensions of that time. My father once took me to a hearing of the Agartala Conspiracy Case at cantonment.
I have some slight memory of that day. During the mass movement, the country was under almost constant curfew.
When my dad’s close friend Dr Shamsuzzoha was martyred at Rajshahi University, despite all the difficulties, he managed to go to Rajshahi to pay his respects.
I now come back to my original purpose: Bangabandhu’s famous speech of March 7. I was honoured to have been present at that historic moment.
At the time, we were living on the Dhaka University campus nearby. That afternoon, my father, along with a few of his friends, headed towards the race course.
There were thousands of people; the mood was jubilant, almost festive. There was an air of rebellion, optimism, and purpose.
We could hear Bangabandhu’s charismatic voice on the loudspeaker. Despite the thousands present, the crowd was organized without even a hint of chaos.
Many prominent persons of the time were present, and my father was constantly stopped to exchange political views. Given his reputation as a rather junior lawyer, I was quite surprised to see the respect he had.
Overall, in my young mind, the most impressive memory I have is of Bangabandhu’s charisma and his almost hypnotic command over the people present.
Everyone was hungry to hear his words, his instructions, for the coming days. I consider myself lucky to have been present at the most important day perhaps in the history of our nation.
Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu.
Arif Alam is a contributor to the Dhaka Tribune.
Dhaka Tribune | Link Dated: March 6th, 2020