The first flag of the independent Bangladesh, which was subsequently replaced by the current version.
|Official name||Independence Day of Bangladesh|
|Celebrations||Flag hoisting, parades, award ceremonies, singing patriotic songs and the national anthem, speeches by the President and Prime Minister, entertainment and cultural programs.|
The Independence Day of Bangladesh (Bengali: স্বাধীনতা দিবস Shadhinôta Dibôs), taking place on 26 March, is a national holiday. It commemorates the country's declaration of independence from Pakistan in the early hours of 26 March 1971 by the leader of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
In the 1970 Pakistani general election under the military government of President Yahya Khan, the largest political party Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won a clear majority. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto conspired with Yahya Khan and changed their position, refusing to hand over power to Sheikh Mujib. Negotiations began but Sheikh Mujib was not trusted by the ruling Punjabi leadership let alone the Pakistan establishment, in spite of Mujib's efforts. When it became clear that promises given earlier were not going to followed through, the whole nation of Bangla-speaking Muslims and Hindus of East Pakistan began a spirited struggle for independence. On 7 March 1971 Sheikh Mujib gave his famous speech at the Ramna Race course where he called for a non-cooperation movement.
Pakistan Urdu- and Punjabi-speaking personnel rounded up Bangla-speaking 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 spilled out to the streets killing and started Operation Searchlight. It was official, they were not ready for a peaceful transfer of political power to the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The Independence of Bangladesh was declared on 26 March 1971 by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Another declaration was read out on 27 March 1971, by Major Ziaur Rahman,on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Major Zia (who was also a BDF Sector Commander of Sector 1 and later of Sector 11) raised an independent Z Force brigade., Chittagong and the guerilla struggle officially began. The people of Bangladesh then took part in a war to get independence from Pakistan. Independence of Bangladesh was gained through a nine-month guerilla war against the Pakistan Army, and their collaborators including paramilitary Razakars which resulted in the death of about 3 million people in the Bangladesh War of Independence and Bangladesh Genocide. The BDF, later with military support from India defeated the Pakistan Army ending the war on 16 December 1971 after the Surrender of Pakistan.
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 the Independence Day. Generally, a thirty-one gun salute is conducted in the morning. 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.
Google displayed a doodle commemorating the Independence Day of Bangladesh on 26 March 2017 on their bd domain. The same year celebrations were organised in Tripura, India by Bangladesh deputy high commissioner stationed there.
The Independence Day Award, which is bestowed upon Bangladesh citizens or organizations on the eve of the Independence Day, is the highest state award given by the Government of Bangladesh. This annual award, instituted in 1977, is given for substantial contribution in 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.
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