Monday, 5 June, 2023

March 23, 1971

Red-green conquered every roof

Red-green conquered every roof

Pakistan’s flag was supposed to be hoisted atop all residential and official buildings this day in 1971 as it was Pakistan Resolution Day but red-green flag with golden map of yet-to-be-independent Bangladesh was seen all around East Pakistan, except the cantonments, the President’s house and the Governor house.       Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was at the Hotel Intercontinental at the time. The flag of independent Bangladesh was also hoisted at that hotel on the day.

The flag of Bangladesh was hoisted at the consulate buildings of different countries, including the United Kingdom and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Dhaka.

Although China, Iran, Indonesia and Nepal hoisted the Pakistani flag next to their flags, they lowered it in the face of mass demand and raised the flag of independent Bangladesh later.

The little amount of hope that remained for West Pakistanis to save Pakistan had diminished on the day with that unprecedented incident.

Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam writes in her ‘Ekattorer Dinguli’, “Today is Resistance Day. Early in the morning, everyone in the house went to the roof and hoisted the new flag of independent Bangladesh on bamboo next to a black flag.”

It was a clear statement from the people of East Pakistan that they no longer want to be governed by West Pakistanis. Awami League’s Swechchhasebak Bahini members hoisted Bangladesh’s flag at Bangabandhu’s residence in the early morning.

Several processions of mass people thronged the residence of Bangabandhu to receive orders from the great leader for the next course of action.

‘Independent Bangla Central Student Action Council’ and ‘Central Workers Agitation Committee’ observed the day as ‘Protirodh Dibosh’ while National Awami Party (NAP-Bhasani) observed the day as ‘Independent East Bengal Day’.

On the instructions of Bangabandhu, a general holiday was observed on this day. When the Independent Bangla Student Action Council hoisted the national flag at Paltan Maidan, they played Rabindranath Tagore’s song Amar Sonar Bangla, Ami Tomay Bhalobashi.

The representatives of President Yahya Khan and Awami League chief Sheikh Mujibur Rahman sat in a meeting on economic issues on this day.

Bangladesh flag was displayed on every car carrying the members of the Awami League team which surely made the Pakistani junta furious.

They submitted a draft of the final proposals regarding a transfer of power to Yahya’s representatives. In response, General SGMM Peerzada promised to get back to the Awami League leaders the following day.

On March 23, General Yahya Khan was in the cantonment instead of the President’s House as he was instructing top military officials to conclude formal preparations for infamous ‘Operation Searchlight’, a massive strike against Bangalees.

While Yahya Khan was showing that the solution to the crisis lies in political negotiations, the Pakistan army was accelerating its plans to crush the mass movement through one of the most heinous pogroms of human history.

The Bangalee workers of Pakistan Television’s Dhaka center did an unprecedented job on this day. They concluded the day’s telecast 9 minutes after midnight to not play the national anthem of Pakistan and show the national flag on March 23.