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Artists took control over TV, Betar after Bangabandhu's March 7 speech

Syed Sohrab and Sahidul Islam Rana

DHAKA, March 18, 2016 (BSS)- Agitating artists on March 8, a day after the historic March 7 speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, took control over the state-run Television and Betar and started broadcasting various programmes inspiring mass people against the Pakistani's misrule and exploitation.

"Artists of the then East Pakistan responded to the 'Non-Cooperation Movement' as directed by Bangabandhu and started boycotting programmes of the Television and Betar since March 1 . . . And they started broadcasting special programmes for forging unity to ensure rights of Bengali people," noted cultural personality Hasan Imam told BSS today.

In an exclusive interview on March 1971, he said contributions of the artist community including actors, producers, singers, vocalists and all others associated with them had played a very significant role to unite Bengali people to fight against the Pakistani ruler and their accomplices during the nine-month War of Liberation in 1971.

Hasan Imam said people took out to the streets as soon as Yahya Khan had postponed the meeting of the National Assembly on March 1 and right then Bangabandhu called for the 'Non-Cooperation Movement' saying that he would announce the next course of action in a public meeting on March 7 at the Suhrawardy Uddyan in Dhaka.

"During that time there was no scope of airing and telecasting any recorded programme and everything was directly broadcasted. Besides, work abstention of all artists and other concerned, in line with the ongoing 'non-cooperation movement' put the Pakistani TV and Betar authorities into a serious trouble," he continued . . . "After Bangabandhu's March 7 speech, a delegation of artists including Wahidul Islam, Atiqul Islam, Golam Mostafa, Hafiz and I met Bangabandhu at his Dhanmondi residence and he (Bangabandhu) phoned the then information secretary Jahurul Haque about the ongoing deadlock in TV and Betar."

Imam said later they met information secretary at his residence as per the Bangabandhu's directive and the secretary instantly talked to the higher authority in Rawalpindi and subsequently allowed Bengali artists in discharging their duties in TV and Betar on two conditions - no news could be telecast and aired against Pakistan's integrity and Pakistan Army".

"We again informed Bangabandhu about the two conditions set by the Pakistani ruler. Bangabandhu asked us to accept their proposals and take control over the two state-run media first," he said.

After then, the aggrieved artists began broadcasting all programmes in the TV and Betar favouring the Bengali nationalism as well as the movement from March 8 imbuing new inspiration and dream for an Independent Bangladesh, the cultural veteran mentioned.

In the meantime, in a meeting of all TV officials and producers on March 8, two committees were formed with Mostfa Monwar as the convener of Betar and Ashrafiuzzaman as the convener of Television to oversee the whole matter including news and cultural programmes.

Replying to a query, he told BSS that no artist took remuneration during that time as they had done everything for the holy soil of the country and its people who were being deprived of getting their legitimate rights since British rule.

All those efforts were made only to get a red-green flag in the global map under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Hasan Imam said.