Bangladesh: The immortal slogan of “Joy Bangla”

The imprecise nature of political slogans is a virtue. Actual political programmes do not derive from words alone but from the balance of class forces that exist at a particular point in time.


by Anwar A. Khan

( August 13, 2017, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) Remarkable political movements always employ slogans that encapsulate in a few powerful words the aspirations of those fighting for a new world. French revolutionaries fought under the banner, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” words that still resonate with radicals. The first words of the U.S. Constitution—“We the People”—have quickened the hearts of generations of populist activists. Emiliano Zapata’s soldiers longed for “Tierray Libertad,” and the peasant armies of Mao Tse Tung went to war for “Land to the Tiller.” “Joy Bangla” is such a slogan having great power, force, potency or effect and also most patriotic slogan for the people of Bangladesh. Every slogan has a context, circumstances that give rise to the words and make them effective. For example, when the Chinese communists were waging their long struggle against the army of Chiang Kai-shek, they relied upon mass support from peasants, who formed the base of the Red Army. By pronouncing the slogan of “Joy Bangla”, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman echoed and reverberated millions of voices at the speed of light from one end of the country to another to liberate Bangladesh from the brutal hands of Pakistan military junta and its local hellish accomplices.

The imprecise nature of political slogans is a virtue. Actual political programmes do not derive from words alone but from the balance of class forces that exist at a particular point in time. What slogans do is clarify the most basic political cleavages; and they help people develop the mindset most suited to active participation in whatever struggles are at hand. “Joy Bangla” slogan has its glorified context. Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971 was valiantly fought against the blood thirsty Pakistan’s Army and their mango-twigs in the name of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and enunciating “Joy Bangla” slogan. Words change meanings. In our daily life, we listen and say many things to justify our conversation – some words stay out in our mind, many go away with time. With human psychology, nobody can remember everything but when we say “Joy Bangla” our mind may immediately pick up that we are talking about Bangladesh. Although slogans work slowly, but this slogan is electrifying and its mighty power is ever lasting.

The political slogan gives a good feeling to the people. Creating a prominent identity is what every political party desires and so getting an extra identity is surely a bonus. Slogan is sewed with our political name and is used everywhere along with it … so it technically works as a shadow for a political party’s name. “Joy Bangla” slogan, undoubtedly is the most powerful slogan which united the whole nation of Bangladesh into a solitary political platform to fight and achieve our own country, Bangladesh. A political party name cannot stand alone as compressed communication to speak for its people. Thus political slogans have a key role in communicating the essence of a political party. Slogan is appealing as well as elaborate as compared to the one word noun. A phrase with a meaning is apparently easier for people to relate to and remember; thus the impact of this noun is accentuated with its shadow i.e. slogan. And “Joy Bangla” slogan is standing on this glorious spirit.
A slogan actually works as a DNA for any political party. A truly successful slogan, if it is to continue to stay successful, is not just a benefit but a commitment – it is what the political party stands for! This DNA for the political party does not only attract the people but also helps in garnering the necessary support from the people. “Joy Bangla” slogan is much more than that. Many times a slogan is actually a précis of a political organisation and is designed to mirror the commitment and loyalty of its people. Moreover, slogans can also work as bridge between the political party and the people to build and strengthen the relationship. Since it gives meaning to the name, it can create feelings and attract people towards it. Thus, a person can relate and eventually be inclined towards the slogan resulting in increase of supporters. “Joy Bangla” slogan’s support base was huge and it will remain huge in future.


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Slogans are usually based on a short sentence easy to remember words, long lines are hard to memorise so the shorter the better! The message they leave and what picture they sketch in our minds when someone reads, hears or simply sees a slogan is crucial. Since the political name cannot specify the essence of its goal, it has to make something memorable that represents the party and the country itself. We should keep an eye on the sound it produces and the nerves it touches when it strikes the people’s mind. “Joy Bangla” slogan truly touches our nerves to fight the evil forces. Slogan also works best to display the real perspective for any political party, this way it can attract the larger audience easily and can also connect with them emotionally. For more than 100 years, political parties have used slogans in their political movements. All political parties have used catchy phrases to tell their people what makes their political philosophy or service special or different. When done well, a slogan can become the centre-piece of a political party’s identity. “Joy Bangla” slogan is not only the centerpiece of Bangladesh Awami League but also the centerpiece of the country, Bangladesh.

Political parties use slogans because it is an easy and quick way to grab the attention of the public by using simple and catchy phrases and “Joy Bangla” slogan is such a simple and catchy phrase but its power is strong-boned and strong-willed for emancipation of the people of Bangladesh. A very productive route for a political party to go down is a reliable slogan and “Joy Bangla” is such a reliable political slogan. The very slogan is believed to have that a phrase with meaning strikes more of a chord with the people and the country than just the political party name alone because the slogan is a deserving of esteem and respect; not only it gives the people a commitment but tells them what the party stands for deserving of esteem and respect of the same breath.

“Joy Bangla” slogan has been exerting great power over the people of Bangladesh since long because it can give meaning to the name so it needs to apply to their everyday lives and should connect emotionally with them. The Sheikh’s electrifying voice on Mar 7, 1971 will remain alive all the time in our life, When he roared: “My brothers, today I appear before you with a heavy heart…The audience at the-then Race Course Ground (now Suhrawardy Uddan) hung on to every word of his 19-minute-long speech amid pin-drop silence 46 years ago. The crowd repeated after him when he was seen saying: “He didn’t agree with me, rather he (President Yahya Khan) yielded to Mr. Bhutto’s demand.” And people assembled there erupted in an echo when he was heard uttering those immortal lines: “…The struggle this time is our struggle for emancipation, the struggle this time is the struggle for our independence.” The crowd endorsed in unison as the deep resolute voice of Bangabandhu was heard saying : “You can’t keep seven crore Bengalis subjugated. Now that we have learnt to court death, no one can dominate us.” People there present resonated with the cry of “Joy Bangla” as the speech concluded with that immortal slogan.

According to Valerie Ann Taylor: “Joy Bangla’ slogan worked miracle” Joy Bangla” is not only the slogan of the Awami League, it is the slogan of our Liberation War, it is the slogan of Bangladesh. A slogan is a tag-line or phrase that creates to visually express the importance and benefits of a great speech. By and large, it’s a theme to a struggle that usually have a genuine role in people’s lives. It has the ability to loan people’s time and attention by putting people at the heart of the solution. Fact is, it is so crucial for a great armed uprising to fight and defeat the Pakistani occupation forces in 1971 to establish Bangladesh.

Every day we see millions of messages and catchphrase everywhere from print media to online advertisements. True, there are some slogans that we know by heart but a millions of them have come and gone that we hardly ever noticed. What is it about a political slogan that catapults it into fame? Here is a solitary one: “Joy Bangla”. It is simple, catchy, short and easy to remember and it perfectly defines Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his political party. It makes the persons to feel the taste and remind them of the slogan, “Joy Bangla.” It also highlights our pre-independence exploitation, oppression and persecution by the Pakistani rulers and various facets of the Bengali struggle.

Aside from having outstanding political recall, the slogan of Joy Bangla, the “V” factor that makes us look twice, think thrice and delight the imagination of success. According to Charles Whittier: “A political slogan should be a statement of such merit about a political service that is worthy of continuous repetitive pronouncement; it is worthwhile for the general public to remember; and is phrased in such a way that the general public is likely to remember it.” “Joy Bangla” is an all time memorable political slogan. A goodeniaceae slogan must stay consistent. Reveal the real purposes and benefits of the common benefits. Using proven words and short keywords Bangabandhu pronounced: “Joy Bangla” and the whole country became tumultuous. Bangabandhu also received a tumultuous welcome from the people of all walks of life.

It is very indignant that after 1975 to till 1990, people, especially the young, used to feel shy in voicing the ‘Joy Bangla’ slogan because they were taught that they shouldn’t utter it by the shenanigan politicians like Gen. Zia, Gen Ershad and a voyeur politician like Begum Zia. What is the meaning of the two words of that distinguished slogan? …. The meaning is victory of the Bengladesh. Joy Bangla’— the slogan of the 1971 liberation war— is raised by Awami League and its affiliate organizations and all people of Bangladesh during our glorious Liberation War in 1971. But the Joy Bangla slogan is not only the slogan of Awami League…it is the slogan of our independence…it is the slogan of Bangladesh…The future generation must utter the slogan louder shedding the shame.

Because the most popular and memorable Bengali slogan is “Joy Bangla” or “Hail Bangladesh.” Now the slogan is on everybody’s lips. Joy means victory. So Joy Bangla means victory for Bangladesh. This was the war cry used by the Freedom Fighters during our Liberation War in 1971. The country is moving forward and the youth will make the country forward further through their hard-work and merit. And this will be the future Joy Bangla. We must work hard for full revival of the spirit of Liberation War; and we all need to work together so that the future generation chants the ‘Joy Bangla’ slogan in a louder voice. For, the reasons that the underlying spirit of Bangabandhu’s unique political activities were embodied in the slogan of Joy Bangla. The basic spirit has not changed since the country’s founding and will never be changed. The large crowd gathered to hear the historic speech of Bangabandhu was at its enthusiastic best, shouting ‘Joy Bangla’ slogan and beating drums by dozens. People there then were moved.

Since the advent of Joy Bangla Slogan, it fought the front-line battle to penetrate our minds, and win our hearts. This Slogan-bite exercises a profound influence on our language, people, and culture? In a word, yes! Joy Bangla moves the country-Bangladesh and the world as well. Correct politics is the life of a political party. It expresses itself through political strategy and tactics. Strategy and tactics are raised to people through slogans and on that basis; people are united and directed to struggle. So, it is long-term. Bangabandhu’s politics was correct and long-term fundament. First, by putting forward basic political slogans that accord with the course of historic development and by putting forward slogans of action for each stage of development and each major turn of events in order to translate these political slogans into reality. So, in order to lead the whole masses of Bangladesh society, politics led by Bangabandhu had to make political strategy and tactics corresponding to the historic development of Bangladesh on the one hand, and strategic and tactical slogans as reflection of respective strategy and tactics on the other.

This slogan is correct with Bangabandhu’s stance for creating Bangladesh. Among the two aspect of people’s democratic revolution – national revolution and democratic revolution – the principal aspect is national one because Bangladesh was a Pakistan’s colony, the whole nation was oppressed under colonial exploitation and rule and we want its end under Bangabandhu’s great leadership. The solution of this national revolution was to establish independent and sovereign Bangladesh and this was possible through national liberation war in 1971 at the clarion call of Bangabandhu and his thunderous “Joy Bangla” slogan. Bangabandhu’s strategy was to resolve national contradiction, to establish independent and sovereign Bangladesh by overthrowing Pakistan’s colonial ruling regime. While chanting this slogan, general people of Bangladesh sought oppressed and suppressed people’s victory over exploiters and dream of freedom and democracy in 1971.

So, raising the slogan “Joy Bangla” is truly patriotic; it means Bangladesh. This matches with the social development of Bangladesh. Clearly it expresses Bangladesh people’s national spirit, patriotism and victory. This is why this slogan ends any type of hesitation. This is the solution of the question of national liberation of Bangladesh and solution of any national contradiction. It matches with our politics. So, this is correct. It is definitely Sheikh Mujib, the most prominent figure in Bangladesh’s history, if you talk about Bangladesh and the “Joy Bangla” slogan. “This slogan epitomises the aspirations of Bengali people over many years. Right after Bangabandhu’s six point demand, another slogan became popular: “Tomar amar thikana, Padma, Meghna, Jamuna.” (The land that is criss-crossed by these rivers is ours.) This is also the reflection of the communal harmony that has always been the cardinal principle of Bengali culture.” “For the first time in 1971, the aspirations of people of all religions and social classes found a common platform,” Shamsuzzaman Khan points out.

Two simple words can inspire a generation, unite a community, and change a nation. Two simple words can conjure up images of a multitude of movements. Two simple words can transcend cultural differences. These two simple words provided inspiration for the Bangladesh liberation movement, helped establish Bangladesh. These two simple words are: “JOY BANGLA!” This great slogan was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. Yes we could set up our own country. This slogan resonates positively within our community. A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a political, commercial, religious, and other context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose. “Joy Bangla” is such a memorable and adorable political slogan.

A slogan can be used for a powerful cause where the impact of the message is essential to the cause. The slogan can be used to raise awareness about a current cause; one way is to do so is by showing the truth that the cause is supporting. A slogan should be clear with a supporting message. Slogans, when combined with action, can provide an influential foundation for a cause to be seen by its intended audience. Slogans, whether used for advertising purpose or social causes, deliver a message to the public that shapes the audiences’ opinion towards the subject of the slogan. The most memorable slogans are concise and to the point. Impossible is Nothing. Possible is Success. William Safire once wrote, “Good slogans have rhyme, rhythm or alliteration to make them memorable.” This gold standard of slogan has all four.

It was a quick and monumental about-face. The Sheikh’s slogan emphasised his reasoned demeanor and deliberate decision-making process. There are three simple communications devices that every campaign needs: a message, issues that support the message, and an effective political campaign slogan. Memorable slogans often use short “phrase bursts,” a staccato style that breaks up a longer sentence into easily-recalled phrases. “Joy Bangla” sounds with resonance of the same category.

Our tactical line should be to destroy the anti-national, anti- independence and anti-liberation forces from this sacred soil of Bangladesh as the end result. Long Live Joy Bangla. A diamond is forever. The power of dreams is for a limitless time. The taste of a new generation will grow up for “Joy Bangla” slogan. His master’s voice will remain eternal. We repeat to rebel is justified. Smash the obnoxious nexus of anti-liberation forces from this country once and for all crying out in a very louder tone “Joy Bangla.” Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the “Joy Bangla” slogan are synonymous. In point of fact, the spirit of “Joy Bangla” slogan will remain immortal in the history of Bangladesh.

-The End-

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

Sri Lanka Guardian has been providing breaking news & views for the progressive community since 2007. We are independent and non-profit.

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