"If blood is the price of independence, then Bangladesh has paid the highest price in history". Our independence didn't come easily. We had to pay, a lot for it. It cost us millions of lives, mothers and sisters losing their dignity and whatnot.
The victory on December 16 1971, meant the world for us, for Bangladesh. A country was born. A phoenix rose from the ashes.
But what did it mean to our sports or the sportsperson who were active back then? The Business Standard (TBS) searched for the answer. Some of Shadhin Bangla Football Team and Kabaddi Team spoke to us expressing their feelings of victory and what it meant to them.
"I don't have enough words to express my feelings. I still get goosebumps when I say that we liberated our country. Words won't be enough to express the happiness of achieving the independence that cost us 3 million lives and millions of my sisters' dignity. There can be no greater happiness. This is the biggest achievement of our lives. I feel proud that I could play my part in it." -Saidur Rahman Patel, Freedom Fighter, Founder of ''Shadhin Bangla Football Team"
" What I felt right at that moment can't be expressed in words. On that day (16 December 1971), we returned to Kolkata in the morning after playing from another place. We had a camp there. The city of Kolkata used to be blacked out at night because of the bombing of the Pakistan Air Force. But at 8-9 pm, people suddenly started shouting all over the city. And the lights were on. We got the news that Bangladesh has become independent. The Indians were celebrating with us. Their celebration was also worth watching. Never in my wildest dreams, I thought I would be able to return to the country." -Kazi Salahuddin, Freedom Fighter, Player, Shadhin Bangla Football Team. Now President of the Bangladesh Football Federation.
"I really can't say exactly how I was feeling. I'm having goosebumps. All the lights in West Bengal were lit and we heard 'Bangladesh is independent of now'. We started crying holding each other. We had a blackout since December 03. When we saw the last for the first time in thirteen days knowing our motherland became enemy-free, that feeling was inexpressible. You won't find proper words for this." -Biren Kumar Biru, Freedom Fighter, Goalkeeper, Shadhin Bangla Football Team
"All the lights in West Bengal were lit and we heard 'Bangladesh is independent of now'. We started crying holding each other."
"Victory meant everything for Kabaddi and its players. Kabaddi would face extinction had Pakistan won the war. They didn't like and promote this game at all. It became our national sports after we gained independence, so Kabaddi, in a way, too gained independence through the victory." -Amir Hossain Chowdhury, Player, Bangladesh Kabaddi, 1971
"Kabaddi, in a way, too gained independence through the victory"
"The emotion was completely different and difficult to express. We were in Kolkata when we heard on the radio that Pakistani Armies were about to surrender. Indian people there started celebrating with us. We were rapt on the possibility of independence. We created history, we got our own independent country. It was the best feelings ever, it still is, it always will be." -Mujibur Rahman, Player, Shadhin Bangla Football Team
"It was a proud moment for all of us. We were really happy we got our own independent country, there is no greater happiness. We would now play as an independent country, this feeling gave us immense pride." -Subimol Chandra Das, Player, Bangladesh Kabaddi, 1971.