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The Concert For Bangladesh 1971

Organized by George Harrison and Pandit Ravi Shankar.

Tina S
Tina S
Apr 20, 2010
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Politics


 

George Harrison, MBE (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English rock guitarist, singer-songwriter and film producer who achieved international fame as lead guitarist of The Beatles. Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", Harrison embraced Indian mysticism, and helped broaden the horizons of the other Beatles, as well as those of their Western audience. Following the band's breakup, he had a successful career as a solo artist and later as part of the Traveling Wilburys, and also as a film and record producer. Harrison is listed number 21 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 100 Best Guitarists of All Time"

The year 1971 is the most special year for Bangladesh. We achieved independence after a very painful war against Pakistan which resulted in loss of 3 million lives including the best scholars and intellectuals. 

India was a close ally of Soviet Union while Pakistan was the closest friend of USA in South Asia. Thus the US Government remained silent about the genocide and tried to treat it as a civil war not as a liberation war. Naturally the other US allies remained passive about this matter too. However, the Bangladesh cause received wide support from the western media, the intellectuals, political leaders and the common people. And George Harrison played a pivotal role in creating public awareness for this cause through ‘The Concert for Bangladesh’.

George Harrison was related to the Indian culture a lot.  Pandit Ravi Shankar had close relationship to Bangladesh and he informed George Harrison about the Liberation War of Bangladesh and suggested that they try to do something for the Bangladeshi people. Thus the first concert for world humanity happened.

Ravi Shamkar requested that they should try to raise $25,000 (25 Thousand) for the UNICEF fund to help the Bengali refuges who took shelter in India. After hearing the details about the loss of life and the liberation war of the common people then George Harrion stated that they must try to do something bigger than that. Thus the first concert for world humanity took place on 1 August 1971 at Madison Square Garden. Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, and Bob Dylan- these great superstars took part in this concert.

Harrison recorded the single "Bangla Desh" to raise awareness and pushed Apple Records to release Shankar's single "Joi Bangla" in a dual-pronged effort to raise funds. Shankar also asked Harrison's advice regarding a small fund-raising concert in the United States. Harrison took the idea and started calling his friends, persuading them to join him in a large concert at Madison Square Garden. The event was organised within five weeks.

Harrison first asked his fellow Beatles to appear. John Lennon agreed to take part in the concert, however Harrison stipulated that Lennon's wife Yoko Ono not perform with him. Lennon agreed, but left New York two days before the event following an argument with Ono regarding his and Harrison's agreement that she not participate.


GEORGE HARRISON LYRICS


"Bangla Desh"

My friend came to me, with sadness in his eyes

He told me that he wanted help

Before his country dies

Although I couldn't feel the pain, I knew I had to try

Now I'm asking all of you

To help us save some lives

Bangla Desh, Bangla Desh

Where so many people are dying fast

And it sure looks like a mess

I've never seen such distress

Now won't you lend your hand and understand

Relieve the people of Bangla Desh

Bangla Desh, Bangla Desh

Such a great disaster - I don't understand

But it sure looks like a mess

I've never known such distress

Now please don't turn away, I want to hear you say

Relieve the people of Bangla Desh

Relieve Bangla Desh

Bangla Desh, Bangla Desh

Now it may seem so far from where we all are

It's something we can't neglect

It's something I can't neglect

Now won't you give some bread to get the starving fed

We've got to relieve Bangla Desh

Relieve the people of Bangla Desh

We've got to relieve Bangla Desh

Relieve the people of Bangla Desh

 

The message of the lyric is simple but it bears a strong appeal for saving millions of desperate people. A closer look at the language of the lyrics shows that George Harrison only talked of the plight of the common people. He did not say a word about the Liberation War or did not try to justify the cause of the Bengalis. This makes the appeal more touching and takes away any chance of creating any controversy. Harrison’s effort to stage the first humanitarian concert was not only a unique effort but also a daring one too, because at that time the Washington Government and it allies supported Pakistan because of Cold War rivalry with Soviet Union. Many freedom fighters were encouraged for His song. We are really thankful to Him.

 

Keywords: The Concert For Bangladesh 1971,George Harrison,Joi Bangla,Pandit Ravi Shankar,Bangladesh,freedom fighters,Libaration war,Soviet union,western media,political,the quiet Beatle,UNICEF.


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Aug 24, 2012 at 10:24 AM, Friday  

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