by Shoeb Chowdhury,
We all are familiar with the following verses “As long as the Padma, Meghna, Gouri, Jamuna flow, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, your accomplishments will live on”. The stature and imperishable glory of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman can be realized from this poem of Annada Shankar Roy. Bangabandhu is our source of inspiration. The greatest ever tragedy in Bangladesh’s history hit the country when Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated with most of his family members on 15 August 1975.
The life and work of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman exemplify the very best leadership qualities that human beings can exhibit – qualities that we as a society wish to see in our leading citizens. In him, we find perfect examples of patriotism, humanity, respect for political as well as academic mentors, deft leadership skills, tireless efforts, moral strength, ethical values, initiatives for regional peace, the art of oratory, admirable personality, integrity, honesty and fearlessness, all of which made him the greatest Bengali of a thousand years. Bangabandhu gave the clarion call on 7 March 1971 “The struggle this time is for freedom. The struggle this time is for independence.”
We will be ruined in all terms if we fail to comply with the morality and ethical dictums Bangabandhu taught us. We will have to follow Bangabandhu’s ideals under all circumstances to keep our heads high. We should not allow conspirators and maligners to misguide us derailing us from the pathway of Bangabandhu’s ideology. It hurts us when we see people not believing in Bangabandhu’s visions holding high posts and causing damage to the government in a clandestine way.
India, Soviet Union and some other countries widely cooperated with us during the Liberation War of 1971. On the other hand, China opposed the Liberation War. China recognized Bangladesh after the death of Bangabandhu. China still does not show any regret over the role it played during 1971. There are war cemeteries in our country for the soldiers who got killed during World War II which attract visitors and tourists but it is painful that there is no eye-catching and remarkable cemetery for the Indian soldiers who gave away their lives while fighting for Bangladesh’s independence. There is an ominous communal sentiment in our country which provokes people to turn against India.
The Nixon government of the United States opposed us during 1971 but the American people supported Bangladesh profoundly at that time. We still remember the Concert for Bangladesh which was held on 1st August 1971 in New York in which celebrated singers and musicians like George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar, Eric Clapton and some other performers participated. We remember the role played by the Kennedy family too.
A grand reception was accorded to Bangabandhu when he reached Kolkata on his first tour there after Bangladesh’s independence. Millions of people gathered at the Brigade Parade Ground on the occasion. Bangabandhu expressed his gratitude to the Indian government and Indian people for their help during the Liberation War of 1971. He said, “I have nothing to give you except my whole-hearted love.”
We are very close to the 50th year of our independence. A global disaster called Covid-19 has hit us hard. We will have to save our economy from the adverse effects of this pandemic. We need to be courageous, efficient and ethically strong to fight this cataclysm.
At the same time, we need to be careful about the tricks of the anti-independence groups who work stealthily to jeopardize Bangladesh’s socio-political advancement and to stain the government’s image. We know about the financial turmoil and banking scams which have hit news headlines over and over again. We are also alarmed at the rise of religious bigots who have emerged through some fundamentalist organizations. Terror finance is going on to fuel radical activists to launch attacks on different spots. We can refer to the assaults by militants on Holey Artisan Café, Hotel Taj in India, attack on churches in Sri Lanka and many more instances. Allegations show that controversial preacher Dr. Zakir Naik provoked youngsters to carry out attacks on innocent people. Bangladesh government will have to stay alert all the time to baffle all conspiracies.
Bangabandhu also knew that freedom of speech is an indispensable part of democracy. Bangabandhu was an adherent of the western form of democracy. At the same time, he believed in struggling for the betterment of downtrodden people. The establishment of independent Bangladesh free of poverty and hunger was Bangabandhu’s dream. He worked relentlessly all his life to build up a Sonar Bangla (Golden Bengal) where progressive thoughts, secularism, democracy, socialism, ethical fairness and equity will prevail. We will have to comply with Bangabandhu’s ideals which consist of Bengali nationalism, democracy, secularism and socialism. Communal platforms do not like Bangabandhu. Bangabandhu unwaveringly continued his bold efforts for the wellbeing of the country’s people. Leaving Bangabandhu’s ideology is like going back to the dilapidated plight that Pakistan is suffering from.
An all-inclusive approach to socio-economic and political stability of the nation is the only way to provide required services to the people and this is an indispensable prerequisite for prosperity. Sustaining an egalitarian attitude towards people is a very big obligation for ensuring equal rights for all citizens and for the establishment of socio-economic justice at all walks of life. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman once said, “My greatest strength is I love my people while my weakness is I love them too much.” Bangabandhu’s ideology stands for loving and working for the wellbeing of everyone in Bangladesh. The government should work firmly to free all sectors from corruption keeping faith in Bangabandhu’s ideals.
Bangabandhu lives eternally in our awakening spirit of independence, belief and identity, love and emotion as well as future inspiration. We pay our utmost tribute to this great man of many virtues. In today’s world of constant conflict, struggle, invisible war between life and entity it will be wise for us to follow the lessons learnt from Bangabandhu’s life and works which are depicted in his autobiographic books Unfinished Memoirs and Prison Diary.
Following Bangabandhu’s ideals, his daughter and the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, a dedicated soul for Bangladesh is steering the country forward. We hope, thanks to her unflinching efforts, Bangladesh will emerge as a prosperous and happy nation in the world accomplishing the dreams of our Father of the Nation.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked in one of her speeches, “Where were you when my father and most of his family members were killed on 15 August 1975?” Sheikh Hasina is bearing an immense pain in her heart which arose from the loss of her father and her family.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman brought us independence through his uncompromising struggle. He spent seventeen years in prison for fighting for the rights of people. He envisioned dreams for a prosperous Bangladesh where people of all religions would be able to live in harmony. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been making the best of her efforts to materialize the intentions of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by implementing Vision 2021 and Vision 2041. Sheikh Hasina’s endeavors have transformed Bangladesh into a development role model. Bangladesh has also graduated from the least developed countries (LDC). Per capita income of Bangladeshi people has mounted to nearly 2000 dollars which was below one thousand dollars a few years back. Widespread electrification and digital technologies have expedited and broadly facilitated the life of general people across Bangladesh.
The British colonial rulers divided the Indian subcontinent and created two countries India and Pakistan. The Pakistan authorities deprived the people of East Pakistan of their rights and privileges. Jute was known as our golden fiber. All jute mills were controlled by the Pakistan authorities. They treated East Pakistan like a puppet state.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina holds a very loving approach to the country’s people. The people of entire Bangladesh put their confidence on Sheikh Hasina. That’s why we should always pray for Sheikh Hasina for her good health and long life.
Now it is one of the most vital jobs to eliminate the evil shadows from our economy. Bangladesh’s economy has made much progress but it may face an insurmountable abyss if corruption and irregularities cannot be obliterated from the financial and banking turfs. Bangladesh may get plunged into a deeper pitfall than that of Pakistan if good governance, justice, accountability and ethical principles cannot be established.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has meanwhile sold his most luxurious cars in response to the economic crisis his country is facing. The Karachi Stock Exchange has been devastated after getting affiliated with Chinese companies. We do not want Bangladesh to face similar circumstances.
Statistics shows that China has made the highest scale of investments in Pakistan among the SAARC countries.
Pakistan took away huge amounts of money and assets from Bangladesh while they ruled us. Bangladesh government should initiate the legal procedure to retrieve these assets and dues from Pakistan through United Nations or international courts. For example, India is still trying to get back Kohinoor from the British Royal Dynasty.
Pakistan should also apologize to Bangladesh for the genocides they conducted on the people of East Pakistan during 1971.
Nowadays there are campaigns on social media against our trusted neighbours which remind us of the situation that prevailed during the war of 1971.
Bangladesh belongs to all its citizens, not just a handful number of affluent magnates. Participation of all people in the country’s development process is essential. Equal opportunities for all should be facilitated for this purpose to implement the dreams of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
While concluding, a few lines of Rabindranath Tagore come to my mind, “Udoyer pothe shuni kar bani, voy nai, ore voy nai. Nishsheshe pran je koribe dan, khoy nai tar khoy nai (Someone’s voice assures me there is no fear. One who will give away his life fully will never be decayed.)