‘Bangabandhu is a hero to all Indians and not only to the Bengali people’ was what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on the occasion of the 101st birthday of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Identifying Bangabandhu as the custodian of humanity and independence, Prime Minister Modi had no hesitation in expressing his enthusiasm to attend the celebrations of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary in Dhaka physically.
Eminent Indian columnist Ram Madhav in a recent column in Open magazine describes Bangabandhu as a citizen of the sub-continent, which he truly was. He had lived through undivided India and then Pakistan to curve the nation-state Bangladesh from the map of Pakistan, proving the two nation hypothesis, which was the founding principal of Pakistan, null and void.
India has recently awarded Bangabandhu with the prestigious Gandhi Award posthumously as a gesture of respect that India as a sovereign nation bestows upon our Father of the Nation, who became the first posthumous recipient of this award.
My better-half Professor Nuzhat Choudhury recalls her first meeting with the Indian Premier in Shantiniketon couple of years back, where she was the master of ceremony at the inauguration of Bangladesh Bhaban. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina introduced her to her Indian counterpart as the daughter of a martyr and as Nuzhat says, she could feel the respect that this revered gentleman had for the martyrs of Bangladesh, as he exchanged greetings with her.
A national newspaper of Bangladesh has recently published a news on a recent meeting between the Pakistan President Dr. Arif Alvi and Mr. Imran Siddiqi, the Pakistani High Commissioner in Bangladesh. The dissatisfied Pakistan government, having been left out from the dual celebrations on the occasions of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh, called it’s Ambassador back to Islamabad to discuss how Pakistan can manage better in Bangladesh during this year of glory for the country.
The Pak High Commissioner had no intention in keeping his mission in Dhaka secret, when he recently, while visiting a local art gallery, expressed his desire to establish brotherly relationship between the people of Bangladesh and Pakistan that he had experienced during his last place of posting as a Pakistani diplomat in a Western city.
The Indian High Commissioner in Bangladesh has recently inaugurated a sculpture in Sitakundu in Chottagram named ‘Mrinttunjoyee Mitra’ - eternal friends. The sculpture is dedicated to the memory of the fallen Bangladesh freedom fighters and Indian servicemen, when the Pakistani’s suddenly attacked them unprepared a day after the shameful surrender of the shameless Pakistan army men in Dhaka in broad daylight. The liberation of Bangladesh was achieved with the blood shed jointly by brave sons of Bangladesh and India to which this sculpture remains a testimony too.
Those who consider Awami League and BNP as two political parties are terribly mistaken, Bangabandhu wrote in his memoires that he wanted Awami League to emerge as an ‘institution’. These are two different ‘schools of thoughts’, Awami League representing the secular, pro-liberation forces and vise versa. Assuming that their school of thought has finally prevailed in India, BNP-Jamat flooded the streets of Dhaka with sweets after the landslide victory of BJP that took Narendra Modi to the highest seat of Indian government. How wrong they were in their calculations is evident from the facts that now, having lost the ability to play with stones, these frustrated elements left ‘no pebbles unturned’ to prevent the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Bangladesh.
If we say that Bangladesh-India relationship, which dates back more than thousand years, had reached heights during the Mujib-Indira period, it will be no over statement to say that the same height has once again been attained through Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi’s visionary leaderships. Despite forces of evil active in home and around in both Bangladesh and India, the ‘win-win relationship’ that we now enjoy will bypass anything that we had seen any time in the bygone past with PM Modi’s latest visit, is what the two people now are eagerly waiting for.
Professor Mamun Al Mahtab (Shwapnil) is Chairman, Liver Department Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University & Member Secretary, Samprity Bangladesh