We have just completed two magnificent ceremonial observances of the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the celebration of the golden jubilee of our independence. Bangladesh remained blazed with these lively performances for ten days during March 2021, when globally the fame of the country had reached to an excellent acceptability where all leaders of the East and West together have embraced the country on these two glorious occasions and thus affirmed their continued support to Bangladesh on her gallant performances in the world economy.
We get pride in the prosperity of our nation, the beginning of which however, initially was started in the hands of its beloved Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and keeping pace with that flow, the country is now moving fast with its prosperity under the leadership of our present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In fact, in the last few days, Bangladesh was dazzling with these two spectacular celebrations where many world leaders including the Prime Ministers of Bhutan, India, and the Presidents of Nepal and Maldives participated personally in a number of formal sessions, while the top leaders of the United States, Japan, France, China, South Korea, Russia and a few more remained connected with the major part of the programs virtually. US Ambassador, Turkish Ambassador, Pakistani High Commissioner and Japanese Ambassador presented the speeches of President Joe Biden, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga respectively; and as they spoke in front of the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh sitting on the dais created some lively sensation among the audiences.
Earlier, the Presidents of Maldives and Nepal and Bhutanese Prime Minister, Lotte Shering also actively participated in a number of formal programs in person; and both of them had stayed in Bangladesh for two/three days as honorable guests of the nation. During their visits, Maldives’s President, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih thanked our Prime Minister for the contribution of the Bangladeshi physicians, nurses, teachers and workers who are employed in Maldives. On the other hand, Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari complemented Sheikh Hasina with a word of appreciation saying that, ‘Sheikh Hasina is an inspiring leader of the world’. Side by side with their participation, Bangladesh Government however, has signed a number of MOUs on bilateral issues with India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan with purpose of enhancing regional linkages and connectivity.
United Kingdom and Russia and many other countries have arranged special programs on this occasion showing good gesture for the people of Bangladesh which indicates that they consider us as their trusted ally providing their full support and friendship to us. Those world leaders who joined the celebration being personally present on the occasion following strict rules of coronavirus health guidelines have given their spontaneous support to inspire the people of Bangladesh with a fresh pledge to take the country in a new horizon which the Bangladeshis did during the Liberation War by defeating a torturous and marauding Pakistani armed forces to secure their independence.
All speakers and world leaders in this context, very honestly vowed their respect to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as a great world leader born in Bangladesh who created a nation by sacrificing his whole life for the emancipation of his own people. This is very much gallant and unparallel in the history of mankind as Bangabandhu very intelligently and tactfully formulated all his past plans for independence. Among his well wishers, Sir Mark Tully, one most trusted journalist friend of us from United Kingdom at his old age, had sent his heartfelt virtual messages for the people of Bangladesh being excited to see that Bangladesh is celebrating its golden jubilee for independence. We may remind our reader here that Mark Tully had always been an honest lover of Bangladesh who liked Bangabandhu from the core of his heart and wrote several gorgeous felicitations for him.
Next to him, the President of Indian National Congress, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi in her lengthy message also similarly acknowledged the courageous leadership of Bangabandhu and jolted the audiences reminding the most tactful steps which were taken by her mother in law and the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi during Bangladesh liberation war and thus reminded the audiences about the strategies that Mrs Indira Gandhi had adopted in mobilizing the world voices in favor of Bangladesh; despite having all opposition from President Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Furthermore, it was quite prestigious for us to receive some special messages from Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles of Wales, who expressed their heartfelt felicitations on our celebrations. Meanwhile, Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church also greeted the people of Bangladesh on this occasion of silver jubilee of independence and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Pope conveyed his appeasement to the people of Sonar Bangla by sending his message through our Honorable President and Prime Minister mentioning that it is a unique country where people from different groups and cultures stay together with their proper religious and ethnic harmony.
As the nation received specific messages from many world leaders, we find that all of them however, emphatically recognized the contribution of our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the most acknowledged leader who immediate after independence of the country had moved around every corner of the world seeking cooperation of renowned politicians of the world to help building this war-wreckage country. While mentioning about the developmental performances of Bangladesh, US President, Joe Biden clearly mentioned that, ‘Bangladesh is an example of economic progress and a country of great hope and progress’ and accordingly, he congratulated Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina and the people of Bangladesh for their remarkable achievements.
In expressing his confidence and cordiality, Biden instantly invited Sheikh Hasina to participate in the ensuing Climate Change Conference to be held in the United States on April 22 this year. Biden’s invitation for this conference was also offered to forty such leaders of the world which includes German Chancellor, Angella Markel, Saudi King, Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, French President Emanuel Macho, UAE Amir Sheikh Khalifa bin Zaid Al Nahian, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mrs Jecinda Ardern. Among the South Asian leaders, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotte Shering also received this special invitation along with our Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina from President Biden which indicatively brings us special prestige for the country. Meanwhile as part of this invitation, Former US Secretary of State and present Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, is arriving in Dhaka on April 9 on a daylong visit to Bangladesh and will convey its priority issues relating to climate.
In continuation of our discussion on celebrations, we find that Russian President Vladimir Putin sent us the message identifying Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as ‘an outstanding leader’; and on behalf of Putin, his message was read by the Russian Ambassador at the national parade ground celebration venue. Japan is another country who always promotes Bangabandhu’s dream of ‘Golden Bengal’ which began during the time of Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka who was a great admirer of Bangabandhu as he had visited him in Japan in 1973.
Since then until now, the continuous cooperation of Japan to Bangladesh had never been faded and they are the great sponsor of many development projects in Bangladesh. Among other world personalities, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appreciated Bangladesh’s role in world peace; and indicatively, it is no denying that our armed forces are playing significant role as peace keepers in many African countries and elsewhere. Moreover, the world leaders are also aware of the presence of one million Rohingyas who are forcibly driven out of Myanmar through genocidal barbaric killing. Being the mother of humanity, our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sheltered all of them from humanitarian ground which however has been appreciated globally.
With all these appreciation and compliments, we have still the frustration that the genocide committed by the Pakistani army in Bangladesh during 1971 has still remained unrecognized. Global initiatives should be taken to declare it as a holocaust where three million people were killed, half a million women and girls were raped and the entire country was devastated; effectually, we urge that those Pakistani Generals who are found guilty for such atrocities should immediately be brought under direct punishment and posthumous castigation.
Prof Dr. A.H.M. Zehadul Karim is a former Vice Chancellor of a public university in Bangladesh, now teaches at Jagannath University.