From eternity Bangladesh has harbored and nurtured communal harmony. Our history is testimony to this statement. Muslim rulers in the middle age patronized kirton by the Baishnava poets. Similarly Buddhist Pal rulers never opposed the religious freedom of the Baishnavas.
Communal harmony gains strength from the weather and the cultural traditions of Bangladesh. People of the land are typically moderators just like the moderate climate of the country. We have always welcomed the mysticism and humane sides of the different religions. The history of hundred years of Bangladesh is a history of standing beside each other across religious lines at times of need.
Bengali nationalism and religious harmony are synonymous to each other. We have risen to resist whenever the forces of evil have tried to ransack our communal harmony. Our language movement of 1952 or the election of Jukta Front in 1954 - on each occasion we have written new poetry with our blood. On each occasion we have collectively defeated the vultures.
The Pakistanis have tried repeatedly to divide us in 1964 and 1965.We resisted. And in 1969 we created an uprising to eliminate the dark forces. We as a nation are linked by the invisible thread of communal harmony, just like the different flowers of a garden. We created a new history in 1971 under the leadership of the greatest poet of politics of all times. We crafted the new map of our beloved independent Bangladesh. The vultures did their best to misguide us, but we kept on searching for ourselves and our destiny despite all evil efforts and finally succeeded.
There is no place for filthy communalism and Rajakars
in our thousand year’s history of unity and harmony.
We have to stand against them who want to tarnish
the spirit of 1971 in the name of religion.
“Religion is personal, but Bangladesh
for all” – is the conceptthat we have to spread.
The forces of darkness are still active. They have struck in independent Bangladesh on every opportunity they got. They deprived the nation of the love and affection of it’s ‘father’. Today we stand at a critical juncture of time. Our enemies are prepared to deliver their final blow. Our heritage of hundred years and our pride are at stake. Our final confrontation with the evil forces is inevitable. This will determine our future direction as a nation. We now have to decide whether we will take our ride on the highway of prosperity and development to the wrong direction. It is once again the time to resist them united, like we did in 1952, 1954, 1969 and 1971.
There is no place for filthy communalism and Rajakars in our thousand year’s history of unity and harmony. We have to stand against them who want to tarnish the spirit of 1971 in the name of religion. “Religion is personal, but Bangladesh for all” – is the concept that we have to spread.
This is the concept that led to the formation of our organization Sampritee Bangladesh (Harmonious Bangladesh). We had series of meetings with opinion leaders and intellectuals in Dhaka and across Bangladesh in our preparation to give this concept an organizational shape. Besides we consulted intellectuals and eminent citizens personally. All unanimously agreed that we had shed blood in 1971 to realize our long cherished dream of a secular Bangladesh. However we have failed to achieve this dream so many years since our independence. This makes it even more justified why we should stand united and join hands to bring that secular Bangladesh to reality. The need for a social movement became obvious from these discussions. All greed that unless we unite in the cultural front, besides the political arena, we cannot achieve our goal. The need for a strong organization to bring the secular as well as culturally and intellectually empowered forces of our society together under one umbrella was evident. We Bengalis are traditionally and historically secular. However it is also a reality of today that since Bangabandhu’s assassination in 1975, state sponsored communalism has become deep seated in our society. Politics in Bangladesh was drowned in darkness after 1975 and with the dark forces in the seat of power and politics for so long, they have now assumed organizational form. They are yielding benefit from our politics. Sampritee Bangladesh is therefore an inevitable organization to spread the very message that our predecessors had shed blood in 1971 for a secular motherland. We have to unite and strengthen this organization, so that the ultimate sacrifice of our heroes don’t go in vein.
We may at times be frustrated, but we have to remember that these are difficult times.We are trailing behind realizing the dreams of our heroes. We must spread the spirit of 1971 among our youth, keeping in mind that the task will not be easy, as the communal forces have also gained momentum. The goal of Sampritee Bangladesh is to provide a strong platform for the secular, non-communal, patriotic forces of Bangladesh to defeat the evil forces once and for ever.
Professor Mamun Al Mahtab (Shwapnil) is Chairman, Department of Hepatology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and Member Secretary of Sampritee Bangladesh
Pijush Bandyopadhyay is Convener, Sampritee Bangladesh