Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon all to take a vow in the Mujib Year to take Bangladesh to newer heights in the international arena and transform the country into a safe and peaceful abode for the next generation.
‘In the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, let us all resolve to take Bangladesh to even higher heights in the international arena; let us determine to transform Bangladesh into a safe and peaceful home for our next generation,’ she said in a message on Tuesday marking Mujib Year.
She said her government is working tirelessly to build a hunger-and-poverty-free developed and prosperous Bangladesh as envisioned by Mujib by formulating and implementing ‘Vision-2021’, ‘Vision-2041’ and ‘Delta Plan-2100’.
On the occasion of celebration of the birth centenary of independent Bangladesh’s architect and the greatest Bengali of all time, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she extended her heartiest greetings to all the citizens of Bangladesh, expatriate Bangladeshis and people of the world.
‘I pay my deepest homage to the Father of the Nation. I also pay my respect to all the martyrs of the 15 August 1975,’ the premier said.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was born in Tungipara village of the then Gopalganj subdivision of Faridpur district on 17 March 1920, she said, adding from his childhood Bangabandhu was fearless, indomitable, brave and kind.
‘He was conscious about politics and people’s rights. The key aim of the long political life of this world leader who had keen memory and farsighted vision was to liberate the Bengali nation from the chains of subjugation, and ensure a developed life by freeing people from the curse of hunger, poverty and illiteracy,’ the prime minister added.
Noting that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a legend, she said, while studying at Islamia College in Kolkata, he got involved in active politics.
After the famine of 1943 and the communal riots of 1946 in Kolkata, young Sheikh Mujib with his classmates and colleagues devoted himself to humanitarian activities in the affected areas daring his life, said the head of the government.
After the partition of India, he returned from Kolkata and got admitted into the University of Dhaka, Sheikh Hasina said, adding that discriminatory attitudes towards the people of the East Bengal by the elite rulers of the just-liberated Pakistan hurt him.
‘In the meantime, attacks were made on our mother tongue. Bangabandhu came forward in the struggle to establish the status and dignity of Bangla language. In 1948, ‘Rashtrabhasha Sangram Parishad’ was formed on his proposal by Chhatra League, Tamaddun Majlis and other student organisations,’ she continued.
On 11 March 1948, Sheikh Mujib was arrested while observing a strike to materialize the demand for recognition of Bangla as the state language and imprisoned thrice between 1948 and 1949, the premier categorically said.
Mentioning that Sheikh Mujib was continuously in jail from 1949 to 1952, she said both while in and out of the jail, Sheikh Mujib had led the Language Movement.
‘During the incident of killings of language movement activists on 21 February 1952, Sheikh Mujib was observing a hunger strike in jail,’ the premier added.
In continuation of the Language Movement, Sheikh Hasina said, all major movements of Bengalis, including Jukto-Front election in 1954, the movement against military rule of Ayub Khan in 1958, the Education Movement in 1962, the Six-Point movement in 1966, the movement against Agartala Conspiracy Case in 1968, the Mass Upsurge in 1969, the General Elections in 1970 and the War of Independence in 1971, were led by the undisputed leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The charismatic personality and influential leadership of Bangabandhu united all the freedom-aspiring Bengalis during the liberation war, she said, adding, ‘As a result, we got an independent, sovereign Bangladesh.’
Sheikh Mujib was not only a leader for the Bengalis, but he was also the leader in establishing rights and emancipation of all oppressed, exploited and deprived people of the world, she said.
Sheikh Mujib was imprisoned for at least 3,053 days during the British and Pakistani regimes just for the cause of establishing the rights of the people, the head of the government said, adding, it could be said that prison was his second home.
In order to strengthen Awami League as a political organisation, Sheikh Mujib voluntarily resigned from the cabinet in 1957, she said.
‘The historic 7 March speech of Sheikh Mujib has been recognised by UNESCO as a world documentary heritage. Sheikh Mujib was awarded Juliot Curie Peace Award in 1973 for his outstanding contribution to the world peace,’ the prime minister added.
Under the prudent leadership of Sheikh Mujib, the Indian allied forces returned home just within three months of independence and a total of 126 countries recognised the independent Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said.
During his tenure, Sheikh Mujib enacted many laws and promulgated ordinances, including the law for maritime boundaries, which were vanguards of that era.
Under his direction and supervision, a secular, rights-based and equality prioritising Bangladesh Constitution was adopted in mere 10 months, she said.
‘He boldly faced major challenges of nation building by establishing a people-centric balanced public administration, activating the communication network and infrastructure destroyed during the Liberation War, rehabilitating the refugees and the violated women, controlling the law-and-order situation, repatriating the stranded Bangladeshis from Pakistan and rebuilding all the national institutions by freeing those from the grips and influences of the collaborators of the Pakistani forces,’ the head of the government continued.
Noting that Bangabandhu started trials of the war criminals, she said, the he signed the landmark Land Boundary Agreement with India while a Five-Year Plan for economic development was formulated and the GDP growth rate reached 7 per cent.
Within three and a half years, Sheikh Mujib turned war-ravaged Bangladesh into a Least Developed Country, Sheikh Hasina said, adding that, in order to maintain good relations with all the countries in the world, he adopted the foreign policy based on the principle of ‘Friendship to all, malice to none’.
‘Bangabandhu made Bangladesh a dignified country in the world ensuring the country’s membership to the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Movement and the World Trade Organisation, among others,’ she added.
When Sheikh Mujib was moving forward with an aim to build a golden Bangladesh facing all obstacles, Sheikh Hasina said, the defeated and anti-liberation war cliques assassinated the Father of the Nation along with most of his family members on 15 August, 1975.
Subsequently, a black law titled ‘Indemnity Ordinance’ was enacted to prevent justice to one of the most shameful killings in the history and to give impunity to the killers of Mujib, she continued.
After coming to power in 1996 with the people’s mandate, Sheikh Hasina, also Awami League president, said her government repealed the black law and started the trial of Sheikh Mujib murder case.
‘With the execution of the verdict of the trial, the nation got rid of the stigma,’ she added.
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