Foreign leaders on Wednesday greeted the nation on the occasion of the 101st birth anniversary of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and golden jubilee of independence of Bangladesh at the National Parade Square in the capital.
Maldivian president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih described Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as one of giants of South Asian history, saying he secured a permanent room in hearts of all who aspires for democracy and freedom, reports Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.
‘He (Bangabandhu) is one of the giants of South Asian history, whose actions were pivotal in securing an independent destiny for the people of Bangladesh,’ Solih said as he joined the grand opening of Bangladesh founder’s birth centenary and country’s independence golden jubilee celebrations at the National Parade Ground.
Solih said the Bangladesh founder would ‘always have an honoured place in the hearts of those who yearn for democracy and freedom’.
The Maldivian president who joined as the first of five South Asian leaders to join the 10-day celebration recalled that throughout his life Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was an ‘uncompromising advocate’ of democracy and political freedoms.
‘He championed those values, often in powerful words, that resonated with people from all walks of life. His six-point programme laid the foundation for Bangladesh’s independence and provided the underlying values of the country’s constitution,’ Solih said.
Chinese president Xi Jinping on Wednesday sought to connect the ‘Chinese dream’ with that of ‘Sonar Bangla’, envisaged by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, as he sent a video message to mark Mujib’s birth centenary celebrations and golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.
‘The Chinese dream of great national renewal can well connect with the Sonar Bangla dream as both the countries are now at crucial development stage,’ he said.
The video message was run during grand ceremony at the National Parade Square joined by president Abdul Hamid, prime minister Sheikh Hasina along with visiting Maldivian president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
Jinping said the Bangladesh founder’s dream for ‘Sonar Bangla’ was still galvanising the country’s 160 million people in their pursuit of national rejuvenation.
The Chinese president also noted with appreciation Sheikh Mujib’s principle of ‘friendship to all and malice towards none’ principle, which laid out remains the bedrock of Bangladesh’s foreign policy.
He said Sheikh Mujibur Rahman founded Bangladesh 50 years ago while described him as someone great who devoted his whole life to his country and people.
Jinping said that Bangladesh’s founding president was an old and good friend of the Chinese people as Mujib forged friendships with chairman Mao Zedong and premier Zhou Enlai, and other Chinese leaders of that old generation during his two visits to China in 1952 and 1957.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi called the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman a ‘hero for all Indians’ as he issued a tweet while Bangladesh’s started a 10-day nationwide celebrations to mark Mujib’s birth centenary celebrations coinciding with golden jubilee of its independence.
‘He (Bangabanadhu) is a hero for all Indians too. It will be my honour to visit Bangladesh later this month for the historic #Mujib Borsho celebrations,’ read the tweet issued ahead of the formal beginning of the celebrations at Dhaka’s National Parade Square.
Modi, who is set to arrive in Bangladesh on a two-day tour from March 26 to join in person the celebrations also described Mujib as a ‘champion of human rights and freedom’.
‘My heartfelt homage to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, a champion of human rights and freedom, on his birth anniversary,’ he wrote.
The Indian prime minister is scheduled to visit Mujib shrine at Tungipara, call on Bangladesh president Abdul Hamid and hold talks with his counterpart Sheikh Hasina, visit two Hindu temples at Gopalganj and Shatkhira alongside joining the Independence Day celebrations at the parade square on the Independence Day on March 26.
Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga said that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had made tremendous efforts to strengthen bilateral ties after the independence of Bangladesh.
He said this in a video message at the inaugural ceremony of a 10-day grand celebration of the birth centenary of Mujib and golden jubilee of independence.
The Japanese prime minister said that 50 years ago Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led Bangladesh to independence with his indomitable spirit.
Japan was one of the first countries that recognised Bangladesh as a nation state right after its independence, he recalled.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said that the independent and democratic Bangladesh was built based on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s love for his people.
‘Something we are able to celebrate (50 years’ of independence) today because of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s vision for independent and democratic country, one which built on his love for its people,’ he said at a video message marking the birth centenary of Mujib and 50th anniversary of the country’s independence.
The Canadian prime minister said that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s vision became a reality because the founding father of Bangladesh put his people first. ‘My friends, today is a time for reflection and celebration. We reflect upon the legacy of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – 100 years after his birth – and celebrate 50 years of independence,’ he said.
Famous British journalist Sir William Mark Tully described Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as one of great leaders of the past century, recounting memories of his first meeting after Bangladesh’s liberation war.
‘The way he treated me . . . the emotion in his voice for his people . . . it can be truly said that “Sheikh Saab” as I knew him, was one of the great leaders of the century,’ said Mark Tully in a recorded message, conveyed and screened at the celebration programme of birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur and golden jubilee of independence.
After return from Dhaka, Tully recalled, ‘He (Bangabandhu) had the kindness to invite me to meet him and I never forget that occasion’.
He said that Bangladesh was very special place for him because of his long relationship with Bangladesh as journalist.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Politics