The countdown for the birth centenary celebration of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman began on January 10, the homecoming day of Bangabandhu, through a gala opening ceremony. The whole country eyed on the program as it is once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of and witness such a celebration. The ruling party Awami League has already declared March 17, 2020 to March 17, 2021 as the ‘Mujib Year’. Throughout the year there will be multiple programs and events marking the works, struggle and achievements of Bangabandhu.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the nationwide countdown ceremony at the capital’s National Parade Square where Bangabandhu landed in the newly-liberated Bangladesh on January 10, 1972. Now the whole nation will wait to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of the nation. But we must focus on the real success factors of this upcoming year-long celebration, for which the government has formed a huge committee and allocated a huge budget. Hence, we must first understand the critical success factors for ‘Mujib Year’.
Through observing the birth centenary, the government aims, as expressed, to present Bangabandhu’s life and works before the people, especially the new generation who will hold the future of this nation. In the inauguration of countdown for Bangabandhu’s birth centenary celebration ceremony, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and also the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu said that, the government wanted to move ahead with the torch of victory which was given by the Father of the Nation by liberating the country and wants to make Bangladesh free from hunger and poverty, and a developed country as dreamt by Bangabandhu.
From her remarks, it is clear that, the aim of the government is to embed the dream and ideology of Bangabandhu in the hearts of the fellow countrymen and especially that of the representatives of the next generations. It will be very unfortunate if this goal is not attained even after the yearlong historic celebration.
Not only in Dhaka, the countdown simultaneously started in different divisions, districts and even at many upazilas. Devices were set up at different public places in the capital, divisional cities, districts, city corporations and upazilas across the country for the countdown for the birth centenary celebration. Many ministries, divisions, departments, socio-cultural organizations and public and private universities also installed countdown devices at their own initiatives. Few programs outside Dhaka were overwhelming like in Khulna as it appeared like a huge celebration, which we rarely observe.
A great event will be arranged on March 17 to mark and celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of the architect of the independence of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The program will be attended by many dignitaries from around the world. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former President Pranab Mukherjee, Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, OIC Secretary General, Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck will be among the global leaders who will join the ‘Mujib Year’ celebration. Narendra Modi will deliver the keynote.
Some of the global leaders will join the special program on March 17, the birthday of Bangabandhu and many others will attend other programs to be held during the Mujib Year. 77 Bangladesh missions abroad will hold 261 programs in their respective host countries around the year marking the Bangabandhu’s birth centenary as the government wants to spread the ideology of Bangabandhu at the global forum.
Apart from portraying Bangabandhu’s ideology during the Mujib Year, the government would also like to make a new branding of Bangladesh worldwide that it’s a land of opportunity with a vibrant economy. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) together with Bangladesh will also celebrate the ‘Mujib Year’ as UNESCO took the decision at its 40th General Assembly held at its headquarters in Paris recently.
It is commendable that so many activities are being planned throughout the world on the occasion of 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu. These events will be definitely helpful in informing the people inside and outside Bangladesh on the magical leadership and his ideology. But the most important target group for embedding the ideology of father of the nation is the children and teenagers of Bangladesh. These are the people who will carry forward the mammoth task of this country’s development. They will actually complete the mission which Bangabandhu dreamt of. Today’s new generation will place Bangladesh in a proud spot in the global map. Hence, it is important that, they hold the principles of Bangabandhu, the best Bangalee of all time, at the core.
Unfortunately, we did not find much planning involving the next generation of the nation in the celebration of ‘Mujib Year’. Though children were an important part of different programs of the inauguration of countdown to Bangabandhu’s birth centenary celebration, especially at events outside Dhaka, it will be not wrong to say that, the participation of the next generation was not much focused. Embedding the ideology in the hearts of people who are at the matured stage of their life is not necessary even if those people are holding important portfolios. It is also unnecessary to focus people who already know about the principles of Bangabandhu. But that seems to be the reality of this upcoming celebration till now.
The programs of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary celebration must be focused around the children and teenagers. The government should make some plans to make the next generations of this country so cheerful that the celebration seems like the birthday celebration of their dear one. This celebration should touch the life of every children of Bangladesh in some ways. The children should receive something from the government.
It can be a simple greetings card from the Prime Minister. The school and college authorities, ward councillors, district chairmen, upazila chairmen, union council chairmen and Awami League leaders and activists of all tiers should participate in this task. It will raise curiosity in those young minds to know about Bangabandhu. Then there should be theatrical or visual presentation on the 100th birth anniversary throughout the country for the children and teenagers where the ideology of Bangabandhu will be spread.
If every child and teenager of the country knows about Bangabandhu, then the celebration of ‘Mujib Year’ will be a success. If the next generation of this country can adopt and utilize few of the principles of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, it will be impossible to stop the progress of this nation. This celebration should not be a mere set of functions, which will have no impact after the celebration is over. Moreover, there is no point in wasting taxpayer’s money if this celebration does not bring in any good for this nation.
The birth centenary celebration of Bangabandhu should not be limited to the celebration of Awami League leaders and activists. This is a program for the whole Bangladesh. The citizens should not feel annoyed with loud music or sounds, ill celebration which we observed in different areas of the country on the eve of the beginning of the countdown. The dumb leaders and activists of the ruling party made citizens’ life hell in many areas.
The general people are already burdened with so many issues – chaos from prolonged development works, corruption at all tiers of the administration, increasing commodity price, inclining utility price, load of taxes, lack of facilities and many things else. The celebrations should not irritate them further. Rather the local leaders should take own initiatives to ensure proactive participation of the mass people of their areas in this historic celebration. If Bangladesh performs well on different indices during the ‘Mujib Year’, people will desire that this year should not end and every upcoming year should be ‘Mujib Year’ and that will be a great success of this celebration.
Before starting the celebration of ‘Mujib Year’, the ruling party leaders and activists should take an oath to live their lives on the principles of Bangabandhu during this year. Their promise should be visible to the mass with easier services from the administration, people-oriented works and plans, proactive attitude and in many other ways. Bangabandhu always wanted to work for the people’s welfare. Today’s leaders should also adopt the same mentality. If this positive change becomes visible, the mass will automatically align with the celebration and that will be a great success factor for this celebration.
Not only the ideals of Bangabandhu but also his lifestyle should be adopted to mark this celebration. For example, throughout this year, the dressing style of Bangabandhu should be promoted. It should not be the identity of the ruling party members only but also the identity of the Bangladeshis during this celebration. A festive atmosphere should prevail. None should feel isolated or disturbed throughout the ‘Mujib Year’.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken Bangladesh to a new level with her consecutive three terms as the head of the government. She, herself, has turned into a global leader while she was chasing the dreams of Bangabandhu with utmost force. But all her good works will go in vein if we fail to create a patriotic and idealistic next generation. We must focus on that.
Embedding the principle of Bangabandhu among the members of the next generations of Bangladesh is extremely necessary for that and this ‘Mujib Year’ provides a great opportunity to fulfill this mission. We hope the government will make this celebration a tool to secure the future of Bangladesh.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Vice-Chairman, Democracy Research Center (DRC)