We are at the verge of completion of one-year long celebration of 50 years of Bangladesh. Celebrations of birth centenary of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will also end on coming 26 March. Huge programs were taken to mark these celebrations but due to COVID-19 pandemic, the plans were not fully executed. Nevertheless, the success of these programs totally lies on conveying the message of patriotism and Bangabandhu’s principles to the younger generations. Unfortunately, we may have failed to achieve that target through our efforts.
Both the golden jubilee of Bangladesh and birth centenary of Bangabandhu are remarkable landmarks in the history of Bangladesh. The government took a vivid plan to celebrate these two landmarks. The government had declared the ‘Mujib Borsho’ (Mujib Year) from March 17, 2020 to March 26 , 2021. But, due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, the government extended the ‘Mujib Borsho’ till December 16 in 2021 and then till March 31, 2022.
With two large committees comprising of government leaders, government officials, intellectuals from different fields, the least we expected that these celebrations will integrate people, especially the youth. Despite COVID-19 pandemic, the committees were granted huge scope and tenure to do something remarkable to embed nationalism and Bangabandhu’s ideology among the youth but these celebrations remained limited to those who are in the government or are taking benefits of the government and the administration in some form. For instance, educating the Awami League leaders about the life and legacy of Bangabandhu should not have been the motive of these celebrations.
Our independence is base of our existence. The youth must relate to our achievement in 1971 liberation war. We had a great scope to intrigue nationalism and patriotism among the future generations during the last two years but we failed. Rather, the prolonged bureaucratic and political affairs related to the celebration of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and golden jubilee of independence created irritation among the ordinary people, particularly the youth.
During the last decade, Bangabandhu’s eldest daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina transformed Bangladesh into a role model of development. She is chasing Bangabandhu’s dream of ‘Golden Bangla’. After brutal killing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with his family members in 1975, Bangladesh was long run by autocratic and anti-liberation forces, who distorted the history of our country. With Awami League government consecutively in power for over 13 years, it was a chance to convey the true history of our country to the future generations. But unfortunately, we have made the history of our country a topic of debate and we will have to pay for that one day.
Today, there are more than 35 television channels in our country. Almost all these channels arrange talk shows where intellectuals from different opinions and positions participate. The anti-liberation forces also appear in these talk shows often. To make the programs interesting, the hosts often try to create debate. They intentionally or unintentionally bring the history of Bangladesh on the table. In this way, they often provide floor to the anti-liberation forces to influence people with wrong information. Everyone must remember that, our independence, liberation war and Bangabandhu is not a matter of debate as these are the foundations of our nation.
After liberation war in 1971, in less than four years, Bangabandhu made some tremendous effort to rebuild a war-torn nation. It was his farsightedness and diplomacy that Bangladesh got free from foreign powers and did not engage in any civil war. But strangely, those achievements are not very highlighted, even by Awami League leaders. Many of his good works are known to the people as anti-liberation forces tried to defame his works for decades and that trend is still going on.
Educating the Awami League leaders or those, who are using the name of Bangabandhu or Awami League for personal benefits, on the principles of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman or the independence, is not going to help us as a nation. We need to embed those principles among the future generations as well as the mass people. It is very important to sustain our development and progress.
National progress depends on patriotism as it calls for sacrifice from the people and the leaders. If anti-sovereign ideology exists among the people, especially the young generation, fundamentalism or terrorism can erupt at any time and anti-national forces can come into power. Though our youth is very proactive now-a-days with increasing use of technology and social media, patriotism and nationalism is losing its place.
Due to strategic position of Bangladesh in the South Asian region, it is very critical to keep ourselves out of foreign influence. Different powers will try to influence us for their own benefits. If we do not love our country selflessly, one day we might have to endure the fate of Ukraine. Hence, it is very important that, the citizens of Bangladesh take pride in their country and always stay ready to protect their beloved homeland.
As we have already mentioned that, engaging people and particularly the youth was very necessary during the celebration of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and golden jubilee of Bangladesh. But that did not happen. We really do not know whom the national committee and the national implementation committee targeted as their audience. They are happy themselves with their works, which remained to them at most. After 26 March, these arrangements will be over. But spreading the ideology of Bangabandhu and liberation war will remain a continuous task. There are around 30 million new voters and this youth needs to nourished with patriotic values.
The government, under the visionary leadership of PM Sheikh Hasina, must make every effort to educate the young generation on the ideology of Bangabandhu. In their curriculum, they should have tasks designed to build nationalism inside them. Teachers should be educated first. The schools should be careful to not appoint any staff with anti-liberation ideology. This nationalistic education should not come as a burden on the students, rather it should be participatory. This type of education should be at all stage – school, college, university.
The television channels should accommodate programs for children, teenagers and young generations separately to promote nationalistic ideology. The government should provide them a specific guideline so that, no anti-national person can appear on the screen to distort our history and confuse our people. Rather than thinking of only channel’s prosperity, the channel owners and program directors should act in favour of the country.
The government also must act hard to control anti-national contents on online and social platforms. Every year at least 3 short films or drama or full length films should be created with the theme of patriotism, culture and history of Bangladesh, liberation war, and Bangabandhu’s works. The government should patronize such films or dramas. The TV channels and OTT platforms should broadcast those films or dramas for the youth. They can also develop games, apps, contents for the youth to promote nationalism.
Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has done some tremendous works for her fellow countrymen like; cent per cent electrification, home for homeless people, fully free books for girls, economic development, coastal development, family card for food for poor families etc. But her good works will be meaningless if the people, especially the young generation, of Bangladesh do not hold nationalistic ideology at core.
We will prevail as a nation only if our people take pride in our achievements and love the country. Bangabandhu’s ideology can really boost the youth towards nationalism. Our government must not compromise on this goal. If we can embed patriotism and nationalism in our youth, that will be the real celebration of 50 years of Bangladesh.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Chief Patron, Bangabandhu Shishu Kishore Mela