Currently we are also celebrating the ‘Mujib Year’ – the birth centenary of Bangabandhu, which started from March 17, 2020 and was supposed to end on March 26, 2021 – the day of 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence. But the government has extended it till December 16, 2021 as different programs of ‘Mujib Year’ could not be executed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this extension might undermine the significance of 50 years of independence celebration, which will also be a celebration of Bangabandhu’s valour, principles, farsightedness and dream.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is undoubtedly the greatest leader of Bangladesh and also the greatest Bengali of all time. He was the motivation and inspiration of 1971 liberation war. Millions of Bengalis jumped into an unequal war inspired by the words of Sheikh Mujib. Without him, the independence of Bangladesh would remain a dream. After nine-month long bloody war, we achieved independence but it was not fulfilled until Bangabandhu returned to the soil of independent Bangladesh on January 10, 1972. Our celebration of 50 years of independence will hold Bangabandhu in every tier and aspects. Extending ‘Mujib Year’ programs might be overlapping hence.
Bangabandhu’s capable daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took an initiative to provide houses to every homeless people of the country marking ‘Mujib Year’ – an initiative which evens the developed countries of the world would dare to take considering our huge population and limited resources. Additionally, if we consider the economic challenges and hardships due to COVID-19 pandemic, any such initiative seems much more difficult to execute. But the works are going on in full pace though local corruption in building the houses for homeless people are hurting the good intention.
Rather than overlapping expenditures for extended ‘Mujib Year’ celebrations, the budget for that should be reallocated to this initiative of PM Hasina. It would be a better people-oriented decision if we do not uselessly spend on the several committees and sub-committees of ‘Mujib Year’ celebration activities as we have a huge scope to pay complete tribute to father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman all through the celebrations of 50-year anniversary of independence of Bangladesh. There is no stage of the celebration of 50 years of independence where Bangabandhu may not be present.
Ensuring mass celebration of the golden jubilee of our independence will remain a key. It is important that all Bangladeshis are enlightened with the ideology of our liberation war. There is a division of political ideology in Bangladesh. Even in the 1970 election a portion of Bengali people did not cast their vote. After brutal killing of Bangabandhu in 1975, anti-liberation forces gained supporters of their own. This is quite an opportunity now to eliminate that difference and spreading the nationalistic ideology.
A national committee should be formed to celebrate the 50 years of our independence including freedom fighters irrespective of which party they belong to. Moreover, there are many youths doing commendable job in different social and humanitarian areas. They should also be included in this committee rather than the usual faces with no creativity. Spreading patriotism and nationalistic view is important in today’s context. This celebration should not be party-oriented rather it should be for all. If we fail to involve every Bangladeshi, then this celebration will be of no use.
Bangladesh is going through several challenges right now. Corruption, threats of extremism and terrorism, economic hardship, drugs and anti-nation propaganda are few of them. To eliminate and contain these threats, it is important that, nationalistic ideology is nurtured and this golden jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh provides a great platform for this cause. But we need to utilize this scope to the fullest by involving everyone.
Unfortunately, corruption, bias and unnecessary expenditure foil the effort of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in terms of such celebrations. Lack of creativity of the celebration committee members may also ruin the depth of these celebrations. We must not keep these celebrations at the level of only a mere program rather we should utilize these events to engage all Bangladeshi people while planting the seeds of nationalism inside them.
Recently, we are roaming through different controversies like; the so-called Al-Jazeera report, striping Ziaur Rahman of ‘Bir Uttam’ title, religious controversy surrounding creation of Bangabandhu’s mural etc. Last few months were not very easy with those controversies along with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic despite the good works and immense development works of the Sheikh Hasina-led government during the last decade, different groups are extremely dedicated to create controversies to uproot the government. Not only the opposition parties and different anti-nation groups but also people from inside the government might be involved in such propaganda.
It is time to unite people rather than dividing it. The 50 years of independence celebration should not look like a celebration of Awami League only. Any sort of party-based promotion should not be there as we need to involve everyone irrespective of their party, bias, religion or caste. But that seems impossible as the initial programs of ‘Mujib Year’ – the birth centennial of the founder of this nation failed to involve people due to over enthusiasm in the wrong direction. Bangabandhu’s birthday should now not offset his enormous achievement.
We are knocking at the door of 50 years of our independence. One day, the next generations will be observing 100 years of our independence. But that will hold no significance if Bangladesh does not move forward, if the Bangladeshi people do not love their country, if Bangladesh gets into the hands of evil forces or if we lose our character. Now is a chance for us to set Bangladesh to the right course by ensuring the participation of everyone. This celebration must be focused on people only.
The future generation of this country should be at the core of these celebrations as they are the ones who will take charge of Bangladesh soon. If we cannot embed nationalistic principles among the young generation, then there will be not meaning of such celebrations. Our youth should be guided on the right path. An Awami-League celebration will not serve the purpose. A nationwide celebration involving the next generation can only bring the success. Otherwise, it will remain contained in mere programs and events, where people will not proactively participate.
Sadly, while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has devoted herself for the welfare of the people of Bangladesh just like her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the other leaders and activists of Awami League often portrays different nature. Collusions among the leaders are also often visible. Involvement of party leaders in different scams, scandals and controversies are already hurting the image of the government. Corruption surrounding these celebrations will damage the reputation of the government more.
All the Bangladeshi as well as global people should know about the achievements of Bangladesh during the 50 years of its independence. We could have been in a much better position if anti-nation forces were not in power for decades. But despite that, we are now in a position of honour in front of the whole world due to the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is relentlessly chasing the dream of ‘Golden Bangla’ of her father.
Our next generations should provide maximum priority towards the national progress, development and placement. We just hope, this celebration of 50 year of our independence serves that purpose and if so, then it will be the ultimate success for Bangladesh.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and
Chief Patron of Bangabandhu
Shishu Kishore Mela