Golden Jubilee Of Independence
Inclusive participation and national progress must be at core
Only after two days, we will step into 50 years of our Independence. This milestone is not only of pride for all Bangladeshis but also of great emotion as our final victory was achieved at the cost of three million martyrs’ sacrifice and honour of two lacs mothers and sisters during a nine month-long bloody war. One of the greatest leaders of the world, the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the Bangladeshis to an unequal liberation war in 1971 based on certain principles including the welfare of the nation and its people. While we celebrate the 50 years of our independence, it is important that, we uphold the ideals of our liberation war as well as principles of Bangabandhu at our core for the sake of this country’s welfare.
The government has announced a 10-day program schedule from March 17 to March 26 to celebrate the golden jubilee of independence and birthday of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be present at different events to mark the historic milestone of the country. Chinese President Xi Jinping will join the inauguration program virtually on March 17 while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the closing ceremony on March 26 at National Parade Ground in Dhaka. Five heads of state and government of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries will be present in the celebration.
Additionally, Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and Pope Francis will deliver speeches virtually at the programs. Due to Covid-19, only 500 guests will be invited to join the programs at National Parade Ground. Everyone will have to show the Covid-19 negative certificate within 48 hours before joining the program.
Soon after its independence, in a meeting between officials of the United States Agency for International Development and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Bangladesh was labelled a ‘basket case’. Years of economic inequities, the 1970 cyclone and the war had left over 70% of its population living below the poverty line. However, in the 50 years since its independence, Bangladesh has made some significant strides. It has aggressively tackled infant mortality, gender inequity and economic development. Today, with a booming economy, it is on track to graduate from the United Nation’s least developed country category.
As we have said in earlier articles also, ensuring mass celebration of the golden jubilee of our independence will remain most important. 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.
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. 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.
Bangabandhu-led Awami League was the driving force in our liberation war. Hence, it is normal that, the Awami League supporters will have higher significance of this celebration. But after brutal killing of Bangabandhu in 1975, the history of our liberation war was distorted and damaged for a long time. For that reason, there is a generation which remained away from the ideology of our liberation war. Many of them even do not like to talk about liberation war or Bangabandhu’s principles as they do not find it of much pride. The number of such people is not very low.
Moreover, though Awami League is the largest political party of Bangladesh, the other political parties combinedly involves 60 per cent of the politically active people. Unfortunately, they are not much enlightened with the principles of liberation war. It is very important that, this group is enlightened with nationalistic ideology. The golden jubilee celebration of our independence will get significance only if we can embed Bangabandhu’s principles at the core of this group.
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 only 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.
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 honor 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.
Today, several Head of States are visiting Bangladesh to celebrate the golden jubilee of independence of Bangladesh because of the extraordinary development and progress this country has made under the valiant leadership of Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the last decade. Hence, continuation of the development of our country should be the focus of every Bangladeshi.
On the eve of 50 years of our independence, we all should promise to dedicate our life for the progress of Bangladesh as well as the welfare of all Bangladeshis. We hope we reach such heights that Bangabandhu’s dream of ‘Golden Bangla’ becomes a reality. This celebration should mark a faster journey towards that goal.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and
Chief Patron, Bangabandhu
Shishu Kishore Mela