Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon all to take a vow in the Mujib Year to take Bangladesh to newer heights in the international arena and transform the country into a safe and peaceful abode for the next generation.
“In the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, let us all resolve to take Bangladesh to even higher heights in the international arena; let us determine to transform Bangladesh into a safe and peaceful home for our next generation,” she said in a message today marking the ‘Mujib Year’.
The premier said her government is working tirelessly to build a hunger-and poverty-free developed and prosperous Bangladesh as envisioned by the Father of the Nation by formulating and implementing ‘Vision-2021’, ‘Vision-2041’ and ‘Delta Plan-2100’.
On the occasion of celebration of the birth centenary of independent Bangladesh’s architect and the greatest Bangalee of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she extended her heartiest greetings to all the citizens of Bangladesh, expatriate Bangladeshis and people of the world.
The Mujib Year has been declared from March 2020 to December 2021 to highlight the life and works of the Father of the Nation to the mass people, Sheikh Hasina said, adding that Bangabandhu’s birth centenary celebration started with a grand opening on 17 March 2020 while along with Bangladesh, Mujib Year is being celebrated globally with the initiative of UNESCO.
“I pay my deepest homage to the Father of the Nation. I also pay my respect to all the martyrs of the 15 August 1975,” the premier said.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was born in Tungipara village of Gopalganj subdivision (now district) of the then Faridpur district on 17 March 1920, she said, adding from his childhood Bangabandhu was fearless, indomitable, brave and kind. “He (Bangabandhu) was conscious about politics and people’s rights. The key aim of the long political life of this world leader who had keen memory and farsighted vision was to liberate the Bengali nation from the chains of subjugation, and ensure a developed life by freeing people from the curse of hunger, poverty and illiteracy,” the Prime Minister added.
Noting that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a legend, she said, while studying at Islamia College in Kolkata, he got involved in active politics.
After the famine of 1943 and the communal riots of 1946 in Kolkata, young Sheikh Mujib with his classmates and colleagues devoted himself to humanitarian activities in the affected areas daring his life, said the head of the government.
After the partition of India, he returned from Kolkata and got admitted into the University of Dhaka, Sheikh Hasina said, adding discriminatory attitudes towards the people of the East Bengal by the elite rulers of the just-liberated Pakistan hurt Bangabandhu.
“In the meantime, attacks were made on our mother tongue. Bangabandhu came forward in the struggle to establish the status and dignity of Bangla language. In 1948, ‘Rashtrabhasha Sangram Parishad (State Language Movement Council)’ was formed on Bangabandhu’s proposal by Chhatra League, Tamaddun Majlish and other student organizations,” she continued.
On 11 March 1948, Bangabandhu was arrested while observing a strike to materialize the demand for recognition of Bangla as the state language and imprisoned thrice between 1948 and 1949, the premier categorically said.
Mentioning that Bangabandhu was continuously in jail from 1949 to 1952, she said both while in and out of the jail, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib had led the Language Movement.
“During the incident of killings of language movement activists on 21 February 1952, Bangabandhu was observing a hunger strike in jail,” the premier added.
In continuation of the Language Movement, Sheikh Hasina said, all major movements of Bangalees, including Jukto-Front (United Front) election in 1954, the movement against military rule of Ayub Khan in 1958, the Education
Movement in 1962, the Six-Point movement in 1966, the movement against Agartala Conspiracy Case in 1968, the Mass Upsurge in 1969, the General Elections in 1970 and the War of Liberation in 1971, were led by the undisputed leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The charismatic personality and influential leadership of Bangabandhu united all the freedom-aspiring Bangalees during the Liberation War, she said, adding, “As a result, we got an independent, sovereign Bangladesh. The entity of the Bangalee nation flourished”.
Bangabandhu was not only a leader for the Bangalees, but he was also the leader in establishing rights and emancipation of all oppressed, exploited and deprived people of the world, the premier said.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was imprisoned for at least 3,053 days during the British and Pakistani regimes just for the cause of establishing the rights of the people, the head of the government said, adding, it can be said that prison was his second home.
In order to strengthen Awami League as a political organization, Bangabandhu voluntarily resigned from the cabinet in 1957, she categorically said.
“The historic 7 March speech of Bangabandhu has been recognized by UNESCO as a world documentary heritage. Bangabandhu was awarded Juliot Curie Peace Award in 1973 for his outstanding contribution to the world peace,’ the Prime Minister added.
Under the prudent leadership of Father of the Nation, Sheikh Hasina said, the Indian Allied forces returned home just within three months of
independence and a total of 126 countries recognized independent Bangladesh.
During his tenure, Bangabandhu enacted many laws and promulgated ordinances, including the law for maritime boundaries, which were vanguards of that era.
Under his (Bangabandhu’s) direction and supervision, the premier said, a secular, rights-based and equality prioritizing Bangladesh Constitution was adopted in mere 10 months.
“He (Bangabandhu) boldly faced major challenges of nation building by establishing a people-centric balanced public administration, activating the communication network and infrastructure destroyed during the Liberation War, rehabilitating the refugees and the violated women, controlling the law-and-order situation, repatriating the stranded Bangladeshis from Pakistan and rebuilding all the national institutions by freeing those from the grips and influences of the collaborators of the Pakistani forces,” the head of the government continued.
Noting that Bangabandhu started trials of the war criminals, she said, the Father of the Nation signed the landmark Land Boundary Agreement with India while a Five-Year Plan for economic development was formulated and the GDP growth rate reached 7 percent.
Within three and a half years, Bangabandhu turned war-ravaged Bangladesh into a Least Developed Country (LDC), Sheikh Hasina said, adding that in order to maintain good relations with all the countries in the world, he (Bangabandhu) adopted the foreign policy based on the principle of ‘Friendship to all, malice to none’.
“Bangabandhu made Bangladesh a dignified country in the world through ensuring the country’s membership to the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the World Trade Organization, among others,” she added.
When Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was moving forward with an aim to build a “Golden Bangladesh” facing all obstacles, Sheikh Hasina said, the defeated and anti-liberation war cliques assassinated the Father of the Nation along with most of his family members on 15 August, 1975.
Subsequently, a black law titled ‘Indemnity Ordinance’ was enacted to prevent justice to one of the most shameful killings in the history and to give impunity to the killers of Bangabandhu, she continued.
After coming to power in 1996 with the people’s mandate, Sheikh Hasina, also Awami League president, said her government repealed the black law and started the trial of Bangabandhu murder case.
“With the execution of the verdict of the trial, the nation got rid of the stigma,” she added.
Since 2009, the successive governments of Bangladesh Awami League have relentlessly been working to improve living standards of the people, the premier said, adding, in the meantime, Bangladesh has achieved outstanding socio-economic progress.
It has fulfilled the requirements for graduating from the least developed country to developing one, she said, adding that child and maternal mortality rates have drastically come down and life expectancy has risen to 73 years.
Noting that the literacy and economic growth rates have grown rapidly, the Prime Minister said, “We have established ‘Digital Bangladesh’. Youths have been provided with modern information technology instead of arms”.
The scope of education for girls has been widened and women empowerment has been ensured at all levels, she said, adding, “We have modernised the Madrasa education and made it job-centric,” the head of the government added.
Mentioning that the trials of war criminals are going on and several verdicts have already been executed, Sheikh Hasina said the rule of law has been established while stability has been ensured by rooting out terrorism and putting an end to the culture of strikes.
The long-awaited Land Boundary Agreement with India has been implemented, she said, adding, “We have resolved maritime disputes with India and Myanmar and secured our rights in the Bay of Bengal”.
Pointing out that villages are being equipped with all civic amenities, the premier said many mega projects such as 100 Special Economic Zones, more than 28 Hi-Tech Parks, Bangabandhu Satellite-2, deep seaport, Padma Bridge, LNG terminals, Expressways and Nuclear Power Plants, among others, are being implemented.
“The country is moving forward. Today we have become a country with self respect in the world holding our heads high,” she said.