Sir Frank Peters
To honor Bangabandhu on this his birth centenary, I propose to the government and people of Bangladesh that it’s capital city Dhaka be renamed Mujib City.
Gift giving is a self-rewarding outwardly expression of showing people you care for them, carry them in your thoughts and in your heart, and it spreads immeasurable happiness in both directions.
Deciding what birthday present to give, however, is always a mind-boggling experience; even with an unlimited budget. An extra special person who dominates a special niche in your heart and in the hearts of millions is particularly challenging.
When that person is Bangabandhu, Sheikh Mujib Rahman and Father of the Nation, the challenge is colossal.
Add to the mix that it’s his birth centenary (1920-2020) and it may seem a real uphill battle (on crutches!).
Irrespective of the political enameled badge a person wears today; the entire population of Bangladesh are bonded as one in their admiration for Bangabandhu, the nation’s foremost hero, much similar to the same moon, stars, and sun that umbrella us.
2020 began with a Bangabandhu 100-day Countdown. The countdown clock image was everywhere to be seen. It was intended to trigger the greatest celebration events in the history of the nation, reunite the people of Bangladesh as one (as in 1971), and alert the world to the existence of Bangladesh.
Soothsayers, however, miserably failed in forewarning the arrival of Coronavirus Covid-19 and the horrific negative nightmarish effects it would have.
Understandably, the elaborate planned celebrations to honour Bangabandhu did not eventuate, although some still may and he richly deserves to be honoured.
Personally, I’m not a person who gets excited about balloons, flag-waving, tinseled decorations, and suchlike. They, like pretty soap bubbles, lasts merely for brief moments in time.
I’m more into landmarks that are timeless, continuously appreciated and admired from one generation to the next. The Eiffel Tower, Nelson’s Column, The Statue of Liberty, the Sydney Opera House and so on.
In Bangladesh, Coronavirus has presented us with the rare opportunity to stop, re-think and re-evaluate how we should pay homage to the Father of the Nation. Short-lived pomp, ceremony and trivial parties are much too frivolous and inadequate to honour such an illustrious leader on their own, but they do have a place.
My proposal is simple: change the name of ‘Dhaka’ to ‘Mujib’. Let that be. not only his special birthday present, but also a gift to his people. Moreover, Mujib has a friendly-sounding fatherly, family-like ring to it, a friend to one, a friend to all.
There are many cities worldwide that have changed their names, including: Ho Chi Minn (formerly Saigon), Istanbul (Constantinople) New York (New Amsterdam) Oslo (Kristiania), and Mumbai (Bombay).
Similarly, there are currently 195 countries in the world named after people, including Colombia (Christopher Columbus), China (Emperor Qin), Jordan (Hashim ibn Abd Manaf), Saudi Arabia (Muhammad bin Saud) and so on.
While it is noted the Islamic religion objects to statues erected in a person’s honour (although Bangabandhu would have been entitled to many if he had been elsewhere), there is no Islamic opposition to an area, country, or city bearing a person’s name.
Renaming Dhaka in honour of Bangabandhu would be the most appropriate and enduring birthday present the people of Bangladesh could give him and unlike soap bubbles, it would be eternal.
I further propose, if my proposal is embraced, the transition be scheduled to happen on March 17, 2021, Bangabandhu’s next birthday. That’s nine-months away and during another auspicious occasion – the 50th anniversary of the birth of Bangladesh.
That would give ample time for industries, businesses and the Tourism Ministry to prepare and meet the change.
The name Mujib, an illustrious and revered name among the great leaders of the world; can also go on to become a leader among leaders of the great cities.
Mujib City – a city that inspired liberty and progress.