Bangabandhu means a leader of courage, a man of conviction, a sage of peace, a champion of justice, equality and dignity, hand of defiance against brutality, and a shield against coercion.
This is how Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman while conveying greetings and good wishes from 130 crore Indian brothers and sisters to entire Bangladesh, on the auspicious occasion of the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu on March 17.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had personally invited her Indian counterpart Modi to be part of the historic occasion. However, it could not be possible due to Coronavirus. Later, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself suggested an option and Modi connected with people in Bangladesh through a video link.
Modi said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was one of the greatest personalities of the last century.” His entire life is a tremendous inspiration for all of us.”
“These qualities of him gave a new energy to lakhs of youth in those times, to face all the challenges for liberation of Bangladesh. Today, it gives me great happiness, when I see people of Bangladesh dedicating themselves day and night towards making their dear nation, `Shonar Bangla’, as was dreamt by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” said the Indian Prime Minister.
Two Milestones Ahead
Indian Prime Minister Modi thinks the two milestones in the next two years will take development of Bangladesh and India to a new height strengthening the bond of friendship between the two countries noting that the life of Bangabandhu gives a great message to the world of 21st Century.
“A new dimension has been added to our relations through Friendship Pipeline. Be it road, rail, air, waterway or internet, our cooperation in several sectors is connecting people of our two countries even more,” he said.
Next year will be 50 years of Bangladesh’s liberation and year 2022 will be the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.
The Indian Prime Minister said their heritage comes from intellectuals like Tagore, Qazi Nazrul Islam, Ustad Alauddin Khan, Lalon Shah, Jibanananda Das and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
“Legacy and inspiration of Bangabandhu has made our heritage more comprehensive,” he said.
Modi said India has always been attached to his ideals and values.
“Deep rooted relations between India and Bangladesh have been laid on the foundation of this shared heritage. This heritage of ours, deep rooted bond, path shown by Bangabandhu are the strong foundation of Partnership, Progress and Prosperity of the two countries in this decade as well,” said the Indian Prime Minister.
Bangladesh is Moving Ahead
The Indian Prime Minister said they all are well aware, how a repressive and cruel regime, disregarding all democratic values, unleashed a reign of injustice on `Bangla Bhumi’ and devastated its people.
“He (Bangabandhu) had devoted every moment of his life towards bringing Bangladesh out of the phase of devastation and genocide and making it into a positive and progressive society. He was absolutely clear that hatred and negativity can never be the foundation of any country’s development,” Modi said.
However, the Indian Prime Minister said, Bangabandhu’s these very ideas and efforts were not liked by certain people and they snatched him from them.
“Bangladesh and all of us were fortunate that PM Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana had blessings of God. Otherwise, supporters of violence and hatred left no stone unturned,” he said.
The Indian Prime Minister said they are all witnessing that how, making terror and violence weapons of politics and diplomacy destroys a society and a nation.
“The world is also watching where the supporters of terror and violence currently placed and in what state they are while Bangladesh is reaching new heights,” he said.
Modi mentioned that Bangladesh is moving ahead, inspired by Bangabandhu and under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina and with inclusive and development oriented policies, which is really commendable.
“Be it economy, other social indices or sports, today Bangladesh is setting new benchmarks,” he said adding that Bangladesh has made unprecedented progress in many fields like skill, education, health, women empowerment, micro finance.
Modi happily mentioned that in last 5-6 years, India and Bangladesh have scripted a golden chapter of bilateral ties and given new dimension and direction to our partnership.
“This is because of increasing trust between the two countries that we have been able to amicably resolve complex issues like Land Boundary, Maritime Boundary,” said the Indian Prime Minister.
Today, he said, Bangladesh is not only India’s biggest trading partner in South Asia but also development partner.
Electricity generated in India is lighting up lakhs of houses and factories in Bangladesh, he said.
A Leading Voice
UN Secretary General António Guterres also sent a video message and said the United Nations will continue to work with Bangladesh to achieve the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and tackle the climate crisis.
“Bangladesh is a close and valued partner for the United Nations,” he said in the video message on the birth centenary celebrations of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on Tuesday.
The UN chief said he is very pleased to join the celebrations and mentioned that vision and goals of Bangabandhu continue to inspire many.
He said Bangladesh is a major troops contributing country and a leading voice on sustainable development.
The UN chief in his 40-second brief video message also termed Bangladesh a generous host country for Rohingyas.