Independence, freedom and victory- these words are very familiar to the people of the new generation of Bangladesh- as they are privileged to be the proud citizens of an independent nation. However, achieving the independence from another country was not easy by any means, and the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 was an epitome of that hardship. Nonetheless, December 16 of 1971 is the date which finally brought the much awaited, expensive but priceless taste of victory to the citizens of Bangladesh- and since then, cultural bodies commemorate the day with a great variety of festivities.
Last Monday marked the occasion of 49th Victory Day of Bangladesh, and as usual, country’s renowned cultural organizations observed the day with glory through a variety of cultural events.
Known as the autonomous institution funded by Bangladesh government to promote and foster the Bengali language, literature and culture as well as developing and implementing national language policy and operate original research in the Bengali language- the Bangla Academy has a long history with Bangladesh’s journey towards the independence. After the historical Language Movement of 1952, the formation of the academy was started and many of the intellectual martyrs of the war had been deeply connected to the institution. Commemorating all the martyrs in the war, the academy started their Victory Day events by placing floral wreath to pay homage to the martyrs of the liberation war at the National Martyrs’ Memorial, Savar, in the morning.
Later, a seminar, presided by Bangla Academy President and National Professor Dr Anisuzzaman, was arranged in the afternoon at the academy’s Nazrul Stage. Eminent historian and academy’s former Director-General Dr Syed Anwar Husain joined the seminar session, titled ‘Victory: History and Significance’ as the solo speaker. Bangla Academy’s Director-General Habibullah Siraji and Dr Anisuzzaman also spoke at the event.
Country’s distinguished cultural institution Chhyanaut also has similar history of its foundation under the oppression of Pakistani rulers. The institution celebrated the day through an enormous arrangement since 2015- chorusing of National Anthem altogether at a certain time. This year, they arranged the festivity at Dhaka University’s central field, marking the fifth anniversary of this annual event.
Started at 3.45 pm through raising the national flag by DU Vice-Chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman, the event featured a cultural session with solo and group songs, poetry recitations and dance performances was held at the event- which concluded through the chorusing of National Anthem at 4.31 pm, commemorating the exact moment of signing of Pakistani Instrument Surrender by Pakistan's Lt.Gen. A. A. K. Niazi to the commander of Indian armed forces Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora in Dhaka on 16 Dec' 1971.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy:
The National Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) was founded in the independent Bangladesh under the vision of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1974. Since its foundation- the academy celebrated all the national days with style- and this year’s Victory Day was no different, with a range of colorful festivities.
BSA started the day at 8.30 am by placing floral wreath at the National Martyrs’ Memorial, Savar. Troupe of BSA Staff members, led by the academy’s Director-General Liaquat Ali Lucky conveyed their homage to the martyrs. Soon after, a cultural session was organized at the adjacent green valley of National Martyrs’ Memorial where 500 promising artists took part in poetry recitations, acrobatics, musical performances and art camp. Eminent artistes including Syed Hasan Imam, Layla Afroze, Ashraful Alam, Mahidul Islam Mahi and others recited poems at the event. Also, a troupe of 60 promising Baul-artistes performed Baul songs at the programme.
Later the academy arranged a seminar followed by a cultural session at the National Theatre Hall of BSA on evening. The event, presided by BSA Director-General Liaquat Ali Lucky, was joined by freedom fighter and former Advisor of Caretaker Government Sultana Kamal as guest speaker. The cultural session featured mesmerizing performances by BSA artistes featuring group and solo musical and dance performances, and poetry recitations by Syed Hasan Imam and Jharna Sarkar.
Liberation War Museum:
Began under the intuitive of an eight-person board of trustees as a means of preserving the memory of the 1971 Liberation War, the Liberation War Museum in Agargaon celebrated the Victory Day ever since its foundation. The history of the museum offers a real, touchy past- the trustees sought donations from the general public to fund the museum and for the general public to come forward with artifacts to be displayed in the museum - both of which were met with a successful level of response, when the initiative was taken. The museum was opened on 22 March, 1996 in a colonial-era two-storied building at Segun Bagicha, Dhaka- later shifted into the new spacious premises in Agargaon and officially re-opened on 16 April 2017. Containing more than 21,000 artifacts, the museum describes itself as "the outcome of a citizen’s effort" due to the crowd-funded nature of the museum (which is independent of the Govt. of Bangladesh) and the collective contribution of the general public to the museum's collection.
Among the festivities, the museum arranged a week-long festivity from 9-16 December. The Victory Day special arrangement marked a children’s festival in the morning at the museum featuring Society for the Welfare of Autistic Children, SOS Children's Village, Kolporekha, Bangla Initiator Academy, Nrittyajon, Ucep School and cultural troupe Boddhobhumir Shontandol. Later, the museum arranged a special musical show titled ‘Kishshya’, performed by Khokhon Boyati and troupe from Kishoreganj.
A weeklong Liberation War film festival began from December 15 at the National Public Library in the capital marking the Victory Day. Liberation War Affairs Ministry organised the festival titled ‘Evaly 71 on Celluloid’, to encourage the young generation to learn more about the Liberation War.
With a hope to celebrate the 50th anniversary of victory in 2020- nation conveyed adios to the day this year.