Against the background of religious extremism trying its best to negate all the achievements of the people and the progress of democracy in the country, some progressive and eminent people got together to form an organisation that would work as a sentinel to fight the obscurant elements in society.
Extremism in any form such as thoughts, religion, politics and socio-cultural interactions brings sufferings instead of any good for the people. Gaining in-depth knowledge about the culture and history of the country is a must to build a secular Bangladesh where people of all religions can live side by side in harmony. When the minorities feel comfortable in a country, it points at liberalism existing in society.
Speakers made such observation while addressing a programme organised on the occasion of launching ‘Sampriti Bangladesh’, an organisation that started its journey at National Museum conference room on Saturday in the capital with an aim to establish a secular Bangladesh.
The organisation started its journey amidst great enthusiasm and fanfare, under the slogan ‘Gahi Sammyer Gaan’, meaning ‘we sing the song of equality’.
With the help of militants, anti liberation forces are becoming united which must be eliminated to establish a free and fair livable society for tomorrow, the organization aims.
In his welcome speech, Pijush Bandyopadhyay, convener of the newly inaugurated organisation, said, “Before launching the organisation, we visited many parts of the country including Dhaka to consult with the countrymen about our aim, seeking their guidelines and suggestions. Everywhere we were greeted and encouraged with much enthusiasm. Everyone welcomed our initiative of establishing a liberal organisation which would reflect the spirit of Liberation War through people’s unity and brotherhood.”
The inaugural event was attended by a number of eminent senior citizens of the country from different strata of the society.
Professor Emeritus Dr Serajul Islam Chowdhury said, the country is yet to establish secularism without which democracy cannot move ahead.
“Religion is individual’s choice where the state should not interfere. And the state must not adopt any religion but give freedom of performance to all on any religious matter,” Prof Serajul Islam added.
The professor also said, the disease named capitalism spoiled humanity and harmony across the globe; that has to be recovered.
Wisdom has to be our guide to get rid of communalism. Besides, equity must also be given importance, the professor suggested.
Professor Dr Anisuzzaman, in a video massage, said, “In the recent context of the country an organisation like ‘Sampriti Bangladesh’ is very essential.”
Hoping that the organisation will spread messages of communal harmony to every doorsteps of the country, the renowned academician said, “We are marching forward facing many ups and downs. In this march a small mistake can bring big misfortune if we are not united.”
Asking the audience why we have to discuss about communal harmony till now, former Vice-chancellor of Dhaka University AAMS Arefin Siddique, in his speech, said, “Because, we lost our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, that was a great loss for us. They did not kill Bangabandhu only, they killed the harmony between the people.”
Mentioning the potentials of youth born in independent Bangladesh, he urged the new generation to work for establishing religious harmony in the country which was Bangabandhu’s dream.
When the minorities feel comfortable in a country, it points to harmony and liberalism existing there, said prominent writer and columnist Professor Dr Zafor Iqbal.
He further said that our minorities are our pride; we have to care for them with sincerity to build a happy country.
Thanking the organisers of Sampriti Bangladesh, Sammilita Sangskritik Jote President Golam Kuddus said, “Once we were divided into many factions in the name of religion, but during the Liberation War, we became united and fought for our independence.”
“After the Liberation War, unfortunately, we became divided again. We are now divided into small ethnic groups. It is a matter of great sorrow that the plight, and right also, of the indigenous people are nowadays neglected,” the eminent cultural activist observed.
He wished that ‘Sampriti Bangladesh’ will work to abolish the negligence and establish equal rights for all.
Harun Habib, Secretary General of Sector Commanders Forum and also a journalist, said, “The inauguration of this organisation is a much awaited event. Our country has to march forward without losing or compromising our culture and heritage. I hope Sampriti Bangladesh will focus on protecting our culture and heritage.”
Observing that Sampriti Bangladesh is a much needed organisation which can protect the interest of the people, Shamim Md Afzal, DG of Islamic Foundation, said, “Indeed our country gives us freedom to practice our own religion, but a vested quarter is active to destroy this freedom.”
He thanked the present government for establishing religious affairs ministry which, he hoped, will ensure practice of any religion according to will.
“Our battle is against militancy. We have to fight those bigots who mislead people abusing their religious beliefs,” Shamim said, adding that the country’s people have to be united to drive away fundamentalism.
Journalist Abed Khan said this organisation is being established through the concerted efforts of people from different strata of society.
He said, “Young generation nowadays forget their true role due to various evil influence of extremist forces. This organisation is being established to show them the path towards success and prosperity.”
“The organisation will work to establish a peaceful society,” the renowned journalist added.
Muktijoddha Jadughor Trustee Sarwar Alam said, there are symptoms in society which indicate that we are becoming bigots of religious extremity neglecting the practice of brotherhood. We have to remove those evil symptoms from our society.”
Bangladesh Christian Association president Dr Nirmol Rozario wished the organisation will work for the protection of all people’s interest.
National Press Club President Shafiqur Rahman said, there are still many forces in society working against our liberation. Such forces should be eradicated, from grassroots to national level, in order to protect our country’s interest.
Among others, former Vice-Chancellor of Jahangirnagar University M Anwar Hossain, Chairman of the University Grant Commission Professor Abdul Mannan, Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik, former UGC chairman and DU VC Professor Dr AK Azad and representatives from different religions spoke on the occasion appreciating the initiative Sampriti Bangladesh.