Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and despite the fact that COVID-19 has suddenly taken an upward turn in Bangladesh, it will be no exaggeration if one says that Bangladesh is now passing through the happiest times in her history since her journey of an independent statehood began. We are celebrating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is undoubtedly the greatest Bengali of all times. This has been supplemented by the golden jubilee of the liberation of Bangladesh. Our joys are therefore boundless. We are not only busy celebrating our happiest times, we are also revisiting our history and trying to foresee what lies ahead of us at the same time. While we foresee attaining the status of a developed country by 2041, being the role model for the rest of the globe, no wonder we are regretful having lost 21 years from our history after the unfortunate assassination of Bangabandhu along will his ill-fated family members on August 15, 1975.
Had this dark chapter been non-existent in our calendar, we would have our future of 2041 as our present in 2021. So during this year of glory, we are not only reminiscent of our glorious achievements, we are also watchful of the perpetrators who have repeatedly back stabbed the nation. While we have enormous respect for our gallant freedom fighters, are efforts are equally diverted to identify the black sheep amongst our herd. We are not hesitant to strip those off their decorations, whose hands are soaked with the sacred blood of Father of the Nation and who patronized of the anti-liberation forces in Bangladesh during the post-Bangabandhu period.
At the same time we are also looking beyond our geographic boundaries. We had friends, sympathizers and allies during are journey to freedom in 1971, who join us today in our celebrations. Besides there are many who having acknowledged their incorrect stand during 1971, are now on a reconciliatory mode.
The first foreign visit by Prime Minister Modi during this Covid-19
pandemic will be to Bangladesh. It is expected that the bilateral relationship
between Bangladesh and India will get fresh boost after his forthcoming visit.
To make our celebrations more joyous and to take the relationship to newer heights
it is perhaps high time that a particular day of the year be
designated as ‘Bangladesh-
India Friendship Day’
However we are not so liberal to all and we also don’t have the right to be so, the reason why although heads of state or governments of neighboring India, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka are visiting Bangladesh to join us during our festivities, the nation that is not welcome is Pakistan. We simply can’t compromise with the blood of our Martyrs, we cannot be betrayers.
There is one more element to add to our celebrations this year. This year also marks the golden jubilee of establishment of diplomatic ties between Bangladesh and India. We have had many who stood by us in 1971, but India stands out most brightly in that list. India’s comparison is only India. It was India that prevented the list of Bangladeshi Martyrs from growing longer by sheltering more than ten million of us in India and they helped curtail our bloody journey towards freedom by training and arming our Muktojoddhas and regular forces. Not only they allowed the Bangladesh government in exile to operate from Indian soil, the Indian government headed by Indra Gandhi toiled day and night to raise public awareness and rally international support in favour of Bangladesh. A country liberated at the cost of blood of Martyrs of two nations flowing into the Bay of Bengal is perhaps without a second example anywhere in the world. It is true that our relationship is not only sweet without the occasional tinge of bitterness, but it is at the same time also true that the peaceful resolution of our land and sea disputes had been possible, simply because of the fact that these two neighbors are Bangladesh and India. We in Bangladesh have witnessed territorial gains both on land and in sea without having to fire a single bullet, but our neighbors are still happy having made such huge sacrifices.
Bangladesh and India witnessed golden times in their relationship during the Mujib-Indira period from 1972 to 1975. The relationship took a nose dive since then. It is only during this Sheikh Hasina-Narendra Modi era, that this relationship has turned round and is flourishing in multiple dimensions.
The first foreign visit by Prime Minister Modi during this COVID-19 pandemic will be to Bangladesh. It is expected that the bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and India will get fresh boost after his forthcoming visit. To make our celebrations more joyous and to take the relationship to newer heights it is perhaps high time that a particular day of the year be designated as ‘Bangladesh-India Friendship Day’. Perhaps December 6 would be the most befitting date, as it was on this day in 1971, when sovereign India became the first country in the world to recognize Independent Bangladesh, much earlier than the shameful surrender of the shameless Pakistani troops in broad day light at the
then racecourse, now Suhrawardy Udyan, in Dhaka.
Professor Mamun Al Mahtab (Shwapnil) is Chairman, Liver Department Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and Member Secretary,