The grateful nation is set to observe the National Mourning Day today (Saturday) by paying homage to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the greatest son of the soil in a thousand years, marking the 45th anniversary of his martyrdom.
This year all programmes will be held by maintaining social distancing and health guidelines in the wake of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On the fateful night of August 15 in 1975, Bangabandhu, architect of the country’s independence, was assassinated along with most of his family members and a number of his kin by some disgruntled army officers at his Dhanmondi-32 residence in the capital.
The most diabolical murder of the country’s history was committed as part of a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched at home and abroad against the Bangladesh and its independence – only in four years of the liberation from the clutches of Pakistan and two years of the 1973 general election that Bangabandhu-led Bangladesh Awami League won by a landslide.
After the carnage, a pall of gloom descended on the Bengali nation as well as on the people across the globe. The world protested and condemned the killing, saying it was an irreparable loss to millions of people of Bangladesh.
Other victims of the August 15 carnage included Bangabandhu’s wife Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, sons Captain Sheikh Kamal, Lt Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russell, daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal, brother Sheikh Naser, nephew Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni and Moni’s wife Begum Arju Moni, brother-in-law Abdur Rab Serniabat, Serniabat’s daughter Baby Serniabat, son Arif Serniabat, grandson Sukant Abdullah Babu and nephew Shahid Serniabat, and Amir Hossain Amu’s cousin Abdul Nayeem Khan Rintu. Bangabandhu’s military secretary Col Jamil Uddin Ahmed was also killed.
Bangabandhu’s two daughters – incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana – luckily escaped the massacre as they were abroad at the time.
Bangabandhu was the dreamer of independent Bangladesh who gave the nation freedom, a national flag, a map and a state, and embarked on a programme to make the new state Sonar Bangla free from hunger and poverty.
If Bangabandhu would alive, he would be 100 years and four months today.
On the occasion of his martyrdom anniversary, people from all walks of life gather to grieve together for Bangabandhu every year.
The Bengali nation sings in tears -- Jodi raat pohale sona jeto Bangabandhu more nai, jodi rajpothe abar michhil hoto, Bangabandhur mukti chai. Tobe biswa peto ek mohan neta, amra petam fire jatir pita [Had it been heard at the beginning of the new day that Bangabandhu is alive; had there been processions again on the streets chanting slogans for the release of Bangabandhu; the world would have got a great leader and we got back our Father of the Nation].
In observance of the day, the government, political, socio-cultural and professional organisations, including the ruling Awami League and its associate bodies, have taken various programmes.
President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages marking the National Mourning Day.
The nation started observing the month of mourning from August 1, recalling the most brutal killing in Bangladesh’s history and renewing the pledge to safeguard the country’s independence and sovereignty.
BSS adds: As part of the National Mourning Day programme, the national flag will be hoisted half-mast atop the buildings of all government, semi-government, autonomous, educational institutions and private offices.
Wreaths will be placed at the portrait of the Father of the Nation in front of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in the city and special prayers will be offered there at 6.30 am today.
Wreaths will also be placed at the graves of Bangabandhu’s martyred family members and other martyrs of August 15, 1975 at Banani Graveyard in the city and special prayers will be offered there at 7.30 am.
Wreaths will too be laid at the grave of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Tungipara in Gopalganj district around 10 am. Fateha will be offered and a Dua held there maintaining social distancing.
To mark the National Mourning Day, special prayers will be offered at all mosques across the country after Juhr prayers while prayers will take place at all temples, churches, pagodas and other places of worship at convenient time.
Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television will air special programmes in observance of the National Mourning day. National newspapers and magazines will publish special supplements on the occasion.
Besides, especially designed posters on Bangabandhu will be distributed while documentary on him will be screened on the occasion.
Posts and Telecommunication Division will send SMS through Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to all mobile users describing the significance of the National Mourning Day.
According to the inter-ministerial meeting, Bangabandhu Memorial Museum will organise lecture on the biography of Bangabandhu and National Mourning Day using virtual platforms on request of the educational institutions, Shishu Academy and such institutions.
In line with the national programmes, different ministries and divisions, departments and agencies will organise various programmes at their respective institutions, maintaining social distancing and health guidelines.
Use of virtual platforms should get priority in holding Mourning Day programmes.
District and upazila administration will draw up their respective programmes, including discussions and Dua Mahfil, marking the Mourning Day maintaining the social distancing. Government officials will join the programmes at district and upazila levels.
District councils and municipalities will join the programmes to be organised by the district and upazila administration while city corporations, municipalities and union parishad will also undertake programmes in line with the national programmes. Use of virtual platforms should get priority in holding Mourning Day programmes.
Bangladesh missions abroad will also hoist the national flag half-mast and organise discussions marking the day.
The ruling AL has drawn up elaborate programmes centrally to observe the National Mourning Day to pay glowing tributes to Bangabandhu and other martyrs of August 15 massacre and take a pledge to work for nation building following the ideology of the Father of the Nation.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister and Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader urged the party leaders and workers, all progressive political, socio-cultural organisations and the people as well to observe the Mourning Day.
As part of the party programmes, at dawn today, the national flag and party flag will be kept at half-mast and black flag will be hoisted at the Bangabandhu Bhaban, Awami League headquarters in the capital and all other offices of the party across the country.
Tributes will be paid to Bangabandhu by placing wreaths at his portrait on Bangabandhu Memorial Museum premises in city’s Dhanmondi 32 at 8am while Dhaka city units of AL and its associate bodies will pay homage to Bangabandhu through mourning processions.
AL will also pay homage to all martyrs of August 15 carnage by laying wreaths at Banani graveyard at 8:45am while offering Fateha, Munajat and Dua Mahfil will be held there.
Besides, homage will be paid to Bangabandhu by placing wreaths at his mausoleum at Tungipara in Gopalganj and offering of Fateha, Munajat and Dua Mahfil will also be held there at 10am.
A delegation of the AL central working committee and its Gopalganj district and Tungipara upazila units will take part in that programme.
The delegation members include Presidium Member Muhammad Faruk Khan, Central Working Committee Member Abul Hasnat Abdullah, Presidium Members Advocate Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman, Joint General Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim, Organising Secretaries BM Mozammel Haque, SM Kamal Hossain, Mirza Azam and Advocate Afjal Hossain, and Central Working Committee Members Advocate ABM Riazul Kabir Kawser, Sahabuddin Farazi and Anisur Rahman.
The party will also hold Dua and Milad Mahfil at mosques across the country after Zuhr prayers while special prayers will also be offered at temples, pagodas, churches and all places of worships.
In the afternoon, food will be distributed among orphans, poor and destitute people.
Besides, Mohila Awami League will hold a Milad and Dua Mahfil on Bangabandhu Bhaban premises after Asr prayers and will arrange a virtual discussion on August 18 marking the National Mourning Day.
Jubo Mahila League will organise another discussion on August 20 to mark the day while Jubo League will hold a Dua Mahfil seeking eternal peace of the departed souls of all 15 August martyrs.
Apart from this, Jubo League will organise a discussion on August 25 while Jatiya Sramik League and Mohila League will hold another discussion on August 26 virtually to mark the National Mourning Day.
Dhaka south and north city units of AL will hold a discussion on August 30 while Chhatra League will organise another discussion on August 31, marking the National Mourning Day.