The countdown for the birth centenary celebration of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman began yesterday through a gala opening ceremony.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the nationwide countdown ceremony at the capital’s National Parade Square where Bangabandhu landed in the newly-liberated Bangladesh on January 10, 1972.
The PM opened the event through unveiling the logo of the Mujib Borsho, to be celebrated from March 17, 2020 to March 26, 2021.
Through observing the birth centenary, the government aims to present Bangabandhu’s life and works before the people, especially the new generation.
Speaking at the programme, Hasina said the government wanted to move ahead with the torch of victory which was given by the Father of the Nation by liberating the country.
She said the government wants to make Bangladesh free from hunger and poverty, and a developed country as dreamt by Bangabandhu.
The PM said there was a dark chapter in the country after the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu.
She urged all to remain alert so that the dark era could never cast its shadow over the people again. “On this day, I hope people will build Golden Bangladesh of the Father of the Nation and place it in a dignified position in the world.”
Hasina said the Pakistani occupation forces could not kill Bangabandhu with their repeated attempts, but it was very much regretful that Bangabandhu gave his life within three and a half years after the country’s independence when he was taking the war-ravaged country towards development.
“The spirit and history of the Liberation War were erased, the slogan Joy Bangla, and the March 7 speech of the Father of the Nation were banned. That speech has got recognition from the UNESCO as a world document.”
The PM said Bangladesh could not have been an independent country without the Father of the Nation and the Bangalee nation could not have got its dignity and self-identity as an independent nation.
“It’s true that we achieved our victory on December 16, but at that time everybody thought that the independence remained unfulfilled and it was not complete. The people eagerly awaited the homecoming of their leader.”
She mentioned that thousands of people had gathered at the airport (now the National Parade Square) to welcome Bangabandhu on January 10, 1972. People tried to forget their pain of loss of their dear ones by greeting their most loved leader, the PM added.
Bangabandhu’s younger daughter Sheikh Rehana and grandson Sajeeb Wazed Joy were present at the National Parade Square with the PM.
Marking the 10th January, a symbolic aircraft of the historic Homecoming of the Father of the Nation landed at Tejgaon Old Airport at 04:35pm yesterday.
A 21-gun salute was sounded just after opening the door of the plane after its arrival at the tarmac of the airport.
About 150 people, including students of educational institutions, welcomed the plane, while the nearby place of its exit door was illuminated with laser light.
Laser light slowly went down to the edge of the red carpet, reflecting the Homecoming of Bangabandhu as the lighting guide of the nation.
A smartly-turned out contingent drawn from Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Air Force presented a state salute on the occasion.
COUNTDOWN BEGINS ACROSS COUNTRY
Meanwhile, devices are being set up at different public places in the capital, divisional cities, districts, city corporations, and upazilas across the country for the countdown for the birth centenary celebration.
Many ministries, divisions, departments, socio-cultural organisations and public and private universities are also installing devices at their own initiatives.
There will be an inauguration programme on March 17 this year, which will be attended by eminent personalities from home and abroad.
In the morning yesterday, the prime minister paid rich tributes to the Father of the Nation on the occasion of the historic Homecoming Day.
Hasina paid the homage by placing wreaths at the portrait of the Father of the Nation in front of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in the capital’s Dhanmondi.
After laying the wreaths, she stood there in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memory of Bangabandhu.
The Father of the Nation had returned to independent Bangladesh via London and New Delhi on January 10 in 1972 after long captivity in Pakistani jail.