One has to know about Bangabandhu to know Bangladesh, says president
President Md Abdul Hamid has urged the nation to forge an ironclad unity as it did during the Liberation War and stand united against communalism, undemocratic behaviour, and violence.
In his special speech in the parliament on Monday, marking the “Mujib Borsho" or Mujb Year," the president said unity is needed to build the “Sonar Bangla” of Bangabandhu.
Bangladesh is celebrating the “Mujib Borsho” from March 17 this year to March 17, 2021, marking the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
"We shall have to protect our independence, which we snatched from the clutches of the Pakistani invaders in exchange for a sea of blood. The benefits of freedom shall have to be delivered to the doorsteps of all," the president said.
He said political parties shall have to nurture the culture of tolerance of others’ opinions, show mutual respect, and attach due importance to others’ views in order to give democracy an institutional shape.
"By getting imbued with the spirit of 1971, we shall have to build up resistance against those who seek to hinder the trend of advancement in the country through confusion-mongering and derailing the simple-minded people of this land by denying the reality and concocting imaginary stories and situations," President Hamid said.
He said only then would the “Golden Bangla” dreamt by Bangabandhu materialize and the celebrations of his birth centenary become meaningful.
Mentioning the decision to observe the “Mujib Borsho” as a very significant one, President Hamid said that the life and works of Bangabandhu, his thoughts, ideas and philosophy have to be disseminated among the younger generation of Bangladesh and across the world through observance of the ‘Mujib Borsho’.
‘Learn about Bangabandhu to know Bangladesh’
"The life and political philosophy of Bangabandhu is fully relevant, modern, timely, and ever-lasting for the freedom-seeking people of the world even during the 21st century," the president said.
He hoped that the country's politicians, historians, academics, researchers, and journalists will contribute significantly towards disseminating Bangabandhu's biography, work, and ideals worldwide.
"There’s no scope to look at Bangabandhu and Bangladesh separately. One has to know about Bangabandhu to know Bangladesh, the struggle for freedom of the Bengalis and the liberation," he said in his speech.
"Those who tried to look at these two phenomena separately have failed. Today’s reality is the biggest proof of that,” he said.
“Let the nation advance on the path of building hunger and poverty-free Bangladesh by embracing the spirit of the Liberation War and the ideals of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu. Let the nation succeed in dropping its anchor on the shore of Bangabandhu’s Sonar Bangla,” he added.
‘Want Rohingyas to return home with dignity’
In his speech, the president also touched upon the issue of the Rohingya crisis.
He said Bangladesh gave shelter solely on humanitarian grounds to around one million forcibly displaced Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar despite the country’s own sizable population of 160 million.
President Hamid said Bangladesh has repeatedly raised the issue in the world forums, including the UN to bring these refugees back to their homeland with dignity.
Meanwhile, the case of brutal persecution and genocide against the Rohingyas has been placed in the International Court of Justice and the court has issued some preliminary directives to the Myanmar government.
"We want the displaced Rohingya refugees to return to their homeland with dignity," the President added.
President Hamid also reiterated his call to all countries and international organizations, including the UN, to extend necessary support in this regard.
Parliament sessions with Bangabandhu
President Hamid on Monday also recalled parliament sessions with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and shared fond memories of the architect of the nation’s independence.
Bangabandhu used to attach the highest priority to the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly and alongside parliamentary proceedings, he was also very alert about the party discipline, he said.
He recalled that the number of opposition members was less than 10 when all parties and independents were combined but they were quite vocal and used to get sufficient time for placing their arguments.
“The parliamentary sessions were quite lively. The arguments, debates and presentations of views were very attractive. The presence of Bangabandhu himself and his statements were above everything else,” Hamid said.
When it came to forming a committee to frame the constitution, Hamid recalled Bangabandhu saying: “We shall not form the committee with only our members; everybody shall be consulted irrespective of their party affiliations and opinions, so that a proper constitution can be presented in line with the wishes of our people.
“We shall seek the opinion of all for this purpose; this constitution shall uphold human rights; the people will be able to enjoy those rights throughout their lives.”
Hamid, the 20th president of Bangladesh, was an eager young man back then.
“It was a matter of great interest and attraction for me to participate in the sessions of the Constituent Assembly as its youngest and newest member,” he said.
“As an utterly new member, I used to observe with great enthusiasm the performances of the senior and experienced members. The parliamentarian Bangabandhu was then at the centre of my interest.”
Bangabandhu also did not hesitate to indulge in humour inside parliament, Hamid said.
“Once, while speaking in the parliament, he laughingly said, ‘honourable Speaker, I am requesting via you, please raise the height of my microphone in future, because I am too tall a man’,” he recalled.