Ruling Awami League, and its associate bodies, have chalked out elaborate events to mark the occasion
The historic Homecoming Day of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is being observed on Thursday in a befitting manner.
Bangabandhu, the undisputed leader of the nation and supreme commander of the country’s Liberation War, returned to the sacred soil of independent Bangladesh—via London and New Delhi—on January 10 in 1972, after 290 days of captivity in a Pakistani jail.
To mark the day, the ruling Awami League, its associate bodies, other political parties, and socio-cultural-professional organizations have chalked out elaborate events, reports BSS.
The day started with the hoisting of the national and party flags at the Awami League central office, Bangabandhu Bhaban, and party offices across the country around 6:30am.
Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, ruling party leaders, and workers placed wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu at Bangabandhu Bhaban in Dhanmondi at about 7am.
Sheikh Hasina is expected to chair a discussion at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh (KIB) in the city’s Farmgate area at 3pm today. Additionally, Bangali Sangskritik Bandhan, a cultural alliance, will hold a discussion at Shilpakala Academy at 10am today.
In a statement, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister urged all party leaders and like-minded political organizations to observe the day in a befitting manner.
President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave separate messages paying profound homage to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the greatest Bangali of all time.
“Today is the historic January 10, the Homecoming Day of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Though we achieved our ultimate victory on December 16 in 1971 through armed struggle, the true essence of victory came into being once the Father of the Nation returned home,” President Hamid said in his message.
This year, Homecoming Day is more significant than at any other time as the people of the country have cast their votes in the 11th parliamentary election for Sheikh Hasina—the daughter of Bangabandhu—to run the country for a third consecutive term. She was elected to materialize Bangabandhu’s dream, President Hamid said, adding “I believe that this is a true reflection of deep trust and confidence in Bangabandhu and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina”.
Recalling January 10, 1971, the president quoted Bangabandhu, in front of hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Racecourse Maidan, as saying: “The dream of my life is fulfilled today. My Sonar Bangla is now free….a sovereign state has emerged.”
Anti-liberation forces, however, wanted to wipe out the ideal and principle of Bangabandhu and tried to tarnish the image of a sovereign Bangladesh by assassinating of Bangabandhu and his family members on August 15, 1975, said President Hamid.
“However, the Bangali is a nation of intrepidity. As long as Bangladesh and the Bangali exist, Bangabandhu will remain the eternal source of our inspiration,” he added.
The president said the present government is making untiring efforts for the progress and development of the country.
“Bangladesh, in the meantime, is now being considered worldwide as a role model for its development in various sectors including: education, health, agriculture, information technology, women’s empowerment, etc. I am confident that with this pace of development, Bangladesh will be a developed country by 2041, Insha Allah,” he added.
“On the Homecoming day of Bangabandhu, let us take the pledge to continue advancing our country by implementing the unfinished tasks of this great leader imbued with the spirit of War of Liberation,” Hamid said.
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said under the undisputed leadership of Bangabandhu, the Bangali nation earned its ultimate victory waging its nine-month solemnly-vowed war.
“The defeated Pakistani rulers were compelled to free Bangabandhu. The Father of Nation returned to an independent Bangladesh on the January 10, 1972,” she said, adding that while speaking before a mammoth gathering at the then Racecourse Maidan on the day, he (Bangabandhu) narrated the inhuman torture the Pakistani military junta meted out onto the people of Bangladesh.
After his return, the Father of the Nation devoted all his efforts to rebuild a war-ravaged Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said, adding that as Bangabandhu had engaged himself in the struggle to build a “Golden Bangladesh” reconstructing the war-torn country; but the anti-liberation forces, in collusion with war criminals, assassinated Bangabandhu along with most of his family members.
Through the heinous killings on August 15, 1975, they initiated the politics of killings, coups and conspiracies; and obstructed the process to try the killers of Bangabandhu through promulgating the Indemnity Ordinance, she said.
“We reestablished democracy in 1996 through a long struggle and sacrifice. Our government’s 1996-2001 tenure will always be marked as a glorious period in our national history. The Bangali nation reestablished democracy and rights of the people in 2008 after a long struggle,” the premier added.
Referring to Awami League’s landslide victory in the December 30 polls, Sheikh Hasina said: “We will fully honour the huge mandate that the people of our country has given to us. We will turn Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041, Insha Allah.”
On the night of March 25, 1971, Pakistan’s army arrested Bangabandhu at his Dhanmondi residence and sent him to a West Pakistani jail the following day.
Bangabandhu was subjected to torture in the Pakistani jail where he awaited the carrying-out of his death sentence that was pronounced in a farcical trial.
“I was a prisoner in the condemned cell awaiting hanging. From the day I went into jail, I did not know whether I was to live or not. I was mentally ready to die. But I knew Bangladesh would be liberated,” said Bangabandhu when he recounted his ordeal at a news conference in London after his release.
On the Pakistani army’s slaughter of Bengalis, Bangabandhu declared: “If Hitler had been alive today, he would be ashamed.”
Previously, on March 26, 1971, Bangabandhu proclaimed the independence of Bangladesh and urged people from all walks of life to participate wholeheartedly in the nation’s War of Liberation.
Immediately after independence was proclaimed, Bangabandhu was imprisoned in West Pakistan.
Though the final victory in the nine-month-old War of Independence was achieved—with the defeat of Pakistani occupation forces on December 16, 1971—the nation’s expectations were fulfilled and the public had a real taste of victory with the homecoming of Bangabandhu on January 10, 1972.
Upon reaching Dhaka (Tejgaon) airport in the afternoon of January 10, Bangabandhu was greeted by tens of thousands of jubilant people who had been eagerly waiting to see the beloved leader since the final victory on December 16, 1971.
From the airport, Bangabandhu was brought to the Racecourse Maidan (now Suhrawardy Udyan) where he addressed a spontaneous reception accorded to him by the cheerful countrymen; with the crowd estimated at one-million-strong. He recalled, with respect, the contribution of all during the war and urged the people to rebuild the war-ravaged country.
Bangabandhu took his oath of office as the country’s Prime Minister on January 12, 1972.
In recognition of this day, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader urged leaders and workers of the party, plus its associate bodies, to ensure events marking the day are a success.