The rise of independent Bangladesh and the history of Bangladesh Awami League are intertwined
June 23 marks the 71st founding anniversary of Bangladesh Awami League.
The ruling party is set to celebrate the significant day on a limited scale with different programs virtually, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
To celebrate the anniversary, national and party flags will be hoisted atop all party offices, including the Bangabandhu Avenue central office at dawn, reads a press release signed by Awami League Office Secretary Barrister Biplab Barua.
According to the press release, some senior central leaders of Awami League shall place wreaths in the morning under the portrait of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at Bangabandhu Bhaban in Dhaka’s Dhanmondi, maintaining health guidelines.
A delegation of the Awami League Central Working Committee (ALCWC) is also scheduled to place wreaths in the morning at the mausoleum of Bangabandhu in Tungipara, Gopalganj.
This year, Awami League has organized prayers, dua, and munajat, seeking eternal peace for the departed souls of Sheikh Mujib and other martyrs of 1975 , four national leaders, 1971 martyrs, martyrs of different movements and struggles, and party leaders who died of coronavirus infection.
Party sources said Awami League President Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to deliver a 5pm video address from her official residence to party leaders present at the Bangabandhu Avenue central office.
However, an aide to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told Dhaka Tribune on Monday that the premier’s program has not yet been finalized.
Central leaders of the party will also attend several webinars to mark the significance of the day.
On Monday. Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued a message to mark the party's 71st founding anniversary, reports BSS.
“On this day I recall with respect the greatest Bengali of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I recall Awami League’s founding president Mawlana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani and general secretary Shamsul Haque. I recall with respect Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy,” she said.
The prime minister also said Awami League would work to ensure that no one remains poor in the country.
“The Language Movement in 1952, the Jukta Front election in 1954, the anti-Ayub movement in 1962, the restoration of communal harmony after the 1964 riot, the six-point movement in 1966 and the mass upsurge in 1969 all took place under the leadership of the AL,” the prime minister added, highlighting that all notable achievements of Bangladesh took place under the ruling party.
Academics: Bangladesh still indebted to Awami League
Academics have said the country is still indebted to Awami League as the party has played a crucial role in Bangladesh's history since its inception.
“Awami League is the biggest, oldest and most people-oriented party. No other party has given as much to Bangladesh as Awami League," said noted educationist and historian Prof Syed Anwar Hussain, reports BSS.
He also stressed the need for keeping the party and government as separate entities to strengthen democracy and follow in the footsteps of Bangabandhu.
Regarding the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, Prof Syed Anwar Hussain said the Awami League-led government performed admirably considering the limited resources available.
He added that the insincere work of some of the party members was taking away from the good work done by Awami League.
Former Dhaka University vice-chancellor and noted educationist Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique suggested that Awami League engage themselves with the masses more.
"Throughout his entire life, Bangabandhu engaged himself with the masses and he always used to talk to people and party leaders before taking any decision. That is why Bangabandhu became a leader of the mass people," he said.
Brief history of Awami League
On June 23, 1949, the organization was founded under the name, “East Pakistan Awami Muslim League.”
Pakistan's first opposition party, the East Pakistan Awami Muslim League, made its debut on June 23 and 24, 1949, at a conference of progressive activists of the Muslim League, led by Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy, at the historic Rose Garden premises in KM Das Lane, Dhaka.
The rise of independent Bangladesh and the history of Bangladesh Awami League are intertwined.
The language movement that started in 1948 to make Bengali one of the state languages of Pakistan turned into a mass uprising in 1952.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, a young militant public leader who was a victim of continued political persecution played the role of a motivator in the language movement at that time.
Against the backdrop of the victory of the language movement, the Muslim League suffered a miserable defeat at the hands of the Awami League-led United Front in the 1954 provincial assembly elections.
Even then, the Awami League was kept away from the responsibility of running the state by a palace conspiracy. Through a series of events, a coalition cabinet was formed on 6 September 1958 under the leadership of the Awami League.
The Awami League government in East Bengal ensured a free democratic environment and Bengali gained the official status of one of the state languages on the initiative of Awami League.
February 21 is declared a national holiday - Martyr's Day. Later it was declared International Mother Language Day by the UN.
Party leaders played an important role in the education movement of '62 and '64, the prevention of communal riots in '64, the historic 6-point movement of '66, the Agartala conspiracy case of '68, the mass uprising of ‘69, and finally the War of Independence in 1971.
After the assassination of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family, on 15 August 1975, the party faced a very tough time.
On several occasions, the very existence of the party was threatened. It had too many factions at the central level as well. Then Bangabandhu’s daughter, Sheikh Hasina, returned to Bangladesh and took charge as party president in 1981. Since then she has been serving as the foremost and unparalleled leader of Awami League.