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In memory of Bangabandhu

In memory of Bangabandhu

-Pranab Mukharjee*

Two undying verses of poetry by the poet Annada Sankar Roy regarding Liberation War of Bangladesh have turned our feeling profound and eternal. The poet has written “So long the Padma, the Jamuna, the Gouri (fair-complexioned) Meghna would be flowing/ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, your achievement would last that long.” Paying respect to such a fortunate personality today is a matter of good luck and pride for me. I remember a remark of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India towards the beginning of 1949 – ‘ When the freedom gets suppressed, fair justice is made neglected, when the invasion stands as a rule, then it is not possible to remain silent.’ By rising against misdeed, injustice, deprivation Shiekh Mujibur Rahman endeavored to fulfill that desire. By ignoring all barriers and impediments Bangabandhu jumped upon achieving the liberation of Bangladesh, the visionary wish of deprived – neglected seven crore Bengalis and fulfilled the imaginations of much desired freedom of proud mass people of Bangladesh. At that time the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, rekindled with the ideals-thoughts of Nehru, also stood besides Bangladesh.

After the independence of Bangladesh, the young leadership played a farsighted role in the reconstruction of the country. That was possible only due to following the ideals and philosophy of Bangabandhu. As the father of nation of Bangladesh, Bangbandhu explained the source of his inspiration this way – “As a Bengali it also pains me which pains a Bengali. My feeling gets nourished only by my love to the nation which enriches my political philosophy and makes my existence meaningful.”

The time of Liberation War remains still unfading in my memory. At that time through Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra (Independent Bangla Radio Center) and Akashbani (Radio India) the statement of the heroic struggle of Mukti Bahini (Freedom Fighters) reached me. I was then just 36 six years old – a new MP. The Liberation War of Bangladesh also generated a wonderful feeling in my mind. I remember, on 15th June, 1971, I submitted a proposal to the Indian Rajyasabha suggesting that the Indian government should establish the diplomatic tie with the exiled government of Bangladesh in Mujib Nagar and give recognition to it. Then an MP asked me how this proposal could be implemented. I then replied- ‘this solution is a political solution that means the political recognition to sovereign democratic Bangladesh.’ I then toured various countries to earn recognition for independent Bangladesh government.

I was in Kolkata on the 15th August, 1975. I became confounded and got overwhelmed with grief in the morning on hearing the news of cruel murder of Bangabandhu. I felt that I lost a near and dear one, as if, I lost a close friend. It was not only a crisis of a neighboring state, it was also a matter of personal aguish on the day. By overcoming the agony of that tragic end Bangladesh is now committed to all-out development activities under the leadership of the well-competent daughter of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hassina. May the blooming journey of Bangladesh be unhindered! I pay unadulterated homage to the great leader.

Source: Samakal (15/08/2015).

* Pranab Mukharjee, President of India.

**Translated into English by Khaled Mahmood, Editor, The Economy, Dhaka.