Bangladesh is celebrating 51 years of its victory over Pakistan with tributes pouring in for the martyrs of the War of Independence and a resolve to continue the march on the path to prosperity.
The Victory Day celebrations will begin with a 31-gun salute at the National Parade Square in Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar at dawn on Friday.
President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will then lead the celebrations of the day by placing wreaths as a mark of respect for the fallen heroes at the National Memorial in Savar.
The families of the Bir Sreshtha as well as wounded freedom fighters, members of the cabinet, members of parliament, Supreme Court judges, the heads of the armed forces and diplomats will pay their respects afterwards. The memorial will then open for all to pay their tributes.
The joint forces will take part in a colourful parade at the National Parade Ground. The armed forces will also hold drills.
The president will inspect the parade and take salutes from an army jeep. Hasina will also be present.
On Saturday, the ruling Awami League will organise a victory parade from Suhrawardy Udyan to Dhanmondi 32. At 11am, Hasina will preside over the party’s Victory Day discussion at Krishibid Institution.
Important buildings and establishments have been decorated and illuminated with lights. Main thoroughfares of the city are bedecked with national flags and colourful festoons.
Improved meals will be served in prisons, hospitals and orphanages while special prayers will be offered in mosques, temples, pagodas and other places of worship for the departed souls and the country’s peace, progress and prosperity.
Newspapers will publish special supplements marking the day while televisions and radio stations will air special programmes.
As the British colonial rule ended in 1947, Bengalis were once again shackled, this time by West Pakistan.
But the people of the then East Pakistan soon found a champion for their cause in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who would go on to deliver on his promise to break the chains of West Pakistani oppression.
As the discontent simmered after over two decades of West Pakistani rule, the Pakistan Army swooped down on the unarmed innocent Bengalis on the night of Mar 25, 1971 to crush their struggle for freedom.
But Bangabandhu, the undisputed leader of the Bengalis, had effectively announced the nation’s independence at the historic Mar 7 rally at the Race Course grounds, when he proclaimed in a thundering voice: “This time the struggle is for our freedom. This time the struggle is for our independence.”
Bengalis put up a valiant resistance and snatched victory on Dec 16 after nine months of Liberation War.
Lt Gen Amir Abdullah Khan Niyazi, the martial law administrator of the then East Pakistan, signed the official document of surrender sitting next to Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, the joint commander of Indian forces and the Mukti Bahini of Bangladesh, at the Ramna Race Course ground, now Suhrawardy Udyan.
Hamid and Hasina greeted people on the occasion. The president in a message called for unity in the spirit of the Liberation War.
“We shall have to give institutional shape to democracy in order to deliver the benefits of Independence at people’s doorstep, which we attained through the sacrifice of millions of martyrs,” he said.
“The political parties will have to nurture the culture of mutual respect and tolerance of others’ opinions. Let us contribute more from our respective positions in implementing the spirit and values of war of liberation and take the nation towards the path of development and prosperity.”
The establishment of the nation-state Bangladesh through the victory in the War of Liberation was the greatest achievement of the Bengali nation, Hasina said in her message.
“To make this achievement meaningful, we have to know and let people know about the Greatest Hero of Independence Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib and the War of Liberation,” she said.
“We will convey the spirit of the great Liberation War from generation to generation – let this be our pledge on this victory.”
Copyright© 2022, bdnews24