Joy Bangla has been the slogan of Bangladesh's independence and sovereignty since 1971 till today.
Joy Bangla and Joy Bangabandhu these two slogans are inseparably bonded with the history of Bangladesh. These two slogans are part of our legacy, independence and sovereignty. Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal wants to rename her state "Bangla" according to latest news updates.
This will lead to controversy as the word "Bangla" explicitly refers to Bangladesh. For this reason Mamata Banerjee should abstain from making this move. Mamata Banerjee is a prominent politician. We respect her for her cooperative role in looking after the Bangladeshi refugees during the Liberation War of 1971.
That's why we hope that a stateswoman like Mamata Banerjee will not do anything which appears to be disrespectful to Bangladesh.
Joy Bangla and Joy Bangabandhu these two slogans are the source of our courage, determination and optimism. These two watchwords uplifted the morale of our freedom fighters while they were fighting for the independence of Bangladesh back in 1971.
The relationship between India and Bangladesh stands on consolidated grounds. India comprehensively cooperated with Bangladesh during the Liberation War of 1971. Over two crore Bangladeshi people took shelter in India, mostly in West Bengal, while the war was going on. A lot of Indian soldiers got killed while fighting for Bangladesh's independence.
India is a vital development partner for Bangladesh. At the same time India values the prevalence of Bengali cultural heritage. India has all along aided Bangladesh in upholding the sanctity of Bengali culture. At the same time India is Bangladesh's most trusted ally.
We will have to retain good relations with India under all circumstances for our own betterment. Mamata Banerjee should realize the importance of keeping up brotherly alliance between Bangladesh and India. West Bengal is a part of India. Therefore, our relationship with West Bengal is very important too.
India played profound roles at the back of Bangladesh's socio-economic advancement. India has all along stood by Bangladesh during good and tough times. We can learn precious lessons from India regarding democratic practice and upholding the spirit of the Liberation War of 1971. It is even hard to imagine Bangladesh's development keeping India aside. India is well-known all over the world as a country of authentic democracy.
Rabindranath Tagore composed the national anthems of both Bangladesh and India. Tagore is equally loved and respected in Bangladesh as well as in India. He cited "Banga" in the national anthem of India while he stated "Bangla" in the song which later on became Bangladesh's national anthem.
Keeping this in view, Mamata Banerjee should choose the word "Banga" if she wants to rename her state. We should always stand on high alert so that conspirators cannot cause any damage to the ties between Bangladesh and West Bengal.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is another name for Bangladesh. Bangladesh would not have been created if Bangabandhu was not born. When we say "Joy Bangla", we say "Joy Bangabandhu" as well. This is how these two slogans denote our national heritage and take us back to our roots. Mamata Banerjee should remember that using another country's slogan is not acceptable. Rather it would be same as showing dishonour to Bangladesh. It will also hurt the nationalistic sentiments of Bangladeshi people.
The partition of Bengal during 1947 is the most painful tragedy in the history of both West Bengal and Bangladesh. The partition was based on religions which caused communal violence on both sides. Many Hindus had to leave Bangladesh and migrate to West Bengal as a result of the partition. The trauma of this catastrophe still haunts us.
Rabindranath Tagore's song "Amar sonar Bangla ami tomay bhalobashi" (My golden Bengal I love you), which afterwards became the national anthem of Bangladesh is directly associated with the patriotic values of all Bangladeshi people. This song may also come under controversy if West Bengal is renamed "Bangla". We hope Mamata Banerjee will show political sagacity and will keep away from committing this mistake.
Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy and eminent communist leader Mohammad Selim has criticized Mamata Banerjee for imitating the independence slogan of Bangladesh. On the other hand, the Indian national anthem includes the words, "Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya hey Bharata-bhagya-vidhata. Punjab-Sindh-Gujarat-Maratha Dravida-Utkala-BangaVindhya-Himachala-Yamuna-Ganga Uchchala-Jaladhi-taranga."
The English translation of these words is as follows, "You are the ruler of the minds of all people. Dispenser of India's destiny. The name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind, Gujarat and Maratha, of the Dravid and Orissa and Bengal. It echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas.
Mingles in the music of the Yamuna and Ganga. And is chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea." Mamata Banerjee should work for further enhancing the friendly affiliation between Bangladesh and West Bengal. People of both Bangladesh and West Bengal speak in Bengali language.
This is how the people on both sides are close to each other's hearts. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman came back to Bangladesh after the country's independence on 10th January 1972. Bangabandhu first visited Kolkata after Bangladesh's independence. The assistance Bangladesh received from India was invaluable. That's why Bangabandhu said while thanking India, "I have nothing to give you except my wholehearted love."
We also look forward to Mamata Banerjee's cooperation for signing the Teesta water sharing treaty with India. Most of the Bangladeshi citizens regard the people of West Bengal with warmth and cordiality. This amicable status of relations between West Bengal and Bangladesh should be preserved all the way ahead. I hope Sreemoti Mamata Banerjee understands this point.
At the same time we would like her to work for further strengthening of the relationship between India and Bangladesh.
The writer is a diplomat, entrepreneur, author, Chairman of Editorial Board of The Asian Age and a CIP
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