Mujib Borsho celebration has already been started by inaugural function where speeches, cultural functions and fireworks at the birth time had been arranged. We know under the leadership of father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman People's Republic of Bangladesh had been established and he is now recognized as one of the great leaders of the world.
His speech on 7th March 1971 has been included in the Unesco records as one the great speeches for the mankind. In the inaugural function speeches of President and Prime Minister of Bangladesh as well as speech of the close neighbor Indian Prime Minister have been broadcast. Besides President of Nepal and Prime Minister of Bhutan have sent video messages. Secretary Generals of UNO and OIC had also sent video messages to project the celebration globally.
Bangabandhu's daughter PM Sheikh Hasina describing the Bangabandhu's struggles for independence and emancipation has expressed her determination to establish Bangabandhu's dream Sonar Bangla. Our greatest friend democratic India's Prime Minister Narandra Modi highlighted our Father of the Nation and expressed that the way he is being horned and respected in Bangladesh, the same way he is being respected in India. He also described the achievements in the fields of cooperation and hopes it will be continued.
Centenary celebrations began across the country, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stood solemnly after placing wreaths at the grave of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Tungipara in Gopalganj marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu.
Bangladesh began celebrating the birth centenary of father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through the national anthem, songs, poetry and fireworks. A scaled-down inaugural ceremony started at the Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka at 8pm on March 17, the moment of his birth, as the government restricted gatherings due to coronavirus pandemic.
Let us describe the PM Sheikh Hasina's Speech to project her determination and commitment for Mujib Borsho. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called upon the new generation to build themselves as worthy citizens by following Bangabandhu's ideology, saying that the people of the country will stay awake with his ideology and uphold the flag given by him forever.
"You (father) are lying near the lap of your parents under the green-covered ground in Tungipara. Father, sleep in peace … your Bangladesh is marching towards advancement at an indomitable pace and will go ahead further," she said in her nationwide address on the occasion of the inauguration of the birth centenary celebration of father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The premier added: "The people of the country and the generation after generation will stay up bearing your ideals in the hearts in your dream Sonar Bangladesh … the flag given by you will fly forever." In this connection, Sheikh Hasina quoted a famous song of Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore."Tomar pataka jare dao (those whom you give your flag), tare bohibare dao shakti (give him strength to bear it).
Tomar sebar mahot proas sohibare dao bhakoti (give devotion to have patience for the noble initiative of service)." The premier reiterated her firm commitment to build 'Sonar Bangla' as dreamt by Bangabandhu. "Father, it's our pledge to you that we must build 'Sonar Bangla' as you dreamt and those days are not far away," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said today Bangladesh has taken a prestigious position around the world. "We've to advance further by building a hunger-and-poverty-free developed and prosperous Bangladesh as dreamt by the father of the nation," she said. At the outset of her speech, Sheikh Hasina extended heartfelt greetings of Mujib Year on her own behalf as well as her sister Sheikh Rehana to all Bangladesh nationals at home and aboard along with the world community.
She, however, said King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, President of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen and several other foreign leaders extended greetings by sending video messages.
"I'm personally and on behalf of the people of Bangladesh extending thanks and gratitude to them," she said. In her speech, the premier also recalled with profound respect four national leaders and martyrs of the liberation war and also expressed deep sympathy to repressed mothers and sisters and war-wounded freedom fighters.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman marking his birth centenary through a video message on 17 March. PM Narendra Modi highlighted Bangabandhu as the great larder and expressed that 'Bangabandhu's life is inspiration for all Narendra Modi's speech is given below to read his important speech once again.
Many greetings and good wishes from 130 crore Indian brothers and sisters to entire Bangladesh, on the auspicious occasion of the 100th birth anniversary of `Jatir Pita' Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was one of the greatest personalities of the last century. His entire life is a tremendous inspiration for all of us. Bangabandhu means--- a leader of courage, a man of conviction, a sage of peace, a champion of justice, equality and dignity, a hand of defiance against brutality, and, a shield against coercion.
These qualities of him gave a new energy to lakhs of youths in those times, to face all the challenges for liberation of Bangladesh. Today, it gives me great happiness, when I see people of Bangladesh dedicating them day and night towards making their dear nation, `Shonar Bangla', as was dreamt by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Friends, life of Bangabandhu gives a great message to the world of 21st Century. We all are well aware, how a repressive and cruel regime, disregarding all democratic values, unleashed a reign of injustice on `Bangla Bhumi' and devastated its people. He had devoted every moment of his life towards bringing Bangladesh out of the phase of devastation and genocide and making it into a positive and progressive society.
He was absolutely clear that hatred and negativity can never be the foundation of any country's development. However, his very ideas and efforts were not liked by certain people and they snatched him from us. Bangladesh and all of us were fortunate that PM Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana had blessings of God. Otherwise, supporters of violence and hatred left no stone unturned.
The world is also watching where the supporters of terror and violence currently placed and in what state they are while Bangladesh is reaching new heights. Friends, Bangladesh is moving ahead, inspired by Bangabandhu and under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina and with Inclusive and development oriented policies, this is really commendable. Be it economy, other social indices or sports, today Bangladesh is setting new benchmarks. Bangladesh has made unprecedented progress in many fields like skills, education, health, women empowerment, micro finance.
I am also happy to mention that in last 5-6 years, India and Bangladesh have scripted a golden chapter of bilateral ties and given new dimension and direction to our partnership. This is because of increasing trust between the two countries that we have been able to amicably resolve complex issues like Land Boundary, Maritime Boundary. Today, Bangladesh is not only India's biggest trading partner in South Asia but also development partner.
Electricity generated in India is lighting up lakhs of houses and factories in Bangladesh. A new dimension has been added to our relations through Friendship Pipeline. Be it road, rail, air, waterway or internet, our cooperation in several sectors is connecting people of our two countries even more.
Friends, our heritage comes from intellectuals like Tagore, Qazi Nazrul Islam, Ustad Alauddin Khan, Lalon Shah, Jibanananda Das and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. Legacy and inspiration of Bangabandhu has made our heritage more comprehensive. India has always been attached to his ideals and values. Deep rooted relations between India and Bangladesh have been laid on the foundation of this shared heritage.
This heritage of ours, deep rooted bond, path shown by Bangabandhu are the strong foundation of Partnership, Progress and Prosperity of the two countries in this decade as well. Next year will be 50 years of Bangladesh's liberation and year 2022 will be the 75th anniversary of India's independence.
I am confident that both these milestones will not only take development of India and Bangladesh to a new height, but will also strengthen the bond of friendship between the two countries Once again. Jai Bangla, Jai Hind. The way he appreciated and highlighted Bangabandhu is rare in the world.
It may be remembered that Bangabandhu on 10th January, 1972 in Delhi mentioned that we have communalities and shared values. He ended his speech by saying Joy Bangla, Joy Hind. We know our relations based on history-heritage and communalities. It is evident from his speech that there are scopes in the field of electricity transmission generation, trade and investment and that is the model for other regions as well as across the world. He ended his speech by saying Joy Bangla and Joy Hind that indicates his pragmatic and judicious leadership.
In a significant move to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Saarc countries agreed to work together, create an emergency fund and share expertise, data and best practices. They also agreed to hold a health minister-level videoconference at the earliest and take forward the initiative, fearing the COVID-19 could result in serious consequences if a coordinated and collaborative approach is not taken at the critical juncture of time.
"We all agree that we are facing a serious challenge. We do not as yet know what shape the pandemic will take in the coming days. It is clear that we have to work together," said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a videoconference titled "Together we can fight #COVID19''.
He proposed creating a COVID-19 Emergency Fund based on voluntary contributions from all the Saarc countries, and said India can start with an initial offer of $10 million for this fund. "Any of us can use the fund to meet the cost of immediate actions," Modi said, adding that foreign secretaries of the Saarc countries, through their embassies, can quickly coordinate their efforts to finalize the concept of this fund and its operations.
Joining the videoconference, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called for a strong collaboration among the Saarc nations in devising a collective strategy and mobilizing resources in combating coronavirus.
"We need to devise a strong strategy for the region to combat this public health threat and to protect our citizens," she said from the Gono Bhaban. She suggested that the Saarc Secretariat should coordinate the regional collaboration on fighting coronavirus for the safety and security of the people in the region.
The WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Saarc couldn't hold any summit after 2014. The last summit, scheduled to take place in Pakistan in 2016, was cancelled as India withdrew from it after the 2016 Pathankot attack in Indian Kashmir. New Delhi accused Islamabad for it.
Leaders also suggested using the existing facilities, like the Saarc Disaster Management Centre, to pool in the best practices among all the countries, and creating a common research platform to coordinate research on controlling epidemics within South Asia.
Welcoming the initiatives suggested by Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani proposed a common framework for tele-medicine to combat the virus. He also urged all the Saarc nations to keep an eye on the evolving situation. Pakistan PM's Special Assistant on Health Zafar Mirza said, "No nation can afford to be unresponsive to the situation in wake of coronavirus outbreak."
"We share common regional concerns on COVID-19; while hoping for the best, we have to prepare for the worst," said Mirza. He further said all restrictions should be lifted in Jammu & Kashmir to deal with the coronavirus threat. It may be remembered that Pakistan is patronizing and helping terrorists that's why present restrictions had been done and it has been normalizing step by step Pakistan PM has no confidence to face the Saarc Video Conference.
Taking part in the videoconference, Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih welcomed Modi's suggestion for setting up COVID-19 emergency fund. He backed a coordinated approach to deal with the virus. Solih also mentioned that the Maldives has already been affected due to a decline in the number of tourists and fall in businesses.
Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said Saarc leaders should devise a mechanism for the economies in the region to tide over problems posed by coronavirus. "I propose setting up of Saarc ministerial-level group to deal with issues related to coronavirus." Joining the videoconference, Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli said, "Our collective efforts will help us devise a sound and robust strategy for the Saarc region to fight coronavirus." He underlined the importance of effective mobilization to control the spread of the virus.
Bhutanese PM Lotay Tshering said, "[It is] important for all of us to be on the same page to combat coronavirus." Leaders of the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) agreed on devising a joint strategy to fight the deadly coronavirus. They were of the opinion that people of the region should follow guidelines to remain safe instead of getting panicked over coronavirus. SAARC covers three percent of the world's area, 21percent of the world's population and contribute in the global economy in a significant way.
Our subcontinent as well as world are facing coronavirus pandemic. By this time at least 186 countries and regions of the world are affected Saarc ladders video conference initiated by Narandra Modi is helping and inspiring to face the crisis jointly. In future also these types of video conferences can be arranged as has been proposed by PM Sheikh Hasina, this will strengthen Saarc.
It is mentionable that though Pakistan is patronizing terrorist and anti democratic forces. The peace loving people of this region is moving forward for peace and progress. You hope Bangabandhu's centenary celebration, golden jubilee celebration of Bangladesh and 75th celebration of Independence of India will create enthusiasm among the people of SAARC.
The writer is an academic, former ambassador, leader-student action committee 71 and freedom fighter.
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