Today is the historic 10 January, the Homecoming Day of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangladesh achieved victory after a 9 month-long bloody war, but the victory of the Bangali nation was fulfilled only after the homecoming of Father of the Nation. On this memorable day of the Bangali nation, I pay my profound homage to Bangabandhu and pray for the salvation of his departed soul.
The Awami League had won absolute majority in the General Election of 1970. But as the Pakistani rulers were reluctant to hand over power, the people of the country started Non-Cooperation Movement under the leadership of Bangabandhu. On the fateful night of 25 March 1971, the Pakistani invading forces started genocide by executing \'Operation Searchlight\' in accordance with their preplanned blueprint to annihilate the Bangalis. Under these circumstances, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared the independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of 26 March in 1971 and urged people from all strata to join the war of liberation. Immediately after that, the Pakistani forces arrested Bangabandhu from his residence, Road No. 32 of Dhanmondi and confined him in Mianwali jail of the then West-Pakistan. Bangabandhu had to undergo 9 months 14 days of rigorous imprisonment there. The liberation war was conducted in the name of Bangabandhu. He was the source of inspiration in the war of liberation.
Bangabandhu became very emotional after setting his feet on the country’s soil in the garb of a triumphant hero. In front of thousands of people at the Racecourse Maidan, he declared, “The dream of my life has been fulfilled today. My Sonar Bangla is now free and sovereign State”. He further said, “If anybody wants to snatch the independence of Bangladesh, then Mujib will sacrifice his life first to protect the independence”. On 15 August 1975, he kept his word by shedding his fresh blood from the heart along with his family. The conspirators made a heinous attempt to wipe out the ideals of Bangabandhu and foil the independence and sovereignty of the country. But the Bangalis are a nation of heroes. As long as Bangladesh and the Bangalis exist, Bangabandhu will remain as the source of inspiration for all.
Bangabandhu cherished a true and deep love for Bangla, Bangali and Bangladesh. He was awarded death sentence during his imprisonment at Mianwali jail in Pakistan. Bangabandhu uttered, “I will say, while going to the gallows, I am Bangali, Bangla is my country and Bangla is my language. Joy Bangla”. Such an example of profound love for country and people is rare in the world.
Bangabandhu sought economic emancipation of the Bangalee alongside their political freedom. With this goal, he had started rehabilitation work in the newly-independent war-ravaged country. But that forward-march was brought to a halt through the assassination of Bangabandhu. The present government under the leadership of the illustrious daughter of Bangabandhu Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working tirelessly for the progress and development of the country. Bangladesh is being considered worldwide as a \'role model\' for development in various sectors, including education, health, agriculture and information technology. Bangladesh is now being gradually transformed into a \'Golden Bengal\' of Bangabandhu\'s dream.
Bangladesh, in the meantime, has attained the status of lower middle income country and I am hopeful that it will become a middle-income country soon. With the continuation of the pace of development, I am sure, Bangladesh will be a developed and prosperous country by 2041 through concerted efforts of all. Let us advance our country by becoming united with the spirit of patriotism and liberation war. Let this be our pledge on the Homecoming Day of Bangabhdhu this year.
Khoda Hafez, May Bangladesh Live Forever.