Hiren Pandit: The historic moment came, ending the long wait and anxiety on 10 January 1972. Bangabandhu set foot on the soil of an independent country and returned to the dream of independent Bengal. The plane touched down at Tejgaon Airport at 3 pm. Standing on the steps of the plane, Bangabandhu waved his hand towards the ocean of people. In his eyes, there was a river of tears, burdened with the pain of losing the relative, and a smile of contentment of the victorious hero across his radiant face. As soon as the father of the nation entered the golden Bengal of his dreams by climbing the plane’s stairs, the head of state was honored by firing 31 cannons. Then Bangabandhu was taken to the stage.
All around is the flag of the independent country, the joy of victory. Even then there is no relief in the minds of Bengalis. Though the country was independent, the undisputed leader of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was still imprisoned in Pakistan. As a result, even after independence, in the absence of a leader, the imperfection remained in the celebration of the glory of victory.
After spending 290 days in Pakistani prisons, Bangabandhu was released on 8 January 1972 and left for London on 9 January. He spoke to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Edward Heath, the Prime Minister of the Mujibnagar government Tajuddin Ahmed and the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi. The next day, on January 9, he left for the country on a British Air Force plane. On the morning of January 10, Bangabandhu made a short break in Delhi. Bangabandhu received a warm welcome from the President of India VV Giri, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the entire cabinet, chief leaders, chiefs of the three forces, other guests and the people of India. Bangabandhu expressed his sincere gratitude to the leaders and people of India for their generous help. He described his return to his homeland as “a journey from darkness to light.”
After visiting the Guard of Honor, Bangabandhu shook hands with political leaders present at the airport, members of foreign missions in Dhaka, senior military officers of the Allied Forces, senior officials of the Bangladesh government, leaders of Awami League and other political parties and other eminent persons. Flowers began to fall on him from all sides. Bangladesh Army, Air Force and Navy provide Guard of Honor to the Head of State. Bangabandhu took a salute from the stage. At the time, the chief of the Bangladesh Liberation Army Colonel Ataul Gani Osmani, Lt. Colonel Shafiullah and Bangabandhu’s eldest son Sheikh Kamal stood by the father of the nation.
From there, it took Bangabandhu two and a half hours to reach the historic racecourse ground through the love and affection of millions of Bengalis. With the return of Bangabandhu, the war of independence was completed. After he arrived in Dhaka on January 10, millions of people greeted the beloved leader with flowers and tears of joy. After getting the leader back, on January 10, 1972, seven and a half crore Bengalis were overwhelmed with joy and shook the sky of Bengal with the sound of ‘Joy Bangla’, ‘Joy Bangabandhu’.
In that emotional speech of about twenty minutes, he said that he was ready to go to the gallows in West Pakistan. But he knew that no one could ‘keep’ the Bengalis under control. “The land I love so much, the people I love so much, the nation I love so much, I didn’t know if I could go to Bengal or not. Today I have returned to Bengal to my Bengali brothers, mothers, and sisters. Bengal is independent of me, Bangladesh is independent today.
On that day, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib declared to millions of people in Suhrawardy Udyan, “Even with blood, I will repay this debt of love of the Bengali nation.” He had to give his life at the hands of a class of criminals and traitors called Bengalis in the independent country, who could not show the courage to scratch the body of the Pakistani aggressors. On 15th August 1975, Bangabandhu kept his word by pouring fresh blood on his chest with his family.
In the beginning, that is, on the night of March 25, 1971, Pakistani forces arrested Bangabandhu, the undisputed leader of the Bengalis, from his house at Dhanmondi No. 32. He was imprisoned in Pakistan. While the Bengalis were fighting for independence, Bangabandhu was on death row as a convict in a Pakistani prison.
After the final victory of the Bengalis, the world leaders became vocal in demanding the release of Bangabandhu. The defeated Pakistani ruling class was finally forced to release Bangabandhu under international pressure. On the day of his return to the country, Bangabandhu called for another war for the happy people. That war is to build a golden Bengal. Work is going on at a relentless pace to realize his dream. But with all his life he has proved that Bengalis can do anything impossible if they want to.
Historic January 10 is a unique milestone in the continuous history of our great liberation war. In 1947, through the partition of the country based on the erroneous two-nation theory, the Pakistani ruling class plunged the people of East Bengal into a new darkness of subjugation. The Bengali nation, under the undisputed leadership of the great hero of history Bangabandhu, built a formidable resistance against the Pakistani ruling class in the course of a long movement and struggle.
Bangabandhu declared the independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of March 26, 1971, when the Pakistani aggressors started indiscriminate genocide against unarmed Bengalis on the black night of March 25, 1971. After the declaration of independence of Bangladesh, the Pakistani aggressors arrested Bangabandhu and kept him in Pakistani jails. Following the direction of Bangabandhu, the Bengali nation achieved victory on 16 December 1971 through a long and bloody war of liberation against the occupying Pakistani invaders. The independent and sovereign state of Bangladesh emerged on the world map.
The people of Bengal, however, carried out the 35 instructions given by Bangabandhu during the war. These include administration, education, law and order, port activities, foreign trade, communications, agriculture, services, infrastructure development, industrial construction, food control, banking and treasury operations, tax collection, insurance and trade, Retirement Allowance for Retired Government Officers-Employees, Allowance for Government-Private Officers-Employees and Primary School Teachers etc.
In his Homecoming Day speech, Bangabandhu made a list of important tasks aimed at elevating a war-torn country to a prosperous state. He first focused on infrastructure development. Because at that time it was very important to rebuild the communication system to provide assistance to the people across the country and to run the business. Bangabandhu was uncompromising against all possible irregularities for the formation of a welfare state. “I am warning my officers not to take bribes,” he said. Corruption will not be tolerated in this land.
One of the important directives of his speech was to maintain peace and harmony in society. He directed the people to maintain peace. “You have to keep the peace,” he said. Peace-loving Bengalis have shed a lot of blood for independence. They also know how to maintain peace. In his speech, he said unequivocally, “I want to make it clear that Bangladesh will be an ideal non-communal state.
The father of the nation was also aware of the foreign policy of the newly independent Bangladesh. He also gave a clear idea of the essence of foreign policy in his speech. He said, “Friendship with all, not enmity with anyone.” “I want to say clearly and unequivocally that Bangladesh will be a secular, democratic and welfare state,” he said.
“I would like to say that if the people of Bangladesh do not get adequate food if their mothers and sisters do not get clothes and if the youth do not get jobs, then our independence will be incomplete,” he said. ‘
Respectfully, Bangabandhu recalled the sacrifices of all and encouraged everyone to work for the betterment of the country. He said you are my brother. This freedom will not be fulfilled for me if the people of Bengal do not get rice to fill their stomachs, this freedom will not be fulfilled for me if the mothers and sisters of Bengal do not get clothes, this freedom will not be fulfilled for me if the youth of this country do not get jobs. Mukti Bahini, the student society congratulates you, you have become a guerrilla, you have given blood, blood will not go in vain, blood has not gone in vain. ‘
There are other people in Bengal, people from other countries, people from West Pakistan who do not speak Bengali, I am telling them to become Bengalis. And I’m telling my brothers not to touch them, we love people, people. However, those who have brokered, those who broke into the houses of my people and killed them, will be judged and punished, “said the father of the nation.” Leave them in the hands of the independent government of Bengal. But I want them to be tried and punished in an independent court in an independent country. I want to show that peaceful Bengalis know how to give blood to the world, peaceful Bengalis also know how to maintain peace. ‘
In a very short period, he undertook all the tasks of acquiring arms, withdrawing Pakistani troops, returning Indian Allied troops, establishing quick diplomatic relations with foreign countries, and moving the country forward as per his dream.
On my way to Bangladesh, I have decided to stop at the historic capital of your great country because the greatest friend of our people is the people of India and your majestic Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi – who is not only the leader of the people but also the leader of humanity. I would like to express my minimum personal gratitude to the Government of India under his leadership. All of you have worked tirelessly and accepted heroic sacrifices to end this journey. This journey is from darkness to light, from captivity to freedom, from despair to hope. Finally, after 9 months, I am returning to my dream country, Sonar Bangla. ‘After the formality of the reception, during a courtesy call on the Indian Prime Minister at the airport lounge, Bangabandhu privately requested Mrs. Indira Gandhi,’ Madam Prime Minister, I am indebted to you.
You have helped my Bengali people with arms, money and shelter; You have stood by us during the difficult days of our liberation war. We are eternally indebted to you. Honorable Prime Minister, I have a request for you. When will you withdraw from the Indian Army? ‘Mrs. Indira Gandhi said in a generous voice,’ Any day you want. ‘ But today we are much prouder as Bengalis. Because Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the worthy daughter of Bangabandhu, has been making Bangabandhu’s dreams a success one by one.
The father of the nation had two dreams – to make Bangladesh independent and to transform the country into a hunger-free, poverty-free golden Bengal. He has given us freedom and his worthy daughter Sheikh Hasina is fulfilling his second dream. Under her leadership, Bangladesh has established itself as a role model for a hunger-free, poverty-free country. Bangladesh is going to be the Golden Bengal of Bangabandhu’s dream.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and a researcher.