Hiren Pandit: Bangabandhu arrived in Dhaka on January 10, and 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’. He set foot on the soil of an independent country. 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 were tears, burdened with the pain of losing the relatives. On his face, a smile of victory radiated. As soon as the father of the nation landed by climbing down the plane’s stairs, the head of state was honored by 31 cannon fires.
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. 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 Suhrawardy Udyan.
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. He said with an emotional voice that, 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.” Unfortunately, he had to give his life at the hands of a class of criminals and traitors in the independent country.
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. That war is to build a golden Bengal. In 1947, through the partition of the country based on the 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 people to maintain peace. 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 also recognized that there are other people in Bengal, people from other countries, people from West Pakistan who do not speak Bengali. He said, I’m telling my brothers don’t touch them. “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.
In a very short period, he undertook all the tasks of taking back arms, returning Indian Allied troops, establishing quick diplomatic relations with foreign countries, and moving the country forward as per his dream. Bangabandhu’s journey was from darkness to light, from captivity to freedom, from despair to hope. After 9 months, he returned to his country, Sonar Bangla. He thanked Indira Gandhi, the then-prime minister of India, saying, 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 indebted to you. He diplomatically told her, Hon’ble Prime Minister I have a request for you. When will you withdraw from the Indian Army? Ms. Indira Gandhi said in a generous voice, ‘Any day you want. ‘
Today we are much prouder as Bengalis. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the 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 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.
War-torn Bangladesh began to rebuild and successfully tackled various economic and other challenges. Bangabandhu returned to the newly independent Bangladesh and saw that there was no food in the warehouses, no crops in the fields, and the reserves in the central bank were zero. No bank is functional. Roads and railways are cut off, and seaports and seaports are destroyed. Schools and colleges were abandoned barracks. The Pakistani aggressors destroyed everything possible knowing that defeat was certain.
First of all, Bangabandhu emphasized maintaining the non-aligned position, gaining the recognition of most of the countries in the world as soon as possible, and gaining membership in various international organizations. Bangabandhu aimed to make Bangladesh stand first in the international arena. In just three and a half years of his rule, the Father of the Nation has given Bangladesh the recognition of 121 countries and membership in 36 international organizations, including the United Nations.
The thoughts and instructions of Bangabandhu in the constitution for the overall development of the country are described in the second part of the constitution. Development of local governance institutions, and participation of women in national life. On 12 January Bangabandhu took over as Prime Minister under the Provisional Constitution and formed a new cabinet. Since Bangabandhu’s historic speech on March 7, the whole country, including all government and non-government organizations in the then East Pakistan, has been following Bangabandhu’s orders and the Bengali part of the army is waiting for Bangabandhu’s orders.
In the nine months of the liberation war, the transport system was almost destroyed. As a result, the post-liberation economy almost stopped the import and distribution of food grains, raw materials used in industry, agricultural products, and daily necessities. In such a situation, Bangabandhu took the initiative to compensate for all kinds of facilities in the port, development of shipping, and other areas with utmost importance in the reconstruction work and gave importance to the commencement of civil aviation. The power system was also severely damaged in the War of Liberation. In a short time, Bangabandhu emphasized re-establishing the power system through the construction of transmission and distribution lines.
Most subsidized food production. He set a goal to introduce new mechanical methods of cultivation. To increase agricultural production, farmers are provided with fertilizers, medicines, and high-quality seeds. Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council was established in 1973.
Nearly half a century after the victory, Bangladesh has risen to the top of the world. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman planted the seeds of Digital Bangladesh. He made Bangladesh a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 1973. On 14 June 1985, he inaugurated the Satellite Earth Center at Betbunia. I saw the development of the sapling born from the seed planted by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1996 when the people’s leader Sheikh Hasina took charge as the Prime Minister for the first time.
On 19 February 1974, Bangabandhu, in line with the national aspirations, formed the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy to make Bangladesh an art-cultured creative humanitarian Bangladesh and enrich it by preserving the thousand-year-old culture and heritage of Bengalis. Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy is the only national institution for the development of art and culture in Bangladesh. In his speech on 17 January 1974, Bangabandhu declared war on corruption. He said the future of the nation would be bleak if effective resistance against corruption could not be built. Describing the corrupt, bribe-takers, smugglers, hoarders, black marketeers, and profiteers as enemies of the society and the state, Bangabandhu said that if the national life could not be cleansed by punishing them, the two eras of Awami League would be abandoned.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and a researcher