The historic Homecoming Day of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is being observed in a befitting manner today across the country.
Bangabandhu, the undisputed leader of the nation and supreme commander of the country's Liberation War, returned to the sacred soil of independent Bangladesh via London and New Delhi on January 10 in 1972, after 290 days of captivity in Pakistan jail, reports BSS.
To mark the day, the ruling Awami League, its associate bodies, other political parties and socio-cultural-professional organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes.
The day's program will start with hoisting of the national and party flags at the AL central office, Bangabandhu Bhaban, and party offices across the country around 6:30am. AL leaders and workers laid wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu at Bangabandhu Bhaban at about 7am.
Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina is expected to chair a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at 3pm. President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave separate messages paying profound homage to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the greatest Bangali of all time.
The hard-earned independence of Bangali truly completed after the homecoming of Bangabandhu as a triumphant hero on 10 January in 1972, the President said in his message.
He said on that day in an emotional speech in front of thousands of people at the Race Course Maidan, Bangabandhu said, "The dream of my life was fulfilled today. My Sonar Bangla is now free and a sovereign State".
"If anybody wants to snatch the independence of Bangladesh, then Mujib will sacrifice his life first to protect the independence," Abdul Hamid quoted from Bangabandhu's speech on his homecoming day.
The President said on 15 August 1975, Bangabandhu kept his word by shedding his blood along with his family members.
"The defeated forces of liberation war made a heinous attempt to wipe out the ideals of Bangabandhu and foil the independence and sovereignty of the country. But Bangali is a nation of heroes. As long as Bangladesh and the Bangalis exist, Bangabandhu will remain as the source of our inspiration," he added. Abdul Hamid said the present government under the leadership of Bangabandhu's daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been putting all out efforts for the progress and development of the country.
He called upon the nation to continue the collective endeavours to build a non-communal and democratic Bangladesh imbued with the spirit and ideology of Bangabandhu.
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said under the undisputed leadership of Bangabandhu, the Bangali nation earned the ultimate victory waging the nine-month solemnly-vowed war.
Sheikh Hasina said the defeated Pakistani rulers were finally compelled to free Bangabandhu and on his return, he delivered a speech before a mammoth gathering at the Race Course Maidan where he narrated the inhuman torture of the Pakistani military junta meted out on him. The anti-liberation forces in collusion with war criminals halted the march-forward of Bangladesh through assassination of Bangabandhu along with most of his family members on the August 1975, she said.
She said the armed usurpers marred the democracy, defaced the constitution and distorted the glorious history of our independence and halted the path of progress and development.
"The democracy has been reestablished after a protracted struggles and sacrifices. The Awami League government has uplifted the living standard of the people through tireless efforts. Bangladesh is now a universal model of development," she added.
She said the historic 7 March Speech of Bangabandhu has been included in the international memory of the world register as World Documentary Heritage by UNESCO. "This recognition has made the nation proud again," she added.
The Prime Minister called for turning Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed and prosperous one by 2041.
"Let us build a hunger and poverty free and happy, prosperous Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Bangabandhu," she said.
On the night of March 25, 1971, Pakistan army arrested Bangabandhu from his Dhanmondi residence and sent him to a West Pakistani jail the following day.
Bangabandhu was subjected to inhuman torture in the Pakistan jail where he had been counting moments for the execution of his death sentence that was pronounced in a farcical trial.
"I was a prisoner in the condemned cell awaiting hanging. From the day I went into jail, I didn't know whether I was to live or not. I was mentally ready to die. But I knew Bangladesh would be liberated," Bangabandhu spoke emotionally of his ordeal in Pakistani prison in a news conference in London.
On the Pakistani army's slaughter of Bengalis, "Mujib declared: "If Hitler could have been alive today, he would be ashamed."
Earlier on March 26 in 1971, Bangabandhu proclaimed independence of Bangladesh and urged people from all walks of life to participate wholeheartedly in the nation's War of Liberation.
Immediately after the proclamation of independence, Bangabandhu was arrested by Pakistani military junta and then flown to West Pakistan to keep him in prison there.
Though the final victory in the nine-month-old War of Independence was achieved defeating Pakistani occupation forces on December 16 in 1971, the nation's expectations were fulfilled and the people got the real taste of victory with the homecoming of Bangabandhu on January 10 in 1972.
On reaching Dhaka (Tejgaon) airport in the afternoon on January 10, Bangabandhu was greeted by tens of thousands of jubilant people who had been eagerly waiting to see the beloved leader since the final victory on December 16 in 1971.
From airport Bangabandhu was moved to the Racecourse Maidan (now Suhrawardy Udyan) where he addressed a spontaneous reception accorded to him by the cheerful countrymen believed to be one million. He recalled with respect the contribution of all during the war and urged the people to rebuild the war-ravaged country.
Bangabandhu took oath of office as the country's Prime Minister on January 12, 1972.
In a statement, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader urged leaders and workers of the party and associate bodies to make all programmes of the day a success.