Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Benarjee at at Vivsa-Bharati University in Santiniketan on Friday. Photo: PMO
Terming Bangladesh-India ties beyond strategic, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday hoped that the two countries will be able to solve their any problem maintaining their bonds.
“I hope, we’ll able to solve any problem through maintaining our friendly relations,” she said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of Bangladesh Bhavan at Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan.
Sheikh Hasina further said, “We, the two neigbouring countries, want to move together always. If there’s a neighbouring country, there may be some problems with it. We’ve solved the problems one by one. I don’t want to break the excellent momentum of this ceremony raising the rest few problems.”
The Prime Minister said the multi-faceted and multi-dimensional relationship between Bangladesh and India has reached a new height in the last nine years.
“Our relationship is described as far beyond strategic relationship. Bangladesh-India bilateral relationship is often considered as a ‘model of bilateral relations’ for the rest of the world,” she said.
Hasina hoped that the two nations will be able to achieve socio-economic development through full utilisation of mutual cooperation.
Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly unveiled the plaque of Bangladesh Bhaban at Vivsa-Bharati University in Santiniketan. The two-storeyed building was constructed at a cost of Rs 25 crore.
“Bangladesh Bhavan will be a centre of excellence where students will be able to study and conduct research on the glorious Liberation War of Bangladesh, the life and works of Father of the Nation of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore,” she said.
Hasina said, “This (Bangladesh Bhaban) will enhance the cultural bond between Bangladesh and India as well. It’ll play a significant role in increasing the cultural exchanges and the people-to-people contact between the two countries.”
Library, auditorium, cafeteria, museum with digital features and archive, and other necessary amenities will be available at Bangladesh Bhavan to facilitate the researchers, she said.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh will also provide a one-time fund equivalent to Rs 10 core for the maintenance of the building and for conducting its future activities.
She said her relationship with Visva-Bharati dates back to quite a few years. This institution awarded her with ‘Deshikottom’ degree in 1999. “Since then, I had a longing that a separate centre for Bangladesh Studies would be established here.”
Hasina said Rabindranath Tagore is like a lighthouse in the life of each and every Bengali. “He (Tagore) remains close to our heart - in our joy or sorrow, in love or desertion, in rebellion and peace. We’re immersed in the shower of his creations.”
She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was often totally immersed in Rabindranath. He used to listen to Tagore songs regularly even when he was in a solitary confinement.
She said Bangabandhu was so profoundly influenced by Rabindranath that he selected ‘Amar Sonar Bangla, Ami Tomay Bhalobashi’ as the National Anthem of Bangladesh.
Hasina said her association with the works of Rabindranath started under the guidance of her father.
“In our childhood, we used to listen to the recitation of Kabiguru’s poems by my father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his nice deep voice. While travelling to Tungipara (our ancestral home) by steamer, he, sometimes, used to recite from Kabiguru’s poems.”
She recalled that the Indian government and its people stood beside Bangladeshis during the 1971 Liberation War. “Many Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives in the Liberation War of Bangladesh. People of Bangladesh would never forget those supreme sacrifices.”
She also recalled that then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi provided shelter to her and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana in India after the assassination of the Father of the Nation along with 18 of his family members in 1975. “We’ll never forget the support of the Indian government and its people at that time of distress.”
Sheikh Hasina said Rabindranath nurtured Bangladesh deep in his heart. Although he was born in Kolkata, he spent a considerable time of his life in Patisar, Shilaidaha and Shahjadpur of Bangladesh.
Out of attachments, Rabindranath married Bhabatarini from village Daksmindihi in Khulna, Bangladesh. After marriage, he renamed her as Mrinalini. Bangladesh established a Rabindra University at Shahjadpur in his memory, she added.
Sheikh Hasina extended her heartfelt thanks to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister of West Bengal for their presence in the inauguration ceremony of Bangladesh Bhavan.
Tagore’s song ‘Anandaloke Mongolaloke was played at the ceremony. The Vice-Chancellor of Visva-Bharati delivered the welcome speech.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Benarjee also addressed the programme.
The two prime ministers signed the guest book there.
Earlier, Sheikh Hasina attended Visva-Bharati Convocation Ceremony as the guest of honour.