Anwar A. Khan

Anwar A. Khan is an independent political analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh who writes on politics, political and human-centred figures, current and international affairs

Tributes to a scholar, a wise Jurist, and a role model of Bangladesh

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Chief Justice SM Murshed was born on 11 January 1911. January 11, 2023 would be his 112th Birthday. He was a Bengali jurist and legal scholar who served as the Chief Justice of High Court in the-then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) from 1964 to 1967.

We justify our privileged status as legal professionals only as we do justice for all our citizens, young and old, male or female, rich or poor, and without regard to ethnic or racial origin or to religious belief and Chief Justice Murshed strongly believed in this dictum.

He contributed immensely to our judiciary during his time. His demise 44 years back at 68 is indeed a great loss to the judicial fraternity specifically and the nation as a whole.

He was a towering Bengali and that his many accomplishments and contributions to the country were well documented, in particular when he was the Chief Justice and afterwards in life time.

He had written a number of landmark judgments.His judgments, which reflected his judicial independence accompanied by legal clarity and intellectual analysis, constitute a major contribution to our country’s jurisprudence and justice system.

Sharing the same thoughts by his votaries, former Chief Justice SM Murshed was known for his dedication and sharp legal mind and also was highly respected by those who had served under him.Although he was a strict man, everyone admired and respected him… ‘A man of principle, honest and holier-than-thou.

Though he was a tough boss, he was a very good man and had a kind heart. Those who knew him also described Justice Murshed as a man of principle, honest, of the highest integrity.

He would be all ears and heart to discuss legal issues. Many say with conviction that he was incorruptible, the most honest man in his entire life.He trained many to have moral courage and dignity. He was an argus-eyedman, but he was a giant in law and justice.

He was an exceptional gentleman, and a judge, then the Chief Justice of high integrity and good temperament during his days on the bench. His judgments are usually couched in very simple language, succinctly to the issues at hand, and often used as authoritative references by judges and lawyers.

He was a man of unfailing courtesy … he was also a kind, humble and elegant man – elegant in his style, in his thinking and in his writing. He brought to the bench a broad and deep knowledge of the law. As a lawyer, and then as a judge and finally as the Chief Justice…, he worked selflessly for a just outcome.The law was only one of many facets to his Honour’s life.

He believed that the important point to keep in mind is that this judicial branch is not the servant of lawyers, or judges, of clerks, of non-judicial employees, but of the people. Without a functioning judicial branch there can be no constitutional democracy. Without a judicial branch there is no liberty, no peace, no order, no guarantee of fairness. Without an independent judiciary even those citizens who never go to court will be at risk in their lives, their liberty and their property. The loss of a functioning judicial branch is a loss that our society cannot survive.

Considering the magnitude of the challenges the judge faced when he became chief, his administrative accomplishments were extraordinary. With the help of many, he preserved the judiciary’s independence, strengthened its authority, and helped it adapt to the changing demands of justice.

Today, we remember not only Chief Justice SM Murshedas an enlightened and effective administrator, but also as an exemplary jurist, who created a body of law that will continue to affect the lives of our citizenry, and influence the courts in other jurisdictions, well into the future.

The chief introduced a distinct approach to judging. He recognized that courts were being asked to decide matters of fundamental importance to the human condition, that in the 60sthese matters were coming to the courts with increasing frequency because of the inability of other social and political institutions to resolve certain difficult and troubling issues. In addressing these issues, he was not satisfied to employ a mechanical application of legal doctrine. Rather, he sought new ideas, new perspectives, and in so doing, he relied on the best ideas in the history of human thought, spirit and imagination. His opinions were often peppered with references to great thinkers throughout history.

His opinions ring with energy, history, humour, real knowledge of real institutions, penetrating analysis, synthesizing will, an imagination balanced on the point at which what is becomes what can be. They have vision, and they have design. They teach, explain and persuade. Sometimes they sing.

His opinions are scholarly, but they are grounded in experience. They perpetuate ideals, but work in the practical world. They are generous without yielding in principle and tough without failing in mercy. They value the past at the moment they change it, and change outworn laws at justice’s command.

Murshed’s commitment to individual freedom is reflected in the trend he often led to find greater protections of individual freedom.His concern for human dignity is best illustrated by his opinions in cases involving.

He clearly interpreted that the constitutional right to privacy . . . is an expression of the sanctity of individual free choice and self-determination as fundamental constituents of life. The value of life as so perceived is lessened not by a decision to refuse treatment, but by the failure to allow a competent human being the right of choice.

He strongly believed in protecting the incompetent person within its power, the state must recognize the dignity and worth of such a person and afford to that person the same panoply of rights and choices it recognizes in competent persons.

He recognized the essential uniqueness of each human being when he concluded that the primary test is subjective in nature — that is, the goal is to determine with as much accuracy as possible the wants and needs of the individual involved. Significantly, in making this determination, he vehemently disapproved of an analysis that would equate the value of life with an individual’s quality of life.

In reaching this conclusion, he made a visionary observation about decision-making in a democracy that it is the diversity of opinion among individuals, some of whose concepts may well have been influenced by their group affiliations, which is envisioned when we refer to ‘diffused impartiality.’ No human being is wholly free of the interests and preferences which are the product of his cultural, family, and community experience. Nowhere is the dynamic commingling of the ideas and biases of such individuals more essential than inside the jury room.

By values, by vision, by strength of character, Justice Murshedwas the right person to lead this court through one of its most trying times and to so well prepare it for the challenging future that is now upon us. He loved this court, and this country.

He exhorted the legal profession to do justice for all our citizens, young and old, male or female, rich or poor, and without regard to ethnic or racial origin or to religious belief. And what he urged on others, he achieved himself. In this, he lived the imperative to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our Creator.

May it please the court. To summarize the life of any person is a difficult task, and one which each of us must undertake from our own perspective. But in the case ofMurshed, the task is compounded by his extraordinary nature, for he was one of the most exceptional people that our people have ever known.

Winston Churchill once said, “what we get is how we make a living, but what we give is how we make a life.” If that be the measure, then SM Murshed’slife was rich beyond description. As an extraordinary law school acclaimed scholar, internationally known barrister, and brilliant jurist, he gave everything he had to every undertaking, obligation, commitment, and relationship. There was nothing halfway or equivocal about him. And his measure as a caring, sensitive, thoroughly delightful human being was equally compelling.

Totally devoted to his family and his extended family of countless friends, he had a passion for people that was unsurpassed. He was frequently an anchor to the wind for those of people less strong.

It is not surprising that many great jurists were once great trial lawyers, and so it was withMurshed. He quickly established, by his great ability, his trial experience, and his scholarly pursuits, a reputation as an outstanding jurist – areputation as one of the country’s leading authorities on the laws of evidence.

He was a visionary who sought constant improvement in the judicial system and the ability to anticipate the needs of the future.

He was a man who was personally aggrieved by the injustices of this world and the plight of societies afflicted. He was a man of enormous talent who gave all of his heart, body, and soul to the judicial system of this country and his beloved High Court, which he led with such pride and great ability.

He was a man of principle and self-discipline. And when his friends hear words such as integrity, loyalty, honesty, decency, compassion, dedication, and justice, they know that these are not just pious platitudes that are sometimes over used, but rather these were… intimate friends, his constant companions, the guide posts by which he lived throughout his entire life.

From my perspective of my father who was a lucent lawyer during the British Regime in the Indian Sub-continent, Chief JusticeMurshed has my greatest admiration and respect for being everything that a noble profession would like to offer to the world. As our revered person as he is, he had my love for being everything that a great person can be.

Let it be recorded that Murshed lived and he lived life well and he lived it fully. And all of those whose lives he touched are the richer for it.

This confidante of the mighty and defender of the weak, this courageous judicial fighter and warm compassionate friend, this highly public person and highly private family man, made a great mark upon our times.

Although he was of a quiet and gentle nature, he was fearless in defense of what he believed to be right. He not only stood toe-to-toe with certain members of the Legislature in order to preserve an independent judiciary, but also fought to preserve his own reputation in the face of unsupported rumours and innuendo when he could have quietly remained aloof and pursued a very successful and remunerative career. He even stood up to the generals of the Pakistani junta at the risk of his personal safety and in his country.

He was, in short, a man for all seasons, quiet yet determined, open to persuasive argument but unwavering in defense of what he believed.

We miss him terribly and can’t believe that he’s gone. But his voice and his image remain with us. When troubled, we ask, “What would Justice Murshed do?” And when we ask that, we become larger, wiser, fiercer, more generous, and we set our eyes on the task ahead. Thank you, Chief Justice SM Murshed, for being a ray of sunshine even on our darkest days.

A very happy New Year 2023 to Sri Lanka and its people

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I am writing from Dhaka, Bangladesh. I wish a very happy New Year 2023 to Sri Lanka and its people.

In the New Year-2023, Sri Lankans will need to put extra efforts together, to reignite the economy and promote growth and also to make it inclusive and beneficial to all. They will also need to intensify investment in education in 2023. They must work together to eradicate corruption, crimes, drugs and substance abuse as well as violence against people in their communities. Where they disagree, let them do so with dignity and respect and promote unity and cohesion as they build their country together. The challenge now is to continue to pursue the economic and political conditions that will spread the wealth throughout the population and provide an example for the rest of the world. They must work harder to build a truly caring society in 2023.

Despite all the success the country has achieved in recent years including 2022, new and old dangers – economic, political, and security-related – threaten to derail its progress. With sound policymaking, effective leadership, and enough foresight, however, can meet and defeat these challenges as well as the many more to come in the New Year. They probably use the beginning of every year to reflect on the past years, make decisions and set resolutions for the New Year. It is a good thing to make resolutions, but it takes a good deal of discipline and commitment to get results that would be different and better than what they got last year. Catherine Pulsifer wrote, “The New Year symbolizes the ending of one year and the beginning of yet another. We celebrate this event, yet it is only a moment in time, like any other day. But it is also considered a time when new beginnings can happen. Be determined to have a Happy New Year!” 

In the New Year’s foresight, Sri Lanka’s growth initiatives may be overarching themes that place the country at the tipping point and people perceive to be key areas for intervention to keep Sri Lanka on its current rising trajectory. This year’s format is different from years past, encompassing viewpoints from high-level policymakers, academics, and practitioners, as well as utilising visuals to better illustrate the paths behind and now in front of Sri Lanka. Growth in Asia and elsewhere has shown that industrialisation is crucial to job creation, a value that has to be enshrined in the new sustainable development goals of Sri Lanka.

The country has witnessed remarkable improvements in poverty reduction in recent years, but persistent challenges in inequality, education, health, and violence, among others, still plague it. As the 2023 year may provide the opportunity to be a jumping-off point for strong policies and efforts to accomplish the desired goals, they should understand the assortment of opportunities of 2022 provides for supporting human development efforts and argues for the central role that better data and corrective measures play in addressing them.

To explore the consequences of Sri Lanka’s rapid urbanisation which historically has facilitated the country transition from a reliance on agriculture to industry and jobs. However, without strong policies to deliver services, finance and build infrastructure, and support the urban poor, the country’s rapidly growing cities and intermediate cities cannot deliver on their potentials. The New Year may see a number of governance milestones and obstacles, and the march towards good governance. Any sort of violence, killing and destruction… shall have to be ruthlessly suppressed by the law and order controlling body of the government. People want peace and that has to be ensured. People do not want the banal forces and their mango-twigs to get any chance to fish out any benefits in the troubled waters. Raise your voice. Beware of that the ruffians must not get any chance to disturb them because Sri Lanka is for Sri Lanka’s people of all religions to live together in peace. 

The government should reflect on the country’s growth-governance puzzle and the complex institutional changes necessary to move from economic growth to economic transformation. Historically, urbanisation is a sign of economic prosperity. As a country underwent structural transformation, and its economy shifted from agriculture to manufacturing and industry, the composition of the population of the country shifted from being predominantly rural to predominantly urban. However, urbanisation in the Sri Lanka’s context displays different characteristics from the ones witnessed in Asia and other countries. This growth demonstrates a great need for better urban management and institution building. Thus, if managed properly, the new emerging cities can produce several economic opportunities as cities offer economies of scale, which can be conducive to sustainable economic prosperity and improved human development. 

Despite all the political and economic challenges facing the country, the people’s desire for a better life with better education for their children, strong domestic institutions, full employment opportunities and faster economic growth means that the future can be much brighter. Many of the hurdles they may uncover have policy solutions. Government should spend primarily on the work to improve not just education systems but also infrastructure across the board. Smart, pro-business policies will also help ensure the creation of decent jobs that can keep young people engaged in society and out of troubles.

Despite challenges on the economic front, together they made substantial progress in providing basic services, such as, electricity, housing, roads, water and sanitation, healthcare as well as accessible education. The country’s GDP has begun to show welcome improvements. Thus significant strides were made in the past years in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment. Still the government needs for renewed efforts to boost inclusive economic growth and improve the lives of poor and working-class; and it remains a key priority of the government.

The mornings of winter fall on the last of the fogbank and will wash it away. We can smell the grass again, and the torn leaves being eased down into the mud.  The few loves we have been allowed to keep are still sleeping on the sky of Sri Lanka. Here in the country, they walk across the fields with only a few young cows for company. Big-boned and shy, they are like girls we remember. Those girls are matured now. Like Sri Lankans, they must sometimes stand at a window late at night, looking out on a silent backyard, at one rusting lawn chair and the sheer walls of other people’s houses.

They must lie down some afternoons and cry hard for whoever used to make them happiest, and wonder how their lives have carried them this far without ever once explaining anything. They don’t know why they are walking out here with their coats darkening and their boots sinking in, coming up with a mild sucking sound we, as foreigners, like to hear. We don’t care where those girls are now.  Whatever they have made of it they can have. Today, Sri Lankans want to resolve many things. They only want to walk a little longer in the cold blessing of the wind, and lift their faces to it.

Emotions and excitement will be lifted up inside eyes and mouth widely grinning hands clap together anticipation rising going through the whole body. As we, foreigners, wait for the sunrise, we wait for a shimmering blue sea in Sri Lanka. We shall see a beautiful golden sun. And we believe it will set them free. We put our pens down greatness without sound; love without a doubt and a heart unbound; freedom of tongues is freedom of minds; and free air is freedom of lungs. We smoke though, temporary satisfaction for eternal sorrow; one more drag; confidence to load the mag up against our heads, we then resurrect ourselves with memories of something else in Sri Lanka. So, we as foreigners are grinding again, making our way up the lane, but the cities big so we take a… Melody Beattie reminds us, “The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”

With the moon as the conductor, the symphony of lights begins. As the heavens open in anticipation, stars one by one comes filing in with each rhythmic starlight flicker keeping in tune with the galaxy. Entire planets hold their breath in wonder from everlasting to everlasting nebula breeze. It all plays out in harmony keeping perfect 3-4 times and such beauty is not held by boundaries and seen and heard light years through time. The year 2023 should be to do only good deeds for Sri Lanka.

The winds of bearable and golden-like and sweet-note are on the heads of Sri Lankans. The winds of civility and refinements having good or auspicious marks; of commendable looks… good governance…gentleness of disposition…exquisite beauty or grace…quite consistence; very reasonable; judicious; fair; adequate; relevant; well-refined life shall prevail in their days; and I wish our Sri Lankan friends, and people in general a glorified and restful festive season. Celebrate new life in the New Year 2023. From Bangladesh, I wish to finish-off today in the words of Goran Persson, “Let your New Year’s resolution be this: you will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.”

The End –

Christmas Isn’t Just a Day, It’s a Frame of Mind!

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Christmas is about belonging, inalienable belonging, the belonging that is literally our birthright. So, the wisdom of Christmas is primal. It transcends its particular mythic vehicle — the story of the birth of Christ. Christmas is the season to give love.

It is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25, a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world’s nations including Bangladesh and it is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centred around it.

The traditional Christmas narrative, the Nativity of Jesus, delineated in the New Testament says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with messianic prophecies. When Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn had no room and so they were offered a table where the Christ Child was soon born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who then further disseminated the information.

Although the month and date of Jesus’ birth are unknown, the church in the early fourth century fixed the date as December 25. This corresponds to the date of the solstice on the Roman calendar. Most Christians celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, which has been adopted almost universally in the civil calendars used in countries throughout the world. However, some Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to a January date in the Gregorian calendar. For Christians, believing that God came into the world in the form of man to atone for the sins of humanity, rather than knowing Jesus’ exact birth date, is considered to be the primary purpose in celebrating Christmas.

The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath, Christmas music and caroling, lighting a Christingle, viewing a Nativity play, an exchange of Christmas cards, church services, a special meal, pulling Christmas crackers and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly.

In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.

Christmas in Bangladesh falls in the winter season. Of course, Christmas in our country has great spiritual meaning and is not as commercialised as in the developed countries of Europe or Northern America – this is probably a reason why in every country there are so many interesting local traditions and cultural differences. As in the most Christian cultures in Europe and the Americas, having Christmas dinner with friends and relatives is the most popular activity after attending the church. Christmas is usually an official public holiday in our country, so people use the opportunity to spend time with their friends and family.

On the day of this occasion, the sun shines and everything seems so alive. All that vitality is brought to life even more by the festivity of Christmas. Just like any other place in the world, the preparations for the celebration of Christmas begin way in advance. Some Christian businesses are closed for the whole month of December. Even though Christmas in our country has many differences from Christmas in the rest of the world, the actual traditions and festive spirit are quite similar. Houses of the Christian community are well decorated. Elaborate Christmas dinner and carolers bring Christmas spirit and festivity in the wind.

Many families set up a decorated Christmas tree in a corner with lights and ornaments, surrounded by gifts for everyone at home. The Christians say the first decorated Christmas trees appeared as far back as the 14th century. Christmas trees are a popular decoration as are tiny sparkling lights in windows and on walls. However, the Christmas tree is usually only put up in the homes only in the morning of the 25 of December. For them, Christmas Day is a day of good eating, exchange of gifts to add up enjoyment. The women wake up bright an early morning, ready for a busy day full of tasks, making sure everything is neat and set up before visitors appear.

On Christmas Day, children and adults, representing the angels in the fields outside the Churches, go from house to house singing carols. Church services are held on Christmas day where people dress in their native attires or Western costumes. Later on, there is a grand feast in every Christian home.  Families eat together with close friends and neighbours, and gifts are exchanged. In the evening, the children and adults do traditional dancing. The teenage kids and adults sing and play the drums. Friends and family members sing the jingle and party till midnight.

Christmas in Bangladesh is celebrated with great enjoyment and fun. It is a festival which is celebrated by all the people of all ages of the Christian community. The people celebrate the birth of Jesus on this day. Though Christmas around the world is celebrated in different ways by different countries. Customs differ around the world for observing Christmas, but they all centre on celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Thus, all around the world, people have taken the celebration of the birth of Jesus and made a Christmas that fits with the culture of their own country.

Christmas is a happy, festive time filled with great spiritual significance. Caroling, feasting, and gift giving along with the prayers and wishes – the Christmas is celebrated with high spirits all over the world including Bangladesh. Though the mode of celebration, the dates and the traditions vary, the main spirit remains the same everywhere. Although Christians only form a small minority of the population in Bangladesh, her long history as a British colony has seen many traditions remain.

This auspicious occasion is a prime festival of Christian community and hence, is celebrated zestfully around the world including Bangladesh. Christmas conveys his message of love, tolerance and brotherhood. Though, it is a religious festival of Christians, it has a special significance in everyone’s life of the Christian community in Bangladesh.

The festival of Christmas reflects the cultural unity of Bangladesh as on this auspicious occasion. This cultural unity sets an excellent example of brotherhood and humanism.

Though the country has only small population of Christians, it celebrates the auspicious occasion of Christmas with passion and pomp. The unity in diversity of Bangladesh can be seen during the celebration of Christmas. Bright light, great food and lavish parties are synonymous to Christmas celebration in our country.

Christmas brings love and happiness to the family. This is the occasion when friends and family members gather in one place and celebrate the bond of togetherness with love. Being the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ, this festival has great significance in Christianity. On the day of Christmas, prayers are offered to the almighty at the Church in a traditional manner. Christmas is the time to be jolly and spread festive cheer among one and all.

Christmas is the celebration to mark the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The customs and traditions associated with a particular festival reflect historical connection and human emotion attached with it. Different countries celebrate this ceremony through different customs. Winston Churchill veritably wrote, “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” Love comes down at Christmas; love all lovely, love divine; love is revealed at Christmas; and stars and angels give the sign. We make a polite expression of our desire for welfare of the Christian community in Bangladesh and across the world and good luck to them on the auspicious occasion of Christmas.

And Wishing you a Christmas that’s merry and bright!

All we have of freedom; all we use or know – Our Victory Day

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Today is 16 December. It is our Victory Day. This is a day of celebration for us all in Bangladesh!In memory of our Victory Day of 16 December 1971, our fallen heroes who left us in the heart and in the lungs, this round ember of pure love, that I try to rekindle with my poor means, with each breath. We will one day disappear, but let’s swing like feathers before we merge into the ground.

Today, as we should every day, we remember those who volunteered, sacrificed, served, fought, and died, for our freedom. We thank you, and we salute you as we salute those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We will never forget it. We will remember you.

Bangladesh is a land of countless festivals, in stride with the cycle of the seasons. These proceed with sowing and harvesting and around them have grown legends, most of them portraying the victory of good over evil. Joy Bangla (meaning victory to Bengal). Joy Bangabandhu. Joy Bangladesh, we love you. Joy our valiant and patriotic people who fought with the cruel Pakistani military junta and their local henchmen for establishing Bangladesh in the 1971 war. We salute those heroic people of Bangladesh who were brutally murdered by the evil forces of the Pakistani establishment.

We have lost in nostalgia for those horrible months of 1971 and are now enjoying the sunshine of our independence on this bright morning. Victory Day is Bangladesh’s most important secular holiday and a key element of the national identity, reflecting the nation’s enormous sufferings and honouring millions of victims of the bloody hell 1971 war, but we also wish to speak about the need today to fight global terrorism and cooperate with other nations to do that.

Victory Day is a public holiday in Bangladesh. In a remarkable feat of historical memory, today it is a vast torrent that fills the streets of every Bangladesh city. Yet, it is hard to deny the sheer weight of public enthusiasm on display, with whole families walking together to honour their ancestors, generating a mood that seems both sombre and festive. It is something for parents to do with their children, generation after generation. About three million Bangladesh people died and much of the country was devastated, leaving almost no family untouched. The anti-Pakistani victory is a great source of pride for our people, and legitimacy for our state, at a time when there is quite a lot of uncertainty. So, the idea is to take every opportunity to celebrate it.

This year’s Victory Day will commemorate the 49th anniversary of the capitulation of the Pakistani regime. Victory Day is comparable is like to Memorial Day in Bangladesh, and dedicated to the commemoration of all who died during our glorious Liberation War in 1971. Both are typically marked with parades and the visiting of memorials and cemeteries. For us, it can be canonised as the “Great Patriotic War” in Bangladesh — can in terms of mythological importance be compared to D-Day for Americans? Both events have left unforgettable imprints in the psyches of the respective societies.

While paying dues to fallen heroes is commended around the world, Victory Day in Bangladesh has increasingly become a manifestation of our people’s supreme sacrifices in 1971. Victory Day marks the decisive battle during the 1971 War of Independence in which our people defeated Pakistani forces who sought to re-assert control over our sacred land. Although it marks an important historical battle, the annual military parade also commemorates and recognises the contributions of all our people in their fight to gain and retain our independence.

Victory Day is celebrated all over the country. We hope the people of Bangladesh celebrate the end of Pakistani domination on us and remember those who stood by us in those times when Pakistan’s Army and their local accomplices were knocking at our doors, bombing our places into oblivion and killing millions of our people with no mercy in their hearts. The veterans also say that even though those horrible days are long gone, they should never be forgotten, adding that unfortunately, our world has changed from true patriotism to mollification.

The people bring together people whose near and dear ones fought for the independence of Bangladesh. Thus, we are honouring the memory of heroes who earned this hard-won victory 49 years ago, the war, the deadliest conflict in human history, came to an end as Pakistan’s Instrument of Surrender came into force on 16 December 1971. Almost all people of Bangladesh’s population were caught up in this 9-month-long war. Fireworks will conclude the day of commemoration. The observance of Victory Day is carried annually out to pay respects to the victims and fallen heroes of the war and to give laurels to the surviving veterans.

Long live the cause of freedom! Being a landmark event, people commemorate the patriots who gallantly fought the then-fascist Pakistani troops. It was the shared arduous experience of defending our beloved country that shaped and formed Bangladesh’s modern nation. The memory of the war has become sacred, and, for most people, it is as important as their own birthday. The emergence of Bangladesh has always had a significant place in Bangladesh’s ideology and its importance to its people can be magnified.

With some three million deaths in the fight against the Pakistani military junta and its local confederates, most of Bangladesh’s families experienced personal loss. Victory Day is a public holiday to mark the defeat of the Pakistani enemies by our freedom-loving forces in accompaniment of the Indian people and the Indian Army. The Pakistan Army ceded to the joint command forces of Bangladesh and India on this day 49 years ago. Victory Day is the festival of hope and togetherness. May our life be illuminated with endless prosperity, sparkling happiness and glowing health and that should be our prayers on this gracious occasion. We wish all parts of light in our lives and our dreams come true for a golden Bangladesh.

It is rejoicing that will be when we all see the green and red flag flying atop. We will sing and shout the victory because life is a highway. Righteousness was restored driving away wrongful-nesses; those were the days of great trials of fierce battles, darkness, tanks, bombs, guns and bayonets; still, we were the voice in the desert crying to behold the victorious freedom fighters were coming, riding on the clouds shining like the sun, at the trumpet’s call.

Lift our voices because it is the day of remembrance out of the harrowing hill, salvation will then come to our golden garden.

And those were the days of hell, but our dry bones became as flesh as living, and the time came for rebuilding the devastated country of praise. Bangladesh’s beauty is a merited gift; her departure is unnecessary, and her lips without speaking can write history. Bangabandhu’s call is the one we want to answer for eternity; to speak until no words remain; give until there is nothing to defeat to his submission is life’s greatest victory. The night flower of this heart was like a rainbow, our presence brightened the horizons, but just like the stars disappeared with the daylight.

Our eyes were full of tears once we discovered the beasts ramped on us. The news of the black night of 26 March 1971 blew like a missile in the heat with a fire shooting out from the dark sweltering us, blazing us, leaving the world of our land, all ribbon tied. Dimples and pretty lips, we dropped our world with beauty and tissues fighting back the enemies in full force. Filled with pink ivory issues, this is the way that we felt, we were real… They were killers, they were a disease!  They sat there and shattered our lives. With many of people, you will discover we did not break like glass. Still, we walked in high heels strolling through pink valley skies. With a charm called a Pink Ribbon; – we wore.

Melodic lullabies echo as heartstrings strum secret chords as transcendental images appear. Stargazers are lost for words kaleidoscopic Illuminations paint the sky in an optimistic light. Hope descends in serene silence floating through shadows of the night dancing spirits move to dulcet tunes. Shadows can be seen against the moon. Do you hear our call? To the hallowed ground, we trip hand in hand with a new chapter to embrace in its splendour. Ring out voices on notes sweet and clear. To the universe, our souls will surrender, and fragments of the past spun into flags of freedom. Our Victory March erased from strife away with the racing winds ever so bold singing Golden Bangladesh to hail a new Life on this Victory Day; the lighter the air the higher we climb.

No more the fetid chitterlings to the fading strains of a repetitive tune. Not broken -We rise – We matter. Victory Day celebrations spell a victory for Bangladesh. Joy Bangla and Joy Bangabandhu. Joy Four National Leaders. Joy all Freedom Fighters.

Recollecting glorious December in Bangladesh

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December is the Month of Victory for Bangladesh.

If war is necessary, it is a necessary evil. Its evil is sometimes concealed for a time by its glamour and excitement, but when war is seen in its reality, there is a little glory about it. At its best, it is hideous calamity. It brings in awful loss of life. In our great liberation war of 1971, millions of men, women and children were killed; many died of diseases, and encountered untold sufferings. Hundreds of thousands of our mothers and sisters lost their chastity at the wretched hands of Pakistan’s savage military forces and their local mango-twigs, particularly Jamaat-e-Islami gawks.

If we recall the divested homes and wrecked hearts tell the rest of the story with tears. It brought in destruction of property, waste of health, dislocation of trade and industry, and general upsetting of the social life of the nation by war – imposed on us deliberately by Pakistani military junta.

Men have found way to abolish their great evils, such as, slavery and if they want to abolish war, they can definitely find ways to do that as where there is a will there is a way. We must not think the way Pakistan and American rogue states think.

Some people forget that war always brings destruction on mass scale. They forget Mahatma Gandhi’s teaching of non-violence, following which he freed his motherland from the shackles of slavery. They forget that if Gandhi could oust the powerful Britishers by dint of non-violence, why not others follow the same foot print.

In the month of our victory, we want to remember that wars are necessary evils and their horrors are so many and of such magnitude that they cannot be described in words. We must not forget the horrors of the two world wars. In the wars, there was mass-killing and destruction of property. Thousands were made widows and orphans. War brings hatred and spreads falsehood. People become selfish and brutal. As a result, humanity and morality suffers.

War is the enemy of all humanity.

Wars are not the solution of the problems. Instead, they generate problems and create hatred among nations. War can decide one issue but gives birth too many. Bangladesh, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the greatest horrible faces of the consequence of wars. Even after so many decades, people are suffering from the miseries of war. Whatever be the cause of war, it always results in destruction of life and property at large.

One obnoxious face of modern warfare is terrorism which targets the strongest of the strong and causes dangers beyond control of anyone. Terrorists do not discriminate between races, religion, and culture. They target only the humanity as a whole.

Victory Day is celebrated on every 16 December in Bangladesh to mark the anniversary of the surrender of Pakistan’s armed forces in Bangladesh at the end of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

We are in the know of the union with Pakistan only came about as a result of the partition of British India into Muslim and Hindu zones in 1947 – India becoming one nation and Pakistan another. However, West Pakistan (now Pakistan) was separated by hundreds of miles from East Pakistan (Bangladesh), which made for a most unnatural union.

Later, Pakistan began to refuse equal status to the Bengali language, people of this land and otherwise ignite resentment in Bangladesh. Finally, in 1971, a bloody broke out with Pakistan as Bengalis demanded an independent and sovereign state.

Aided by India and former Soviet Union, Pakistan was finally defeated by us. Pakistan’s General Amir Niazi finally surrendered to the joint forces of Bangladesh and India on 16 December at the-then Ramna Race Course in Dhaka. The crowds gathered to witness the event cheered wildly. Within only a few months’ time, most other nations of the world had recognised Bangladesh’s hard-won independence.

The 16th of December, 1971 is a red-letter day in our national history. It was on this day; we were to snatch our independence after a life and death liberation war for long nine months. This victory was a victory of right against wrong. It was a war of self-emancipation. Every year, we observe this day in a colorful manner. This day reminds us of the supreme sacrifices of our people in a colorful manner.

This day also reminds us of the supreme sacrifice of our freedom fighters who will ever shine in our hearts like the luminous stars in the sky. But at the same time, we must remember the spirit of the liberation war.

We wanted a country where justice will prevail over injustice and wrong. The lords of the mischief mongers are getting upper hand in the society, whereas the meek and mild become the worst sufferers. Disorder in everything has become the order of the day.

I call back after the victory, I felt proud and dignified. I revisited the well-known battlefields, which were familiar to me, after the war was over.

December – the month of the war victory marks great memories for us as we lived the moments of victory on 16 December 1971, and feel glory of eliminating all sense of sorrow incurred by the defeat of Pakistan’s military forces.

On this month of December, we pay rich tributes to the memory of the martyrs who laid down their lives for the sake of our independence. So, let all of us remember the spirit of the victory and see to establish just laws in the country to build it as a country which is rightly be called ‘Sonar Bangla.’

December is a red-letter month for the people of Bangladesh. The biggest fight for the people of a nation is the fight for independence. Salute to the brave people and army of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is a symbol of the immense victory of good against evil! It was a celebration of the right against wrong. Every fighter who sacrificed their life for the freedom of the country will forever stay at the heart of the people.

The struggle for freedom was long and gory for the people of Bangladesh. However, the moment they achieved it, there was a sigh of relief in the entire country.

Let us use the independence in the right manner as it comprises the hard-earned tears and sweats of all the people of the nation who had been through the liberation war of 1971. Salute the flag as the red ball in the national flag of Bangladesh symbolises the power of the country and also the blood that has been shed by our soldiers to get freedom. Victory day of Bangladesh is part of the collective memory of country. The greatest battle fought and won by the nation and its people.

Let us take an oath that we will not misuse the freedom given to us by the country. We will make each of the freedom fighter proud with the way we use our independence. Independence of ours shall not cut the freedom of others. Co-exist and co-ordinate is the mantra of living.

Our freedom was possible due to the support of India and former Soviet Union. Our youth got trained and we got freedom through our youths. Victory day is a struggle to be at the depth of our hearts forever.

The cruelty can only be defeated with grit and determination. Every warrior from Bangladesh was then determined to drive out the Pakistani enemies and live on their own terms. The nation faced its greatest crisis until finally Victory Day arrived and the people of Bangladesh could finally smile.

On the morning of 16th December 1971, the sun did shine bright on the land of Bangladesh and the day was greeted with smile throughout the entire country.

Bangladesh is rich in culture and heritage. Pakistani rulers wanted to play with it and hence were thrown out of the country. The nation has had enough of patriots; let us not add to it by fighting amongst each other.

You cannot cage a wild bird and so you cannot cage Bangladesh. It is a country flying high with dreams and thriving to betterment every moment. We struggled our way to freedom and we are never going to easily let it away! The cries of pain yet reverberates into the ears of the living. Our nation has a dark history and it teaches us to fight and stand for ourselves.

On the whole, war has always been the greatest blot on humanity. Now it requires retrospection for the whole of human race to think over it for the sake of humanity, otherwise nothing will remain neither war nor humanity.

Bangladesh: Plaudits to PM Sheikh Hasina for her bold stance

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Bangladesh is a peace-loving nation which has never tried to hurt any country, but if any attempt is made by anyone, be it an outlander or a local to disrupt peace and harmony in the country’s domestic affairs by any means, a befitting reply shall be given.

It is the duty of every citizen to carry forward the ideals and resolutions of our freedom fighters and soldiers, protect the independence, integrity and sovereignty of our nation and play their part in building a strong, prosperous and self-reliant Bangladesh. We always want peace and friendly ties with countries across the world because it’s in our blood and culture.

But we warn of befitting response to any misadventure in our internal affairs by any person or country!

Lashing out at the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, recently a few foreign diplomats and their mango-twigs are making irresponsible and provocative statements in connection with Bangladesh’s forthcoming national voting which is raspingly reprehensible and reflects the chauvinistic mindset, especially of Uncle Sam, which can further exacerbate the already impaired environment.

Let us now turn back, a little while. In 1971, the malevolent US administration under President Richard Nixon and secretary of state Henry Kissinger sided with the vicious Pakistani military junta during the nine-month Liberation war when we were battling life and death to establish our own homeland – Bangladesh.

Moreover, the history of the US Central Intelligence Agency is replete with numerous examples of political assassinations, not only in the US but also of leaders of other countries. So, on 15th August 1975, the world’s cruellest and most disdainful killing outfit CIA of America actively developed various methods for the deliberate elimination of the US’s newest political opponent, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, involving not only special forces in this task but also the special services of countries that cooperated closely with the CIA. Because Pakistan and its strong ally America were given a crushing defeat by the Bengalis in cooperation with our friendly countries India and the former Soviet Union in our glorious Liberation War with Pakistan in 1971 to establish Bangladesh.

Bangabandhu’s worthy daughter Premier Sheikh Hasina places human solidarity, the concern for others, at the centre of the values by which she lives and as she does. Using her experience, moral courage and ability to rise above nation, race and creed, she is making our planet a more peaceful and equitable place to live. Massive development works have happened and are taking place under her able and dynamic leadership for changing a lot of people in the country.

A hero should possess leadership power, be strong, and be devoted to a just cause. Strong willpower would allow the hero to get things done. And lastly, the hero needs to be devoted to their cause, while having the mindset of not giving up until something is accomplished. Sheikh Hasina portrays great leadership, a strong will for what’s right, and a devoted mindset; all of which signify that she deserves the title of a hero. With a strong will to get something done, she has proven that hard work pays off. She has been showing she is a strong leader through her good deeds. She is a strong, determined woman who has stopped at nothing to achieve her goal for people’s welfare in Bangladesh.

But we restate that some Western external strangers – diplomatists under the leadership of an over-enthusiastic American Ambassadors stationed in Dhaka have recently been trying to trespass into national affairs, especially in our upcoming national voting process…

Sheikh Hasina has bravely reminded them about Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, the diplomats have a duty not to interfere with the internal affairs of the State they are involved in the diplomatic missions.

They should bear in mind that Bangladesh can also take legal action under the Convention, since it is stated in Article 9 (1) of the Convention that, the receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is not acceptable.

Outrageous enough. The western power countries are also of their own volition and all of a sudden want to rewrite our history, but it is a squall attack on the truth. Their immoral acts have created an impression that they are taking sides with their old local mango twigs of 1971 in the current so-called political situation.

Thus, some foreign diplomats stationed in Bangladesh have been working against our freedom, against the sovereignty of our country. We will not tolerate this any longer.

Some of Sheikh Hasina’s cabinet colleagues have also issued bold statements, warning foreign diplomats against interfering in the country’s internal affairs. 

We do not need to resort to laws from other countries. Moreover, the country does not need an endorsement by any foreign envoy in the next general elections. 

Bangladesh is not a banana republic, and the country can never accept the arrogant behaviour of ambassadors and high commissioners from any foreign diplomatic missions, whatever the country they represent.

We urge foreign diplomats to Bangladesh to respect the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which stipulated that foreign countries have “the duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State.”

Bangladesh is a sovereign and independent state. We have liberated it through a bloody war. We’ll not give any concession on the question of the country’s dignity. It will never bow down to anyone. We must maintain its dignity.

We will never allow being dictated by foreign entities on how we manage our internal affairs. We will be happy to accept the help of our foreign friends. We will never accept dictation on how we are managing our own internal domestic processes. Rather, we chide them angrily.

Foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen hoped that the foreign diplomats here will follow the ‘code of conduct, saying some overseas missions do interfere in Bangladesh’s domestic affairs.“It’s sad… some foreign missions here are interfering in our domestic issues … it’s not right as they interfere in domestic issues beyond their own duties,” he told journalists after attending a programme at Bangabandhu Conference Centre in the capital.

Commenting on the US sanctions on Russia following the Ukraine war, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “No nation can be controlled through sanctions. She termed the sanctions on Russia as a violation of human rights.”

Speaking as the chief guest at the inauguration of the newly constructed office building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “It is our misfortune as the Russia-Ukraine war is taking place at a time when the whole world is at great economic challenges due to Coronavirus. She said the situation of people around the world is getting worse. People are being harmed due to sanctions. The sanctions that the United States has imposed on Russia are creating a hurdle for countries which are in need of importing various items. Due to the sanctions, transportation costs have increased, while there also are hurdles. The source for importing various items has shrunk. It is not only in Bangladesh, even United States is facing similar hurdles.”

She further said, “The US and developed nations need to think, the sanctions they are imposing is causing suffering to their own people as well. They also need to consider, ordinary people of all countries in the world are suffering more than those countries under sanctions. People in developed, developing and low-income countries are the worst sufferers of these sanctions.”

Sheikh Hasina called upon the United States and the Western countries to lift sanctions as they cannot control any nation ever through these sanctions.

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister said, people living in the US and the Western nations also are complaining of sufferings due to the sanctions. “Everyone’s life is becoming miserable”, she added.

Everyone would also agree with the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, as the sanctions imposed on Russia are failing in causing real suffering or stress in Russia. Instead, these sanctions are becoming counter-productive and are blowing back. Americans and Europeans are actually the worst sufferers of these sanctions, as inflation is becoming intolerable to people.

Thank you, reveredApa, for being who you are, your fearless and truthful standing posture against those arrant people. We stand by you with all our boldness.

Bangladesh’s Great Liberation War of 1971

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Five decennaries ago in 1971, Bangladesh with India’s strong-willed back up won a glorious victory over Pakistan due to the brilliant soldiers of Bangladesh-India, full-fledged support of the Bengalis, an unwavering political leadership of India and Bangladesh governments, and strong military and diplomatic support from Moscow. Well known is Russia’s power play that prevented a joint Pakistan-American-Chinese attack on the soil of Bangladesh in 1971.

“I speak to you at a moment of grave peril to our country and our people,” the-then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said, as she addressed the nation on All India Radio on December 3 evening, 1971.

“Some hours ago, soon after 5.30 pm on December 3, Pakistan launched a full-scale war against us,” Gandhi said, referring to sneak attacks launched by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). The PAF targeted Indian Air Force (IAF) bases in Amritsar, Pathankot, Srinagar, Avantipur, Utterlai, Jodhpur, Ambala and Agra. These were pre-emptive strikes meant to forestall Indian fighter jets from attacking targets in Pakistan. Emergency has been declared for the whole of India.”

“Today, the war in Bangladesh has become a war on India, and this imposes upon me, my government and the people of India an awesome responsibility,” Gandhi said.  She further said, “India and Pakistan were formally at war.”

The war is not going very well for Pakistan, as Indian armour mowed through Bangladesh and the Pakistan Air Force was blown out of the subcontinent’s sky. Meanwhile, the Pakistan’s military in the West is demoralised and on the verge of collapse as the Indian Army, its Air Force attack and freedom fighters of Bangladesh made onslaught on the Pakistan army round the clock.

But still then, Nixon vauntingly expressed desire was to save Pakistan. He concurred with his buddy Kissinger. Nixon ordered to keep US aircraft carriers moving now.

Kissinger responded, “The carriers—everything is moving. Four Jordanian planes have already moved to Pakistan, 22 more are coming. We’re talking to the Saudis; the Turks we’ve now found are willing to give five. So, we’re going to keep that moving until there’s a settlement.”

Nixon then asked his crony, “Could you tell the Chinese it would be very helpful if they could move some forces or threaten to move some forces?” Kissinger replied in the affirmatory. Nixon unwrapped that they have got to threaten or they have got to move, one of the two.

With the fullest support of Bangladesh’s valiant and patriotic freedom fighters and the freedom-loving people in general, the 1971 war is considered to be modern India’s finest hour, in military terms. The clinical professionalism of the Indian army, navy and air force; a charismatic brass led by the legendary Sam Maneckshaw; and ceaseless international lobbying by the political leadership, especially by PM Indiraji worked brilliantly to set up a glorious victory.

After two weeks of vicious land, air and sea battles, nearly 93,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered before Bangladesh-India’s rampaging joint army command, the largest such capitulation since General Paulus’ surrender at Stalingrad in 1943. However, it could all have come unstuck without help from veto-wielding Moscow, with which New Delhi had the foresight to sign a security treaty with them in 1971.

However, Russia’s entry thwarted a scenario that could have led to multiple pincer movements against India.

On December 10, even as Nixon and Kissinger were frothing at the mouth, Indian intelligence intercepted an American message, indicating that the US Seventh Fleet was steaming into the war zone. The Seventh Fleet, which was then stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin, was led by the 75,000-ton nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise. The world’s largest warship, it carried more than 70 fighters and bombers. The Seventh Fleet also included the guided missile cruiser US’s King, guided missile destroyers USS Decatur, Parsons and Tartar Sam, and a large amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli.

Standing between the Indian cities and the American ships was the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet led by the 20,000-ton aircraft carrier, Vikrant, with barely 20 light fighter aircraft. When asked if India’s Eastern Fleet would take on the Seventh Fleet, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Vice Admiral N. Krishnan, said: “Just give us the orders.” The Indian Air Force, having wiped out the Pakistani Air Force within the first week of the war, was reported to be on alert for any possible intervention by aircraft from the Enterprise.

Meanwhile, Soviet intelligence reported that a British naval group led by the aircraft carrier Eagle had moved closer to India’s territorial waters. This was perhaps one of the most ironic events in modern history where the Western world’s two leading democracies were threatening the world’s largest democracy in order to protect the perpetrators of the largest genocide since the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. However, India did not panic. It quietly sent Moscow a request to activate a secret provision of the Indo-Soviet security treaty, under which Russia was bound to defend India in case of any external aggression.

Russia dispatched a nuclear-armed flotilla from Vladivostok on December 13, 1971 under the overall command of Admiral Vladimir Kruglyakov, the Commander of the 10th Operative Battle Group (Pacific Fleet). Though the Russian fleet comprised a good number of nuclear-armed ships and atomic submarines, their missiles were of limited range (less than 300 km). Hence, to effectively counter the British and American fleets, the Russian commanders had to undertake the risk of encircling them to bring them within their target. This they did with military precision.

Russian Admiral Kruglyakov, who commanded the Pacific Fleet from 1970 to 1975, recalled that Moscow ordered the Russian ships to prevent the Americans and British from getting closer to “Indian military objects”. The genial Kruglyakov added, “The Chief Commander’s order was that our submarines should surface when the Americans appear. It was done to demonstrate to them that we had nuclear submarines in the Indian Ocean. So, when our subs surfaced, they recognised us. In the way of the American Navy stood the Soviet cruisers, destroyers and atomic submarines equipped with anti-ship missiles. We encircled them and trained our missiles at the Enterprise. We blocked them and did not allow them to close in on Karachi, Chittagong or Dhaka.”

The Russian manoeuvres clearly helped prevent a direct clash between India and the US-UK combine. The declassified documents reveal that the Indian Prime Minister went ahead with her plan to liberate Bangladesh despite inputs that the Americans had kept three battalions of Marines on standby to deter India, and that the American aircraft carrier USS Enterprise had orders to target the Indian Army, which had broken through the Pakistani Army’s defences and was thundering down the highway to the gates of Lahore, West Pakistan’s second largest city.

Despite Kissinger’s goading and desperate Pakistan’s calls for help, the Chinese did nothing. US diplomatic documents reveal that Indira Gandhi knew the Soviets had factored in the possibility of Chinese intervention. According to a cable referring to an Indian cabinet meeting held on December 10, “If the Chinese were to become directly involved in the conflict, Indira Gandhi said, the Chinese know that the Soviet Union would act in the Sinkiang region. Soviet air support may be made available to India at that time.”

On December 14, General A.A.K. Niazi, Pakistan’s military commander in the-then East Pakistan, told the American consul-general in Dhaka that he was willing to surrender. The message was relayed to Washington.

Interesting glimpses from history that must be still so fresh in memory for all those who lived in the sub-continent in those eventful days of 1971. India, in 1971 succeeded in defeating a mightier military axis (USA-Britain-France, aided further by the tacit support of China for Pakistan) because primarily of India’s ‘moral power’ and, certainly, because it knew it was going to win the war in the very ‘object’ front (the Eastern Front) which was the cause and reason for the 1971 War.

The ‘peoples war’ unleashed by the allied Bangladesh freedom fighters made the victory in the Eastern Front only a matter of time and a ‘writing on the wall’ for those who could see. Needless to add, the war on the Eastern Front happened to be the cause as well as the ‘object’ of the 1971 War from the point of view of both India and Pakistan. Only the fools of the kind of Richard Nixon or Henry Kissinger had any different hope about the outcome.

The 1971 war was the finest among all wars fought by India-Bangladesh joint command against Pakistan. Along with Indian army, over half a million Bengali freedom fighters trained by revolted Bengali army, Bengali East Pakistan Rifles (entire EPR force), Bengali police (almost entire East Pakistan police) and Indian army were very formidable and capable to stand against the combined forces of West Pakistan, USA and witty Britain. The USA (fully)and Britain (lesser extent) played dirty tricks in 1971. Despite having hate and love relation, the Indians and the Bengalis will remain together in any eventuality in the subcontinent. They are naturally brothers. The Bengalis are always grateful to their brother India and former Soviet Russia who stood firmly by us for our (Bengalis) right.

Thus Nixon-Kissinger’s gunboat diplomacy was sunk by former Soviet Union. And the obnoxious nexus of America-Pakistan-China was also given a crushing defeat on 16 December, 1971. And Bangladesh was born. Joy Bangla. Joy Bangabandhu. Joy Four National Leaders.

Jail Killing Day in Bangladesh: Commemorating the Four National Leaders

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There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people. 47 years have elapsed by this time. I was then a senior student of the University of Dhaka and lodged in Sergeant Zohurul Hoque Hall. After the brutish slaying of Bangladesh’s Founding Father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by some pettifogger military Majors on 15 August 1975, the country entered into the dingiest frat house. It was a terrible shock that shook the whole country.

Despite being apolitical, I cannot forget that jounce wallop as of today. Khandakar Mushtaq Ahmed usurped power of Bangladesh walking on the blood of his supreme leader, Bangabandhu and became the self-proclaimed President of the country in connivance with those shyster junior army officers. Since then, despoiling of the core values on which Bangladesh were grounded in 1971 after a huge bloodbath, started by Mushtaq tam-tam which was vociferously espoused by the shyster military dictators – Gen Zia, Gen Ershad, civilian ignoble politician Begum Zia and their mango-twigs showing arrogantly their banal actions.

In absence of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who was then internment in Pakistan’s jail, when under the Premiership of a great statesman Tajuddin Ahmad of the Provisional Mujibnagar Government was in the process of attaining of Bangladesh, Khandakar Mushtaq Ahmed was the Foreign Minister. But he was a deft-schemer since our glorified Liberation War of 1971 who constantly was after Tajuddin Ahmad to do impairment to him to gimpy the fight against the bestial Pakistani military regime to gain ground for establishing Bangladesh. This artful character, in fact, cherished for a confederacy with the Pakistani regime instead of an independent and sovereign country for us for which we had then been fighting do-or-die like revolutionaries.

In less than three months of the country’s Founding Father’s bestial killing, the four national leaders – Tajuddin Ahmad, Syed Nazrul Islam, Capt. M. Monsur Ali and AHM Kamaruzzaman, the lambent leaders who manoeuvred the Bangladesh Liberation War successfully to attain Bangladesh from the brutal vitellus of Pakistani government were gunned down along with bayonet charges in the wee hour on 3 November 1975. This horrific incident was designedly kept closed book for a long time by the felons, Mushtaq and his bands together.

To change our taste of food, I along with my class-mates and friends – Kajal, Arif, Kashem, Nabendu and Nasir were taking dinner at the Jagannath Hall’s canteen on that November evening time; a one band radio was then tuned on to listen to the BBC news and to our utter shock and outrageousness, we heard that those bright star politicians of our glorious yesteryear history were felled in the safe custody of Dhaka Central Jailhouse. All present in the canteen were dumb-founded momentarily. There continued heated up discourses amongst us. Some said these malefactors must not go unpunished; some pronounced that they must be sent to the gibbet and some enounced aright that the true inspirits that we achieved through our splendiferous Liberation War would now be sent to limbo to bring back the Pakistani political orientation in Bangladesh.

But everybody presents there also expressed their potent fret against the malevolent acts by those ruffians. While returning to my abode in the Sergeant Zohurul Hoque Hall, I was so upset that I was only thinking that Bangladesh had entered into a black society where some ghosts and goblins would rapine it with more ferocity.

These four gentlemen like politicians walked many a path for several decades; brought many bridges along the way until their feet became weary. An emphatic glance into their lackadaisical drowsy eyes, revealed hidden sorrows built up through their last drop of blood. Every wrinkle on their sullen faces seemed to be an emblem of pain. They looked tired, worn down by life and defeated by some hands of savage goons belonging to the netherworld. Life is full of emotions, broken dreams, forgotten promises and bleeding hearts!! Regretful memories, of haunting ghosts, whose spirit voices torment my mind!! We want to call back something nostalgic. Walking away in somewhat of a daze instinctively I remember the lamentable song of losing them all.

They were like great speechifiers, writers, fighters, old-timer word rhymers always thought free verse was asinine. They were the queerest, the dearest and the tear in our hearts. They were archaic, prosaic, euphoric, historic and made pentagrams optically divine for Bangladesh. Montages made their artistry torch shine. They were the spiffiest, geekiest, and uniquely most outré; they were the people’s welfare-oriented statesmen over the line; they were the personas of great abilities; and the poets of politics for their motherland.

With thick love and trust, they bivouacked in our hearts as heroes and shall remain as heroes in our hearts in the days to come. I am a reader, a writer, an eternal life seeker; I am a trier, a crier who is drowning in the tears that they groaned before their painful demise. These old sorrowful songs that I sing are not now just a fading memory of the days when they loved us, but them ole’ tears will start to stream with those beautiful notes and melodies knowing they won’t hear a single word that I say.

They were fighters who stood up with their blood dripping down. The steel of their helmets was holding back their scowl with pleasure they saw their just cause was emerging as victorious. The theme of us has been written about for ages. Love missed us, tragedies shared and shaped us. We did our best to live, to survive, different kinds of battles, but battles nonetheless bloodied, and battered. Life taught us how to survive and we have. Our worlds were so much the same like those of our majuscule fallen leaders, but different. They have always been in our hearts, that’s simple to say. Men can be so transparent. And are we not so different.

So, the gardeners when you plant, up your flowers, sow your lawns and baskets you hang. Remember to also put up a feeding table and put out seeds for the starlings that sing.

The harsh winds bite at my very soul. Alone I sit, waiting for the fight to commence. My heart is racing, sweat pours despite the cold. Caution…not of today only! The warrior reaps the spoils and cowards merely pray. Scars are reminders, painful, but not fatal lessons of a fighter. Forward! We march to claim what is ours. Steel rise above our heads; and our swords of truth transcends time. Seize the day! The moment is now not for past heartaches, nor future vows only. Slay the demons, for they must fall. Thrust our sword deep and only then will we hear Victory’s call.

Our dreams that we earned in 1971 are spoiled by some rogue politicians. Our upright causes are wrecked by the skullduggeries of those nefarious of people.  Some hour, perhaps, will come our chance, but that great hour has never struck; our progress has been slow and hard, we have to climb and crawl and swim, fight for ever stubborn yard; but we have kept in fighting trim. We have to fight our doubts away and be on guard against our fears; the feeble croaking of dismay has been familiar through the years; our dearest actions must keep going right, events combine to thwart our will; but fighting keeps our spirit strong, and are we undefeated still! NO, not, at all!

Arise, our soul, arise; shake off our guilty fears; the bleeding sacrifice in our behaves appears: before the throne our surety stands; their chequered names are written on our hands. They ever live above, for us to intercede; their all-redeeming love, their precious blood to plead; their blood atoned for our entire race, and sprinkles now the throne of grace. Their bleeding wounds they bear received on the jailhouse floors; they pour effectual prayers; they strongly speak for us. Their spirit answers to the blood, and tells us we were born for loving of our beloved country – Bangladesh. We can no longer fear: with confidence we now draw nigh, and Dear Leaders, we cry for their absence in the soil of Bangladesh that they once created for us.

We do not want to stand at their graves and weep. They are a thousand winds that blow, they are the diamond glints on snow, they are the sun on ripened grain, and they are the gentle autumn rain. When wake up in the morning’s hush, they are the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. They are the soft stars that shine at night. They are our North, our South, our East and West. They are our working week and our Sunday rest, our noon, our midnight, our talk, our song; and our thick respect for them would last forever.

Each night we shed a silent tear as we speak to them in prayer. To let them know we love them, take our million teardrops, wrap them up in love, and then we ask the wind to carry them to those patriots in heaven above. We remember those golden sons of this soil with all sacrosanct.

The Mouse Squeaks in Bangladesh

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People in Bangladesh want the upcoming national elections to be held in a festive atmosphere and improve the atmosphere so that voters can vote for the candidate of their choice. And that will be sure as shooting.

But it is grossly offensive to decency or morality that foreign diplomats stationed in Dhaka are all rabbiting on over the next general election in Bangladesh, whereas their own countries are at colossus faults in many affairs including the election processes. So, when they want to prescribe us in our national matters, we can take them as if rogues supplant justice.

The next parliamentary elections are still more than a year away. However, like every other time, foreign diplomats are becoming involved in Bangladesh’s election process. But they must cease their interference in the national matters of Bangladesh. The government also does not take kindly to their criticisms and opinions on the election process and the internal affairs of the country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already informed the foreign diplomats working in Bangladesh to stop all these trumperies.

We remind them of the Geneva Conventions to observe etiquette. Besides, media representatives must not ask any question to the foreign diplomats about our election process.  

Last July, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminded foreign diplomats working in Bangladesh to comply with the Vienna Code of Conduct. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a letter in this regard to the United Nations office located in Dhaka, all international organizations and all foreign missions located in Dhaka on July 18. But the statements of the diplomats and their continuous close interaction with the opposition political camps have not yet decreased.

In addition, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. AK Abdul Momen and State Minister Shahriar Alam also urged the diplomats to speak according to etiquette. The foreign minister also expressed his anger at the behaviour of diplomats.

Experts say the letter of adherence to the Geneva Conventions means the government does not want foreigners to interfere in the country’s internal affairs. Therefore, foreign diplomats have been warned ahead of national elections.

Earlier on June 13, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was told in the meeting of the National Committee on Security at the initiative of the Cabinet Division that the diplomats of various foreign missions located in Bangladesh should be requested to comply with the Vienna Convention. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting.

And so, on July 18, the letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes the United Nations Office in Dhaka, all international organizations and diplomats and representatives working in all foreign missions located in Dhaka to follow the relevant rules and etiquette in conducting diplomatic activities.

In view of the recent events, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to respectfully inform everyone that diplomats at the public and private levels shall conduct their diplomatic activities in accordance with the proper diplomatic protocol as stipulated in the Vienna Convention of 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs of 1963.

In the letter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promises on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh that the Government will provide all the necessary support to all diplomatic missions, UN offices and all international organizations to work.

Several foreign diplomats working in Dhaka said that it is not their job to interfere in Bangladesh’s internal issues. They want everything in the country to go well and be peaceful. This is not true. They say one thing, but they do diametrically the opposite.

Investors from many countries have invested and are doing business in Bangladesh. For this, we want a stable environment and do not want any unstable situation to be created in Bangladesh.

German Ambassador Akhim Troster, Netherlands Ambassador Annie Von Leeuwen and European Union Ambassador Charles Whiteley held a meeting with Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on July 24.

After the meeting, German ambassador Akhim Troster said in a tweet that it is the main responsibility of diplomats to keep in touch with the political parties and institutions of the host country. So, their temerity is irremissible under any setting.

A meeting was held with Awami League General Secretary, Roads and Communications Minister Obaidul Quader and his colleagues on July 24. The European Union and its member states are tested friends of Bangladesh. Ambassador of the Netherlands Anne Von Leeuwen said in a tweet that a diplomat always tries to communicate with all partners to understand the situation of the host country and to advance development. This abracadabra harangue is not worthy of acceptance or satisfactory.

On June 2, the US Ambassador to Dhaka invited five representatives of civil society to lunch at his residence on the issue of the upcoming national elections. Several representatives of the civil society who participated in the lunch at that time said that America and Europe have great interest in the upcoming national elections. Look at how much brazen-faced and insolent Uncle Sam is!

Former Additional Secretary and Ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mahfuzur Rahman said, the last July letter is a warning. Basically, ahead of the national elections, the government is warning foreign diplomats in advance that the government does not want to see any foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs.

Because, past experience has shown that foreign diplomats have also entered the country’s politics with their own evil agenda. If the government party and the opposition parties, i.e. all political parties, are responsible, there is no chance for foreigners to turn their noses up.

Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen said that the foreign diplomats posted in Bangladesh are mature. We believe they will follow diplomatic etiquette. When asked whether the government can make a statement or protest to prevent foreign diplomats from commenting on Bangladesh elections, the minister said, “We believe that the diplomats in our country are mature. They are honorable people. We trust that they will follow diplomatic etiquette.”

Regarding the recent comments of the US ambassador Peter Haas about the upcoming parliamentary elections, the foreign minister told the reporters that because the journalists asked questions to the ambassadors, they commented on the internal affairs of Bangladesh. He said, “You force him. The poor man was forced to answer. It is better if you don’t go up to foreign countries.”

Come to us. They dare to speak because some of our people go to them. The foreign minister said, due to the colonial mentality, we still prefer something foreign. We have to get out of this habit.

Abdul Momen said, democracy is different in different countries. Bangladesh is the leader of democracy. We gave blood for democracy in 1971, 3 million people gave their lives. Where else in the world? We have struggled in this country when people’s voices have been stifled. When people’s right to democracy is taken away.

He also said that when the genocide was happening in this country in 1971, they did not even come close to us. When the genocide was going on in Myanmar, no one gave shelter to those people. Who did it, Bangladesh did it. Sheikh Hasina has opened the border. Protected human rights.

The foreign minister also said that the current government is committed to conducting free, fair and transparent elections and is not in favour of the death of a single citizen of the country during the election process. We are trying so that not a single person dies.

He said, there are good and bad in every country’s democracy. It is not always accurate. It’s a process. Democracy matures through efforts. We also have weaknesses. We are trying to work out how to fix the vulnerability. This does not mean that they are the best. They also have weaknesses, problems…

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said that foreign diplomats should not talk about the internal politics of Bangladesh. They should speak according to etiquette. They should mind in their own business. An old but significant proverb reminds us, “Let not the shoe-maker go beyond his last.”

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Sharodia Durga Puja

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Durga puja is an important festival in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism. As per Hindu scriptures, the festival marks the victory of goddess Durga in her battle against the shape-shifting asura, Mahishasura.

It is an annual Hindu event in South Asia that celebrates the adoration of the Hindu goddess Durga. In Bangladesh, it is celebrated broadly. It submits to all the six days of experiential as Mahalaya, Maha Ashtami, Maha Saptami, Shashthi, Maha Navami and Vijayadashami.

History says that the Durga puja has been famous since medieval times. It has urbanized and customized to the world as time approved. A substantial text exists around Durga in the Bengali language and its untimely shapes. The goddess Durga was not completely included into the Hindu pantheon mainly in Bengal. Early forms of Durga festivals were mostly private adoration in personal houses with the use of musical mechanisms such as the mandira, mridanga and smakhya.

Mantras are an essential part of Durga puja. These are accompanied by the musical beatings of the dhak and flowers. These make the environment of Durga puja. Singing of mantras in Sanskrit is a necessary part of the Durga Puja celebration. Durga Slokas commends Durga as a sign of all celestial forces. Along with the sloka, Durga is ubiquitous as the picture of power, aptitude, calm, wealth, ethics etc.

The whole procedure of the formation of the sculptures from the set of clay to the decoration is a holy process, overused by services and other rituals. The people of the Hindu religion are very pious to celebrate this day with respect.

Durga Puja is a public holiday in Bangladesh. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Bangladesh is a land of holy places and large religious festivals. The festival is a special occasion for Bengali Hindu families to come together from all over the country and celebrate with their relatives and communities.

The five days festival is celebrated with gaiety and grandeur in Bangladesh. Devotees of Goddess Durga offer prayers and seek blessings of the goddess. During the Puja, goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati as well as lord Ganesha and Kartikeya are also worshipped by devotees along with goddess Durga.

Durga calmly understands and counters the evil in order to achieve her solemn goals. Durga, in her various forms, appears as an independent deity in the Epics period of ancient India, that is the centuries around the start of the Common Era. From the medieval period up through present day, the Durga Puja has celebrated the goddess with performing arts and as a social event, while maintaining religious worship.

The festival begins on the first day with Mahalaya, marking Durga’s advent in her battle against evil. Swami Chinmayananda said, “Man, the imperfect, the bound, the sorrowful, has a thousand enemies within. He is riddled with negative thoughts fears, and yearnings. These are selfishness, jealousy, meanness, prejudice and hatred just to mention but a few. The Sadhak must get rid of these lawless villains within. With Mother Durga’s kripa, these destructive masters are to be annihilated. Invoke the Mother Terrible to help us annihilate within ourselves all negative forces; all weaknesses, – all littleness.”

The festival is an old tradition of Hinduism, though it is unclear how and in which century the festival began. Surviving manuscripts from the 14th century provide guidelines for Durga puja, while historical records suggest royalty and wealthy families were sponsoring major Durga Puja public festivities since at least the 16th century. The prominence of Durga Puja increased during the British Raj in its provinces of Bengal and Assam. In the contemporary era, the importance of Durga Puja is as much as a social festival as a religious one wherever it is observed.

This festival is the biggest festival of the Bengali Hindus and is celebrated with great fanfare in Bangladesh.

On each day of this festival, devotees offer flower worship (pushpanjali) and the priest conducts an aroti. At the end of these five days, the idols are immersed in water. As the devotees bid farewell to the Mother Goddess they softly say ‘Aaschebochoraabarhobe’ (We will celebrate your arrival again next year). Like Swami Sivananda, Hindus believe, “Durga (Devi) is synonymous with Shakti or the Divine Power that manifests, sustains and transforms the universe as the one unifying Force of Existence. ‘Shakti is the very possibility of the Absolute’s appearing as many, of God’s causing this universe.

God creates this world through Srishti-Shakti (creative power), preserves through Sthiti-Shakti (preservative power), and destroys through Samhara-Shakti (destructive power). Shakti and Shakta are one; the power and the one who possesses the power cannot be separated; God and Shakti are like fire and heat of fire.”

Even when skies turn to gray, we wishthat the Goddess will bless Hindus way; to give them strength to overcome it all; and achieve all their desires and goals.Let the divine blessings of the Goddess overflow in their life. Durga Puja is an auspicious Hindu festival celebrated across Bangladesh, India and bordering countries. People celebrate this day with great enthusiasm and zeal.

This wonderful spiritual festival, held annually in Bangladesh and elsewhere among the Hindu community in the world. The tenth day, also known as Dashami marks the Visarjan (immersion in water) of the idol with grand celebrations and processions.

Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and MahanagarSarbajanin Puja Committee have said, “We are respectful to all religions. We are giving the directives to maintain the sanctity of other religions.”

A week prior to the festival, the city gears up and can be seen wearing a look of eagerness and excitement as it prepares itself to welcome the Goddess home.A week before Navratri begins; the idols of Goddess Durga are being painted and made ready except for the eyes. On the occasion of Mahalaya, the Goddess is invited on earth with rituals and so on this day, the eyes are drawn on the idols in an auspicious ritual called ChokkuDaan. It is believed the Goddess descends to earth at the time of drawing the eyes on the idols.

On the sixth day of Navaratri i.e.,the first day of Durga Puja; the beautifully decorated idols are brought home or into magnificently decorated public pandals. The idol is then decorated with flowers, clothes, jewellery, red vermillion and various sweets are kept in front of the Goddess. The idol of the Goddess is accompanied by the idol of Lord Ganesh. Goddess Durga is considered to be Lord Shiva’s wife Parvati’s avatar and thus mother of Lord Ganesh.

The festival of Durga Puja is coloured with devotional zeal, mythological legends, detailed rituals, extravagant pandals and magnificent tableaus of the divine Mother Goddess and her children. The ten-day festivities of Durga Puja provide one and all with a chance to spread festive cheer and wish their loved one’s peace as well as prosperity. The nine different forms of the Goddess of Power, Durga or Shakti, as per the Hindu religion are worshipped during this time.

The last six days of the festival, namely, Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, MahaNabami and Bijoya Dashami are celebrated with great pomp and show. The Durga Puja revelry is not limited to elaborate rituals, but extends to various cultural, music and dance performances given by armature as well as professional artists during this time.

On the final day of Vijayadashmi, the devotees bid teary-eyed farewell to the Goddess and her children as it is believed that they leave for their heavenly abode. Their idols are submerged in the water amidst the resonating sound of drums to symbolise their departure.

May this Durga Puja light up for Hindus in Bangladesh and elsewhere throughout the world!We wish that Goddess Durga empowers them with unmatched happiness, great success and good luck. To conclude, we wish to enunciate a few words of a famed poem: “Nil akashermegherbhela,Padma phulerpapri mela,Dhakertaalekasherkhela,Anandekatuksharadbela. Shubho Durga Puja.” A very Happy Durga Puja to all our brothers and sisters of Hindu community in Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and across the world!

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