The nation is observing National Mourning Day today, commemorating the 43rd anniversary of the martyrdom of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
At the fateful dawn of August 15, 1975, a group of disgruntled army officers assassinated country’s undaunted leader Bangabandhu along with most of his family members and toppled his three and half-year-old government.The Bangalee nation witnessed the history’s most heinous incident on this day at a time when Bangabandhu devoted himself to implementing his dream to build the country as Sonar Bangla.
Bangabandhu’s wife Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, sons Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russel, daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal, brother Sheikh Naser, peasants leader Abdur Rab Serniabat, youths leader Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni and his wife Arzu Moni, Baby Serniabat, Sukanta Babu, Arif and Abdul Nayeem Khan Rintu were also killed along with Bangabandhu.
Bangabandhu’s two daughters – Sheikh Hasina, now the incumbent Prime Minister, and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana – escaped the carnage as they were in Germany at that time.
The assassination of Bangabandhu dealt a major blow to the spirit of country’s liberation war. The country witnessed politics of killing, coup and conspiracy after the killing.
The world community strongly protested and condemned the killing of the iconic leader, saying it is an irreparable loss to millions of people of Bangladesh.
August 15 remains as a black chapter of the country’s history as the vested quarter, by capturing state power, trampled people’s long-cherished desire for economic emancipation.After Bangabandhu’s killing, the country had been under military and quasi-military rule for 15 years. The spirit and objective of the liberation war was at jeopardy during the period.
The saga of the Bangalee nation’s long-drawn struggle for independence under the iconic leadership of Bangabandhu was nakedly twisted by the stratocracy.
Bangladesh Awami League led by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman struggled for 24 years against the tyranny of West Pakistan inflicted on Bangalees.
As a continuation of the struggle, Awami League under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman secured a brute majority in the 1970 elections.
But the Pakistanis chose heinous tactics not to hand over power to Bangabandhu and conducted one of the history’s infamous pogroms.
Bangabandhu in the early hours of March 26 in 1971 officially proclaimed the country’s independence to rid the nation of the repression and killing of Bangalees by then Pakistani autocratic ruler.
Responding to the clarion call from Bangabandhu, Bangalees stood against the Pakistanis and engaged in the bloody war against Pakistani occupation forces and achieved the victory.
The government, the ruling Awami League and different socio-cultural organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes in observance of National Mourning Day.
The programmes, include hoisting of the national flag at half mast atop all government and non-government offices and Bangladesh missions abroad.
The day is a public holiday.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the occasion.
In his message, the President urged all to follow the path shown by Bangabandhu and devote themselves to turning the country into ‘Golden Bangla’ as dreamt by him.
He said the assassins killed Father of the Nation, but they could not wipe out his principles and ideals.
“It is a tragic day in the history of the Bangali nation. With heavy heart, I pay my deep homage to the memory of Bangabandhu. I pray to the Almighty Allah for the salvation of the departed souls of all the martyrs,” he added.
“Bangabandhu was the visionary leader of Bangalee nation and the architect of our independence. He had never compromised on the rights of our people,” he added.
Along with political independence, Bangabandhu had dreamt of a happy and prosperous Bangladesh to attain people’s economic emancipation, the President said.
In her message, the premier called upon people to turn the grief of the loss of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman into strength to build ‘Golden Bangladesh’ as dreamt by him.
“Let’s come and turn the grief of the loss of Bangabandhu into strength. Let’s engage ourselves in building a non-communal, hunger-illiteracy-free and a prosperous Bangladesh as dreamt by him. That is our solemn pledge on National Mourning Day,” she said.
The President and the Prime minister will place wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu at 32 Dhanmondi in the capital at 6:30am.
The premier will also place a wreath at the grave of Bangabandhu at Tungipara at 10:00am and offer fateha there.
Cabinet members, central Awami League leaders and high civil and military officials will also be present.
The premier will also place wreaths at the graves of all those who embraced martyrdom on that black night at Banani Graveyard at 7:30am.
Special prayers and milad mehfils will be held at all religious institutions and Bangabhaban after Asr prayers.
The AL will arrange a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at 4:00pm tomorrow to mark the day. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will chair the event.
In a statement, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader called on the party leaders, activists, supporters and well-wishers to observe the day with due respect.
Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private TV channels will air special programmes while newspapers will publish special supplements on the occasion.
Besides, specially designed posters will be displayed at educational institutions and other public places, reminding the black chapter of the country’s history.
Socio-cultural organisations, including Shishu Academy, Bangabandhu Memorial Museum and many other educational institutions will organise discussions on Bangabandhu’s life.