Mujibnagar, named after Bangladesh’s founding father, occupies a special place in the country’s history. It was here on April 17, 1971, the provisional government was formed with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the president.
Baidyanathtala, a mango orchard in Meherpur where the event took place, was later renamed Mujibnagar. Nearly half a century later, sculptures highlighting key events of Bangladesh’s Liberation War are being installed there to inform people about the nation’s struggle for freedom.The multi-million taka projects include infrastructural development, Liberation War-based memorial map and museum.
State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said the project design was finalised in 1998 and the government has already allocated Tk 1,000 crore for the project.
A number of multi-storey buildings, including tourism motel, shopping mall, Sishu Polly, mosque, post office, telephone office, roads, and helipad have been constructed along with a rose garden.A Liberation War map shows the 11 sectors the country was divided into during the War of Independence.
It also shows the exodus of Bangalees to India through areas, including Benapole, Bangaon and Netrakona.
The destruction of Hardinge Bridge during the war, hoisting of flag by ASM Abdur Rab, reading out the manifesto by Shajahan Siraj, a number of battles between Pakistani forces and freedom fighters have also been shown.
The map also depicts the occupation force’s massacre at Rajarbagh Police Lines and Jagannath Hall in Dhaka, Pahartali in Chattogram and Rajshahi, the destruction of the Jatiya Press Club, attack on Secretariat and Pilkhana, the killing of intellectuals and the Rayer Bazar mass killing ground.
Forty sculptures have been installed around the map showing the courageous leadership and roles of the leaders during the Liberation War.
The Liberation War museum contains images of the then army chief, deputy chief, Bir Uttams, four national leaders, Taramon Bibi and Setara Begum. There are 29 bronze busts and oil paintings of 30 important national leaders.
The outer side of the map has been decorated with a mural depicting Bangabandhu’s historic March 7 speech, the dark night of March 26, rape and torture of women by Pakistani occupation forces, and torching of freedom fighters’ houses.
Other historical events, such as the oath-taking of the Mujibnagar government and guard of honour, clandestine meeting of sector commanders in Sylhet’s Teliapara, and surrender of Pakistani forces have been depicted with life-size statues.
Former Meherpur MP Prof Abdul Mannan said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina planned to build Mujibnagar Complex to preserve the memory of this historical place.
Gopal Chandra Pal, the chief sculptor of the project, said hundreds of people visit the place every day. “They basically come here to learn about the Liberation War by seeing the sculptures,” he said.