The entire nation is waiting eagerly to flaunt the hues of its pride -- the twin-coloured (red and green) national flag -- as Bangladesh is set to celebrate the golden jubilee of its independence.
It is that time of the year when every Bangladeshi citizen proudly salutes the freshly hoisted flag and celebrates the independence that they achieved after a long struggle.
Three million Bangladeshis laid down their lives in the 1971 Liberation War - more deaths than World War I, World War II and Vietnam War combined.
The red circle of the national flag represents the sun rising over Bangladesh and also the blood of those who died for the independence of Bangladesh. The green stands for the lushness of the land of Bangladesh and the eternal youth of Bangladeshis.
Bangladesh is set to wear a festive look as 10-day special programmes -- marking 50 years of independence and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu -- are set to begin on Wednesday at the National Parade Ground.
The 50th Independence Day will be celebrated with the spirit of liberation struggle and reflect the feelings of sacrifice. There will a tribute to the Father of the Nation and the three millions Liberation War martyrs and a resolve to build Sonar Bangla (Golden Bangla) as dreamt by Bangabandhu.
President Md Abdul Hamid will attend the programmes on March 17, 22, and 26 while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 17, 19, 22, 24 and 26.
“It’s a historic event for Bangladesh as five heads of state and government never (except any summit) visited the country within a span of a 10-day time,” he said, adding, “This is a very unusual time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but heads of state and government of our neighbouring countries are coming to show their rich tribute to our Father of the Nation.”
Bangladesh eyes stronger relations with the global community by celebrating 50 years of independence in the presence of global leaders -- both in person and virtually.
Momen said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will join the celebrations in person.
Many world leaders, including the United States leadership, Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will send video messages marking the celebrations.
The five South Asian leaders will join separately some identical programmes as part of the celebrations while Modi’s visit will be an extended one which will take him to three places outside Dhaka, including Bangabandhu’s birthplace at Tungipara.
The foreign minister said all the five South Asian leaders will hold bilateral talks separately with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when several bilateral agreements are expected to be inked.
According to him, Dhaka is expecting to strike at least three deals with India in the fields of disaster management and cooperation between some institutions of both the countries.
The foreign dignitaries will arrive in and depart Bangladesh on different dates from tomorrow while Modi is set to join the main Independence Day celebrations on March 26.
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will be the first top foreign dignitary to arrive on a three-day Bangladesh tour tomorrow and he will be followed by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who will arrive here on a two-day tour on March 19.
Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on March 22 on a two-day visit while Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering will be in Dhaka on March 24 and 25.
Modi will arrive in Dhaka on March 26 and leave here the next day.
According to the programme schedule, all the foreign heads of state and government will visit the National Mausoleum in Savar to pay their homage to the independence martyrs, Bangabandhu Museum at Dhanmondi-32 to pay tribute to Bangladesh’s founding father, watch special military parades and join state banquets.
The Indian premier is also set to visit Bangabandhu’s mazar at his birthplace in Tungipara and two Hindu temples outside Dhaka -- one in Gopalganj and the other in Satkhira. The temples are places of worships, particularly of the Hindu Matua community, a large part of them being residents of India’s West Bengal state.