Celebrating the 99th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation

Shahabuddin Ahmad
In Bangladesh, during February-March nature is afresh as new leaves sprout on trees, colourful flowers abound in gardens and pastures, and cuckoos sing from branches of trees and bushes. In Bangladesh in the month of March in 1971 historic political events took place: on 7th March 1971 Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared from the racecourse Dhaka, “The struggle this time is the struggle for our emancipation. The struggle this time is the struggle for our independence.”
On 17th March 1920 Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born, on the 23rd March Flag Day was observed and on 26th March Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared Independence.
The 99th birthday anniversary of the Father of the Nation was observed with due solemnity alongside Shishu Dibosh (Children’s Day). On this occasion many people recalled a Bangla poem by Annada Shankar Roy a former member of the Indian Civil Service (ICS). The poem was written during the liberation war in the middle of 1971.
Wikipedia provides the background information regarding the occasion. Annada Shankar Roy was invited by poet Shuvash Mukhopaddhay to address a protest meeting in Kolkata, against a conspiracy of the Pakistan government to kill Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who was in their custody in West Pakistan. Mr. Roy could not attend the meeting in Kolkata because of his age as he was then 70 years old. He had extreme love for the then East Pakistan where two of his children were born. Failing to join the meeting, Roy came back home and wrote ann immortal poem to pay homage to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s personality, courage and leadership. The poem reads thus:—

“যতনি রবে পদ্মা যমুনা গৌরি মেঘনা বহমান, ততকাল রবে কীর্তি তোমার শেখ মুজিবুর রহমান েিক দিকে আজ রক্তগঙ্গা
অশ্রুগঙ্গা বহমান
তবু নাহি ভয় হবে হবে জয়
জয় মুজিবুর রহমান।”

The utmost care for selection of words by Mr. Roy has been deep seated in the memory of millions of readers in Bangladesh, West Bengal and elsewhere as the poem has eloquence, heroism and profundity.
Torture, deprivation, killing and injustice have all along been highlighted by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman while addressing meetings in various places including some places in West Pakistan. The tenor of his speeches has been resounded before or after him around the world by those who fought for justice and freedom for their people. UNESCO has already designated Bangabandhu’s historic 7th March speech a world heritage document.
During World War II, Winston Churchill, then prime minister of the UK declared, “We shall fight them on the beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on hills.” Likewise Sheikh Mujibur Rahman encouraged the people of Bangladesh to fight and confront the enemy forces with “Whatever You Have.”
Rabindranath Tagore said that, “A day will come when unvanquished Man will retrace his path of conquest despite all barriers to win back his lost human heritage—Freedom.”
During the Liberation War of Bangladesh eminent Bengali lyricist Gouri Proshonno Mojumdar wrote—

“শোনো, একটি মুজিবরের থেকে
লক্ষ মুজিবরের কন্ঠস্বরের ধ্বনি, প্রতিধ্বনি
আকাশে বাতাসে ওঠে রণি।
বাংলাশে আমার বাংলাশেৃৃ.।।”

This charming song was sung by Angshuman Roy and it was frequently broadcast over the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra.
[The writer is Editor of The Travel World.]

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