President of Bangladesh
Abdul Hamid Ji,
Sheikh Hasina Ji,
Minister of Agriculture
Dr. Mohammad Abdur Razzaqe,
Madam Sheikh Rehana Ji,
Other Distinguished Guests,
My dear friends from Shonar Bangla,
This affection from all of you is among the precious experiences of my life. I am happy that you have made me a part of this important phase in the development journey of Bangladesh. Today is the National Day of Bangladesh, and also the 50th anniversary of Shadhinota. This year, we are also celebrating 50 years of India-Bangladesh friendship. The birth centenary of Jatir Pita Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman being celebrated this year is also strengthening the relations between the two countries.
I express my gratitude to President Abdul Hamid ji, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ji and the citizens of Bangladesh. In these glorious moments, you extended a warm invitation to India to participate in this celebration. On behalf of all Indians, I extend my heartiest congratulations to all of you and to all the citizens of Bangladesh. I pay a respectful tribute to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman ji who dedicated his life for Bangladesh and its people. It is a matter of pride for the people of India that we got the opportunity to felicitate Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Ji with the Gandhi Peace Prize. I also want to express my appreciation for all the artists who gave grand performances in today's event.
Friends, I remember, today the millions of sons and daughters of Bangladesh who have endured countless atrocities for their country, their language, their culture, who sacrificed their blood and put their lives at stake. Today, I remember the valiants of Muktijuddho. Today, I remember Shaheed Dhirendronath Datto, educationist Rafikuddin Ahmed, language-martyr Salaam, Rafiq, Barkat, Jabbar and Shafiur ji!
Today, I also salute the brave soldiers of the Indian Army who stood with their Bangladeshi brothers and sisters in Muktijuddho. Those who gave their blood in Muktijuddho, sacrificed themselves, and played a significant role in realizing the dream of independent Bangladesh. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, General Arora, General Jacob, Lance Nayak Albert Ekka, Group Captain Chandan Singh, Captain Mohan Narayan Rao Samant, there are countless heroes whose stories of leadership and courage inspire us. A War Memorial has been dedicated by the Bangladesh government in Ashuganj to commemorate these heroes.
I thank you for this. I am glad that many Indian soldiers involved in Muktijuddho are present here with me especially for this event. My brothers and sisters from Bangladesh, I would like to remind the young generation here with great pride, of one more thing. Joining the freedom struggle for the independence of Bangladesh was one of the first times that I took part in any movement. I must have been 20-22 years old when I and many of my colleagues took part in the Satyagraha for the freedom of the people of Bangladesh.
In support of Bangladesh's independence, I was also arrested and jailed. The yearning for Bangladesh's independence was as much there as it was here. Images of the heinous crimes and atrocities committed by the Pakistan Army moved us, we could not sleep for days.
Gobindo Haldar ji said-
‘एक शागोर रोक्तेर बिनिमोये,
बांग्लार शाधीनोता आन्ले जारा,
आमरा तोमादेर भूलबो ना,
आमरा तोमादेर भूलबो ना’,
That is, we will never forget those who liberated Bangladesh with the ocean of their blood, we will not forget them. We will never forget them. Friends, an autocratic government was massacring its own citizens.
They were crushing the language, voice, and identity of their own people. The world did not discuss and reflect on the cruelty, oppression and atrocity of Operation Search-light as much as it should have. Friends, amidst all this, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a ray of hope for the people here and for us Indians also.
The leadership of Bangabandhu, and his courage ensured that no force could enslave Bangladesh.
एबारेर शोंग्राम आमादेर मुक्तीर शोंग्राम,
एबारेर शोंग्राम शाधिनोतार शोंग्राम।
This time the struggle is for liberation, this time the struggle is for freedom. Under his leadership, the common man, be it male or female, farmers, youth, teachers, workers, all came together to become Muktiwahini.
And so today is also the day to remember Mujib Borsho, Bangabandhu's vision, his ideals and his courage. It is the time to remember the spirit of "Chiro Bidrohi" and Muktijuddho. Friends the freedom struggle of Bangladesh was supported by each and every corner of India, by every party and by all sections of society.
The efforts of the then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi and the important role played by her are well known to everybody. During the same time, on 6 December 1971, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji said- "We are not only fighting alongside those who sacrificed their lives in the freedom struggle, but we are also trying to give a new direction to history." Today in Bangladesh, the blood of those who fought for their freedom and that of Indian soldiers is flowing side by side.
This blood will build relationships that will not yield under any pressure, which will not fall prey to any diplomacy. Our former President Pranab Mukherjee ji, Pranab da, had called Bangabandhu a tireless statesman. He had said that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's life is a symbol of patience, commitment and self-restraint.
Friends, it is a happy coincidence that 50 years of the independence of Bangladesh and 75 years of the independence of India are being celebrated together. For both our countries, the journey of the next 25 years in the 21st century is very important. Our heritage is also shared, our development is also shared.
Our goals are also shared, our challenges are also shared. We have to remember that while there are similar possibilities for us in trade and industry, there are also similar threats like terrorism. The school of thought and the powers that carry out such inhuman activities are still very much active.
We must also be careful and be organized to fight against them. Both our countries have the power of democracy, and have a clear vision to move forward. Let India and Bangladesh move forward together, as this is equally important for the development of this entire region.
And therefore, today the Governments of both India and Bangladesh realize this issue and are making meaningful efforts in this direction. We have shown that mutual trust and cooperation can find solutions to everything. Our Land Boundary Agreement is also a witness to this. Even in this period of Corona, there has been good coordination between the two countries.
We supported the establishment of the SAARC COVID Fund, supported the training of our human resources. India is very happy that Made in India vaccines are of use to our sisters and brothers of Bangladesh. I remember those pictures from 26 January this year, on Republic Day of India, the Tri-Service Contingent of Bangladesh Armed Forces paraded to the tune of "Shono Ekta Mujiborer Theke.”
The future of India and Bangladesh is waiting for countless such moments, full of harmony and mutual trust. Friends, to strengthen India-Bangladesh relations, there is an equal need for better connect between the youth of both the countries. On the occasion of 50 years of India-Bangladesh relations, I would like to invite 50 entrepreneurs from Bangladesh to India.
Let them visit India, associate with our start-ups and innovation eco-system and meet our venture capitalists. We will learn from them, and they will also get an opportunity to learn. Along with this, I am also announcing Shubarno Jayanti Scholarships for the youth of Bangladesh.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Ji had said-
"बांग्लादेश इतिहाशे, शाधिन राष्ट्रो, हिशेबे टीके थाकबे बांग्लाके दाबिए राख्ते पारे, एमौन कोनो शोक़्ति नेइ” बांग्लादेश स्वाधीन होकर रहेगा।
No one is powerful enough to keep control over Bangladesh. This declaration of Bangabandhu was not only a warning to those who opposed the existence of Bangladesh, but was also a reflection of his belief in the ability of Bangladesh. I am happy that Bangladesh is displaying its strength in the world under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina Ji. Those people who had reservations about the creation of Bangladesh, those who doubted the existence of Bangladesh, Bangladesh has proved them wrong.
We draw inspiration from the common heritage of Kazi Nazrul Islam and Gurudev Rabindranath Thakur.
काराकारी कोरे ताई,
देरी कारो नाही,
That is, we don't have time to lose; we have to move forward for change, now we cannot delay any further. This applies equally to both India and Bangladesh.
For our millions of people, for their future, for our war against poverty, for the fight against terror, our goals are one, and so our efforts must be united likewise. I am confident that India-Bangladesh will together progress at a fast pace.
Once again, on this auspicious occasion, I extend my best wishes to all the citizens of Bangladesh and thank you from the heart.
भारोत बांग्लादेश मोईत्री चिरोजीबि होख।
(Long live India-Bangladesh friendship)
With these wishes, I conclude.