MT Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday addressed the nation this evening on the occasion of the Independence and National Day 2021.
The full text of her televised address is as follows:
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
March 26 is our great Independence Day.
This time it is the 50th anniversary of the independence.
We are celebrating the golden jubilee of independence.
At the same time, the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is being celebrated. I am expressing my profound gratitude to Almighty Allah- He has given us the capability to celebrate this golden jubilee.
On the occasion of this auspicious day, I am extending my heartiest greetings and congratulations to all citizens of Bangladesh living at home and abroad on the eve of the Independence Day.
I am recalling with gratitude those friendly states, institutions and individuals who had extended their hands of cooperation during our deep crisis period.
On the night of March 25 in 1971, Pakistani occupational forces swooped on unarmed Bangalees in the name of ‘Operation Search Light’ as per their pre-plan.
Pakistani military junta launched simultaneous attacks on Rajarbagh Police Lines, the then EPR Headquarters at Pilkhana, DhakaUniversity and densely populated areas in Dhaka.
They killed hundreds of people by opening fire. Set numerous houses on fire.
Hundreds of Bangalees were killed in other cities of the country.
Valiant Bangalee members of police and the then EPR tried to build counter resistance in different places, including Dhaka.
Leaders and Workers of Awami League and Chhatra League along with the people obstructed movement of Pakistani soldiers by creating barricade on streets and alleyways in neighborhoods.
But the unarmed resistance didn’t last longer in the face of the modern arms, tanks and armed vehicles.
Pakistani military junta began indiscriminate genocide by carrying out attacks on unarmed Bangalees.
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had proclaimed independence in the first hour of March 26 before he was arrested by the Pakistani soldiers.
He gave directives to the entire nation for resistance war to free the motherland from enemies.
His proclamation was disseminated across the country through wireless of the then EPR. Pakistani junta brought Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to the West Pakistani and threw him into prison.
Prior to that, when Pakistani rulers carried out repression-persecution instead of handing over power after the landslide victory of Awami League in the 1970 general elections, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at one stage of non-cooperation movement, announced at the Race Course Maidan on March 7 in 1971: “The struggle this time is our struggle for emancipation, the struggle this time is the struggle for our independence. Joy Bangla”
At his directives, the brave Bangalees freed the country from enemies through the nine-month Liberation War. The final victory was achieved on December 16 in 1971.
I am recalling with profound respect the martyrs of the black night of March 25.
I am paying tributes to the Greatest Bangalee of All Time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
I am recalling the four national leaders, 30 lakh martyrs and two lakh repressed mothers and sisters of the Liberation War. My salute (salam) to the valiant freedom fighters.
With profound sorrow, I am recalling all martyrs of August 15, 1975, including my mother Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, three brothers — Freedom Fighter Captain Sheikh Kamal, Freedom Fighter Lieutenant Sheikh Jamal and 10-year-old Sheikh Russel, two sisters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal and my uncle Sheikh Abu Naser, who were brutally killed by the assassins.
The independence of our loving motherland is the yield of the constant political struggles of 24 years.
And Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the struggles from the forefront from the beginning to the end.
In 1948, he sowed the seed of autonomy in the movement with the demand of making Bangla as a state language and turned the seed into a tree of movement for establishing independent motherland by nurturing the seed carefully.
He became Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib from Sheikh Mujib.
Following the path of language movement we achieved independence through the 1954 Jukta Front election, 1958 anti-Ayub Khan movement, 1966 historic six-point, 1969 mass upsurge, 1970 election and 1971 bloody Liberation War.
As the great man named Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was born, we are proud citizens of independent and sovereign Bangladesh.
As he was born, today we can feel proud of our own country, language-culture.
Sheikh Mujib is the architect of a country and a nation state.
So, we are celebrating his birth centenary and golden jubilee of independence simultaneously.
I am extending thanks to the people of Bangladesh as they brought Bangladesh Awami League, which led the Liberation War, to state power during the celebrations of the two important milestones of the national life.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman not only dreamed for an independent-sovereign country but also for wiping out the sorrow and distress of the common people of this soil who became victims of suppression-exploitation, repression-persecution, died from starvation and diseases for hundreds of years and dreamed for ensuring their improved life with food, clothing and treatment.
It is unfortunate that the anti-liberation evil forces had assassinated Bangabandhu and most of his family within only three and half years.
Through his assassination, the development and progress of Bangladesh was stunned as well as the spirit of Liberation War was also destroyed.
At a rally in Sylhet on June 28 in 1972, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib said: “. . . I didn’t do politics for becoming prime minister or minister. I did politics for the emancipation of 7.5 crore people. Now my politics has been freed.
My economy needs emancipation. If it is not possible, the independence will go in vain.
If the people of Bangla don’t have enough food in stomach, if the people of Bangla cannot live in peace, if the people of Bangla cannot be saved from repression and injustice, this independence will go in vain.”
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib didn’t only dream but knew how to translate dreams into reality.
After the independence with empty hand, he accelerated the economy by making functional the destroyed roads, bridges, culverts, railway tracks, ports within only three and a half years.
Bangladesh got recognition of 126 countries and membership of 27 international organizations. He enlisted Bangladesh into the list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
In the post-1975 period, the undemocratic rulers, who illegally grabbed the power, derailed Bangladesh from its ideology.
For the long 21 years, it deceived the country’s people.
It made people deprived of their rights to food, clothes and home by looting their properties. Bangladesh was introduced abroad as a country of baggers.
The 50 years of the country’s independence is a significant milestone in national life.
Programmes of the golden jubilee of the independence become more colourful for us since Bangladesh Awami League government is running the state with the ideology of the Liberation War.
Today, Bangladesh stands with its head high before the world as a proud state by making all the negative and frustrating assumptions regarding this country baseless.
Even, a decade ago, Bangladesh was presented as an example of poor and underdeveloped country, but development experts today are presenting Bangladesh as a role model of poverty elimination and development.
I am presenting the comparative scenarios of different socioeconomic indexes of the country since fiscal 2005-06.
During the fiscal 2005-06, the country’s per capita income was US$ 543 but it stands now at US$ 2064. That time, the poverty rate was 41.5 percent and it reduced to 20.5 percent. The GDP size increased to Taka 28,00,000 crore from Taka 4,82,337 crore.
Foreign currency reserve was 0.744 billion US dollar, that means less than US$ one billion, but at present it exceeded US$ 44 billion.
During the fiscal 2005-06, the country’s budget size was Taka 61,000 crore.
The budget size of current fiscal is Taka 5,68,000 crore. In fiscal 2005-06, the average life expectancy was 59 years but it increased to 72.6 years in fiscal 2019-20.
The infant mortality rate decreased to 28 per 1000 live births, while maternal mortality rate stands at 370 per lakh.
That time, allocation of social safety net sector was Taka 373 crore. It increased to Taka 95,574 crore in the current fiscal.
At present, food grain production increased to 4,53,88,000 metric tonnes from 1,80,00,000 tonnes in fiscal 2005-06.
Power generation capacity now goes up to 24,821 megawatts from 4,900 megawatts in 2005-06.
About 47 percent of the country’s people had access to power in 2005-06 but now it increased to 99 percent.
The credit of these achievements of today goes to the country’s general people.
The farmers-labourers-professionals, our expatriate brothers and sisters, the entrepreneurs of the country made the impossible work of poverty elimination possible through their labour, merit and innovative power.
My government has created only the conducive environment by providing policy support.
You have proved that the people of Bangladesh can make any impossible task possible if they get a suitable environment.
Bangladesh achieved remarkable success in its socioeconomic indexes due to our restless labours in the last 12 years. Last month, Bangladesh was recommended for graduation to a developing country from a least developed one.
Bangladesh has not only exceeded its neighbouring countries in various indexes – average life expectancy, gender equity, universal primary education, female education, women’s right to politics, women and child mortality rates, sanitation and food availability, but also crossed many developed states in many indexes.
The path of today’s graduation was not smooth at all.
The anti-liberation forces continued ill-efforts inside the country and abroad to halt the advancement of Bangladesh. The efforts continue still now. That is why we all should play the role of the vigilant watchmen to resist all the anti-state efforts.
We have achieved the independence of this beloved motherland in exchange of a sea of blood.
Responding to the call of dear leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, students leaving their educational institutions, labourers leaving their factories, farmers leaving their ploughs, blacksmiths, potters and fishermen jumped into the liberation war.
Leaving the side of Pakistan, members of the armed forces and law enforcing agencies joined the resistance struggle. All of our freedom fighters, irrespective of cast and religion, participated in the liberation war.
Think for one time, today we are taking the free breath in the soil of an independent state, how many youths did sacrifice their lives to achieve this? How many mothers lost their children, how many mothers lost their sons, how many siblings lost their brothers, how many wives lost their husbands, how many fathers lost their children? How many freedom fighters have been suffering miserable lives getting crippled?
They had only expectation that this country would be independent. The country’s people can live in peace and happiness. All would enjoy fundamental rights. Today, we have fulfilled their expectations to some extent.
On this happy occasion of the golden jubilee, we have to take a pledge so that none can play with the fate of the people of Bangladesh and hinder the advancement of country’s democracy and development.
Sinking all differences, let’s build Bangladesh as the developed, prosperous and non-communal ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by the Father of the Nation being inspired by the spirit of the Liberation War.
We are celebrating the golden jubilee of the country’s independence. But this celebration should not be confined to formalities only.
On the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation and the golden jubilee of the independence, we have to take a fresh vow to take the country to a new height.
This year’s Independence Day is not like the previous ones. This is the 50th anniversary of the independence. This is a day of bliss and gaiety. I, therefore, call in the words of Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore:
Anandadhani Jagao Gagane.
Ke Achho Jagiya Purabe Chahiya,
Bole ‘Utho Utho’ Saghane Gabhir Nidramagane.
Hero Timir Rajani Jay Oi, Hashe Usha Naba Jotirmayee-
Naba Anande, Naba Jibone,
Fulla Kusume, Madhur Pabane, Bihag Kalakujane.
Everyone, stay well and stay healthy. May Allah Rabbul Alamin bless all of us.
Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu
May Bangladesh live forever.