Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka on Friday. – PTI
DHAKA, March 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 deprived the region of the destiny that could and should have been “ours to share” as he asserted that it was time to once again chart a bold ambition for partnership between India and Bangladesh.
In an opinion piece titled Imagining a different South Asia with Bangabandhu published in The Daily Star newspaper on Friday, Prime Minister Modi promised that India will remain Bangladesh’s partner as they jointly march towards the golden future for which Bangabandhu, and millions of patriotic Bangladeshis, and indeed thousands of Indians, gave their all.
“It is time to once again chart a bold ambition for our partnership, as Bangabandhu would have done. With the spirit and enterprise of our people as our Bhagya Vidhata, the dispenser of our shared destiny, such a future is closer than ever,” wrote Modi, who is visiting Bangladesh on his first trip to a foreign country since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“As we look back on Bangabandhu’s life and struggle, I ask myself, what could our subcontinent have looked like, had this modern-day giant not been assassinated?” wrote Modi. Modi said the Bangabandhu’s killers wanted to reverse the gains of Bangladesh’s independence, for which he had led a heroic struggle.
“They also wanted to strike a mortal blow to Bangabandhu’s dream of building a cooperative, peaceful and harmonious subcontinent,” he said.
Despite unflinching commitment to his cause, and despite all the persecutions he suffered, Bangabandhu retained a generosity of spirit that is a mark of true greatness, Modi said, adding that the Bangladeshi leader’s progressive belief in fairness, equality and inclusiveness is captured in the words he wrote in the 1950s, “I know at least this much: No one should be murdered because he holds views different from mine.
“In him, we saw a tall leader whose vision went beyond the narrow confines of physical borders and social divisions. That is why we join our Bangladeshi sisters and brothers in celebrating Bangabandhu’s memory in this very special Mujib Borsho,” Modi wrote.
Modi said that with Bangabandhu at the helm, Bangladesh and the region would have evolved along a very different trajectory.
“A sovereign, self-confident Bangladesh, at peace with its neighbours, bearing friendship to all and malice towards none, was rising fast from the ashes of a painful war. If this had continued, perhaps India and Bangladesh could have achieved many decades ago some of the accomplishments that we were able to reach only recently,” Modi said.
Citing the example of the 2015 Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh, Modi said that had Bangabandhu been at the helm longer, this achievement may have come much earlier. “Had that happened, our cooperation would have reached a different orbit all together, enabling development, economic growth and shared security,” he added.
“I am sure that with his visionary world-view, Bangabandhu would have dared to dream something even bigger for our subcontinent. With the spirit of the Liberation War energising us, and with Bangabandhu as the guiding star, this region, at least the Bay of Bengal area, might have been in a different reality now,” he said. – PTI
Modi hands over Gandhi Peace Prize for Mujibur Rahman to his daughters
DHAKA, March 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday presented the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020, being conferred by India upon Bangladesh’s ‘Father of the Nation’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to his daughters – Premier Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana.
Modi arrived in Bangladesh on a two-day visit to attend the celebrations of the golden jubilee of the country’s independence, the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and hold talks with his counterpart Hasina.
Speaking at the 50th National Day programme of Bangladesh at the National Parade Square, Modi said it was an honour for India to confer Gandhi Peace Prize on Mujibur Rahman.
Modi, who was wearing a ‘Mujib Jacket’ as a tribute to Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation, said that Bangabandhu’s leadership and bravery had ensured that no power could enslave Bangladesh.
“This is one of the most memorable days of my life. I am grateful that Bangladesh has included me in this event. I am grateful that Bangladesh has invited India to take part in this function. It is a matter of our pride that we got the opportunity to honour Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with the Gandhi Peace Prize,” said Modi. He handed over the award, a citation, a plaque and a shawl to Prime Minister Hasina and her sister Rehana.
“One of the greatest leaders of our subcontinent! Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 was conferred on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. PM @narendramodi presents the Gandhi Peace Prize to PM Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana,” Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted.
Hasina in her address thanked Prime Minister Modi and the Government of India for bestowing the prestigious honour on her father, who is also the Father of the Nation.
The Gandhi Peace Prize is an annual award instituted by the government of India since 1995, the 125th birth anniversary commemoration year of Mahatma Gandhi. – PTI