His­tory Lessons: Re­serve for the Fu­ture

How has the life of Ben­galis changed af­ter in­de­pen­dence? Am­bas­sador Ex­tra­or­di­nary and Plenipo­ten­tiary of Bangladesh to Uzbek­istan, Mo­sud Man­nan, has agreed to ex­pound on the sub­ject for UT read­ers. Fol­low­ing are his words.

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - WORLD -

26 March is ob­served as In­de­pen­dence Day to com­mem­o­rate the fact that Banga­bandhu Sheikh Mu­jibur Rah­man our first Pres­i­dent and the supreme leader of the in­de­pen­dence move­ment de­clared In­de­pen­dence in the early hours of 26 March 1971. There­after the peo­ple of East Pak­istan no longer con­sid­ered them­selves as part of Pak­istan but as cit­i­zens of the new coun­try of Bangladesh. After­wards Banga­bandhu was taken into Mil­i­tary cus­tody and jailed in West Pak­istan. In April the Mu­jib­na­gar Gov­ern­ment was formed by his sup­port­ers and guer­rilla strug­gle be­gan with the help of friendly coun­tries like In­dia and for­mer Soviet Union. In­de­pen­dence of Bangladesh was gained through a nine-month long war against the Pak­istan Army, and their col­lab­o­ra­tors in­clud­ing para­mil­i­tary Raza­kars, Al Badars and Al Shams. In nine months 3 mil­lion Ben­gali peo­ple died.

In­de­pen­dence Day is ob­served through hold­ing pa­rades, po­lit­i­cal speeches, fairs, concerts, cer­e­monies and var­i­ous other pub­lic and pri­vate events celebrating the his­tory and tra­di­tions of Bangladesh. TV and ra­dio stations broad­cast spe­cial pro­grams and pa­tri­otic songs in honor of the In­de­pen­dence Day. Gen­er­ally, a thirty-one gun salute is con­ducted in the morn­ing. The main streets are dec­o­rated with na­tional flags. Af­ter the Hon'ble Pres­i­dent and Hon'ble Prime Min­is­ter, dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal par­ties and so­cio-eco­nomic or­ga­ni­za­tions pay re­spect at the Jatiy­oSm­ri­tiSoudho, the na­tional memo­rial, at Savar near Dhaka early in the morn­ing.

- Please in­tro­duce us with the cul­tural-en­light­en­ment events that are be­ing car­ried out by the Em­bassy’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. Bangladesh Em­bassy has been ac­tive in or­ga­niz­ing reg­u­lar cul­tural pro­grams through­out the year. Very re­cently in the cur­rent year on 21 of Fe­bru­ary 2018 the In­ter­na­tional Mother Lan­guage Day was ob­served at the Res­i­dence of the Am­bas­sador of Bangladesh with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Am­bas­sadors, diplo­mats and Uzbek Po­ets. Poems in thirty lan­guages were re­cited to show­case the rich­ness of var­i­ous mother tongues.

After­wards on 17th March 2018, Banga­bandhu’s birth­day was ob­served by giv­ing prizes to the win­ners of an es­say com­pe­ti­tion in­volv­ing chil­dren from two schools in Tashkent. It may be noted that in Bangladesh, Fa­ther of the Na­tion’s birth­day on 17 March is com­mem­o­rated as Na­tional Chil­dren’s Day.

Dur­ing last year, in Novem­ber 2017, Em­bassy cel­e­brated the UNESCO recog­ni­tion of the his­toric 7th March speech de­liv­ered by Fa­ther of the Na­tion Banga­bandhu Sheikh Mu­jibur Rah­man that was rec­og­nized as part of world’s doc­u­men­tary her­itage.

This event was closely fol­lowed by the ob­ser­vance of Vic­tory Day on 16 De­cem­ber, a date which marks the an­niver­sary of Bangladesh's vic­tory over Pak­istan in the nine month long War of Lib­er­a­tion of 1971. Through such events, the lo­cal com­mu­nity is in­formed about the blood-soaked strug­gle car­ried out by the Ben­gali pop­u­la­tion to achieve Lib­er­a­tion.

A spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion of Muslin and Jam­dani was held as part of the Na­tional Day Cel­e­bra­tion Event held at Hy­att Re­gency dur­ing the last week of March 2017. A spe­cial is­sue of Mus­taqil­lik, the an­nual jour­nal of the Em­bassy was also pub­lished on the same oc­ca­sion on the sub­ject «How to do trade and in­vest­ment in Bangladesh»

In April 2017, Em­bassy cel­e­brated Bangla New Year. In­ci­den­tally the Bangla cal­en­dar was in­tro­duced by Mughal Em­peror Ak­bar, grand­son of Poet & Em­peror Zahirud­din Muhammed Bobur. The event brought to­gether lo­cal Ben­gali com­mu­nity, diplo­mats, chil­dren of Kr­ishti ( a weekly school run by the Em­bassy to pro­mote lan­guage and cul­ture of Bangladesh ) & Uzbek dig­ni­taries, to taste Ben­gali food, to play and to par­take in com­pe­ti­tions and en­joy cul­tural per­for­mances.

In May 2017, the renowned New York-based Ben­gali artist Khur­shidSaleem ex­hib­ited a se­ries of paint­ings at a lo­cal art gallery.

In Au­gust 2017, MrLi­aquat Ali Lucky, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Bangladesh Shilpakala Acad­emy took part at the Shar­qTaronalare held in Sa­mark­hand as a Speaker at the Of­fi­cial Sem­i­nar.

In Oc­to­ber, the Em­bassy or­ga­nized a pub­lic film fes­ti­val on Bangladesh made art films and doc­u­men­taries, mainly show­cas­ing the works of the in­ter­na­tional award­win­ning Bangladeshi film­maker Tan­vir Mokam­mel, who was also in at­ten­dance. This event was spe­cially or­gan­ised in ob­ser­vance of the 25th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween Bangladesh and Uzbek­istan.

Also, in Novem­ber 2017, the Em­bassy com­pleted its two year long project of trans­lat­ing and pub­lish­ing the Un­fin­ished Di­ary of Banga­bandhu. Dur­ing the first En­voys Con­fer­ence held in Dhaka the first copy of this pub­li­ca­tion was pre­sented to Hon'ble Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina at Gana Bha­ban in pres­ence of the En­voys of Bangladesh and se­nior of­fi­cials of the Gov­ern­ment.

- What trends are seen in the trade re­la­tions be­tween the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan and Bangladesh?

2017 was a fruit­ful year for Bangladesh-Uzbek­istan re­la­tions. As a re­sult, Uzbek­istan has re­cently signed s con­tract to sup­ply tex­tile prod­ucts worth of US $5mil­lion to Bangladesh. Agree­ment was reached dur­ing the visit of the Uzbek del­e­ga­tion to Bangladesh. The pur­pose of the trip, which took place on Jan­uary 24-27 was to study the ex­pe­ri­ence of the de­vel­op­ment of tex­tile and knit­ting in­dus­try and visit the Yarn and Fab­rics Fair 2018.

Dur­ing 2017, Bangladesh Em­bassy in Tashkent also re­ceived pro­pos­als from Bangladeshi en­trepreneurs to pro­mote jute and jute prod­ucts in Uzbek­istan. On the other hand, Uzbek en­trepreneurs ap­proached the Em­bassy for as­sis­tance in pro­mot­ing lo­cally pro­duced dried fruits, veg­eta­bles and beans to Bangladesh. Also pro­pos­als for co­op­er­a­tion in the sphere of leather goods and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts were re­ceived early last year. Also dis­cus­sions were held on the pos­si­bil­i­ties of co­op­er­a­tion in the field of juice pro­duc­tion in Bangladesh with lo­cal pro­duc­ers of fruit juice. All the pro­pos­als are be­ing con­sid­ered for fur­ther ac­tions.

How­ever till date, cot­ton re­mains the main item of trade be­tween the two friendly coun­tries, spe­cially tak­ing into ac­count the de­mand of Bangladesh tex­tile in­dus­try for the high qual­ity cot­ton pro­duced by Uzbek­istan.

- What op­por­tu­ni­ties do you have to fur­ther en­hance our tourism and the re­la­tion­ships in the sphere?

Few months ago, a meet­ing was held with the Chair­man of Uzbek­istan’s Tourism De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee and var­i­ous pos­si­bil­i­ties of fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of tourism be­tween the two coun­tries were dis­cussed. Bangladesh Peo­ple are in­deed aware about Uzbek­istan’s rich his­tory, Is­lamic her­itage, dis­tinct cul­ture and ex­cel­lent cui­sine and great mu­sic. To en­sure ex­change of tourists in big num­ber direct flights be­tween Tashkent and Dhaka have to be present. At present there are no direct flights from Tashkent to Dhaka, while this route was pre­vi­ously ser­viced by Uzbek­istan air­ways (1999-2004). Re-es­tab­lish­ing of direct flights will jump­start the twoway flow of tourists. It will give the peo­ple of Uzbek­istan the op­por­tu­nity to fly to Bangladesh and learn about our his­tory, cul­ture and mu­sic as a part of eco & his­toric tourism while tourists of Bangladesh will be com­ing to Uzbek­istan for mak­ing Pil­grim­age to Sa­markand & Bukhara as part of re­li­gious and his­toric tourism which is a part of the vi­sion of Hon’ble Pres­i­dent Shavkat Mirziy­oyev.

The fa­ther of na­tion Banga­bandhu Sheikh Mu­jibur Rah­man (1920-1975) is the ar­chi­tect of Bangladeshi in­de­pen­dence, led the first gov­ern­ment of free Bangladesh. He had to solve count­less prob­lems in a war-rav­aged coun­try, namely, resti­tu­tion of law and or­der, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of refugees, restora­tion of broken com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems, and cru­cially, the pro­vi­sion of food for mil­lions of peo­ple, and many other chal­lenges that the gov­ern­ment faced. Thanks to his charisma as the leader of Bangladesh, he was rec­og­nized by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing the UN. Banga­bandhu was killed by a group of dis­sat­is­fied ser­vice­men on Au­gust 15, 1975.

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