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.
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.