Celebrating the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence, a ten-day programme, "Mujib Chirantan", began on March 17 at the capital's National Parade Square.
The eighth day of the event began with the theme, "Shanti, Mukti O Manobotar Ogrodut", acknowledging Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as a pioneer of peace, freedom, and humanity. Be it the famine of 1943 or the communal riots of 1947, Bangabandhu always stood beside those in need and believed in the power of peaceful protests.
The event was attended by Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She was received by her sister, Sheikh Rehana, National Professor Rafiqul Islam, and Dr Kamal Abdul Nasir Chowdhury, Chief Coordinator of the National Implementation Committee for the Celebration of Mujib Barsha. The Prime Minister of Bhutan, Dr Lotay Tshering, attended the programme as the guest of honour.
A discussion, led by Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen, MP, featured a recorded speech of A H Mahmood Ali, former Minister of Foreign Affairs. Eminent political scientist, Dr Rounaq Jahan, shed light on the theme by highlighting how Bangabandhu continued to strive for the welfare of oppressed communities. The discussion also included video messages by Pope Francis and Sonia Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress.
Celebratory messages by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella were read out by their respective ambassadors posted in Dhaka. Additionally, Shahriar Alam, State Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, read out the message sent by the President of European Council, Charles Michel.
The friendly relationship between Bangladesh and Bhutan was displayed through a vibrant performance by Bhutanese artistes. The performances shared the story of the neighbouring nations, and concluded with the traditional The Drametse Ngacham.
The Bangladeshi cultural programme was emceed by Fazlur Rahman Babu, in the form of puthi-path. It began with a choir performance by Rezwana Choudhury Bannya and Shurer Dhara. They charmed the audience by singing popular melodies like "Tumi Amader Pita", among many others. This was followed by a medley of Nazrul Sangeet by Shaheen Samad, Yasmin Mustari, Sukanya Majumdar Ghosh, Sanjida Mahbub Nandita, Pintu Ghosh, Ritu Raj and Tanveer Alam Shawjeeb. The songs performed included "Khelicho E Bishsholoye", "Durgom Giri Kantar Moru" and "Joy Hok Joy Hok".
A traditional baul performance with songs "Sheikh Mujib Bangabandhu Shobai Koy", "Khachar Bhitor Ochin Pakhi" and "Manush Bhojle Shonar Manush Hobi'' were sung by Farida Parvin, Baul Shafi Mondol, Kiron Chandra Roy, Shishir Baul and Labik Kamal Gaurob. This was followed by an energetic band performance of "Tora Shobai Joyodhdhoni Kor'' by Spondan and Fakir Shahibuddin. Dancer Samina Husain Prema, along with her group, enthralled the audience by a beautiful performance.
The programme concluded with a tribute to the Concert For Bangladesh, organised by George Harrison and Pandit Ravi Shankar on August 1, 1971, from artistes Naquib Khan, Naseem Ali Khan, Imran Rahman, Armeen Musa, Zarin Tasnim Naumi, Ashreen, Shakib Chowdhury, Farshid, Mehreen Mahmud and Foad Nasser Babu. They performed some of Beatles classics such as "Blowing in the Wind", "Here Comes The Sun" and the iconic song, "Bangladesh".
The author is a freelance journalist.