‘Bangladesh is a reality’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 14, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:56 AM, February 21, 2020

First year of Bangladesh Bangabandhu’s nation-building challenges

‘Bangladesh is a reality’

FEBRUARY 14, 1972


Bangabandhu warmly greets Senator Edward Kennedy, his wife Joan B Kennedy and his nephew Joseph Kennedy at the prime minister's residence. Russel, the youngest son of the prime minister, speeds past his father to be the first to greet the senator. 

When the PM sits down with the Kennedys for a chat, he mentions to Mrs. Kennedy, "I heard his [senator's] speech delivered today at the University [Dhaka University]. It was very nice."

Mrs. Kennedy asks the Prime Minister, "How did you do it? You weren't there." 

The PM replies with a smile, "My people put it on tape. I very much wanted to hear him but I had no time. So, I listened to his speech on tape."

Earlier, Edward Kennedy addressed a jam-packed students' meeting at Dhaka University where he said, "We are all Bengalees, we are all Americans. We are brothers in liberty, no man, no government can change the fact.

"The birth of the Bengali nation will be an inspiration to other people of the world -- a symbol to all who share your love of life and spirit of your courage but didn't yet share your freedom."

Commenting on a question about whether he had any discussion with Senator Kennedy regarding the recognition of Bangladesh by the US, Bangabandhu tells journalists, "Bangladesh is a reality. It has come to stay. We don't care as to who didn't recognise us." 


The Cabinet declares four gallantry awards for the Bangladesh Armed Forces, both regular and citizen soldiers. The awards are (in order of merit): Bir Sreshtha, the highest order; Bir Uttam, high order; Bir Bikram, commendable order, and Bir Pratik, gallantry certificate.

Bangabandhu presides over the cabinet meeting.

The Cabinet also declares that February 21 will be observed as Shaheed Day and the Day of National Mourning. It is also decided that the nationality of Bangladesh citizens will be termed as 'Bengalee'.

Bangabandhu and his cabinet members listen to the recorded orchestration of the national anthem 'Amar Sonar Bangla' which is being sent to Moscow where it will be played during Bangabandhu's state visit to the USSR, early next month. The orchestration has been directed by Samar Das. 


The government of Bangladesh has decided to withdraw excise duty on salt for the current year. The decision has been taken to boost the production of salt and to provide relief to the salt producers. 


Air conditioners and carpets for the officers under the government of former East Pakistan cost about 2.22 crore rupees, paid from the public exchequer. A significant part of the expenditure involved hard-earned foreign exchange. Bangabandhu was shocked to find such a colossal wastage of public money. He ordered immediate and drastic curtailment of expenditure on luxury items in the offices. 

SOURCES: February 15, 1972 issues of Dainik Bangla, The Daily Ittefaq, Azad, Morning News, The Bangladesh Observer and Purbodesh.

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