We commend Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her prudent directives to her cabinet colleagues, saying that they should build houses for the homeless instead of indiscriminately setting up Bangabandhu's murals to commemorate "Mujib Borsho"—the birth centenary of Bangabandhu.
The sentiment behind the remark is a reflection of the vision of Bangabandhu in developing a nation where poverty and hunger would not exist and every citizen would have the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter guaranteed. But another reason why the PM made this remark was in reaction to excesses done in the name of observing "Mujib Borsho". For instance, she expressed her displeasure at a recent reception for the Education Minister where students were seen holding cutouts of Bangabandhu's face.
According to a report in this daily, 13 ministries, divisions and offices have sought an additional Tk 512 crore for organising celebration programmes. The government, in the national budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, had allocated Tk 100 crore for the celebration of "Mujib Borsho", with an additional Tk 50 crore to the cabinet division for the same purpose. Therefore, it is understandable that the PM would have reservations regarding additional funds and has asked the cabinet division not to allocate such funds unless necessary.
The PM's statement is thus a very timely and important message, urging the respective departments to initiate programmes that are notable. In other words, she wants these programmes to be beneficial for the people. The message also perhaps alludes to the sometimes excessive and unnecessary activities that some within her government and in the private sector engage in, which do not necessarily venerate Bangabandhu but are carried out just to win some brownie points with the powers that be. In fact, we have seen many such instances in which overenthusiasm to please the ruling elite has done the opposite of elevating Bangabandhu, which is certainly something that must be shunned. We hope the concerned people, whether they belong to the government or not, will be more restrained and sensible in their show of admiration and respect for the Father of the Nation. The birth centenary of Bangabandhu is certainly an occasion to celebrate—but in a dignified, sincere way.