Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organized a webinar on “Bangabandhu and Bangladesh: An Epic Nation’s Emergence and Emancipation” on 28 August 2021. H. E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, MP, Honorable Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh graced the webinar as the Chief Guest. H. E. Dr. Samsul Alam, Honorable Minister of State, Ministry of Planning, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was the Special Guest at the event. Ambassador M. Fazlul Karim, Chairman, BIISS Chaired the webinar, while Major General Md. Emdad Ul Bari, ndc, psc, te, Director General, BIISS delivered the Welcome Remarks. Two papers were presented in the Webinar. A paper was presented by Dr. Syed Anwar Husain, Bangabandhu Chair Professor, Bangladesh University of Professionals. Dr. Atiur Rahman, Bangabandhu Chair Professor, University of Dhaka presented another paper.
In the Webinar Honorable Foreign Minister H. E. Dr. A K. Abdul Momen, MP, launched a book published by BIISS on Bangabandu titled “Bangabandhu and Bangladesh: An Epic of a Nation’s Emergence and Emancipation”. Notably, since the beginning of 2020, BIISS undertook a number of initiatives and programs centring the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. As part of this venture, BIISS organized series of seminars and webinars throughout the year. This book is the compilation of revised and edited versions of the papers presented at the seminars and webinars throughout the year.
In his Welcome Remarks Major General Md. Emdad Ul Bari, ndc, psc, te, Director General, BIISS noted that the Saga of Bangladesh is an inevitable part of the story of a man named Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who loved his people, who sacrificed his life for a country, the country he named ‘Bangladesh’. Bangabandhu might have disappeared physically but his sacrifice for this nation and aspirations towards a Golden Bengal will live forever and inspire our generations who are working relentlessly and collectively to realize the dream of Golden Bengal, defying all odds.
Ambassador M. Fazlul Karim, Chairman, BIISS noted that Bangabandhu’s visions and ideas have been encompassing Bangladesh towards materializing his visionary ideas. Bangabandhu’s belief of emancipation and social justice for the downtrodden live today is an exemplary motivation for generations to come. In fact, very few people in history can be credited with accomplishing what Bangabandhu has accomplished, marked a new country on the world map, established his life-long dream of independent Bangladesh.
In his insightful deliberation, Professor Dr Syed Anwar Husain, Bangabandhu Chair Professor, Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP), reflected on the life of Bangabandhu and the emancipation of the Bangali people. Highlighting Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s involvement and leadership in the Bangladesh’s pre-independence movements against the Pakistani rulers, Professor Husain elaborated Bangabandhu’s contribution to the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation and the political emancipation of the Bangali people. He also discussed how Bangabandhu’s vision of “exploitation free Sonar Bangla” was put forward through his vision and policies after the independence of Bangladesh and Bangabandhu’s contribution to the newly independent country’s state and nation-building.
Bangabandhu Chair of Dhaka University, Professor Dr. Atiur Rahman started with the extraordinary leadership qualities of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which among others included secularism and pragmatism. He described Bangabandhu as a “born democratic” who had the ordinary people in the centre of his struggle. He narrated how Bangabandhu started with a war-torn economy of 8 million dollar and no foreign reserve and managed to triple the per capita income in less than four years. He highlighted that very few constitutions of the world include development agenda to the extent that Bangladesh’s constitution does. Dr. Rahman also drew attention to Bangabandhu’s vision of “education for emancipation of the masses”, his emphasis on agriculture to survive in a world of “food politics” and his strategy of industrialization. He finished by saying that Bangabandhu was a global leader with farsighted foreign policy who looked forward to a world where, through sharing of technology and resources, men everywhere would start enjoying a minimal decent life.
Special Guest H. E. Dr. Samsul Alam, Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Planning, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh noted that Bangabandhu not only acted for the nation’s emergence and emancipation but also provided post-emergence invaluable guidelines for its people to materialize his long-cherished dream of building a Sonar Bangla. In all aspects or fields of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu has left his marks. His contributions before and after independence of Bangladesh, all remain equally noble and important. Typical of his visionary leadership, Bangabandhu established more institutions aimed at progress for Bangladesh, thus preparing the basis for a developed future for his country’s people.
Research Director of BIISS Dr. Mahfuz Kabir, delivered an introductory speech on the book. He mentioned that BIISS revisited the Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s thought, ideas and vision through a series of seminars and webinars throughout his birth centenary. He informed that the book was a compilation of revised and edited versions of the papers presented at those events. Finally, he summarized all the chapters of the book as a part of introduction.
Chief Guest of the Webinar H. E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, MP, Honorable Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh mentioned that Bangabandhu has played a pivotal role in Bangladesh’s journey for autonomy and independence. In leading Bangladesh towards an independent nation, Bangabandhu nourished the innate Bengali nationalism through this own political struggle against the oppressive state of Pakistan. The primary goals of Bangabandhu’s foreign policy were to be in a big-league of friendly countries, attain recognition for the newly independent country and ensure membership of international organizations. Despite the great power rivalry, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with his visionary leadership navigated the country’s international relations in a direction that still works as a guiding principle for Bangladesh.
There was an open discussion session in the webinar. Senior officials from different ministries, ambassadors and high commissioners, senior civil and military officials, media, academia, think tanks, business personalities, and teachers from different universities participated in the session and raised their valuable questions and opinions on the topic.