“The celebrations will begin with fireworks at 8 pm at the Suhrawardy Udyan today, marking Bangabandhu’s birth moment,” the Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee’s chief coordinator Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury told a media briefing on Monday afternoon.
The organizers selected Suhrawardy Udyan for the inauguration of the Mujib Year with fireworks, considering the site to be historic as Bangabandhu had delivered his momentous March 7, 1971 speech leading to the Liberation War and eventual independence.
Chowdhury said the fireworks would be immediately followed by nationwide broadcast of President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s address.
The countdown for the celebration’s opening began on January 10 last coinciding with Bangabandhu’s homecoming in 1972, as the founder of the newly born Bangladesh, after nine months of captivity in Pakistan.
The nation, meanwhile, had waged its war for independence in line with his directions and earned the victory.
On March 17 one hundred years ago, Bangabandhu was born to a respected family at Tungipara village of the then Gopalganj sub-division, now district as the third among six children of Sheikh Lutfur Rahman and Saira Khatun.
The history had set his course to be the architect of independent Bangladesh and the greatest Bangalee of all times after protracted struggle and personal sacrifices.
Organisers said the global coronavirus pandemic forced them to scale down the inauguration fanfare revising the schedule trying to keep most of the programmes indoors to discard public gatherings.
But the President and the premier would lay wreaths at Bangabandhu’s shrine at Tungipara in Gopalganj tomorrow morning and offer fateha and munajat as per original schedule.
Under the original plan, the celebration was set to be opened drawing thousands of people at the National Parade Ground tomorrow.
A scheduled gathering of children at Tungipara and in primary schools across Bangladesh tomorrow were also scrapped due to COVID-19.
Sheikh Hasina, who is Bangabandhu’s elder daughter, will also place wreaths at Bangabandhu’s portrait at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi Road No. 32 in the capital ahead of travelling to Tungipara.
Different socio-cultural and political organisations from grassroots to national levels, ministries and divisions have drawn up programmes to celebrate the birth centenary opening.
At the press conference of the International Mother Language Institute (IMLI), Chowdhury said after the fireworks at the historic Suhrawardy Udyan, the recorded two-hour long inaugural programme will kick off.
The recorded programme includes the speeches of the President and the prime minister.
The programme will be aired at all electronic media, including Bangladesh Television (BTV), Bangladesh Betar, online and social media simultaneously, he added.
Bangabandhu’s younger daughter Sheikh Rehana will also express her feelings on Bangabandhu during the programme, he added.
He said presidents and prime ministers of different countries, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Bhutanese Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering and Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres and Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen will deliver messages on the occasion.
The inauguration function will end after another firework at the South Plaza of the Jatiya Sangsad, Chowdhury added.
Bangabandhu’s birthday is a public holiday in Bangladesh and it is also observed as National Children’s Day.
The ruling Awami League has drawn up revised programmes including -hoisting of party flags atop all AL offices across the country including Bangabandhu Bhaban and AL’s Bangabandhu Avenue central office at 6am on March 17, paying homage to Bangabandhu by placing wreaths at his portrait at 7am.
Besides, a delegation of the party’s central working committee led by AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will pay homage to Bangabandhu by placing a wreath at his mazar (shrine) at Tungipara in Gopalganj and join a doa mahfil there today.
Special prayers will be arranged at all religious institutions across the country while orphans and destitute people will be distributed special foods.
Under the initiative of Dhaka City North AL, orphans and destitute people will be given foods and sweets on the premises of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque and Banani Korail slum. Identical programmes will be held across the country.
Marking the ‘Mujib Year’, Bangladesh Bank (BB) will issue regular currency notes and commemorative notes of Taka 200 on Wednesday.
Besides, the central bank will also issue Taka 100 denomination commemorative gold and silver coins and Taka 100 commemorative notes from the day.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry has taken an initiative to plant around one crore saplings across the country.-BSS