January 10, 1972 following his release from Pakistan jail. File Photo
The historic Homecoming Day of the undisputed leader of the nation and supreme commander of the country’s Liberation War Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Father of the Nation, today. Nation along with the ruling party Awami League (AL) will observe the day in a befitting manner.
On this day in 1972, the greatest Bangalee of all time Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman returned to his motherland, an independent and sovereign Bangladesh, after nine and a half months of imprisonment in Mianwali jail of Pakistan.
On the night of March 25 in 1971, Pakistan army arrested Bangabandhu from his Dhanmondi residence and sent him to a West Pakistani jail the following day.
The words were magical, the news was electrifying and the effect joyful that Bangabandhu was released from the Pakistani jail and he, along with Dr Kamal Hossain, were on their way to London.
The wave of joy was universal and the happiness complete knowing that our leader was safe and would be back soon amongst us – the people he loved so dearly and risked his life to lead them to freedom.
For those who did not live through those moments it will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to understand the almost hypnotising impact of this man who had so captivated our hearts and minds that our independence felt incomplete without him.
Soon after December 16, the day of Pakistani occupation force’s surrender and victory of a nine and half month’s people’s war, Bangabandhu was moved from the jail to a remote place. On December 24, he was brought to the compound of a police academy at Shihala by a helicopter, not far from Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.
Bangabandhu was subjected to inhuman torture in jail where he had been counting moments for the execution of his death sentence that was pronounced in a farcical trial. But, the defeated Pakistani rulers were finally compelled to release Bangabandhu from jail and he came back to the people, whom he loved much.
Millions of cheering people had gathered on both sides of the streets to welcome Bangabandhu, the architect of Bangladesh’s independence. Bangabandhu had arrived at Tejgaon Airport from New Delhi by a British Air force flight at 1:41pm on January 10.
Earlier on his release from Pakistani captivity, Bangabandhu made a short visit to London before departing for his beloved new-born Bangladesh en-route to New Delhi. The road from Shahbagh to then Tejgaon Airport was jam-packed with crowds who were eagerly waiting for their beloved leader.
A delighted Bangabandhu burst into tears when he hugged his four close associates, who successfully led the War of Liberation in his absence, on his arrival at the airport.
Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave separate messages on the occasion of the Homecoming Day of Bangabandhu. They described the occasion as a historic day.
They said Bangladesh achieved victory after nine months of war but the Bangali nation attained the fulfilment of their victory after the homecoming of Father of the Nation.
The ruling AL and its associate bodies and different socio-cultural-professional organisations have taken several programmes to mark the day.
The programmes include hoisting of national and party flags at the central office of the party, Bangabandhu Bhaban and party offices across the country at 6:30am, placing of wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu at 9:00am.
In celebration of the day, AL will hold a discussion maintaining health guidelines due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic at its central party office at 23, Bangabandhu Avenue at 3:30 pm. AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the discussion via videoconferencing as the chief guest.
A delegation of AL will place wreaths at the Mazaar of Bangabandhu at Tungipara in Gopalganj in the morning. Later, special prayers will be offered at the Mazaar of Bangabandhu.
AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader urged all units of the party and the people from all walks of life to observe the day in a befitting manner abiding health directives.