‘I was electrified by Bangabandhu’s powerful voice’: Kovind

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Visiting Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday recalled that he was inspired, as a youth, by the moral courage of Bangabandhu and like millions of others, he was electrified by Father of the Nation’s powerful voice at his landmark March 7 speech in 1971.

“I remember that I was inspired, as a youth, by the moral courage of Bangabandhu. Like millions of others, I was electrified by his powerful voice, and the understanding that it carried the aspirations of 70 million people of Bangladesh at that time,” he said.

Kovind said: “Like millions of Indians of my generation, we were elated by the victory of Bangladesh over an oppressive regime and were deeply inspired by the faith and courage of the people of Bangladesh.”

He was addressing as the guest of honor an event titled “Mahabijoyer Mahanayak” at the South Plaza of the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh President Md Abdul Hamid addressed the event as the chief guest with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

Bangabandhu’s younger daughter Sheikh Rehana presented a Shraddha Smarak – ‘Mujib Chirantan’ to the Indian president.

Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque and chief coordinator of Bangabandhu’s Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury also spoke on the occasion.

The Indian president said Bangladesh’s struggle for freedom has a special place in the hearts of every Indian, especially those of his generation.

“Visiting the solemn memorial to the millions of martyrs at Savar and the Bangabandhu Museum yesterday were deeply emotional experiences for me,” he said.

“I was especially inspired to hear extracts of his historic March 7 speech. This is justly recognized by the UNESCO in the memory of world register as it always evokes justice freedom and democracy,” he said.

Kovind said Bangabandhu’s vision was of a Bangladesh that was not only free politically, but also of a nation that was equitable and inclusive.

Sadly, his vision could not be realized in his lifetime, he said adding that the anti-Liberation forces who brutally killed Bangabandhu and most of his family did not realize that bullets and violence cannot extinguish an idea that has captured the imagination of the people.

Above all, they did not count on the determination and resilience of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who faced assassination attempts and dictatorships with remarkable courage, he said.

The Indian President said Sheikh Hasina has been driven by the strong conviction to realize the dream of Bangabandhu and his spirit of Bidrohi (rebel), that depicted in the famous poem of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam .

He said today these ideals of Bangabandhu are being realized by the hardworking and enterprising people of Bangladesh, guided by the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

“We have witnessed the commendable economic growth achieved by Bangladesh in the last decade, which has also created opportunities for its citizens to realize their full potential,” he said.

He said Bangladesh stellar economic performance complemented by geographical advantage can benefit the entire sub-region and the world.

There is a growing recognition among international experts about the fact that close sub-regional trade, economic cooperation and connectivity will help accelerate the process of achieving a Sonar Bangla in the shortest possible time, he added.

Kovind said India has always attached the highest priority to its friendship with Bangladesh.

“We remain committed to doing all we can, to help realize full potential of our friendship. In recent years, we have seen steady expansion of trade, economic cooperation, people-to-people ties, student exchanges and extensive engagements across multiple areas of activity,” he said.

These are guarantees of a sustainable, deep friendship, based on mutual respect, sovereign equality and our respective long-term interests, he said, “I am glad that our recent efforts have been inspired by this vision.”

He said Bangladesh is a unique country of astonishing natural beauty, fertile land and majestic rivers.