The historic Homecoming Day of the greatest Bangalee of all time Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will be observed tomorrow across the country in a befitting manner.
Bangabandhu, the undisputed leader of the nation and supreme commander of the country’s Liberation War, returned to the sacred soil of independent Bangladesh via London and New Delhi on January 10 in 1972, after 290 days of confinement in Pakistan jail.
The Homecoming Day of Bangabandhu this year came with an extra significance as it coincided with Father of the Nation’s birth centenary celebrations, just three months ahead of the golden jubilee of the country’s independence.
All programmes marking the day this year will be observed maintaining health guidelines in face of the global pandemic coronavirus (COVID-19).
On the night of March 25, 1971, Pakistan army arrested Bangabandhu from his Dhanmondi residence and sent him to a West Pakistani jail the following day.
Bangabandhu was subjected to inhuman torture in the Pakistan jail where he had been counting moments for the execution of his death sentence that was pronounced in a farcical trial.
“I was a prisoner in the condemned cell awaiting hanging. From the day I went into jail, I didn’t know whether I was to live or not. I was mentally ready to die. But I knew Bangladesh would be liberated,” Bangabandhu spoke emotionally about his ordeal in Pakistani prison at a news conference in London.
On the Pakistani army’s slaughter of Bengalis, “Mujib declared: “If Hitler could have been alive today, he would be ashamed.”
Earlier on March 26 in 1971, Bangabandhu proclaimed independence of Bangladesh and urged people from all walks of life to participate wholeheartedly in the nation’s War of Liberation.
Immediately after the proclamation of independence, Bangabandhu was arrested by Pakistani military junta and then flown to West Pakistan to keep him in prison there.
Though the final victory in the nine-month-long bloody War of Liberation was achieved defeating Pakistani occupation forces on December 16 in 1971, the nation’s expectations were fulfilled and the people got the real taste of victory with the homecoming of Bangabandhu on January 10, 1972.
On reaching Dhaka (Tejgaon) airport in the afternoon on January 10, Bangabandhu was greeted by tens of thousands of jubilant people who had been eagerly waiting to see their beloved leader since the final victory on December 16 in 1971.
From airport Bangabandhu was moved to the Racecourse Maidan (now Suhrawardy Udyan) where he addressed a spontaneous reception accorded to him by the cheerful countrymen believed to be one million.
He recalled with respect the contribution of all during the war and urged the people to rebuild the war-ravaged country.
Bangabandhu took oath of office as the country’s Prime Minister on January 12, 1972.