By Vice Chairpersons Song Na-ra, Joy Cho, Reporter Lee Ji-hyun, Photographer Jang Jung-hyung
Ambassador and Mrs. Delwar Hossain of the People’s Republic Bangladesh in Seoul hosted a gala reception at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on March 28 this year with the attendance of many dignitaries from various circles of Korea and the diplomatic community.
The reception was attended by Yun Seong-won, vice minister for land and infrastructure of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) as the Guest of Honor. Seo Min-Jeong, deputy director-general of the Asian & Pacific Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also present.
The reception was attended by a large number of guests including the ambassadors, diplomats, Korean senior government officials, accomplished businessmen and representatives of renowned business organizations, members of the civil society, representatives of the print and electronic media and the expatriate Bangladesh community living in Seoul.
In his welcoming remarks, Ambassador M. Delwar Hossain paid a rich tribute to the greatest Bengali of all times Father of the Nation of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as well as to all the valiant freedom fighters who made supreme sacrifices for the independence of Bangladesh.
He highlighted the brief history of Bangladesh’s war of liberation and the current socio-economic development trajectory and achievement of Bangladesh under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He also touched upon the existing friendly bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea and the various areas of bilateral cooperation.
Referring to the forthcoming 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea, Ambassador Delwar Hossain accentuated seizing this momentous occasion to take the bilateral relationship to a new height using the existing potential.
In his congratulatory remarks, Vice Minister Yun Seong-won congratulated Bangladesh on the occasion of Independence and National Day and expressed hope that the existing bilateral relations between the two countries will further deepen in the days ahead.
A colorful cultural program featuring Bangladeshi and Korean dance performances and instrumentals mesmerized the audience.
Meanwhile, the 51st Anniversary of Independence and National Day was celebrated by the Embassy of Bangladesh in Seoul with due fervor and festivity on March 26. The expatriate Bangladeshis living in Korea and the Embassy officials took part in the event.
The day’s program commenced with the hoisting of the national flag by Ambassador M. Delwar Hossain with the national anthem at the Embassy premises. This was followed by paying homage to the Father of the Nation by placing floral wreaths in front of his bust inside the Chancery.
A special prayer was offered for the salvation of the departed souls of the Father of the Nation and the martyrs and for the continued peace and prosperity of the country.
Then the Embassy officers read out the messages by the Hon’ble President, Hon’ble Prime Minister, Hon’ble Foreign Minister and Hon’ble State Minister for Foreign Affairs. A documentary on the Independence and National Day was screened during the programme. It was followed by a discussion session taken part by the Embassy officials and the expatriate Bangladeshis.
In his remarks, Ambassador M. Delwar Hossain paid a rich tribute to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as well as to all the valiant freedom fighters and violated women, who made supreme sacrifices for the independence of Bangladesh.
Highlighting the current development trajectory and achievement of Bangladesh under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he called upon the expatriate Bangladeshis to devote themselves to building a hunger and poverty-free, happy and prosperous "Sonar Bangla" as envisioned by the Father of the Nation.
History of Independence Day of Bangladesh
In the 1970 Pakistani general election under the military government of President Yahya Khan, the largest political party Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won a clear majority in East Pakistan national seats as well as provincial assembly. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto conspired with Yahya Khan and changed their position, refusing to hand over power to Sheikh Mujib.
Negotiations began but Sheikh Mujib was not trusted by the ruling West Pakistani leadership, having Agartala conspiracy case in vision. When it became clear that promises given earlier were not going to follow through, the whole nation of Bangla-speaking Muslims and Hindus of East Pakistan began a spirited struggle for independence. On March 7, 1971 Sheikh Mujib gave his famous speech at the Ramna Racecourse where he called for a non-cooperation movement.
Authorities, mostly west Pakistani personnel rounded up Bengali armed forces officers, NCOs, and enlisted personnel. Forced disappearances went rampant. On the evening of March 25 in an interview with David Frost, Sheikh Mujib still called out openly for negotiation and a united Pakistan. That night the Pakistan Army spilled out to the streets killing and started Operation Searchlight. It was official, they were not ready for a peaceful transfer of political power to the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The Independence of Bangladesh was declared on March 26, 1971 at the first watch by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Another declaration was read out on March 27, 1971, by Major Ziaur Rahman, on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Major Zia raised an independent Z Force brigade. Chittagong and the guerilla struggle officially began. The people of Bangladesh then took part in a war to get independence from Pakistan. Independence of Bangladesh was gained through a nine-month guerilla war against the Pakistan Army, and their collaborators including paramilitary Razakars which resulted in the death of about 3 million people, as per Awami league and Indian sources, in the Bangladesh War of Independence and Bangladesh Genocide.
The BDF, later with military support from India defeated the Pakistani Army ending the war on 16 December 1971 after the Surrender of Pakistan.
Independence Day is commonly associated with parades, political speeches, fairs, concerts, ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history and traditions of Bangladesh. TV and radio stations broadcast special programs and patriotic songs in honor of Independence Day.
Generally, a thirty-one gun salute is conducted in the morning. The main streets are decorated with national flags. Different political parties and socioeconomic organizations undertake programs to mark the day in a befitting manner, including paying respects at National Martyrs' Memorial at Savar near Dhaka.