On this day 49 years ago the nation was in the cusp of exalted expectation mixed with dark anticipation. Expectation because of the conviction that the time for its deliverance had arrived; dark anticipation because a formidable foe in the shape of marauding Pakistani army stood on its way to deliverance. Today 49 years later, the rampaging enemy in the form of coronavirus casts a shadow on the celebration of the Independence Day. Then the fear of guns, mortars and other modern lethal weapons had hovered all over, today an unseen and relenting agent of death lurks in the air not only in this country but all across this planet. In a situation unprecedented like this in the country's history, the celebration of the Independence Day has been curtailed to the minimum for reasons understandable. In truth though we realise at heart that the inherent resilience of the people is once again on test.
The momentous midnight of March 25th, 1971 marks the birth pang of the nation. Its travail lingered for long nine months, creating a brave history of the Bangalee nation. But this history was built on an endless stream of sweat, tears, blood and selfless sacrifice. Love for the motherland and bonding with each other, excepting only the collaborators, were at their redefining best. Governed by a singular motive to drive the enemy - the Pakistani occupational force -away, the nation became one in spirit and resolve. Today, the nation must evoke similar spirit and resolve to beat coronavirus in order to chart a new course of not only on a trajectory of reinvigorated growth but also that of a totally inclusive society. Long before the liberation war began, the people of the eastern wing of Pakistan had known they were deprived of social and economic justice and the movements were waged on establishing an egalitarian order when the country would be free.
This time the curtailment of programmes of ritualistic value allows all including those at the helm of affairs enough time and space to get into deep introspection and come out with answers to what really has gone amiss. The nation has made laudable progress no doubt but the fruits of the independence have been rather unilaterally reaped by a section of people at the cost of the majority. To that extent, there has been a side-stepping of the dream of the father of the nation and that of the three million martyrs. It must be acknowledged that coronavirus has brought the nation together once again to shed pretension and rise above petty interests and avarice aimed at following the original equalitarian socio-economic course.
Thus on this day, the nation can pledge to redeem itself by working for narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. In a world of excessive consumerism and accumulation of wealth, the virtue of simple living has been discarded to the peril of human civilization. This nation cannot be misguided by this dangerous notion. It claims to have become a role model on economic development and on appreciable gains made in some other areas of human development index. But it would be more satisfying if all its citizens attained a moderate but decent living standard where along with socio-economic justice they were blessed with a cultured and elevated way of life. Only then the nation's independence would have been really meaningful.