International » South Asia

Updated: May 4, 2014 06:20 IST

People-to-people contact can erase suspicion: Anisuzzaman

Haroon Habib
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Prof. Anisuzzaman. Photo: PTI
Prof. Anisuzzaman. Photo: PTI

Anisuzzaman, who received the Padma Bhushan this year, has expressed the hope that the political leaders of Bangladesh and India would act like “statesmen” in resolving the outstanding problems between the two countries.

The Professor Emeritus of Dhaka University, who is best known for his secular democratic values, however, said it was “unfortunate” that several issues remained unresolved despite “improved” bilateral relations in recent years.

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pankaj Saran felicitated the professor on Friday on his receiving the Padma Bhushan which was presented by President Pranab Mukherjee on March 31 for his “distinguished service of high order” in the field of Bangla literature and education.

Hoping for better ties between the two neighbours, the 77-year-old professor said people’s representatives of both countries were the ones who would thrash out outstanding problems. The “fear of the unknown” and “suspicion of the unknown,” he observed, were causing a lot of problems between the countries. “If the people of the two countries can come closer and know each other, many of the suspicions may go away,” he remarked.

Prof. Anisuzzaman dedicated the award to “greater bondage” between India and Bangladesh. As a pragmatist, the professor said, relationships had their ups and downs, “so had the relationship between India and Bangladesh.”

His remarks came in the context of the failure to sign the much-talked about Teesta water-sharing treaty and ratification of the land boundary agreement, although Indo-Bangladesh relations saw wide-ranging engagement during the last five years.

The educationist and researcher, who has established himself in the vanguard of the nation’s secular ethos, thanked the Indian government for the award and called upon all to strive for “world citizenship” that Rabindranath Tagore, world poet and common poet of India and Bangladesh, advised.

Mr. Pankaj Saran said the award was “not only for his personal contributions, but also a tribute to the values for which he stands and the great intellectual and literary traditions for which Bangladesh has always been known.”

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