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Bangladeshis display pride amid turmoil

Haroon Habib
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Members of Bangladesh Army, Defence officials and schoolchildren form the world’s largest human national flag to mark the country's Victory Day in Dhaka on Monday.— PHOTO: AFP
Members of Bangladesh Army, Defence officials and schoolchildren form the world’s largest human national flag to mark the country's Victory Day in Dhaka on Monday.— PHOTO: AFP

Protesting against the continuing violence triggered by the execution of a senior Jamaat-e-Islami leader, millions of Bangladeshis on Monday joined in singing their national anthem ‘ Amar sonar Bangla ami tomay bhalobasi ’ (My Bengal of Gold, I love you) in a unique demonstration of patriotism.

The song, composed by poet Rabindranath Tagore, had inspired the nation during the liberation war in 1971. It was later adopted as the country’s national anthem.

Tens of thousands gathered at the Dhaka’s Suhrawardy Udyan on Monday to sing the anthem in unison and it was joined by millions of people across the country. The unique celebration, the ‘Bijoy 2013’ was held at the capital’s historic Suhrawardy Udyan, where the nation’s founding father Sheikh Mujubur Rahman declared Bangladesh’s independence 42 years ago.

The celebration was organised by several social platforms including the ‘Sector Commanders’ Forum’ and Shahbag’s ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’ to demand continuation of the trial of those found guilty of war crimes in the nation’s 1971 liberation war. The celebration was also to commemorate the historic surrender of 93,000 Pakistani occupation forces at 4.31 p.m. on December 16, 1971 to the Bangladesh-India Joint Command.

While celebrating Victory Day, Bangladeshis formed the world’s largest human national flag, breaking the record set up by Pakistanis last year. A total of 27,117 volunteers stood up with red and green blocks at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka. The volunteers, mostly students, were paying tributes to the three million martyrs for their supreme sacrifice for freedom and with a renewed call for executing all the verdicts against war criminals.

The participants stood there for 6 minutes 16 seconds, though the requirement for setting a new world record was 5 minutes, an officer of Guinness told the cheering crowd.

The organisers now wait for official acknowledgement by the Guinness Book of World Records.

On October 21 last year, 24,200 students set the record for Pakistan during the Punjab Youth Festival.


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