1971 war altered ideological map: President Kovind

At 50th year commemoration of Liberation War, President lauds the vision of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Updated - December 17, 2021 07:26 am IST

Published - December 16, 2021 12:52 pm IST - New Delhi

President Ram Nath Kovind speaks during the gala celebrations of Mujib Borsho and Golden Jubilee of Independence of Bangladesh in Dhaka on December 16, 2021. Photo: Twitter/@MEAIndia via PTI

President Ram Nath Kovind speaks during the gala celebrations of Mujib Borsho and Golden Jubilee of Independence of Bangladesh in Dhaka on December 16, 2021. Photo: Twitter/@MEAIndia via PTI

The Liberation War of 1971 changed the “ideological map” of South Asia, said President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday in Dhaka. Participating in the celebration to mark the golden jubilee of independence of Bangladesh and victory in the war, President Kovind recollected the “grass roots support” from India to attain the freedom of Bangladesh.

“We celebrate with you this historic day: 50 years ago, the ideological map of South Asia changed irreversibly and the proud nation of Bangladesh was born. On this occasion, I pay tribute to the memory of the untold suffering of the tens of millions of people of Bangladesh, especially the brutalised daughters, sisters and mothers,” said President Kovind, adding that India attached “highest priority” to its friendship with Bangladesh.


“We remain committed to doing all we can, to help realise the full potential of our friendship. Like millions of Indians of my generation, we were elated by the victory of Bangladesh over an oppressive regime and were deeply inspired by the faith and courage of the people of Bangladesh.” said President Kovind in a speech delivered at the National Parliament of Bangladesh.

In a special gesture, President Kovind recited national poet of Bangladesh Kazi Nazrul Islam and praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for inheriting her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's rebellious ( bidrohi ) spirit. He praised Ms. Hasina for confronting military dictatorships of her country and for facing “assassination attempts with remarkable courage” in the past to establish democracy.

“The vision of Bangabandhu was of a Bangladesh that was not only free politically but also of a nation that was equitable and inclusive. Sadly, his vision could not be realised in his lifetime. The anti-liberation forces that brutally killed Bangabandhu and most of his family did not realise that bullets and violence cannot extinguish an idea that has captured the imagination of millions of people,” said Mr. Kovind.


He said the people of Bangladesh have given priority to culture, language and creative ideas and “pursuits of the mind”.

Earlier President Kovind participated in the events at Dhaka’s National Parade Ground where an Indian tri-service contingent marched alonside the Bangladesh military contingents. Following the military parade, Prime Minister Hasina administered an oath to the people and political leaders for upholding the freedom and sovereignty of Bangladesh.

President Kovind referred to the historic March 7, 1971 speech by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which is recognised by the UNESCO in the memory of world register as it evokes justice freedom and democracy. The speech was a catalyst in triggering the last phase of the public movement which President Yahya Khan of Pakistan tried to crush by launching the Operation Searchlight on March 26, 1971.


“History also has few examples of empathy and grass roots level support that your struggle evoked in India. People spontaneously opened their hearts and homes to offer all possible support to the people of Bangladesh. It was our abiding honour and our solemn responsibility to help our brothers and sisters in their hour of need,” said President Kovind. He referred to Pakistan of 1971 as a “brutal, determined and well-armed foe”. President Kovind praised the “hard working people” for realising the developmental dreams of Bangabandhu.

President Kovind is on a three-day visit to commemorate the victory of 1971 jointly with Bangladesh. On Friday before his return, he will inaugurate the renovated and reconstructed Kalibari [temple] of Ramna in Dhaka which was destroyed in an attack by Pakistani forces in 1971.

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