Today, January 10, is the homecoming day of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. On this day in 1972, he returned to the land of newly independent Bangladesh after being released from the captivity of Pakistan.
Earlier on January 8, he was released after serving 9 months in Pakistan’s Mianwali Jail. Later he went to London from Pakistan. Then Bangabandhu returned to Dhaka via Delhi.
Bangladesh Awami League will hold a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on Wednesday on the occasion of the historic homecoming day of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader said that Awami League will hold a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan today at 2:30 pm. Awami League president Sheikh Hasina will preside over the rally. Also, Awami League and other social and cultural organizations have taken detailed programs on the occasion of the day.
By declaring the independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of March 26, 1971, Bangabandhu urged people from all walks of life to jump into the liberation war. Immediately after the declaration of independence, he was arrested on the orders of the military ruler of Pakistan, General Yahya Khan, and was detained in a jail in West Pakistan.
Although the final victory was achieved after a nine-month war against the Pakistani troops on 16 December 1971, the nation tasted the full victory with Bangabandhu’s return home on 10 January. The father of the nation was released from Pakistan on the early night of January 7, 1972 i.e. January 8. On this day, Bangabandhu was taken by plane. He arrived at Heathrow Airport in London at 6:30 am. After 10 pm, Bangabandhu spoke to many people including British Prime Minister Edward Heath, Tajuddin Ahmad and the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi. Later, he traveled to the country on the next day on January 9 in a plane of the British Air Force.
He landed in Delhi on the morning of the 10th. There, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation of newly independent Bangladesh, received a warm welcome from the President of India VV Giri, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the entire cabinet, the chief leaders, the chiefs of the three armed forces and other guests and the people of the country. Bangabandhu expressed his sincere gratitude to the leaders and people of India for their unstinting help. He called his homecoming ‘a journey from darkness to light.’
He arrived in Dhaka at 1:41 p.m. that day. After the final victory, the Bengali nation was waiting to give Bangabandhu a rousing welcome on 10th January. Millions of people who were overjoyed gave him a spontaneous welcome from Dhaka Airport to Race Course Maidan. At five in the afternoon he addressed a crowd of about one million people at the Race Course Maidan.
The next day, various newspapers including Daily Ittefaq, Sangbad wrote about Bangabandhu’s homecoming like this – ‘The creator of Bangladesh’s history touched the soil of his homeland and yearned like a child. Tears of joy and pain fell down his eyes. On that day, seven and a half million Bengalis were wet with tears of joy after getting their beloved leader back, and the air and the sky of Bengal vibrated with the sound of Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu.
The popular Sheikh Mujib Suhrawardy stood in the garden and said in his historic Drupadi speech, ‘The land that I love so much, the people that I love so much, the nation that I love so much, I did not know whether I would be able to go to Bengal. Today I have returned to Bengal to the brothers, mothers and sisters of Bengal. Bengal is my independent, Bangladesh is independent today.
He reverently remembered the sacrifices of all and encouraged everyone to build the country, saying, from today my request, from today my order, from today my command as a brother, not as a leader, not as a prime minister, not as a president. I am your brother, you are my brother. This freedom will not be fulfilled if the people of Bengal do not get enough rice, this freedom will not be fulfilled if the mothers and sisters of Bengal do not get clothes, this freedom will not be fulfilled if the youth of this country do not get jobs. Mukti Bahini, student society congratulate you, you have become guerillas, you have given blood, blood will not go in vain, blood will not go in vain.
Bangabandhu said, ‘One thing – from today there should be no more theft and robbery in Bengal. There should be no looting in Bengal. There are other people in Bengal, people from other countries, people from West Pakistan do not speak Bengali, I am telling them to become Bengalis. And I say to my brothers don’t raise your hands on them we are people, we love people. “But those who brokered and killed my people will be tried and punished,” said the Father of the Nation, “leave them in the hands of the independent government of Bengal, not one will be spared.” But I want them to be tried and punished in an independent court in a free country. I want to show the world that a peaceful Bengali knows how to give blood, a peaceful Bengali also knows how to maintain peace.’
Bangabandhu said, ‘You got me. i am coming I did not know that I was sentenced to be hanged, a grave was dug for me next to my cell. I got ready, said I am a Bengali, I am a human being, I am a Muslim, a Muslim never dies twice. I said, if I die, I’ll go laughing. I will not insult my Bengali caste, I will not apologize to you and while leaving I will say Jai Bangla, Swadhin Bengal, Bengali is my race, Bengali is my language, Bengali soil is my place.’