The essence of Victory
Pulsating celebrations of December 16
Irrespective of age, gender and class, the whole of Bangladesh was painted in the colours of the flag to mark the 42nd Victory Day. Be it in the apparels, face paints or the smallest of flags, the spirit was identical in every heart, as countless people sang the national anthem in unison. Photo: Star
It’s said a great yardstick of the magnitude of any victory is the magnitude of the battle fought, and by those terms, there are few victories in modern history bigger than that the emergence of Bangladesh. So it should come as no surprise that the anniversary of one of the most costly announcements on the world map will be one of the grandest days in the calendar of any Bangladeshi.
As every year, celebrations were taking place all over the capital; from the smallest area-based cultural organisations to a successful attempt at breaking a World Record, but the biggest celebration of victory was fittingly being held at the same place where the first scintilla of an independent Bangladesh arose from — the iconic Suhrawardy Udyan. Organised by Gonojagoron Mancha — the platform that held the helm of an awakening of spirit this year, the celebration, titled “Bijoy 2013”, had it all — from the essence of the roots in Bhawaiyya and Baul songs, to the heartbeats of the youth in energetic band performances.
The event started with Air Vice Marshall (retd) AK Khandaker — the second-in-command of the Liberation War — delivering the inaugural address, while Dr. Abul Barakat and Dr. Muhammad Zafar Iqbal also spoke on the occasion. Cultural presentations by a wide variety of cultural groups followed, including Ghashphul, Padatik Sangeet Sangsad, Nazrul Sangeet Shilpi Sangstha, Rabindra Sangeet Sammelan Parishad, Surtirtha, Satyen Sen Shilpi Goshthi, Chhayanaut, Music College, Dhaka Sangskritik Dol, Bhawaiyya Angan, Surer Dhara, Wrishij Shilpi Goshthi and Khelaghor.
Familiar songs and tunes echoed through the arena as people from all walks of life gathered, dressed in red and green, to soak in the feeling of victory. They came in families, friends, couples, in big and small bunches, undeterred by the sun and the absence of seats. They sang along with “Mukti’r Mondir Shopano Tole”, “O Bhai Khati Shona’r chaite Khati”, “Nai Nai Bhoy”, “Dhono Dhanne Pushpe Bhora”, “Himaloy Theke Sundarban” and “Bhoy Ki Morone”, chanted along with slogans that were being chanted from the stage in between songs, and enjoyed the recitations of poems of the likes of Sikandar Abu Zafar and Salil Chowdhury.
After a number of Gono-Sangeet performances by artistes of the Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro, the most-awaited part of the day drew nearer — a choral singing of the National Anthem of all those present at the grounds, and wherever every Bangladeshi was at 4:31pm — the exact time when the Pakistani army surrendered at this very ground on this day 42 years ago. It was preceded by a ‘documentary act’ showing the entire happenings of the surrender, and Professor Emeritus Anisuzzaman delivering an address.
As the air continued to echo the most touching words to any Bangladeshi “Amar Shona’r Bangla, Ami Tomaye Bhalobashi” from thousands of voices, an oath-taking ceremony was administered by AK Khandaker, followed by a symbolic handover of the flag of Bangladesh.
With a “Concert for Freedom” still to go featuring performances by the top bands of the country, and a fireworks display, every single one in the crowd — from toddlers to the elderly, from elites to labourers, from hardcore ‘Gonojagoron’ activists to the casual festival-visitors — felt the pride and joy of victory in their own terms. With a big victory achieved 42 years after the war — by bringing to book a perpetrator against the country — there were reasons to celebrate, and maybe more so to send a message to those opposing the spirit of freedom, that we are the majority, and Bangladesh will never again be in the hands of those who do not acknowledge the independence, sovereignty and secularism of this land.http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/the-essence-of-victory/