Ansar Ahmed Ullah
The 4th Annual Bangabandhu Lecture 2021 was held virtually on 18 March titled ‘The role and vision of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the making of the Bangladesh nation state’ at SOAS University of London.
In welcoming speakers and audience to SOAS, Professor Edward Simpson, Director of the South Asia Institute, said that Bangladesh was shaped by the forces of history, geography and culture. It took a unique act of political leadership by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to draw together those forces to forge Bangladesh’s nation-state.
The Bangabandhu Lecture was delivered by Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairman, Centre for Policy Dialogue, from Bangladesh. Professor Rehman Sobhan highlighted Bangabandhu’s life-long struggle for social and economic justice for his people. He said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman emerged to provide leadership to his people at the right time and in the right place. In giving substance to the idea of a nation-state Bangabandhu’s vision for the future was in turn shaped by the challenges he confronted during the struggle and his own commitment to the idea of a just society.
The event was introduced by Nooruddin Ahmed, Chairman of ‘7th March Foundation’. In his introductory remarks, Nooruddin Ahmed said, “We are indeed very pleased to be back with the Annual Bangabandhu Lecture during the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu.” He continued, ” This is the year of the Golden Jubilee of our glorious independence. For the 7th March Foundation this is indeed a very special year too – the Golden Jubilee of Bangabandhu’s historic speech at Ramna Racecourse on 7th March 1971″.
Opening remarks were made by the Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK, Her Excellency Ms Saida Muna Tasneem, who highlighted the importance of the lecture during the Mujib Year, Golden Jubilee celebration and 50 anniversary of diplomatic relations between the UK and Bangladesh.
Professor Edward Simpson said, “Professor Rehman Sobhan has been close to the action in Bangladesh for decades. He told a story of tremendous and nation-shaping events and personalities with ease and fluidity. The audience was spell-bound. There were many lessons in what he said, far beyond the story itself. The challenge is how to make younger people aware of the past and its significance for the present.”
The event was organised by the UK based 7th March Foundation in association with SOAS, South Asia Institute and the Bangladesh High Commission in London. The event was part of a long-term partnership inspired and developed by the hard work and vision of 7th March Foundation in conjunction with the High Commission and SOAS.
In his concluding remarks, Nooruddin Ahmed thanked Professor Edward Simpson and SOAS South Asia Institute for continuously working in partnership with the Foundation on successfully delivering Bangabandhu lectures since 2017, High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem and the Bangladesh High Commission as one of its partners.