Indo-Bangladesh relation has always been a matter of serious discussion for the people of Bangladesh and Eastern India. Because two countries have their longest international borders with each other. There are many big opportunities of trade and commerce which can benefit the people of both the nations. Moreover, before 15th August 1947, there were no Pakistan or Bangladesh. All were within undivided India.
?Regular exchange of culture and absolutely free trade can intensify and develop bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh. Both the countries need to honour and respect each other. These will certainly cause frustration to anti friendship forces.? This was the expression of Mr Golam Kuddus, the member secretary of Bangladesh Union of Civil Societies.
A life long soldier of protecting civil rights and liberties in our neighbouring country, Mr. Kuddus faced an exclusive interview with this newsman during his recent visit to Tripura to attend Banga Sanskriti Utsav 2006 held at Rabindra Bhawan in Agartala. Tripura Folk Academy, an NGO, organised this 3-days programme. Eminent singers, poets and stage performers from Kolkata and Bangladesh participated in that program.
After the conclusion of the said programme Kuddus, one of the famous stage artists of Bangladesh, expressed his opinion of different important issues. He recalled the days of War of liberation in 1971. Tripura, a tiny state of India, sheltered nearly 30 lacs oppressed people who fled away from their homeland at the threat of life from Pak army. One can wonder that Tripura had then it'sown population of only 15 lacs. ?We can never repay the debts to the people of Tripura and India,? Gratefully uttered Mr. Kuddus.
A question was put to him on whether the same Bangladesh exists now which was observed during the reign of Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman, the first President of Independent Bangladesh. He said that people remained the same, secular, democratic, and of course peace loving. But the rulers changed, from pro-people to anti-people, secular to communal and democrat to autocrat. Those who helped Pakistani army in the war, are in power now. This is the irony of fate,? he repented.
Like many intellectuals in Bangladesh Golam Kuddus thinks Awami League (the principal opposition party) is the real achiever of freedom. It'smany leaders and workers sacrificed everything to make the country free from tyrant forces of Pakistan. They also fought side by side with the Indian troops under the extraordinary leadership of Lieutenant General of Indian Army late Jagjit Singh Aurora. Over 90,000 Pak soldiers lead by Lt.Gen. AAK Niyaji surrendered before him on 26 December 1971 in Dhaka.
?Present government in my country is not respectful to war heroes and their ideals. They want to divide the country on the basis of religion. They supressed intellectuals, politicised administration and encouraged terrorists,? said Kuddus spontaneously.
Mr. Kuddus expressed his strong desire to visit north and south India with his cultural team to exchange culture with non-Bengali people, if invited. He wants to spread the message that both the nations have the same history and heritage. So they can never be separated by heart.
(The writer can be contacted at [email protected])