Bangladesh is all set to accord a reception to at least 75 foreign citizens and institutions for their contributions to the country’s war of independence in 1971 in a programme at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre tomorrow. About 50 of the recipients or their representatives have reached Dhaka by Sunday. Twenty-five more, who said that they would reach Dhaka, will be arriving today and tomorrow.
The government invited 110 personalities and institutions to the reception for their contribution to the independence war, Khandker Mohammad Talha, the chief of protocol of the foreign ministry told.
The foreign minister, Dipu Moni, and the state minister for liberation war affairs, Tajul Islam, at a press briefing at the foreign ministry on Saturday said that 21 guests would come to Dhaka in person while 54 others would send their representatives.
The president, Zillur Rahman, and the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, will hand over awards to the recipients.
Many of these ‘friends of Bangladesh,’ who were statesmen, philosophers, intellectuals, organisations and others, would be given the state honours posthumously.
In the second phase that will be held tomorrow, Bangladesh will confer give two types of honours — heads of state would receive the Bangladesh Liberation War Heroes honour and others and institution will receive the Bangladesh Friends of Liberation War honour.
In the first phase that was held on July 25, 2011, the highest Bangladesh Freedom of Honour was given posthumously to former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi.
According to the officials, the recipients started arriving in the capital on Saturday. They visited the Liberation War Museum and Shikha Chirantan in historic Suhrawardy Udyan.
On National and Independence Day today, the dignitaries will visit the National Memorial at Savar and place flowers there. They will attend the Independence Day reception at Bangabhaban in the afternoon.
A national committee, headed by Dipu Moni, earlier prepared a list of 560 personalities and institutions, who stood beside the country during its independence war.
A short list of 132 was prepared after revisions in different phases. Finally, 110 personalities were invited in this phase. Others would would be given reception later.
Dipu Moni at the press conference said that it was a difficult task to collect the addresses of the people as some of them died, some changed their addresses while some others were not physically fit to travel all the way to Dhaka.
Selected personalities and representatives of institutions who cannot come to Bangladesh will be given the honour when the prime minister or the foreign minister visits the countries of these people.
The people will receive gold-plated silver plaques sporting the replica of the National Memorial and a citation on silk.
Sachindra Lal Singh, Chandra Rajeshawar Rao, Siddhartha Shankar Ray, Purno Agitok Sangma, Justice Syed Sadat Abul Masud, Maharani Bibhu Kumari Devi, professor Dilip Chakrabarti, Samar Sen, Debdulal Bandyopadhyay, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Mother Teresa, Waheeda Rehman, Sunil Dutt, Nargis Dutt, Jayaprakash Narayan, Jyoti Basu, Gouri Prasanna Majumdar, Annada Shankar Roy, Jagjivan Ram, Arundhati Ghosh, Bhupesh Gupta, Kaifi Azmi, Bhupen Hazarika, Advocate Subrata Roy Chowdhury, Field Marshal SAM Manekshaw, Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, Lieutenant General Jack Frederick Ralph Jacob, Lance Nayek Albert Ekka, Narayan Desai, Manik Sarker, Ishwari Prasad Gupta, Dr Rathin Datta, Rawshan Ara Begum Sangma, Dasharath Dev Burman, Lata Mangeshkar, DP Dhar, General SS Uban, Golok Bihari Majumder, PN Haksar, Karan Singh, Sardar Swaran Singh, Sarat Chandra Sinha, Hemanta Kumar Mukherji, Angshuman Roy, Indian people and Mitra Bahini from India are on the list of 132 people and institutions.
Russian on the list are Nikolai Viktorovich Podgorny, Andrei Gromyko, Yakov Alexandrovich Malik, Aleksei Nikolayevich Kosygin, Professor Vladimir Stanis, Leonid Brezhnev, Nikolai Firyubin, Anatoly Dobrinin, Kirillowitsch Koschewoi, real admiral Sergey Pavlovich Zuenko and his team, 17 members of the Communist Party of Soviet Union politburo.
People from the United States are Senator Edward M Kennedy, Richard K Taylor, Professor Robert Dorfman, Anna Braun Taylor, Archer K Blood, Lear Levin, Father William Richard Timm, Senator Fred R Harris, Thomas A Dine, Joseph Garst, Senator Frank Forrester Church, William Greenough, Edward C Mason, Professor Edward C Dimock, David Weisbrod, Allen Ginsberg, Senator William Saxbe, Senator George Stanley McGovern, Cornelius Edward Gallagher, Father William Evans and Professor J Kenneth Galbraith.
People from the United Kingdom are Sir Edward Richard George Heath, Lord Harold Wilson, Lord Peter David Shore, Michael Barnes, Simon Dring, George Harrison, Bruce Douglas-Mann, Julian Francis, Paul Connett, Ellen Connett, Biman Mullick and Sir William Mark Tully.
Yugoslavian Marshal Josip Broz Tito, Italian Father Mario Varonice, Japanese Takashi Hayakawa, Professor Tsuyoshi Nara, Takayoshi Suzuki and Naoaki Usui, Nepalese Dr Ram Baran Yadav and BP Koirala, Cuban Fidel Castro Ruz, Argentine Victoria Ocampo Aguirre and Jorge Luis Borges, Venezuelan Cardinal José Humberto Quintero will also receive the honour.
Professor Jean Ziegler of Switzerland, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck of Bhutan, Olof Palme and Professor Gunnar Myrdral of Sweden, Dr Kirsten Wastergaard of Denmark, Dr A Surian of Malaysia, Sir Senaratna Gunawardane of Sri Lanka, Kinten Watey Bugg of the Netherlands, Hong Suk Ja of South Korea, August Zaleski of Poland, and Madam Nguyen Thi Binh, Vietnam, are also among the recipients.
French André Malraux, German Willy Brantd, Barbara Dasgupta, Sunil Dasgupta, and Erich Honecker, Australian William AS Ouderland, Austrian Bruno Kreisky and Pierre Trudeau, Irish Sean McBride and Barrister Nora Shariff will also be given the honour.
Institutions such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, British Broadcasting Corporation, Akashbani, Kolkata University Sahayak Samity, Ramesh Chandra and Biswa Shanti Parishad, Oxfam and the International Committee of the Red Cross are also on the list.
Many of the recipients expressed their satisfaction about the recognition of their contribution to the liberation of Bangladesh Japanese Professor Tsuyoshi Nara thanked Bangladesh and Indian Lieutenant General Jack Frederick Ralph Jacob termed it an exceptional experience for him.