- Published on Saturday, 18 March 2017 13:14
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina advised the children to take lessons of patriotism from early life and have a close link with grassroots people to grow them up with the ideology of Bangabandhu.
"Bangabandhu closely monitored the problems of the people as he brought up in the village and had a close link with them. So he grew up with an ideology of dedication and mentality to work for the people," she said urging the children to know the country's real history alongside grooming themselves as worthy citizens following the ideals of the great leader.
The prime minister said this while addressing a children's rally and cultural programme marking the 98th birthday of Father of the Nation and National Children's Day on Friday at Bangabandhu Mausoleum Complex in Gopalganj.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is a result of Bangabandhu's thinking, which he made true depriving his entire family. As an independent nation we have a state, a flag and self-identity as well as opportunity to develop the country as a poverty and hunger-free state, she said.
"But, we were so unfortunate that we could not go to school with our father. Rather we were used to go to the prison to meet him as he was put behind the bars because of his offense for taking stance for the poor and oppressed people," she said.
Pointing out the childhood life of Bangabandhu, the prime minister, also his elder daughter said, "We want that the children would develop themselves with such a mindset that they would know that we are a victorious nation and Bangabandhu gave us the flag of that victory."
The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and Gopalganj district administration jointly organized the rally joined by schoolchildren of different educational institutions of Tungipara, the birthplace of Bangabandhu.
Upama Biswas, a student of local Maleka Academy, presided over the function while State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroz Chumki was present as the special guest.
Faiyad M Abdullah, also a student of Maleka Academy, gave the welcome address. Sheikh Hasina also advised the children to follow the guidelines of their teachers, parents and guardians as well as maintain discipline in all spheres of life to make their future meaningful.
She urged the children to be pious but not fanatic as every religion preaches love for mankind.
Bangabandhu was so philanthropic that he always used to give his books, clothes, umbrella and food to the poor friends and most of the time he shared his tiffin and lunch with his schoolmates, the prime minister said referring to her grandmother's view about Bangabandhu.
"My grandparents nurtured him in such a way which helped him (Bangabandhu) to grow up with a broad and liberal mind in addition to responsibility for the country and raise voice against any injustice," she said.
The prime minister said Bangabandhu has not only brought independence for the nation but also showed the way to build the country after liberation.
In the country's first constitution, Bangabandhu made the primary education compulsory. Bangabandhu had given importance to education at a time when the country was reeling from economic crisis. Even in financial crisis he nationalized the services of primary school teachers and made the education of girls complimentary, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu used to love the children most. Bangabandhu always nourished the expectation that every child would be a worthy citizen of the country.
Bangabandhu enacted 'Children Rights Act" in 1974 aimed at protecting the children from all adversities, she said adding that 'today we are just following the footprint of Bangabandhu who had designed the nation's future ways.
Highlighting the projects taken by her government for development of children's education, the prime minister said more than 36,000 primary schools were nationalized with an introduction of the pre-primary education system. Textbooks are being distributed free of cost while stipends are being given to the poor children to help them continue studies, she said.
'No children would roam around the streets. They would go to school and have an opportunity of education to build their future. The government has already asked all concerned to take steps in this regard, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has also taken special steps including formulation of necessary laws to curb torture on children and check their trafficking. Midday meal has been introduced to reduce school dropout, she said adding that measures have been adopted to decrease child and maternal mortality rate.
Laying importance on growing up children in a healthy atmosphere, the prime minister said adequate food and nutrition for children should be ensured along with creating a facility for them to play and take part in cultural activities.
Pointing out the current surge of militancy and terrorism, the prime minister said the nation can overcome the crisis with united efforts of all. She urged the guardians, law enforcement agencies, Imams and cross section people to extend their support to build Bangladesh as a peaceful nation.
Sheikh Hasina called upon everybody to take care of their children, monitor their presence in school and take necessary measures if they are found involved in any militant and terrorist activities or drug abuse. The life and works of Bangabandhu could be a great lesson for them to shun paths, she added.
The prime minister said her government has made the religious education mandatory at school level aimed at making children pious, not a zealot. Islam is a very holy religion which never allows anybody to kill people.
"We have to remember that every religion preaches the messages of peace and brotherhood and harmony. So everybody has to obey it," the prime minister said.
Later, Sheikh Hasina distributed prizes among the children who participated in literary and cultural competitions organized marking the 98th birthday of the Father of the Nation and the National Children's Day.
She also handed over sewing machines to distressed women of different upazilas of Gopalganj district. The prime minister unveiled a postal stamp published by the postal department on the auspicious day.
Photo: Focus Bangla