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Bangladesh at 50…

Bangladesh at 50…

Short round up as year of celebrations start…

TODAY marks the 50th anniversary of Bangladeshi Independence.

A wide range of organisations, community groups and other bodies are celebrating.

The BBC Asian Network is launching a year-long slate of programmes to mark the occasion.

Earlier this morning rising music star Joy Crookes (pictured right), who is of Bangladeshi heritage, was on the morning show on the BBC Asian Network. For the first time she sung in Bengali. (See all links below).

Crookes began singing while at school and has a myriad of musical influences through her Irish-born father – just 22, she is signed to Sony Music and last released a single, ‘Anyone But Me’ last year. She has two EPs (mini-albums) to her name – ‘Perception’ (2019) and ‘Influence’ (2018). She grew up in Elephant & Castle, in South London before moving to Ladbroke Grove in west London with her mother following her parent’s divorce.

Prince Charles delivered a message earlier today – saying he would have liked to have been in Dhaka, Bangladesh to mark the occasion but because of the pandemic cannot travel there.

He praised the country for its achievements – saying that 50 million had been taken out of extreme poverty, and life expectancy has increased, while infant mortality had been reduced and that the economy was one of the fastest growing in the world.

He also praised the estimated 600,000 British Bangladeshis for their contributions to British life.

“I send my fondest wishes to Bangladesh and all those celebrating this very special occasion.
‘Shadhinotar ponchash bochhore Bangladesh ke amar obhinandan!” (See the link below for the video message).

The Queen also put a message out yesterday, hailing friendship and affection – (see link below).

And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also sent a message of congratulations to Bangladesh. He reflected on the visit of the country’s first leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to 10 Downing Street in 1972 that led the way to the two countries friendship and links between the Britsh Bangladeshi community in the UK now.

Today, the Migrant Memory and the Post-Colonial Imagination (MMPI), based at Loughborough University, released a video that illustrates an online exhibition, ‘50 years of Bangladesh through 50 objects’ and the MMPI is working in partnership with Tower Hamlets. The organisation has put a call out for more artefacts and items and this is part of one of a number events marking the Golden Anniversary of Bangladesh. This exhibition has been assembled by artist and researcher Saif Osmani.

Momtaz Begum-Hossain

As this evening got underway (6pm) Newham Council is celebrating the occasion with a special online event – with contributions from a wide of range of British Bengalis, including singer Mumzy Stranger, prominent GP Dr Farzana Hussain and BBC broadcaster Nadia Ali.

ACV contributor and colour expert Momtaz Begum-Hossain is celebrating and told “I’ll be feasting on traditional Bangladeshi home-cooking tonight like bhorta, fish, shingaras, and dhal.

“I wanted to mark the occasion by celebrating some of the incredible achievements that have been made by the Bangladeshi disapora around the world, so have compiled a list on my blog of 50 indie Bangla businesses to mark 50 years of independence.” (See below for the link to Bangladeshi businesses)

Another prominent British Bangladeshi, well-known to acv readers is Ahmed Kaysher, the co-founder of Saudha, Society of Poetry and Indian Music and co-founder of The Gronthee, a leading British-Bengali literary magazine.

Ahmed Kaysher

The title, he told acv, is hosting a talk on Latin American Literature as part of its celebration of Bangladesh’s Golden Jubilee tomorrow (March 27) from 2pm. It will feature academics, writers, and poets from across the globe.

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi began a two-day visit to Bangladesh today and spoke of his own awakening.

“I would like to remind brothers and sisters in Bangladesh with pridem being involved in the struggle for independence was one of the first movements of my life. I must have been 20-22 years old when I and my colleagues did Satayagraha (Gandhian civil disobedience) for Bangladesh’s freedom,” he said.

It was today in 1971 that the first leader of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman announced the creation of Bangladesh. He did this before the war of independence and freedom began – it was only on December 16 1971 that Bangladesh was officially created and separated from Pakistan. Originally in 1947 following Partition, what today is Bangladesh was East Pakistan.

Joy Crookes singing in Bengali on BBC Asian Network Morning Show with Harpz Kaur

Prince Charles video message

MMPI 50 years of Bangladesh through 50 objects

PM Johnson

Queen message


Tower Hamlets:

Momtaz Begum-Hossain


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Written by Asian Culture Vulture