Bangladesh High Commission, London in collaboration with the London Borough of Camden Council on Wednesday celebrated Bangladesh 50 at the British Museum, one of the UK’s most iconic and historic venues as part of the High Commission’s Golden Jubilee of Independence and Bangabandhu Birth Centenary celebration. This is the first time Bangladesh’s independence has been celebrated at the British Museum.
Speaking on the occasion at the British Museum, which was illuminated in the colours of Bangladesh’s national flag-red and green, Bangladesh High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Saida Muna Tasneem said: “Fifty years ago, the people of Bangladesh made supreme sacrifice and shed blood to earn our freedom and independence under the charismatic leadership of our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who founded Bangladesh as a democratic, secular, progressive and inclusive people’s republic. Today, Bangladesh’s emergence as one of Asia’s most prosperous and resilient nations under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina continues to be guided by our 1971 War of Liberation values.”
Expressing deep gratitude towards the enterprising British-Bangladesh community in the UK, the High Commissioner said: “The British Bengali Community built the most invincible overseas front of the Bangladesh War of Liberation in 1971 and continues to remain the strongest pillar of connectivity and historic friendship between our two commonwealth nations.”
Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition and member of parliament for Holborn and St. Pancras (Camden), Sir Keir Starmer, speaking on the occasion, said “Bangabandhu, the Founder of Bangladesh, had a very special relationship with Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson that epitomize the close bonds between our two countries. Under my leadership, the Labour Party will continue to deepen and strengthen this link.” Sir Starmer recalled his visit to Bangladesh in 2016 and expressed hope for revisiting again.
Sir Keir Starmer also inaugurated a commemorative art exhibition on ‘Bangabandhu and Britain: Bangladesh 50 at the British Museum”, organised by the High Commission to mark the Birth Centenary of Bangabandhu.
Speaking at the event, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “UK citizens and the diaspora community played an important role in Bangladesh’s independence in 1971 and continue to play a significant role in the great relationship between our two countries. In London, those of Bangladeshi heritage have made and continue to make a hugely positive contribution.”
Cllr Abdul Hai, Cabinet Member for Young People, Equalities and Cohesion said: “We in Camden are honoured to mark the Bangladesh 50th Independence milestone in collaboration with the Bangladesh High Commission and the British Museum in solidarity with all our communities.”
Speaking on occasion, British Museum Director Hartwig Fisher said: “We are honoured to host the celebration of Bangladesh 50 at the British Museum, which is the UK’s number one visitor attraction.” He said the museum displays historic artefacts from Bangladesh and continues to collect contemporary art and objects from Bangladesh.
Leader of Camden Council Cllr Georgia Gould and freedom fighter and British-Bangladeshi philanthropist Mahmud Hasan, MBE, also spoke on the occasion.
The event was attended by Angela Rayner, MP, Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition; Baroness Pola Uddin, Rushnara Ali, MP; Catherine West, MP, Sir Akhlaq Choudhury, British High Court Judge, assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division; Robert Evans, former MEP along with community leaders; cross-party elected officials; delegates and members of the British-Bangladeshi communities. At the festive event, British-Bangladeshi artists and Camden Music and Newham Music Trust Children’s Choir performed dances and songs as well as poetry and musical recitals.