Ansar Ahmed Ullah:
Soon after the independence of Bangladesh, four freedom fighters, Jamal Hasan, Anwar Ahmed, Mahmud Abdul Quayum and Syed Akhtar Ali, set out on a world cycle tour on a special mission. They wanted to thank the people of the world who supported Bangladesh’s Liberation War. They started their tour from the front garden of 32 Dhanmondi. They carried with them a personalised message of good wishes and greetings from the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to the people of the world they were going to visit.
Recently, one of the four, Jamal Hasan, launched a book to recall the trip. His book titled ‘Goodwill on Two Wheels,’ publication event was held at the Over 50 Club, Southgate, in North London.
The tour differed from any other cycle tour because, besides Dhaka University, Bangladesh Sports Federation and the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry were among the sponsors of this goodwill mission. Jamal Hasan and his teammates had a unique touring experience like no other. Because they carried a good wish message from Bangabandhu and the tour was sponsored by the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry, they had the privilege of meeting people from all walks of life in all the countries they had visited. They were both tourists, seeing the wider world for the first time, and ambassadors of goodwill for Bangladesh, reaching out to people in person and through press conferences, radio and TV programmes to convey the message from Bangabandhu. They thanked everyone for supporting their liberation war.
During their tour, they had the privilege of meeting some heads of state, including the Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi and many dignitaries, including Mr Eric Jansen, Chief of Cabinet of the Office of the Director General of the United Nations, Geneva. They received the most cordial reception from everybody. The cyclists were overwhelmed by people’s expressions of happiness that Bangladesh had earned their liberation. Everybody wanted to know more about Bangladesh and wished well for the future of Bangladesh.
Dr Naz Rashid acted as the moderator for the event. Ian Martin, ex-Secretary General of Amnesty International and currently working as a representative of the United Nations, wrote the foreword. He gave an introductory talk at the book launch event. Also, Mr Asaduzzaman Malik, an established author, spoke about the author’s previous book and expressed his high expectation about enjoying ‘Goodwill on Two Wheels’. Finally, before questions and answers, Catherine Lepper and Mahmud Quayum read a few excerpts from the book.