Prime Minister Narendra Modi was received by his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina Wajid, at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka. (AFP photo)
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was nominated for the Gandhi Peace Prize after Modi did something different
India's decision to award the Gandhi Peace Prize to the Bangladeshi nation's father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, comes just days before Prime Minister Modi made his first foreign trip following the Covid-19 epidemic to Bangladesh.
India on Monday nominated Bangladeshi nation's father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and longtime Oman governor Sultan Qaboos for the Gandhi Peace Prize, according to an official government statement.
This is the first time that the prestigious awards for 2019 and 2020 have been released late.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman was the longest-serving king in the Middle East, and he is known worldwide for his political equality in the Persian Gulf. He often served as a facilitator of negotiations between the opposition, Iran and the U.S. He was key to meeting India's energy security requirements in the Persian Gulf.
The prize carries a sum of Rs. 1 crore, text, plaque and beautiful traditional handicraft.
The decision to award the 2020 award to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh, his first foreign trip since the Covid-19 crash. Prime Minister Modi will visit Bangladeshi national program on March 26 as a guest of honor and take part in the commemoration of what New Delhi has described as "three epochal events" - Mujib Borsho, the centenary of the birth of Bangladeshi national father Sheikh. Mujibur Rahman, 50 years of political ties, and 50 years of Bangladesh's liberation struggle.
Prime Minister Modi's trip to Bangladesh includes a visit to the memory of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Tungipara, about 400 kilometers from Dhaka. Tungipara is the birthplace of Mujibur Rahman. This is also where the builder of the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war is buried inside a grave called ‘Bangabandhu mausoleum’.
Prime Minister Modi will also pay tribute to Harichand Thakur, founder of the religious reform movement Matua Mahasangha at his temple in Orakandi. On March 27, Prime Minister Modi is expected to visit the famous Jashoreshwari Kali temple in Satkhira.
Large numbers of people from the Matua community have traveled from Bangladesh to parts of Bangal and Assam over the past 50 years to escape religious persecution. In Bengal, with a strong focus on Nadia, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Kolkata and Hooghly, the combined regions have 16 of the 42 Bengal seats of Lok Sabha.
Prime Minister Modi, who holds the judges of the Gandhi Peace Prize, has named Bangabandhu a champion of human rights and freedoms, and a hero to the Indians.
The official statement said the prestigious award "honors Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's great and unparalleled contribution to the promotion of Bangladesh's independence, the stabilization of the nation born of non-conflict, laid the foundation for closer ties and brotherhood between India and Bangladesh, and promoting peace and non-violence in the continent."