Asansol, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was conferred Honorary Doctor of Literature (DLitt) by Kazi Nazrul University here on Saturday for her outstanding role in improving the living standard of the people through democracy, women empowerment, poverty alleviation and socio-economic development.
The university conferred the degree on her at a special convocation, third of the university, at its campus here in West Burdwan district.
Vice-Chancellor of the Kazi Nazrul University Dr Sadhan Chakrabarti delivered the welcome speech.
Speaking on the occasion after receiving Honorary DLitt, Hasina expressed her immense pleasure for having the opportunity to come to the birthplace of Kazi Nazrul on his birthday and receive the degree from a university named after him.
Ms Hasina said, ‘ I feel proud to have been honoured by this University, named after our National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, whose 119th birth anniversary we are celebrating this year. Nazrul resides in the hearts of two Bengals. Bengal has divided but not the two great poets – Tagore and Nazrul. ‘
‘ It’s a matter of immense prestige. This honour not only belongs to me but to every Bangladeshi, ‘ she averred and thanked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for setting up this university.
“I think this honour is not only for me, but also the people of Bangladesh,” she said, extending thanks to the university authorities for the degree.
“As a member of human race, the Bangladesh PM said, ” Everybody should uphold the values of humanity above all not only in his/her working place but also in every steps of life. ”
Ms Hasina said advent of rebel poet Nazrul in the sky of Bengali literature was just like a comet. Nazrul, who was a poet, litterateur, music composer, musician, singer, music director, dramatist, actor, journalist, editor and soldier, has filled the Bengali literature with precious treasures.
Paying her tributes to national poet of Bangladesh Kazi Nazrul Islam, She urged everybody to rise above small interests and communalism and learn how to value people as human being as taught by Nazrul.
Once again recalling how the Indian government and its people stood beside Bangladeshis during the 1971 Liberation War, she reiterated, ‘ Many Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives in the Liberation War of Bangladesh. People of Bangladesh will never forget those supreme sacrifices. ‘
She also recalled that the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi provided shelter to her and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana in India in 1975 after the assassination of the Father of the Nation along with 18 of his family members.
‘ We’ll never forget the support of the Indian government and its people at that time of distress, ‘ she mentioned.
‘ In our distress, in our difficult times, we have always found India by our side, ‘ she iterated and called for a lasting Indo-Bangla friendship.
Stressing on poverty-free Sub-continent, Ms Hasina said, ‘ Education is of prime importance to achieve this goal, and after coming to power we have accorded highest priority on to education. Because of military rule for some years, Bangladesh lagged behind. Now we are sparing no pains to eradicate poverty in my country through education. ‘
She termed poverty a common enemy of this region and said, ‘ It is very essential to have good relations among neigbouring countries to make this region freed from poverty and hunger completely.’
‘ We are trying to build Bangladesh on the concept of our National Poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam, the poet of humanity, the concept of equality, devoid of communalism. Tagore song is our National Anthem. Research on Nazrul will have to be carried forward, ‘ she asserted.
Prime minister’s sister Sheikh Rehana, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, West Bengal Government Ministers Partha Chatterjee and Moloy Ghatak and dignitaries of the two counties, including academics, poets, artistes and senior officials attended the function.
Ms Hasina arrived here on Friday on a two-day official visit to India at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.