Dhaka, March 3: Indian President Pranab Mukherjee will Tuesday visit his “sasur bari” or in-laws’ home in Narail district of Bangladesh for the first time. His wife Suvra Mukherjee will also accompany him.
“Narail aamar sasur bari. (Narail is my in-laws’ home),” Mukherjee told local channel ATN Bangla in an interview.
He is to visit Bhadrabila village, the ancestral home of his in-laws in Sadar sub-district of Narail, located 150 km from Dhaka. The president and his wife, who arrived here Sunday, will fly to Narail by helicopter.
“I have never visited Narail,” Mukherjee told ATN. “My wife has visited in 1995 with her small troupe Gitanjali. She is unwell now. My daughter too went there.”
Asked what attracts him to Bangladesh, Mukherjee said: “Everything. We are a part of that nation. We share the same language, culture, literature, heritage, the same value system. So there are deep roots.”
Mukherjee is to also present the Padma Shri to Bangladeshi social worker Jharna Dhara Chowdhury on Monday morning at a small ceremony.
Chowdhury, conferred the Indian civilian award this Republic Day (Jan 26), is secretary of the Gandhi Ashram Trust in Noakhali. She was selected for the award for her ‘distinguished service in the field of social work’.
The Gandhi Ashram Trust is a philanthropic and development organisation working in Noakhali since 1946 with Gandhian philosophy of rural development.
To a question if there was danger of a large part of the sub-continent turning into a terrorist hub with secular forces under attack, in a possible reference to the current upheaval in Bangladesh in the wake of clashes between youth demanding death penalty for those involved in the 1971 war crimes and the Islamists, Mukherjee said while there is a threat, he has faith in people.
“In the end, only good intention wins. People of Bangladesh have sacrificed their lives not to capture power but to liberate themselves. If I quote ‘Jyotsna Ebong Janani’, it says that in thousands of villages, thousands of martyrs are asleep, the night is caressing their graves. The complete list of martyrs must be prepared. The work is on. We all are fighting today to preserve our democratic rights.”
–Indo-Asian New Service