With respect and enthusiasm, Notre Dame University Bangladesh observed the Golden Jubilee of Independence and Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and celebrated Christmas Day, combined with a Thanksgiving ceremony on 16 December 2021.
Prof. Fakrul Alam, Director of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Research Institute for Peace and Liberty, attended the occasion as the chief guest. Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Fr. Patrick Daniel Gaffney, CSC, Deputy Registrar Dr. Fr. Leonard Shankar Rozario, CSC, the Dean of Faculty Prof. Dr. Aloke Kumar Chakraborty, the Head of the Department of English Prof. Golam Sarwar Chowdhury, Development Director Fr. Frank Quinlivan, CSC, administrative staff, faculty, students and maintenance staff were also in attendance.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the chief guest and the Vice-Chancellor hoisted the national flag along with the national anthem. Following that, Fr. Boniface Tolentino, CSC led a special prayer event for the everlasting peace of Martyrs, the development of Bangladesh, and the celebration of Christmas.
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Father Patrick D. Gaffney, CSC, in his opening remarks said, “Bangabandhu spoke for the people and gave them a voice against the marginalization of the oppressors. He was a man engaged in politics for the people and henceforth, sparked courageous spirit within them.” “The fiery speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman given on 7 March inspired millions of Bengalis to jump into armed struggle against the Pakistani rulers,” he continued.
A documentary prepared by NDUB Public Relations on Bangladesh’s road to Victory Day and her achievements in the last 50 years of independence was screened afterward.
In light of the 50 years Golden Jubilee of Independence of Bangladesh, Prof. Dr. Fakrul Alam expressed his gratitude to Bangabandhu with this statement “Had Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman not been born, Bangladesh as an independent country would have been just a dream.” Addressing the younger generations, he shared the significance of learning history so that one can realize his roots and know that this freedom didn’t come at a cheap price. “The Bengalis should be inspired by the spirit of victory day and work for the development of the country from their own position throughout the year,” he said.
In the following segment, Fr. Frank Quinlivan, CSC, in his reflection on the background and importance of Christmas Day, said, “Jesus’ birthday is very much the birthday of compassion. Christmas Day brings change, eradicating violence, hatred, and discrimination in exchange for the promise of never being alone in the bond of love.” Prof. Golam Sarwar Chowdhury remembered the exemplary unity sparked throughout the nation’s liberation war and urged the youth to foster such unity without religious or cultural boundaries. He further said, “Bangabandhu was a visionary man. It is his eloquent speech and strategy that gave birth to Bangladesh.”
The atmosphere of the program elevated with the cultural performances – Tripura dance, Mandi dance, recitation, and Christmas songs – by the students and staff of the university.
Father Leonard Shankar Rozario, Deputy Registrar of the University, concluded the program by expressing his heartfelt gratitude to the guests, colleagues, all the Holy Cross Fathers, all faculty members, committees, volunteers, students, and staff members of the university, for good cooperation in preparing the day’s celebration and for all the work during the challenging time of the pandemic. He wished a happy and blessed new year for all.