Remain vigilant against religious bigots: President

The Financial Express (Bangladesh), 24 May 2013

Dhaka, Bangladesh -- President M Abdul Hamid Advocate on Thursday urged all to be vigilant against the reactionary bigots with a view to maintaining traditional communal harmony in the country at any cost, reports UNB.

"A reactionary quarter of bigots is active with ill motive to misguide the people of the country in the name of religion. Ordinary people never accept the heinous activities easily. All of us will have to remain vigilant against the quarter," he told journalists at a reception programme at Bangabhaban.

The President and his wife Rashida Khanom hosted the reception for the members of the Buddhist Community on the occasion of Buddha Purnima, the biggest religious festival of the community.

The President and his wife welcomed the guests and exchanged greetings with them.

President Abdul Hamid said: "Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony. The country came into being with the spirit of building a non-communal society free from oppression? for that secularism was identified as one of the main principles in the constitution of 1972."

He said: "We've to keep in mind that people of the country are pious, but not bigots."

The President mentioned that secularism does not mean non-religiousness. Secularism means to work for national development through pursuing respective religion.

The time has come to work for building Bangladesh as non-communal country as dreamt by father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he said.

"The state and festival are for all irrespective of religion. All of us-Hindu-Muslim-Bouddha-Christian-are Bangalis. Our today's pledge will be to advance the country towards development and prosperity with the joint efforts of all."

Abdul Hamid noted that from time immemorial, the Buddhist community has been contributing to the country's education, culture and socio-economic development. "Different archeological sites in different parts of the country bear the proof," he said.

Industries Minister Dilip Barua, State Minister for Religious Affairs M Shahjahan Miah, ambassadors and high commissioners of different countries including Myanmar, Bhutan, Vietnam, Thailand and Sri Lanka as well as representatives of various international organisations and professionals of Buddhist community attended the reception.

Secretaries to the President's office were present on the occasion.

BSS adds: Members of the Buddhist community here today celebrated their most sacred and largest festival Buddha Purnima in the city and elsewhere in the district with traditional enthusiasm and solemn devotion.

Buddhists celebrate the Purnima marking the three significant events, took place in the life of Lord Buddha- the birth, enlightenment and passing away.

Lord Buddha was born on the Full Moon day in 563 BC, attained supreme enlightenment and nirvana (the cycle of rebirth) on the same day.

The festival was celebrated in all monasteries and different Buddhist organizations with elaborate programmes.

The day's programmes were heralded with hoisting of the national and religious flags atop all monasteries in the dawn and chanting of the sacred verses from the Tripitaka.

The Buddhist devotees also offered fruits, flowers, candles etc to statues of Lord Buddha throughout the day.

Prayer meets, sermons on the life of Gautam Buddha, religious discourse, continuous recitation of Buddhist scriptures, group meditation, processions, worships of the statue of Buddha were the highlights of the day's programmes.

In the city, the main religious congregations were held at Nandankanan Buddhist temple, Katalganj Nabapandit Vihar, Purnachar International Buddhists Monasteries at Devpahar, Sarbajanina Buddha Vihar at Momin road and Biswamoitry Buddha Vihar at Agrabad.

The Buddhists in Chittagong organized a two-day programme ahead of Buddha Purnima. Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Abdul Mannan will inaugurate a religious procession at Nandankanan Buddhist Monastery at 8 am Friday.

To mark the day, local dailies also brought out special articles while Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television, Chittagong centres aired special programmes highlighting importance of the festival.

To mark the occasion, special issues of a good number of periodicals of the community like Amitabh, Sombodhi, Krishti, and Arya were brought out.