Bangladeshis raise flag to mark independence

The leader of Portsmouth City Council Cllr. Gerald Vernon-Jackson with members of the Bangladeshi community who raised a flag in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth.''Picture: Sarah Standing (14889-7808) PPP-140326-152847001
The leader of Portsmouth City Council Cllr. Gerald Vernon-Jackson with members of the Bangladeshi community who raised a flag in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth.''Picture: Sarah Standing (14889-7808) PPP-140326-152847001
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THEIR country was built on blood and tears, and they will never forget.

Portsmouth’s Bangladeshi community turned out in force for a flag-raising ceremony to mark their nation’s independence day.

About 90 people were at the ceremony, the first held by the Bangladeshi community, in the Guildhall Square.

The group also sang the country’s national anthem in support of a world-record attempt in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.

Bangladeshi Cultural Academy chairman Abu Sayeb Tanzan said Bangladeshis are Portsmouth’s largest ethnic community, with 5,000 to 10,000 people.

He said they were proud of their heritage as well as their place in British society.

He said: ‘We’re proud of being Bangladeshi but we’re proud of being British as well. We try to understand the value of both cultures and seek to engage with the British community.’

Portsmouth City Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson and other councillors were at the ceremony.

Community representative Syed Aminul Haque said more than 300,000 people were at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka to sing the anthem Amar Shonar Bangla, which means ‘I love my country, Bangladesh’.

He said: ‘This is a Guinness World Record attempt.

‘It will be the largest number of people singing a national anthem at one place at the same time anywhere in the world.

The country’s independence was won through the Bangladesh Liberation War, which pitted east Pakistan against west Pakistan.

East Pakistan eventually won with the help of India and the country was renamed Bangladesh, but not before 30m people had been displaced. Mr Haque said the Bangladeshi flag represented the country’s physical beauty as well as the war.

He said: ‘The green represents Bangladesh being a self-sufficient and fertile country, and the red dot is for the three million people who gave their lives getting independence.’

He said he hoped the flag-raising would become an annual event.

‘I hope we’ll be able to do it every year.’