Vol. 5 Num 850 Sun. October 15, 2006  
Front Page

Nation parties on Nobel win
Prof Yunus calls for similar unity among politicians, pins hope on reform talks, pays tribute to martyrs

The Grameen Bank head office at Mirpur in the capital wore a festive mood yesterday as hundreds of people from all walks of life gathered there to greet Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus.

Colourful processions were also brought out in different parts of the country in celebration of the glory Prof Yunus and his Grameen Bank earned the nation by winning the Nobel Peace Prize 2006 on Friday. People danced and sang in joy and happiness to celebrate the country's first ever Nobel Prize.

"Amid today's unity and happiness, we are looking forward to a similar unity among the politicians," Prof Yunus said while addressing a press conference at the Grameen Bank head office in the afternoon.

He urged the political leaders to wrap up the ongoing dialogue quickly and come to a solution in one sitting, and tell the people that "we have agreed to go for a fair election and we do not have any complaints against each other".

Earlier, Prof Yunus paid tribute to the martyrs of the Language Movement and the Liberation War at the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital and the National Memorial in Savar.

Prof Yunus dedicated the glory of winning the Nobel Peace Prize to the nation through paying tribute at the Shaheed Minar.

"We hope the politics will become clean by ending all confrontations," Prof Yunus told the gathering and the press. "I wish today's victory and glory washed away all the darkness and conflicts in the society like a cyclone."

He spoke of his dream to build Bangladesh a prosperous and poverty-free nation, a dream for which many valiant sons of the soil sacrificed their lives in the Liberation War.

In reply to a question, the Nobel laureate said he does not hope that he will have to play the role of a mediator to solve the present political crisis. He rather gave importance to solving the problems politically.

"The dialogue is on the right track and we assume that it will end amicably," he said.

Prof Yunus, however, declined to make any comment when asked if there is any chance for his becoming the chief adviser to the next caretaker government.

Earlier in the morning, Prof Yunus told journalists at the Central Shaheed Minar, "I hope the politicians will come to a consensus forgetting all disputes.

"We want to prolong today's peaceful and happy environment until the election period," said the microcredit guru.

He hoped that the politicians will also stand united--just as the entire nation got united and celebrated his Nobel Peace Prize win--for the welfare of the nation by forgetting small differences.

"Let the people elect their chosen candidates and establish a new government," he said.

Dr Yunus visited the National Memorial around 12:30pm to pay tribute to the martyrs of the country's Liberation War. "I have come here to tell the valiant sons of this soil the story of today's glory," said an emotion-chocked Yunus.

Prof Yunus will be visiting Chittagong today to celebrate the award with the city people and with the first beneficiaries of Grameen Bank's microcredit programme at Jobra village under Hathazari upazila, reports our staff correspondent in Chittagong.

He will address members of the civil society, academicians, professionals, journalists, his old friends, colleagues and well-wishers at the Engineers Institute auditorium at 10:00am.

The Nobel laureate would then go to Jobra village, about 20 kilometres off the city, from where his epoch-making idea of "microcredit" kicked off some three decades ago.

Our JU correspondent reports: Prof Yunus visited the National Memorial in Savar yesterday afternoon and said, "Political disputes must be settled for alleviation of poverty in the country. Political leaders should give up revengeful politics and spiteful activities to offer a better political environment to the nation."

"We pledge to the sons of the soil who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the country. Today is a great day of joy and festivity. We succeeded to win the Nobel Peace Prize for the country. We promise not to let the supreme sacrifices turn futile and to bring home more news of joy that would make us proud," wrote Prof Yunus in the visitors' book.

Urging the leaders of the country to get every political crisis or dispute settled or resolved for the sake of the country, Prof Yunus said, "Leaders might have disputes over different issues in politics, but a consensus among the leaders must be achieved to bring about a solution.

"We want a fair election and we do not want anymore clashes centring the election," he added.

"As a big recognition has been achieved, Grameen Bank will put in more efforts from now on to eradicate poverty from the country. We have to introduce new programmes to work for the peace," said Yunus replying to a question regarding next activities of Grameen Bank after winning the prize.

People from all walks of life and Grameen Bank employees from Manikganj and Dhamrai thronged the area since the morning, dancing and singing in celebration.

Four kids named Abir Hossain, Anushree Sarker, Pijush Mridha Shubho and Hasibur Rahman welcomed Prof Yunus after he reached the National Memorial at 12:15pm to place wreath.

He was accompanied by his wife Prof Afrozi Yunus, Managing Director of Grameen Shakti Dweep Chandra Barua, GM of Grameen Bank Nurjahan Begum, DGM of Grameen Bank Jamal Uddin Biswas, MD of Grameen Udyog SM Shamim Anwar, and MD of Grameen Kalyan Muhammad Jahangir.

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Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Muhammad Yunus waves as he and his wife Afrozi Yunus leave the National Memorial in Savar yesterday after placing wreaths there. PHOTO: STAR