“That is my country …. How near is it. Still, I can never reach there.” This was a dialogue in Ritwik Ghatak’s film “Komal Gandhar”, which captured the pain and grief of partition and his dream of reaching there remained just a dream . But on the day of poila Baisakh, Bengali New Year 1415, the Bengalis of both side of the International border got a gift to cherish and to make their dreams of “reaching there” fulfilled.
“Maitree Express” (Friendship Express) a train to Bangladesh from India, (Kolkata to Dhaka) started its journey on the auspicious day of Poila Baisakh that is 14th april 2008, after 43 years of snapping rail link between India and Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). The rail link between India and the then East Pakistan was snapped during Indo-Pak war in 1965.
The two countries, India (particularly West Bengal) and Bangladesh supposed to be very close at hearts to each other because of their common bond of language, culture and food habits. But we are not so due to politics and misunderstandings. An International Boarder separated us from each other. India always respect sovereign state of the neighboring countries and never believe in aggressiveness or Dadagiri to any neighboring country. India always stood by the side of Bangladesh, at the time of distress like a good friend.
“Maitree Express” alone can not bridge the gap or erase the border between two nations built or created through many years unless there is heart to heart communications by way of cultural exchange and tourism. Let there be more “Bharat Bangaldesh friendship society”, and let us extend our hands for friendship with each other. The same was reflected on the first day run of “Maitree Express” when the passengers reaching Kolkata expressed their happiness shouting “we are very happy to be here. We Bangladeshis share a common bond with you people. We especially thank you for standing by us during our war of liberation”.
If East and West Berlin can unite by breaking their “Wall of Berlin”, why can’t we work for union of two Bengals ?
Note : During united India (before Independence) the present Bangladesh was known as “East Bengal”. Then came the partition of INDIA in 1947 on the basis of religion and then “East Bengal” became “East Pakistan” ruled by Pakistan. In 1971, “East Pakistan” was freed from the clutches of Pakistan by India and a new nation was born , thats “Bangladesh”.
Train reached Kolkata from Dhaka. ( Pic : Times of India)