Condemning the people who capitalise on religion to serve their interests, Prime Minister's ICT Advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy has said the religion card, as history suggests, cannot be played on Bengalis for long.
Wishing everyone Shuvo Noboborsho (Happy New Year) from his verified Facebook account on Thursday, he urged the countrymen to uphold the non-communal spirit and peaceful coexistence of all castes and creeds.
"The majority of our population are practicing Muslims, but not fundamentalists. To protect the Bengali language and culture, our ancestors once heavily resisted the people who capitalised on religion to serve their interests," he wrote.
Consequently, Joy said, Awami League secured 223 out of 237 Muslim seats in the 1954-Jukto Front election while religion peddlers got only nine seats.
"Traditionally, the people of Bangla are simple and religious but neither outwardly showy of religiousness nor peddlers of religion," Sajeeb added.
Reflecting on the spirit of the 1971-Liberation War, he said, "You know that secularism is one of the four founding principles anchoring Bangladesh, born through a long, historic struggle and its peak – the 1971-Liberation War."
"Everyone will practice his religious rites and be tolerant and respectful towards the beliefs of others, and no one will resort to violence centering on religion – this is the basic tenet of secularism, which in no way can face off with the ethnic Bengali culture," he added.
Reiterating the need for nurturing Bengali culture, he said, "Over the last few decades, our fathers and forefathers dedicated everything to this culture and language. Three million people consigned their lives to this country with the dream of a sovereign land whose guiding principle would be equality. They envisioned a society void of exploitation. That country has emerged as Digital Bangladesh on the global stage, owing to the vision of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina."
He said, "We must channel our efforts to uphold the legacy of Bengali culture paying a tribute to the unconditional sacrifice of our ancestors."
The most crucial thread of this culture is non-communalism and the peaceful coexistence of all castes and creeds, he said.
"Let the promise of building a modern, peaceful, and prosperous Bangladesh ring in the new year," he added.