FATHER OF NATION BANGABANDHU

A BLOG OF MOKTEL HOSSAIN MUKTHI

BANGABANDHU SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN

 

Bangabandhu admitted into Dhaka University. He founded the Muslim Students League on January 4, 1948. Bangabandhu was one of the front line leaders of the language movement and was arrested on March 11, 1948.

On July 9, Bangabandhu was elected general secretary of East Pakistan Awami League at its council session. He was the adjacent point of Jukta Front among Shere Bangla, Maolana Vashani and Hossain Shahid Sarwardi. In 1955, he was elected a member of the legislative assembly on June 5.

In 65, government deemed him as the main culprit and charged with sedition case. But then came the historic moment of February 5, 1966. Bangabandhu placed the historical 6-point demand before the select committee of the conference. This historical 6 point-demand paved the way of our Great Liberation War. In ’68, the Pakistani government instituted the notorious Agartala conspiracy case against Bangabandhu.

In ’69, the Central Students Action Council was formed to press for the acceptance of the 11-point demand that included the 6-point demand of Bangabandhu.The movement peaked into an unprecedented mass upsurge that forced Ayub Khan to bow to the continued mass protests and freed Bangabandhu and the co-accused. In February 23, at the race course (Suhrawardi Uddyan), before a million of people, Sheikh Mujib Was publicly acclaimed as ‘Bangabandhu’(Friend of Bengal).

 

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

 On December 5, Bangabandhu declared at a discussion meeting that East Pakistan would be called ‘Bangladesh‘instead of ‘East Pakistan’.

In 1970, Bangabandhu was re-elected President of Awami League. Under his spurious leadership, Awami League took part in the General Election of ’70 and gained absolute majority. Awami League secured 167 out of 169 National Assembly seats and in the East Pakistan gained 305 out of 310 Provincial seats. On March 7, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed a mammoth public rally at the RaceCourse ground, where he declared:

” This struggle now is the struggle for emancipation, this struggle now is the struggle for liberation.” After that speech, the whole of Bangladesh was static in every sphere and started to follow every command of Bangabandhu.

On the fierce night of March 25, the Pakistani Army cracked down on the innocent unarmed Bangalees. Bangabandhu, in a wireless message, called upon for a entire resist from every section of the society. He was arrested by the Pakistani army on that night. Bangabandhu was sentenced to death by the Pakistani army.

In December 16, 1971, Bangladesh became a free nation under the leadership of Bangabandhu. Bangabandhu was freed from the Pakistani jail on January 8, 1972 and returned to his beloved country on January 10.After that started the reconstruction work of the country. And under the leadership of  Bangabandhu, the country piled up to the acme of the development.

But…. in the pre-dawn hours of 15 August, the noblest and the greatest of Bangalees in a thousand years, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated by a handful of treacherous military officers.

Father of the Nation' is an honorific bestowed on individuals who are considered the most important in the process of the liar establishment of a country or a nation. They are instrumental in the birth of their nations by way of liberating them from colonial or other occupation. George Washington is the father of the United States, Peter I of Russia, Sun Yat-sen of China, Sir Henry Parkes of Australia, Miguel Hidalgo of Mexico, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, William the Silent of the Netherlands, Einar Gerhardsm of Norway, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Carlos Mannel of Cuba, Mustafa Kemal of Turkey, Sukarno of Indonesia, Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia, Mahatma Gandhi of India, Don Stephen Senanayake of Sri Lanka and Mohammad Ali Jinnah of Pakistan. So is Bangabandhu, the Father of the Bangladesh nation.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920-1975) is the architect of our country and the nation by all implications of the term. As a matter of fact, what we now call Bangladesh was never independent in the truest sense of the term before 1971. It was Mujib and only Mujib who gave the nation a real touch of freedom. It was quite a trek into the long way of freedom from all-out oppression

through autonomy and home rule in which he gave the active lead. He was the fearless fighter of the Language Movement of 1952; the pioneer of the democratic movement of 1962; the architect of the Six-point Movement of 1966; the life-force of the Mass Movement of 1969; the enviable victor of the election of 1970 and, above all, the greatest hero of the Liberation War of 1971. He is undisputedly the founder of independent Bangladesh and, therefore, the Father of the Nation.

It is really a matter of regret that we are not well aware of this greatest national leader. But who is to blame for that? As a matter of fact, there has been a long chain of conspiracy

to make people oblivious of Bangabandhu. It began with his assassination on the inauspicious August night of 1975. Ever since then the country fell mostly under the sway of despotic military rule accompanied by the corrupt politicians, opportunistic bureaucrats, pseudo-democrats and religious fundamentalists. They had one thing in common i.e. Bangabandhu-bashing. They tried to indemnify the killers of Bangabandhu, and rewarded them with lucrative portfolios. They took sustained efforts to erase the image of Bangabandhu from the minds of the people by distorting history. They tried to obliterate the memories of Bangabandhu from the pages of history, inscriptions of monuments and from whatever holds the recollections of Mujib. The anti-Mujib campaigners are not, however, as powerful as history itself. History takes its own course, maybe after quite a long time. But this is inevitable. So, the anti-Mujib campaigners have vainly tried to change the course of history eventually making a mockery of it. What they had done at best is that they had fooled some people for sometime or what they can still do is that they can fool some people for all time, but they can never fool all people into believing a false story for all time. People must be endowed with a true sense of history today or tomorrow. To look into one's own history and culture and to go for the quest for national identity and cultural heritage have become an imperative in these postcolonial days. Ours is not a poor socio-political and cultural legacy. We fought valiantly a war of independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu. We can very well come up with this political legacy and assert ourselves more. We can uphold the ideals of Bangabandhu to rebuild our nation.

Mujib is really Bangabandhu, friend of Bangladesh.

And hence he could utter: 'Standing on the gallows, I will tell them, I am a Bengali, Bangla is my country, Bangla is my language”. On the black night of March 25, when it was suggested that he go into hiding, he flatly refused and retorted: “I must share the sufferings of my people along with them. I must share. I cannot leave them in the face of fire. I cannot.” Really he did not flee to safety from the war-torn country. Rather he willingly became the first prey to the marauding force. Love for the motherland had prompted him to take such a risk. Afterwards, over nine long months, day after day and night after night in the dark cell of the prison camp, he longed for the freedom of his country. The unbearable suffering of the dungeon could not sap the strength of his patriotism. On his return home on 10 January 1972, addressing a huge gathering in Suhrawardy Uddyan, Bangabandhu declared: "Bangladesh has earned independence. Now if anybody wants to seize it, Mujib would be the first man to sacrifice his life for the protection of that independence". His country was all important to him. He believed it was his calling to do well to his country, not to look forward to anything in return. He often used to mention the famous quote by President John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country". Such a big man was Bangabandhu! The undisputed Father of independent Bangladesh. To be unaware of this is sheer ignorance. To deny this is an offence against history.

 

Such a big man was Bangabandhu

 The life of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the saga of a great leader turning peoplepower into an armed struggle that liberated a nation and created the world’s ninth most populous state. The birth of the sovereign state of Bangladesh in December 1971, after a heroic war of nine months against the Pakistani colonial rule, was the triumph of his faith in the destiny of his people. Sheikh Mujib, endearingly called Bangabandhu or friend of Bangladesh, rose from the people, molded their hopes and aspirations into a dream and staked his life in the long battle for making it real. He was a true democrat, and he employed in his struggle for securing justice and fairplay for the Bengalees only democratic and constitutional weapons until the last moment. It is no accident of history that in an age of military coup d’etat and ‘strong men’, Sheikh Mujib attained power through elections and mass movement and that in an age of decline of democracy he firmly established democracy in one of the least developed countries of Asia.


Bangabandhu with awami league leaders

 

Sheikh Mujib was born on 17 March 1920 in a middle class family at Tungipara in Gopalganj district. Standing 5 feet 11 inches, he was taller than the average Bengalee. Nothing pleased him more than being close to the masses, knowing their joys and sorrows and being part of their travails and triumphs. He spoke their soft language but in articulating their sentiments his voice was powerful and resonant. He had not been educated abroad, nor did he learn the art of hiding feelings behind sophistry; yet he was loved as much by the urban educated as the common masses of the villages. He inspired the intelligentsia and the working class alike. He did not, however, climb to leadership overnight.

 

Bangabandhu with world leaders

Early Political Life: His political life began as an humble worker while he was still a student. He was fortunate to come in early contact with such towering personalities as Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy and A K Fazlul Huq, both charismatic Chief Ministers of undivided Bengal. Adolescent Mujib grew up under the gathering gloom of stormy politics as the aging British raj in India was falling apart and the Second World War was violently rocking the continents. He witnessed the ravages of the war and the stark realities of the great famine of 1943 in which about five million people lost their lives. The tragic plight of the people under colonial rule turned young Mujib into a rebel.

This was also the time when he saw the legendary revolutionary Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose challenging the British raj. Also about this time he came to know the works of Bernard Shaw, Karl Marx, Rabindranath Tagore and rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. Soon after the partition of India in 1947 it was felt that the creation of Pakistan with its two wings separated by a physical distance of about 1,200 miles was a geographical monstrosity. The economic, political, cultural and linguistic characters of the two wings were also different. Keeping the two wings together under the forced bonds of a single state structure in the name of religious nationalism would merely result in a rigid political control and economic exploitation of the eastern wing by the all-powerful western wing which controlled the country’s capital and its economic and military might.

 

Bangabandhu with mrs. indira gandhi, Prime Minister of Bangladesh 1972

 Early Movement: In 1948 a movement was initiated to make Bengali one of the state languages of Pakistan. This can be termed the first stirrings of the movement for an independent Bangladesh. The demand for cultural freedom gradually led to the demand for national independence. During that language movement Sheikh Mujib was arrested and sent to jail. During the blood-drenched language movement in 1952 he was again arrested and this time he provided inspiring leadership of the movement from inside the jail.

In 1954 Sheikh Mujib was elected a member of the then East Pakistan Assembly. He joined A K Fazlul Huq’s United Front government as the youngest minister. The ruling clique of Pakistan soon dissolved this government and Shiekh Mujib was once again thrown into prison. In 1955 he was elected a member of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly and was again made a minister when the Awami League formed the provincial government in 1956. Soon after General Ayub Khan staged a military coup in Pakistan in 1958, Sheikh Mujib was arrested once again and a number of cases were instituted against him. He was released after 14 months in prison but was re-arrested in February 1962. In fact, he spent the best part of his youth behind the prison bars.

Supreme Test: March 7, 1971 was a day of supreme test in his life. Nearly two million freedom loving people assembled at the Ramna Race Course Maidan, later renamed Suhrawardy Uddyan, on that day to hear their leader’s command for the battle for liberation. The Pakistani military junta was also waiting to trap him and to shoot down the people on the plea of suppressing a revolt against the state. Sheikh Mujib spoke in a thundering voice but in a masterly well-calculated restrained language. His historic declaration in the meeting was: "Our struggle this time is for freedom. Our struggle this time is for independence." To deny the Pakistani military an excuse for a crackdown, he took care to put forward proposals for a solution of the crisis in a constitutional way and kept the door open for negotiations.

The crackdown, however, did come on March 25 when the junta arrested Sheikh Mujib for the last time and whisked him away to West Pakistan for confinement for the entire duration of the liberation war. In the name of suppressing a rebellion the Pakistani military let loose hell on the unarmed civilians throughout Bangladesh and perpetrated a genocide killing no less than three million men, women and children, raping women in hundreds of thousands and destroying property worth billions of taka. Before their ignominious defeat and surrender they, with the help of their local collaborators, killed a large number of intellectuals, university professors, writers, doctors, journalists, engineers and eminent persons of other professions. In pursuing a scorch-earth policy they virtually destroyed the whole of the country’s infrastructure. But they could not destroy the indomitable spirit of the freedom fighters nor could they silence the thundering voice of the leader. Tape recordings of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib’s 7th March speech kept on inspiring his followers throughout the war.

Return and Reconstruction: Forced by international pressure and the imperatives of its own domestic predicament, Pakistan was obliged to release Sheikh Mujib from its jail soon after the liberation of Bangladesh and on 10 January 1972 the great leader returned to his beloved land and his admiring nation.

But as he saw the plight of the country his heart bled and he knew that there would be no moment of rest for him. Almost the entire nation including about ten million people returning from their refuge in India had to be rehabilitated, the shattered economy needed to be put back on the rail, the infrastructure had to be rebuilt, millions had to be saved from starvation and law and order had to be restored. Simultaneously, a new constitution had to be framed, a new parliament had to be elected and democratic institutions had to be put in place. Any ordinary mortal would break down under the pressure of such formidable tasks that needed to be addressed on top priority basis. Although simple at heart, Sheikh Mujib was a man of cool nerves and of great strength of mind. Under his charismatic leadership the country soon began moving on to the road to progress and the people found their long-cherished hopes and aspirations being gradually realized.

The life of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the saga of a great leader tuning peoplepower into an armed struggle that liberated a nation and created the world’s ninth most populous state. The birth of the sovereign state of Bangladesh in December 1971, after a heroic war of nine months against the Pakistani colonial rule, was the triumph of his faith in the destiny of his people. Sheikh Mujib, endearingly called Bangabandhu or friend of Bangladesh, rose from the people, molded their hopes and aspirations into a dream and staked his life in the long battle for making it real. He was a true democrat, and he employed in his struggle for securing justice and fairplay for the Bengalees only democratic and constitutional weapons until the last moment. It is no accident of history that in an age of military coup d’etat and ‘strong men’, Sheikh Mujib attained power through elections and mass movement and that in an age of decline of democracy he firmly established democracy in one of the least developed countries of Asia.Sheikh Mujib was born on 17 March 1920 in a middle class family at Tungipara in Gopalganj district. Standing 5 feet 11 inches, he was taller than the average Bengalee. Nothing pleased him more than being close to the masses, knowing their joys and sorrows and being part of their travails and triumphs. He spoke their soft language but in articulating their sentiments his voice was powerful and resonant. He had not been educated abroad, nor did he learn the art of hiding feelings behind sophistry; yet he was loved as much by the urban educated as the common masses of the villages. He inspired the intelligentsia and the working class alike. He did not, however, climb to leadership overnight.

Early Political Life: His political life began as an humble worker while he was still a student. He was fortunate to come in early contact with such towering personalities as Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy and A K Fazlul Huq, both charismatic Chief Ministers of undivided Bengal. Adolescent Mujib grew up under the gathering gloom of stormy politics as the aging British raj in India was falling apart and the Second World War was violently rocking the continents. He witnessed the ravages of the war and the stark realities of the great famine of 1943 in which about five million people lost their lives. The tragic plight of the people under colonial rule turned young Mujib into a rebel.

 

This was also the time when he saw the legendary revolutionary Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose challenging the British raj. Also about this time he came to know the works of Bernard Shaw, Karl Marx, Rabindranath Tagore and rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. Soon after the partition of India in 1947 it was felt that the creation of Pakistan with its two wings separated by a physical distance of about 1,200 miles was a geographical monstrosity. The economic, political, cultural and linguistic characters of the two wings were also different. Keeping the two wings together under the forced bonds of a single state structure in the name of religious nationalism would merely result in a rigid political control and economic exploitation of the eastern wing by the all-powerful western wing which controlled the country’s capital an iteconomic and military might. 

Early Movement: In 1948 a movement was initiated to make Bengali one of the state languages of Pakistan. This can be termed the first stirrings of the movement for an independent Bangladesh. The demand for cultural freedom gradually led to the demand for national independence. During that language movement Sheikh Mujib was arrested and sent to jail. During the blood-drenched language movement in 1952 he was again arrested and this time he provided inspiring leadership of the movement from inside the jail.

 In 1954 Sheikh Mujib was elected a member of the then East Pakistan Assembly. He joined A K Fazlul Huq’s United Front government as the youngest minister. The ruling clique of Pakistan soon dissolved this government and Shiekh Mujib was once again thrown into prison. In 1955 he was elected a member of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly and was again made a minister when the Awami League formed the provincial government in 1956. Soon after General Ayub Khan staged a military coup in Pakistan in 1958, Sheikh Mujib was arrested once again and a number of cases were instituted against him. He was released after 14 months in prison but was re-arrested in February 1962. In fact, he spent the best part of his youth behind the prison bars.

Supreme Test: March 7, 1971 was a day of supreme test in his life. Nearly two million freedom loving people assembled at the Ramna Race Course Maidan, later renamed Suhrawardy Uddyan, on that day to hear their leader’s command for the battle for liberation. The Pakistani military junta was also waiting to trap him and to shoot down the people on the plea of suppressing a revolt against the state. Sheikh Mujib spoke in a thundering voice but in a masterly well-calculated restrained language. His historic declaration in the meeting was: "Our struggle this time is for freedom. Our struggle this time is for independence." To deny the Pakistani military an excuse for a crackdown, he took care to put forward proposals for a solution of the crisis in a constitutional way and kept the door open for negotiations.

The crackdown, however, did come on March 25 when the junta arrested Sheikh Mujib for the last time and whisked him away to West Pakistan for confinement for the entire duration of the liberation war. In the name of suppressing a rebellion the Pakistani military let loose hell on the unarmed civilians throughout Bangladesh and perpetrated a genocide killing no less than three million men, women and children, raping women in hundreds of thousands and destroying property worth billions of taka. Before their ignominious defeat and surrender they, with the help of their local collaborators, killed a large number of intellectuals, university professors, writers, doctors, journalists, engineers and eminent persons of other professions. In pursuing a scorch-earth policy they virtually destroyed the whole of the country’s infrastructure. But they could not destroy the indomitable spirit of the freedom fighters nor could they silence the thundering voice of the leader. Tape recordings of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib’s 7th March speech kept on inspiring his followers throughout the war.

Return and Reconstruction: Forced by international pressure and the imperatives of its own domestic predicament, Pakistan was obliged to release Sheikh Mujib from its jail soon after the liberation of Bangladesh and on 10 January 1972 the great leader returned to his beloved land and his admiring nation.

But as he saw the plight of the country his heart bled and he knew that there would be no moment of rest for him. Almost the entire nation including about ten million people returning from their refuge in India had to be rehabilitated, the shattered economy needed to be put back on the rail, the infrastructure had to be rebuilt, millions had to be saved from starvation and law and order had to be restored. Simultaneously, a new constitution had to be framed, a new parliament had to be elected and democratic institutions had to be put in place. Any ordinary mortal would break down under the pressure of such formidable tasks that needed to be addressed on top priority basis. Although simple at heart, Sheikh Mujib was a man of cool nerves and of great strength of mind. Under his charismatic leadership the country soon began moving on to the road to progress and the people found their long-cherished hopes and aspirations being gradually realized.

Assassination: But at this critical juncture, his life was cut short by a group of anti-liberation reactionary forces who in a pre-dawn move on 15 August 1975 not only assassinated him but 23 of his family members and close associates. Even his 10 year old son Russel’s life was not spared by the assassins. The only survivors were his two daughters, Sheikh Hasina - now the country’s Prime Minister - and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana, who were then away on a visit to Germany. In killing the father of the Nation, the conspirators ended a most glorious chapter in the history of Bangladesh but they could not end the great leader’s finest legacy- the rejuvenated Bengali nation. In a fitting tribute to his revered memory, the present government has declared August 15 as the national mourning day. On this day every year the people would be paying homage to the memory of a man who became a legend in his won lifetime. Bangabandhu lives in the heart of his people. Bangladesh and Bangabandhu are one and inseparable. Bangladesh was Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s vision and he fought and died for it.

 

Bangabandhu sheikh Mujibur Rahman

 DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

"This may be my last message, from today Bangladesh is independent. 

I call upon the people of Bangladesh, wherever you might be and whatever you have, to resist the army of occupation to the last. Your fight must go on until the last soldier of the Pakistan occupation army is expelled from the soil of Bangladesh and final victory is achieved.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The people of Bangladesh have proved to the world at large that they are a heroic nation; they know how to achieve their right and live like human beings.

We have achieved our independence. So long a Bengali lives, he will not allow this independence to be lost. Bangladesh will continue to exist as an independent country in history. There is no power on earth which can keep Bangladesh under subjugation.

Those who cannot maintain law and order cannot expect to be a great nation.

Independence is not achieved with the hoisting of the flag only. Ensuring the security of people's lives and property is also an inseparable part on independence.

It is only through agriculture revolution that the country would become self-reliant in food. The farmers must see to it that not an inch of the country's soil remains fallow and that the yield of the land is increased.

I have waged the independence movement of Bangladesh along with seven and a half crore people. So I appeal to the people to put an end to the activities of antisocial and disruptive elements.

 

the remembrance

 My dear brothers of armed forces, you belong to the people and people belong to you. You do not form a separate entity. All of you are sons of the soil. This is why you will have to share the happiness and sorrow of the masses and stand beside them in rebuilding the devastated country. Allah is with you.

Our defense-preparedness is not meant to attack anyone. It is for self defense only. We are not willing to interfere into other's internal affairs. Similarly, we shall not tolerate other's interference into our internal affairs.

The martyrs who gifted the independence of the country will never die. The souls of the martyrs will be contended only when the people of this independent country, established through the sacrifice of the martyrs, will get enough to eat and live a dignified life. Depending on borrowed resources no nation can ever expect to become self-reliant and great.

I have made appeals to the world for help. I want help but not at the cost of independence.

It is clear today that only democracy will work in future in this

country.

 >The Bangladesh Awami League (AL) (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ আওয়ামী লীগ; translated from FarsiBangladesh People's League), commonly known as the Awami League, is the mainstream center-left, secular political party in Bangladesh. It is also currently the governing party after winning the 2008 Parliamentary elections in Bangladesh.

 

symbol of democracy and freedom

The Awami League was founded in Dhaka, the former capital of the Pakistani province ofEast Bengal, in 1949 by Bengali nationalists Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani,Shamsul Huq, and later Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. The Awami League was established as the Bengali alternative to the domination of the Muslim League in Pakistan. The party quickly gained massive popular support in East Bengal, later named East Pakistan, and eventually led the forces of Bengali nationalism in the struggle against West Pakistan's military and political establishment. The party under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh, would lead the struggle for independence, first through massive populist and civil disobedience movements, such as the Six Point Movement and 1971 Non-Cooperation Movement, and then during the Bangladesh Liberation War. After the emergence of independent Bangladesh, the Awami League would win the first general elections in 1973 but was overthrown in 1975 after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.The party was forced by subsequent military regimes into political wilderness and many of its senior leaders and actvists were executed and jailed. After the restoration of democracy in 1990, the Awami League emerged as one of the principal players of Bangladeshi politics.

Amongst the leaders of the Awami League, five have become the President of Bangladesh, four have become the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and one became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Since the independence of Bangladesh, the party has been under the control of the family of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. His daughter and also the incumbent Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, has been heading the party since 1981.


Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by Sajjad Khan

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman By Sajjad Khan

Some of the biographers of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman have said that he was the most astonishing and much talked about leader in South East Asia. In an age of military coup d'etat he attained power through elections and mass upsurge; in an age of decline of democracy he firmly established democracy in one of the countries of Asia and in an age of "Strong Men" he spurned the opportunity of becoming a dictator and instead chose to become the elected Prime Minister. The way he turned a nonviolent non-cooperation movement of unarmed masses into an armed struggle that successfully brought into reality the liberation of a new nation and the creation of a new state in barely ten months will remain a wonder of history.March 7, 1971 was a day of supreme test in his life. The leaders of the military junta of Pakistan were on that day eagerly waiting to trap him. A contingent of heavily armed Pakistani troops was poised near the Suhrawardy Uddyan to wait for an order to start massacre the people on the plea of suppressing a revolt that Bangabandhu was about to declare against Pakistan at the meeting he was going to address there.

In fact, the entire Bangladesh was then in a state of revolt. The sudden postponement of the scheduled session of the newly elected National Assembly and the reluctance of the military leaders to transfer power to the elected representatives of the people had driven the people to desperation and they were seeking the opportunity to break away from the Pakistani colonial rule. Nearly two million freedom-loving people who assembled at the Suhrawardy Uddyan that day had but one wish, only one demand : "Bangabandhu, declare independence; give us the command for the battle for national liberation.

 The Father of the Nation spoke in a calm and restrained language. It was more like a sacred hymn than a speech spellbinding two million people. His historic declaration in the meeting on that day was : "Our struggle this time is for freedom. Our struggle this time is for independence". This was the declaration of independence for Bangladeshis, for their liberation struggle. But he did not give the Pakistani military rulers the opportunity to use their arms. He foiled their carefully laid scheme. In the same speech he took care to put forward four proposals for the solution of the problem in a constitutional way and kept the door open for negotiations.

He was taller than the average Bangalee, had the same dark complexion and spoke in a vibrant voice. But what special power gave him the magnetic qualities of drawing a mass of seventy-five million people to him? This question stirred the minds of many people at home and abroad. He was not educated abroad nor was he born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Yet he was as dear to the educated Bangladeshi compatriots as to the illiterate and half-educated masses. He inspired the intelligentsia and the working classes alike. He did not climb to leadership overnight. It has been a slow and steady process. He attained his enviable eminence the hard way. He began as an humble worker at the bottom rung. He arduously climbed to the position of a national leader and rose to the very pinnacle as the Father of the Nation.

He was born in a middle class Bangalee family and his political leadership arose out of the aims and aspirations of the ordinary Bangalee. He was inseparably linked with the hopes and aspirations, the joys and sorrows, the travails and triumphs of these ordinary people. He spoke their language. He gave voice to their hopes and aspirations. Year after year he spent the best days of his youth behind the prison bars. That is why his power was the power of the people.

Whoever has once come in contact with him has admitted that his personality, a mingling of gentle and stern qualities, had an uncanny magical attraction. He is as simple as a child yet unbending in courage; as strong as steel when necessary. Coupled with this was his incomparable strength of mind and steadfast devotion to his own ideals. He was a nationalist in character, a democrat in behavior, a socialist in belief and a secularist by conviction.Bangabandbu had to move forward step by step in his struggle. He had to change the tactics and the slogans of the movement several times. It can thus be said that though the period of direct struggle for freedom was only nine months, the indirect period of this struggle spread over 25 years. This 25-year period can be divided into several stages. These are : (a) organizational stage of the democratic movement; (b) movement against BPC or Basic Principles Committee's report; (c) language movement; (d) forging of electoral unity and the victory of the democratic United Front; (e) military rule; (f) movement against the military rule; (g) movement for autonomy; (h) the historic Six-Point movement; (i) electoral victory and the non-cooperation movement; and j) armed liberation struggle.

Bangabandhu has been closely associated with every phase of this 25-year long struggle for freedom and independence. Bangladesh and Bangabandhu have, therefore, become inseparable. We cannot speak of one without the other.

While still adolescent, he took his first political lesson from Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy, a leading political personality of the then Bangladesh. It was in Faridpur that Young Suhrawardy and adolescent Sheikh Mujib came to know each other. Both of them were attracted to each other from that first acquaintance. Adolescent Mujib grew up under the gathering gloom of the storm-tossed politics of the sub-continent and the Second World War. He witnessed the ravages of war and the stark realities of the 1943 famine and the epidemics in which about five million people lost their lives. The miserable plight of the people under colonial rule turned him into a rebel.

He passed his matriculation examination in 1942. His studies had been interrupted for about four years due to an attack of beriberi. He got acquainted with the revolutionary activities of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose during the Hallwell Monument movement in Calcutta. Suhrawardy's staunchly logical approach and Subhash Bose's spirit of dedication influenced him immensely. He was influenced by another great leader, "Sher-e-Bangla" A.K. Fazlul Huq and his political philosophy of the plain fare ("dal-bhat") for all. At that very early stage he realised that in a poor exploited country political programmes must be complimentary to economic programmes.

He completed his college education in Calcutta. His sojourn to the prisons began in his teens. He first spent six days in a prison for participating in a political movement. While he was a student in Calcutta, he moved the natural eddies of the political movements of the subcontinent and got himself associated with the Muslim League and the Pakistan movement. But soon after the creation of Pakistan and the partition of Bengal in 1947, he realised that his people had not attained real independence. What had happened was a change of masters. Bangladesh would have to make preparations for independence movement a second time.

He graduated in the same year and came to develop a deep acquaintance with the works of Bernard Shaw. Karl Marx and Rabindranath Tagore. The horizon of his thought process began to expand from that time. He realised that Bangladesh was a geographical unit and its geographical nationalism was separate; its economic, political and cultural characters were also completely different from those of the western part of Pakistan. Over and above, linguistic differences and a physical distance of about 1,500 miles between them made the two parts of Pakistan totally separate from each other.

He could, therefore, realize that by keeping the two areas under the forced bonds of one state structure in the name of religious nationalism, rigid political control and economic exploitation would be perpetrated on the eastern part. This would come as a matter of course because the central capital and the economic and military headquarters of Pakistan had all been set up in the western part. The new realization and political thinking took roots in his mind as early as 1948. He was then a student in the Law faculty of Dhaka University. A movement was launched that very year on the demand to make Bengali one of the state languages of Pakistan. In fact, this movement can be termed as the first stirrings of the movement of an independent Bangladesh. This demand for cultural freedom gradually led to the demand for national independence. During that language movement, Bangabandhu was arrested on March 11, 1948. During the blood-drenched language movement of 1952 also he was pushed behind the bars and took up leadership of the movement from inside the jail. Bangabandhu was also in the forefront of the movement against the killing of policemen by the army in Dhaka in 1948. He was imprisoned for lending his support to the strike movement of the lower grade employees of Dhaka University. He was expelled from the University even before he came out of the prison.

In 1950, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan of Pakistan announced the Basic Principles Committee's report for framing a constitution. This report manipulated to turn the majority of Bangladesh into a minority through subterfuges, and to make Urdu the state language. There was a spontaneous countrywide upsurge in Bangladesh against this report and the Bangabandhu was at its forefront.

Bangabandhu was elected Joint Secretary of the newly formed political organization, the Awami League. Previously he had been the leader of the progressive students' organization, the Chhatra League. In 1953 he was elected General Secretary of the Awami League.

Elections to the then Provincial Assembly of Bangladesh was held in 1954. A democratic electoral alliance-the United Front-against the ruling Muslim League was forged during that election. The 21 -point demand of the United Front included full regional autonomy for Bangladesh and making of Bengali one of the state languages.

The United Front won the elections on the basis of the 21 -point programme and Bangabandhu was elected member of the Provincial Assembly. He joined the Huq Cabinet of the United Front as its youngest Minister. The anti-people ruling clique of Pakistan dissolved this Cabinet soon and the Bangabandhu was thrown into prison.

In 1955 he was elected member of the second Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. He was again appointed a Minister when the Awami League formed the Provincial Cabinet in 1956. But he voluntarily left the Cabinet in July 1957 in order to devote himself fully to the task of reorganizing the party.

General Ayub Khan staged a military coup in Pakistan in 1958 and the Bangabandhu was arrested on various charges and innumerable cases were framed against him. He got back his freedom after 14 months of solitary confinement but was re-arrested in February 1962.

THE AWAMI LEAGUE

The Bangabandhu revived the Awami League after the death of Mr. H.S. Suhrawardy in 1963. By that time the military Junta had lifted the ban on political parties. Thus the Awami League began its constitutional struggle under the leadership of the Bangabandhu to realize the demand for self-determination of the Bangalees.The Bangabandhu placed his historic Six-Point programme at a political conference in Lahore in 1966. This programme called for a federal state structure for Pakistan and full autonomy for Bangladesh with a parliamentary democratic system. The Six- Point programme became so popular in a short while that it was turned into the Charter of Freedom for the Bangladeshis or their Magna Carta. The Army Junta of Pakistan threatened to use the language of weapons against the Six-Point movement and the Bangabandhu was arrested under the Defence Rules on May 8, 1966. The powerful mass upsurge that burst forth throughout Bangladesh in protest against this arrest of the Bangabandhu came to be known as June Movement.On June 17, 1968 he was removed from Dhaka Central Jail to Kurmitola Cantonment and was charged with conspiring to make Bangladesh independent with the help of India. This case is known as the Agartala Conspiracy case. He was the No. 1 accused in the case. While the trial was in progress in the court of a military tribunal the administration of the military junta collapsed as a consequence of a great mass upsurge in Bangladesh at the beginning of 1969.

As a result, he was released together with all the other co-accused. The case was withdrawn and the Bangabandhu was invited to a Round Table Conference at the capital of Pakistan. At this conference President Ayub Khan requested Bangabandhu to accept the Prime Ministership of Pakistan. Bangabandhu rejected the offer and remained firm in his demand for the acceptance of his Six-Point programme. President Ayub Khan stepped down from power on March 25, 1969 and General Yahya Khan took over the leadership of the army junta, Apprehending a new movement in Bangladesh he promised to re-establish democratic rule in Pakistan and made arrangements for holding the first general elections in December, 1970. Under the leadership of the Bangabandhu. the Awami League won an absolute majority in the elections. The military junta was unnerved by the results of the elections. The conspiracy then started to prevent the transfer of power. The session of the newly elected National Assembly was scheduled for March 3, 1971. By an order on March 1, General Yahya postponed this session. It acted like a spark to the powder keg; entire Bangladesh burst into flames of political upheaval. The historic non-cooperation movement began. For all practical purposes Bangabandhu took over the civil -administration of Bangladesh. The military junta however began to increase the strength of its armed forces in Bangladesh secretly and to kill innocent Bangalees at different places.

Yahya Khan came to Dhaka by the middle of March to have talks with Bangabandhu. Mr. Zulflqar Ali Bhutto and other leaders also came a few days later. When everybody was feeling that the talks were going to be successful Yahya Khan stealthily left Dhaka in the evening of March 25. The barbarous genocide throughout Bangladesh began from that midnight.

Bangabandhu was arrested at midnight of March 25 and was flown to the western wing. But before he was arrested, he formally declared independence of Bangladesh and issued instructions to all Bangladeshis, including those in the armed forces and in the police to take up arms to drive out the Pakistani occupation forces.

For ten long months from March 1971 to January 1972 Bangabandhu was confined in a death-cell in the Pakistani prison. His countrymen did not even know if he was dead or alive. Still, stirred by his inspiration, the nation threw itself heart and soul into the hick of the liberation war and by the middle of December the whole of Bangladesh was cleared of the occupation forces.Freed from the Pakistani prison, the Bangabandhu came back home on January 10, 1972 and stepped down from the Presidentship and took up the responsibility as the Prime Minister of independent Bangladesh on 12 January 1972. Immediately he took steps for the formulation of the Constitution of the country and to place it before the Constituent Assembly. After the passage of the Constitution on 4 November 1972, his party won an overwhelming majority in the elections held on 7 March 1973 and took up the responsibility of running the administration of the country for another five-year term. After the fourth amendment of the constitution on 25 January 1975 (changing the form of Government from the Parliamentary to the Presidential system), the Bangabandhu entered upon the office of the President of Bangladesh. Within three years of independence he put the war-ravaged country along the path of political stability and economic reconstruction. On 15 August 1975, he along with all the members (excluding two daughters, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana who were abroad) of his family were brutally assassinated by a splinter group of armed forces.The Bangabandhu is the Father of the Nation. His state philosophy has four pillars: Nationalism, Democracy, Socialism and Secularism. His foreign policy opened up new horizons of peace, cooperation and non-alignment throughout Asia. He visited many countries of Asia and Europe including China and the Soviet Union. Statesmen of many countries of Asia countries were his personal friends. He was awarded Julio Curie Peace Prize for his being a symbol of world peace and cooperation. In the eyes of the people in the third world, he is the harbinger of peace and development in Asia.

 

 

 

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Who is Bangabandhu?

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Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born in a respectable Muslim family on 17 March,1920, Tungipara village under the Gopalganj district. He was the third child among four daughters and two sons of Sheikh Lutfur Rahman and Saira Begum.

 

Bangabandhu started his school life at Gimadanga primary school at the age of seven. At eighteen he married Begum Fazilatunnesa. They subsequently become the happy parents of three sons and two daughters. All the sons were to killed along with their parents on 15 August, 1975.

 

Bangabandhu passed the entrance exam and joined the Kolkata Islamia College and elected the General Secretary of the college union. During the riot of ’47, he took a pioneering role in protecting the Muslims and trying to contain the violence.

 

Bangabandhu admitted into Dhaka University. He founded the Muslim Students League on January 4, 1948.

Bangabandhu was one of the front line leaders of the language movement and was arrested on March 11, 1948.

 

On July 9, Bangabandhu was elected general secretary of East Pakistan Awami League at its council session. He was the adjacent point of Jukta Front among Shere Bangla, Maolana Vashani and Hossain Shahid Sarwardi. In 1955, he was elected a member of the legislative assembly on June 5.

 

In 65, government deemed him as the main culprit and charged with sedition case. But then came the historic moment of February 5, 1966. Bangabandhu placed the historical 6-point demand before the select committee of the conference. This historical 6 point-demand paved the way of our Great Liberation War. In ’68, the Pakistani government instituted the notorious Agartala conspiracy case against Bangabandhu.

 

In ’69, the Central Students Action Council was formed to press for the acceptance of the 11-point demand that included the 6-point demand of Bangabandhu.The movement peaked into an unprecedented mass upsurge that forced Ayub Khan to bow to the continued mass protests and freed Bangabandhu and the co-accused. In February 23, at the race course (Suhrawardi Uddyan), before a million of people, Sheikh Mujib Was publicly acclaimed as ‘Bangabandhu (Friend of Bengal).

 

On December 5, Bangabandhu declared at a discussion meeting that East Pakistan would be called ‘Bangladesh‘instead of ‘East Pakistan’.

 

In 1970, Bangabandhu was re-elected President of Awami League. Under his spurious leadership, Awami League took part in the General Election of ’70 and gained absolute majority. Awami League secured 167 out of 169 National Assembly seats and in the East Pakistan gained 305 out of 310 Provincial seats.

 

On March 7, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed a mammoth public rally at the RaceCourse ground, where he declared:

 

”This struggle now is the struggle for emancipation, this struggle now is the struggle for liberation.” After that speech, the whole of Bangladesh was static in every sphere and started to follow every command of Bangabandhu.

 

 

On the fierce night of March 25, the Pakistani Army cracked down on the innocent unarmed Bangalees. Bangabandhu, in a wireless message, called upon for a entire resist from every section of the society. He was arrested by the Pakistani army on that night. Bangabandhu was sentenced to death by the Pakistani army.

 

In December 16, 1971, Bangladesh became a free nation under the leadership of Bangabandhu. Bangabandhu was freed from the Pakistani jail on January 8, 1972 and returned to his beloved country on January 10. \

 

After that started the reconstruction work of the country. And under the leadership of Bangabandhu, the country piled up to the acme of the development. But…. in the pre-dawn hours of 15 August, the noblest and the greatest of Bangalees in a thousand years, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated by a handful of treacherous military officers.

 

Father of the Nation' is an honorific bestowed on individuals who are considered the most important in the process of the liar establishment of a country or a nation. They are instrumental in the birth of their nations by way of liberating them from colonial or other occupation. George Washington is the father of the United States, Peter I of Russia, Sun Yat-sen of China, Sir Henry Parkes of Australia, Miguel Hidalgo of Mexico, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, William the Silent of the Netherlands, Einar Gerhardsm of Norway, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Carlos Mannel of Cuba, Mustafa Kemal of Turkey, Sukarno of Indonesia, Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia, Mahatma Gandhi of India, Don Stephen Senanayake of Sri Lanka and Mohammad Ali Jinnah of Pakistan. So is Bangabandhu, the Father of the Bangladesh nation.

 

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920-1975) is the architect of our country and the nation by all implications of the term. As a matter of fact, what we now call Bangladesh was never independent in the truest sense of the term before 1971. It was Mujib and only Mujib who gave the nation a real touch of freedom. It was quite a trek into the long way of freedom from all-out oppression through autonomy and home rule in which he gave the active lead. He was the fearless fighter of the Language Movement of 1952; the pioneer of the democratic movement of 1962; the architect of the Six-point Movement of 1966; the life-force of the Mass Movement of 1969; the enviable victor of the election of 1970 and, above all, the greatest hero of the Liberation War of 1971. He is undisputedly the founder of independent Bangladesh and, therefore, the Father of the Nation.

 

It is really a matter of regret that we are not well aware of this greatest national leader. But who is to blame for that? As a matter of fact, there has been a long chain of conspiracy to make people oblivious of Bangabandhu. It began with his assassination on the inauspicious August night of 1975. Ever since then the country fell mostly under the sway of despotic military rule accompanied by the corrupt politicians, opportunistic bureaucrats, pseudo-democrats and religious fundamentalists. They had one thing in common i.e. Bangabandhu-bashing. They tried to indemnify the killers of Bangabandhu, and rewarded them with lucrative portfolios. They took sustained efforts to erase the image of Bangabandhu from the minds of the people by distorting history. They tried to obliterate the memories of Bangabandhu from the pages of history, inscriptions of monuments and from whatever holds the recollections of Mujib.

 

The anti-Mujib campaigners are not, however, as powerful as history itself. History takes its own course, maybe after quite a long time. But this is inevitable. So, the anti-Mujib campaigners have vainly tried to change the course of history eventually making a mockery of it. What they had done at best is that they had fooled some people for sometime or what they can still do is that they can fool some people for all time, but they can never fool all people into believing a false story for all time. People must be endowed with a true sense of history today or tomorrow.

 

To look into one's own history and culture and to go for the quest for national identity and cultural heritage have become an imperative in these postcolonial days. Ours is not a poor socio-political and cultural legacy. We fought valiantly a war of independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu. We can very well come up with this political legacy and assert ourselves more. We can uphold the ideals of Bangabandhu to rebuild our nation.

Mujib is really Bangabandhu, friend of Bangladesh. And hence he could utter: 'Standing on the gallows, I will tell them, I am a Bengali, Bangla is my country, Bangla is my language”. On the black night of March 25, when it was suggested that he go into hiding, he flatly refused and retorted: “I must share the sufferings of my people along with them.

 

I must share. I cannot leave them in the face of fire. I cannot.” Really he did not flee to safety from the war-torn country. Rather he willingly became the first prey to the marauding force. Love for the motherland had prompted him to take such a risk. Afterwards, over nine long months, day after day and night after night in the dark cell of the prison camp, he longed for the freedom of his country. The unbearable suffering of the dungeon could not sap the strength of his patriotism. On his return home on 10 January 1972, addressing a huge gathering in Suhrawardy Uddyan, Bangabandhu declared: "Bangladesh has earned independence. Now if anybody wants to seize it, Mujib would be the first man to sacrifice his life for the protection of that independence". His country was all important to him. He believed it was his calling to do well to his country, not to look forward to anything in return. He often used to mention the famous quote by President John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country".

 

Such a big man was Bangabandhu! The undisputed Father of independent Bangladesh. To be unaware of this is sheer ignorance. To deny this is an offence against history.

 


Language Movement & Bangabandhu

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BANGABANDHU SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN DEDICATED

his life to establishing a democratic, peaceful and exploitation-free society called "Sonar Bangla" - Golden Bengal. He sacrificed his life to liberate the Bangalee nation, which had been groaning under the colonial and imperialist yoke for nearly 1,000 years. He is the founding father of the Bangalee nation, generator of Bangalee nationalism and creator of the sovereign state of Bangladesh.

My father spent nearly half his life behind bars and yet with extraordinary courage and conviction he withstood numerous trials and tribulations during the long period of his political struggle. During his imprisonment, he stood face to face with death on at least two occasions, but never for a moment did he waver.

As a daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, I heard many tales about him from my grandfather and grandmother. He was born on Mar. 17, 1920 in Tungipara, in what was then the British Raj. During the naming ceremony my great-grandfather predicted that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would be a world-famous name.

My father grew up rural - amid rivers, trees, birdsong. He flourished in the free atmosphere inspired by his grandparents. He swam in the river, played in the fields, bathed in the rains, caught fish and watched out for birds' nests. He was lanky, yet played football. He liked to eat plain rice, fish, vegetables, milk, bananas and sweets. His care and concern for classmates, friends and others was well-known. He gave away his tiffin to the hungry, clothes to the naked, books to the needy and other personal belongings to the poor. One day, my grandfather told me, he gave his clothes to a poor boy and came home in his shawl.

At the age of 7, he began his schooling, though an eye ailment forced a four-year break from his studies. He married at the age of 11 when my mother was 3. He demonstrated leadership from the beginning. Once in 1939, he led classmates to demand repair of the school's roof - just when the premier of then undivided Bengal happened to be in town. Despite a deep involvement in politics, in 1946 he obtained a BA.

Bangabandhu was blessed from boyhood with leadership, indomitable courage and great political acumen. He played an active role in controlling communal riots during the India-Pakistan partition. He risked his life for the cause of truth and justice. He rose in protest in 1948 against the declaration of Urdu as the state language of Pakistan and was arrested the following year. He pioneered the movement to establish Bangla as the state language. In 1966, he launched a six-point program for the emancipation of Bangalees. In 1969, my father was acclaimed Bangabandhu, Friend of Bengal. His greatest strength (and weakness) was his "love for the people." He is an essential part of the emotional existence of all Bangalees.

The appearance of Bangladesh on the world map in 1971 was the culmination of a long-suppressed national urge. On Mar. 7, 1971, my father addressed a mammoth public meeting in Dhaka and declared: "The struggle now is the struggle for our emancipation, the struggle now is the struggle for Independence." He sent a wireless message, moments after a crackdown by the Pakistani army, declaring the Independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of Mar. 26. The world knows he courted arrest - and yet Bangabandhu emerged as the unquestioned leader of a newborn country.

Once in power, my father pursued a non-aligned, independent foreign policy based on peaceful coexistence. Its basic tenet: "Friendship to all, malice to none." He advocated world peace and declared his support for all freedom struggles. He supported the concept of a "Zone of Peace" in the Indian Ocean. In 1974, he was awarded the Julio Curie Prize for his devotion to the cause of peace.

But at a time when Bangladesh was emerging as an advocate for oppressed nations, his foes assassinated him on Aug. 15, 1975. My mother and three brothers were also killed. Even my younger brother Sheikh Russel, who was then nine, was not spared. The only survivors were my younger sister Sheikh Rehana and myself; we were on a trip to Germany.

Consequently, the political ideals for which Bangladesh sacrificed three million of her finest sons and daughters were trampled, and Bangladesh became a puppet in the hands of imperialism and autocracy. By assassinating Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the conspirators wanted to stop the country's march to freedom, democracy, peace and development. The process of law and justice were not permitted to take their course; human rights were violated. It is, therefore, the solemn responsibility of freedom- and peace-loving people to help ensure the trial of the plotters and killers of this great leader, my father.

Sheikh Hasina, daughter of the late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, is the prime minister of Bangladesh.

 

 


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