Why Sheikh Mujibur Rahman deserves to be the Father of Nation of Bangladesh: A factual Review!

The very old adage: ‘Truth never can be masked by the lie’ has once again come true. After almost 25 years of relentless distortion of Bangalis glorious history of independence by the anti-liberation force, the truth has re-surfaced burying the utter lies generated about the history of independence. At last, the Bangladesh Army Chief, Lt General Moeen U Ahmed has voluntarily uttered the much needed truth by saying: “after 36 years of independence we still have not been able to honour the Father of the Nation.” Entire nation cheerfully commended his courageous statement and urge the caretaker government to bury our distorted history forever and give Banglais National leaders their due places in the glorious history of Bangladesh. No sane person can deny the historical fact that it was Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who transformed the ever oppressed, quarrelsome, directionless, and divided but politically conscious Bengalis into a united mighty force in the entire history of Bangali nation. Bangabandhu was the very nucleus of Bangalis independence movement and it was his towering popularity having super charismatic leadership under whose magnificent shadow Bangali fought and earned a sovereign country in 1971. Just one authentic historical citation from the world-known news daily will surely establish my assertion as incontrovertible truth about the Bangalis independence. Below is the direct quote from The New York Times, March 15, 1971. In an international news feature with the Main heading: “Hero of the East Pakistanis” the reporter Mr. Tillman Durdins wrote: “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman—the Bengali nationalist who has emerged in recent months as the undisputed leader of the people of East Pakistan. Sheikh Mujib’s position of leadership at the age of 50 is the culmination of almost a lifetime political struggle, rising wave of popularity amounting to mass worship by the Bangali patriots. His words have literally become the law of the land.” Honourable readers, I am sure you will agree with me that after reading this 37 year old news piece from the world famous news paper published 12 thousand miles away from the then East Pakistan should be enough to remove all confusion and controversy created by some ungrateful politically misguided Bangalis! But unfortunately that is not the case with Bangali Nation at all. Time and again some ungrateful Bangalees brought various unjust and laughable allegations against Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of the sovereign Bangladesh. Their intention of making false allegations is only to malign Bangabandhu’s glorious role behind the creation of independent Bangladesh.

My essay will deal with some general lame excuses commonly used by the anti-Mujib ungrateful Bangalees to create unnecessary smoke’s screen only to distort the glorious history of 1971. Out of many false allegations against Bangabandhu let me discuss only the following:

(1) Major Zia gave declaration of the independence!

Declaration of independence of Bangladesh? Sheikh Mujib’s 7th March speech was the actual declaration of independence. After the historical 7th March meeting—erstwhile East Pakistan was basically ruled by Sheikh Mujib. War of independence was in everybody’s mind, war was inevitable, and preparations were going on, in somewhat unorganized way. Bangalees throughout various places of the country were engaged in clashes with Pakistani army and Biharies. Those tumultuous days, everybody knew that, talk between Sheikh Mujib and Yahya khan was sure to fail. Besides, on the night of 25th March, prior to his arrest, Sheikh Mujib actually made his final declaration of independence which was heard by Pakistani Junta from the Kurmitola Cantonment. In an interview when Mr. Musa Sadik asked Tikka Khan (then Governor of East Pakistan) why he had to arrest Sheikh Mujib from his Dhanmondi residence, Tikka Khan replied, “My COD (Co-ordination Officer) brought to me a three band Radio and told me to listen to the broadcast which said that Sheikh Mujib Saheb given a call for independence. Personally, I heard Sheikh Saheb declaring independence, for I know his voice so well. That declaration was the reason and so, I as the then supreme authority of East Pakistan, I had to arrest him, and there being no other alternative.” Fact of the matter is, same declaration was read repeatedly on 26th March by Awami league MP Mr. Hannan from the Kalurghat Radio station. Some followers of Mr. Hannan told him that, some Bangalee (defectors) soldiers are waiting nearby Radio station. Mr. Hannan got an idea; he thought if a senior army officer could read the same declaration, then it might give encouragement to our Bangalee defector soldiers and police who were unorganized at that very critical time. Accordingly, Mr. Hannan invited Bangalee soldiers to the Radio Station and asked the senior most Bangalee officer Major Zia to read this declaration. This declaration was read on 27th of March and was heard only from Southern part of Bangladesh. On 27th of March I myself (I was in Daoudkandi, Comilla) heard this declaration from the then Major Zia’s voice and this was read as, “I Major Zia declare independence of Bangladesh on behalf of our great leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman……….”. I do not undervalue or deny the beefing effects of Bangalees’ morale (by Maj. Zia’s reading of declaration) at that crucial period of the nation. But I do not consider that, declaration of independence was really or absolutely essential at that time when Yahya’s brutal Army cracked down on unarmed Bangalees on 25th March, 1971. Country was already at war with Pakistani junta. Declaration was good but was not necessary and this declaration from Kalurghat was not heard by the entire nation at all. Even without Zia’s announcement, the nation would have automatically engaged in this unavoidable war. Leader of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman already gave his instruction to go to India and to form a Government in exile and it was exactly what was done by Sheikh Mujib’s associates.

Nobody was waiting for any “official” declaration coming out of Kalurghat! Let us hear from General Zia himself. On the occasion of 26th March, 1974—General Zia wrote an essay titled: “ A birth of a nation” which was published in the Weekly Bichitra. In that essay General Zia wrote: “Bangabandhu’s historical 7th March speech was a green signal to us, and we began to prepare morally and very secretly.” In another place General Zia said, “From the 1st of March, entire Nation was in total on cooperation with the Pakistani Army by the order of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.” It is to be noted here that, in his lifetime, General Zia never claimed that he declared independence of Bangladesh. In 1977, in an interview with the renowned reporter Mr. Ataus Samad, General Zia commented about Sheikh Mujib. General Zia said, “Sheikh Mujib was a great leader of Bangalee Nation and there will be nobody who can take his place in the history of Bangladesh.”

What would happen if there was no Declaration from the Kalurghat Radio station? Was declaration at all needed? What would happen if there were no declaration at all? Would Bangalee surrender to Pakistani junta and sit idle at home? Who was supposed to declare independence? How can somebody claim that Major Zia has declared independence of Bangladesh? On what capacity Major Zia can declare independence of Bangladesh? Was Major Zia a supreme leader of the nation in 1971? If somebody else other than major Zia was the senior most Bangalee army officer at Chittagong, and Major Zia was stationed in Bogra cantonment, who would possibly read the declaration? Would Mr. Hannan send somebody to Bagra to bring Major Zia to read the declaration? It was obvious that, whoever was present in Chittagong would have read the declaration. I do not understand, why some unscrupulous Bangalees started to give this credit of declaration after the death of General Zia? Yes, one can claim that, Maj Zia by virtue of his presence in the right place at the right time read the declaration of independence of Bangladesh on behalf the undisputed leader of independence. Truth is, if declaration was really crucial during those tumultuous days, there were at least one dozen big and famous leaders (Tujuddin, Syed Nazrul Islam et al.) left behind by Sheikh Mujib who could have very well read such declaration from any established Radio Station. Can anybody deny that? Some valuable and historical Quotes from the international Press in 1971: Immediately after the barbaric crack down by the marauding Pakistani junta, throughout the entire March of 1971 various world famous international presses continuously published news and feature articles on the episodes of then erstwhile East Pakistan which is now Bangladesh. Let me quote some of the news, which I have collected from various Bangladeshi newspapers and books.

a)     The Guardian– March 27, 1971: “The independence war has begun in East Pakistan. Pakistani soldiers started to crush Bangalee’s independence movement under the leadership of Sheikh Mujib. President Yahya Khan declared Sheikh Mujib the traitor of Pakistan. The declaration of the independent Bangladesh, in the name of Sheikh Mujib, came from a radio station named: “Voice of Bangladesh”. The radio also has issues an order to all Bangalees to follow orders only from the Sheikh Mujib, the leader of the independence.”

b)     The Times of London, March 27, 1971: “The leader of independence Sheikh Mujibhas declared independence of Bangladesh and severe battle is in progress in the eastern part of Pakistan. President Yahya Khan has banned Awami League political party, declared Sheikh Mujib as the traitor of Pakistan and vowed to punish Sheikh Mujib for his crime. ”

c)      The Evening News, March 26, 1971: Headline news- “The rebel leader Sheikh Mujib arrested.” The paper also added—“The radio Pakistan has declared that, Sheikh Mujib was arrested from his residence, within one hour after he declared the independence of Bangladesh.” In the April issue of the same Evening News published it’s cover story on Bangladesh in which it mentioned Sheikh Mujib as “the poet of politics and the undisputed supreme leader of Bangalee nation.”

d)     United News of India (UNI), March 26, 1971: “Today Sheikh Mujib has declared birth of Bangladesh from the ‘Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro’. After that, on the night of 26th March, 1971, PTI, NDP, TSA, and BBC broadcast simultaneous news: “Broadcasting tonight from a clandestine radio station identified as ‘Voice of independent Bangladesh’ “The Sheikh has declared the seventy five million people of East Pakistan as of the sovereign independent Bangladesh.” After that this, the same news was echoed again and again all over the world. I challenge all Bangalees if they can give just one line of same news from any news media about the then obscure Major Zia!

2) Bangabundhu ended his 7th March ’71 speech with “Joy Bangla, Jiey Pakistan”!

This allegation is totally fabricated and a blatant lie from the anti-liberation defamers of Bangabandhu. I myself was physically present in the ‘ Ramna Race Course Maidan’ on March 7, 1971 along with almost one million Bangalees and still remember vividly every details of that great historical meeting. And I can swear that, Bangabandhu never uttered “jiey Pakistan”. He ended his speech by saying, “Joy Bangla”. Next day (8th March, 1971) same speech was broadcast from Radio Pakistan which I have recorded in my newly purchased Grundig tape recorder (with large spool tape) which I still have it with me. In that, recorded speech there was no such thing “Jiey Pakistan”. This is simply absurd and a total fabrication of the historical fact. Besides, this historical speech had been recorded by millions of freedom loving Bangalees, published in various news papers, in books, in the national archive etc. Nowhere, nobody could have ever claimed such a lie, at least I never heard. By the time (March ’71), when entire nation was tumultuously preparing and demanding “Independent Bangladesh”—the question of uttering such an unwelcome word by a undisputed leader of the independence was not only impractical but was simply impossible. From the beginning of March, 1971, entire Bangladesh was having Bangladeshi flags hoisted everywhere, except cantonment and Bihari colonies. Hundreds of thousands of Bangalees in the Race Course Maidan were carrying Bangladeshi flags in their hands. In that overwhelming situation no fool will dare to utter “Jiey Pakistan” without being attacked by the mob!

(3) Bangabandhu had no dream of Independent Bangladesh!

Here I can write pages after pages (but I have little scope today in this essay) to describe how Bangabandhu indeed dreamed Bangladesh as an independent nation. Of course, Bangabandhu was not the only dreamer of independent Bangladesh. Many other leaders such as Maulana Bhasani used to talk about (in public meetings only) independent Bangladesh, without any plan or follow-up. But no other leaders except Sheikh Mujib had any systematic plan to achieve independence. Had there been no Bangabandhu, there could be no Bangladesh today, period. From the inception of Pakistan, i.e., right from 1949, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman did almost anything and everything which simply was seen and considered by every Pakistani Presidents/Prime ministers as the anti- Pakistani acts. He was the only Pakistani leader who spent more than 14 years in the jail during the period of 24 years of Pakistani era. He was a political headache for every Pakistani Presidents/Governors during the entire period of 24 years. Almost every ruler of Pakistan immediately after coming to power put Sheikh Mujib in jail for his so called anti-state activities. Let me put a few historical incidents in support of my claim. In 1993, Oxford University has published a book called “Zulfiqar Bhutto of Pakistan” written by Professor Stanley Wolpert of the University of California, which was the life story of Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto. In this book Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto wrote in his personal diary: “Before ’70’s general election, Sheikh Mujib said to his very nearest associates, ‘my only ambition is to achieve a free Bangladesh. After the general election, I will demolish the Legal Framework Order (LFO) of Yahya.’ Mr. Bhutto also wrote in his diary: “Had there been no action taken by Pakistani Army on 25th of March, 1971, Sheikh Mujib would have declared Independence next day (26th March,’71).” Professor Wolpert also mentioned referring Bhutto’s diary, that Sheikh Mujib has declared Independence on midnight, 25th of March ’71, possibly through a wireless station.

(4) Bangabandhu wanted to negotiate with Yahya Khan and Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto!

Bangabandhu never negotiated with Pakistani junta. He never compromised with Yahya or any other Pakistani leaders and was not willing to be sold out for his self interest. He always kept the National interest over everything. Yahya Khan had to agree with Bangabandhu’s demand for holding elections on the basis of “one man one vote”. Bangabandhu’s bold decision (against the opinion of all other parties) to participate 1970’s general election was very crucial for gaining the electoral mandate from the people of the then East Pakistan. It is only an ignorant or wishful mad leader can declare independence of a region of a sovereign country by standing at the middle of an open stage of the public meeting. Had Sheikh Mujib declared independence of Bangladesh on 7th March, 1971 meeting, million people would have been killed by Tikka’s Army. I remember very well, at that time of meeting—army helicopters were frequently flying over our heads. It was Bangabandhu’s matured leadership and far-sightedness that, he ended this meeting by declaring: “Eve-r-er Sangram Amader Muktir Sangram, Eve-r-er Sangram Sadinoter Sangram, Joy Bangla”. This historic 7th March’s speech was basically the actual declaration of independence. After this speech, entire Bangladesh (except cantonments) was ruled by Bangbandhu himself. Ashohojog Andolonn (Noncooperation movement) itself was so effectively followed by the entire nation that, Pakistani junta actually lost their governing authority over Bangalees until mid-night, 25th March, 1971 when Yahya ordered his soldiers to crack down.

Historical “Six-Point program” was the Magna Carta for realizing legitimate rights for

Self-determination of Bangalees. Bangabandhu was never a power monger and Stubbornly refused to compromise his demands for full autonomy based on historical

“Six-point Program”, even in lieu of Premiership of Pakistan. Yahya wanted to offer him both money and Premiership at the expense of Six-point Program. But Sheikh Mujib never agreed even to make a small dent to his Six-point-program. That’s why he declared in his 7th March speech—“Ami Pradhan Montrytta Chai na, Ami aidesh-er manusher Mukti chai”. Actually, this famous “Six-point Program” was the main ‘bottleneck’ because of which there could be no negotiation at the Yahya-Bhutto-Bangabandhu meetings at Dhaka. According to the renowned journalist/writer Mr. Anisur Rahman, Bangabandhu told his faithful co-leaders, “my six-points will lead to one point—that is independence.” It is only unfaithful Banglalees or those who do not like Bangladesh can claim that, Bangabandhu had no dream for independent Bangladesh. Question is, if Bangabandhu himself did not dream for Bangladesh, then could we know who else did dream for independent Bangladesh and how? No other leader but the charismatic leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had consistently Championed Banngalees’ right for self-determination. It was no other political party but the Awami League under the leadership of Bangabandhu which had consistently and persistently spearheaded the rights for Bangalees’ self-determination. Who can deny the truth that, it was Sheikh Mujib’s monumentally charismatic leadership which had prepared, step by step, all Banglees to wage a war of independence? Who can deny the historical fact that, in 1966 almost all political parties of the then Pakistan had vehemently opposed Bangabandhu’s ‘Six-point Program”? Who can deny the fact that, General Ayub Khan had threatened to speak in the language of weapon? Who has the audacity to deny that, Ayub Shahi with the collaboration of “Shara Banglar Lajja”— Monem khan, the then infamous Governor of East Pakistan had publicly threatened to put Bangabandhu and his associates in constant “chains” and duly lodged the historical “AGARTALA CONSPIRACY CASE” to destroy Bangalees’ demands once for all? Why General Ayub Khan did everything possible to subdue/crush only Bangabandhu and not others? Answer of the above questions will reveal the truth. In the world history, Bangladesh independence war of 1971 was the only national war fought and won in the (by using name of the leader who was absent) name of a single leader, named–Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. There are not too many instances where any other nation fought a war by using the name of a single leader. It was in this war, people wrote and sung various popular songs and poetries in the name of their undisputed leader and it was in this war—peoples’ as well as, all those valiant freedom fighters’ (Muktijoddha) common and popular slogans were—“Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu”. Is there anybody who can deny this? Let me narrate a true story of my life. Immediately after the freedom of Bangladesh, i.e., in the middle of 1973, I went to Prague, Czechoslovakia with a post-doc fellowship. There, one day one Czech gentleman asked me what my native country was. When I answered, I was from Bangladesh—the guy looked at me as if he never heard the name “Bangladesh”. Then he asked me, what is Bangladesh? I replied, this is a new country near Eastern India—which was erstwhile East Pakistan. Then he (making his eyes big) loudly said, “Oh, Sheikh Mujib, Sheikh Mujib, I know Sheikh Mujib—he is a great leader”. By saying this he embraced me with profound respect for Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. My dear readers please tell me, what kind of leader becomes bigger and more famous than his (own) country? Why in every library and archives throughout the world—one can find the name of “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman” attached (as founding leader) with the history of Bangladesh? Was it because Sheikh Mujib never dreamed Bangladesh? How can we separate Bangabandhu from Bangladesh? It is an open challenge to all those wishful history distorters and anti- liberation goons—please go try to erase Sheikh Mujib’s glorious name from the recorded history carefully archived in the libraries of every country of the whole world. Please give us just one nation on earth where the name of that obscure major Zia has been recorded as the leader of the Bangladesh Independence. This is a challenge to you all.

(5) Why Sheikh Mujib did not flee from his residence on the night of 25th March and why he surrendered to Pakistan Army!

Yes, it was against the normal behaviour of most revolutionary leader like Sheikh Mujib who could flee from his home on that fateful night of 25th March, 1971. May be it was his miscalculation, but obviously it was his personal quality which was quite unique and different from any revolutionary leader of independence movement, and we should judge him from historical perspectives. Was there a single incident during his long political life when Sheikh Mujib fled or attempted to elude his obvious arrest? History tells us that, Sheikh Mujib never fled, hid, or surrendered to anybody in his entire life. Only a liar or an ignorant can claim that, Sheikh Mujib surrendered. Sheikh Mujib was a lion-hearted Bangalees who never knew how to hide himself from anybody; he never got out of his home through the back door, not even at the crucial moment when assassins armed with Stan-guns entered (August 1975) his home to annihilate not only him but his entire family members who were with him on that fateful night. During his 24-year long political ordeal throughout East Pakistani days, he never fled/hid for his life. Let me quote here from the interview of Gen. Tikka Khan (which was posted in ‘News from Bangladesh’ on March 28, 2000) by Musa Sadik, which took place in 1976 when Gen. Tikka Khan was the then Governor of Punjab. When Mr Musa Sadik asked, if Sheikh Mujib had gone to India along with Mr. Tajuddin what you would have done sir? Gen. Tikka Khan replied, “I knew very well that a leader of his stature would never go away leaving behind his countrymen. I would have made a thorough search in every house and road in Dhaka to find out Sheikh Mujib. I had no intention to arrest leaders like Tajuddin and others. That is why they could leave Dhaka so easily.” Then Tikka Khan said more in a very firm voice, “in case we failed to arrest Sheik Mujib on that very night, my force would have inflicted a mortal blow at each home in Dhaka and elsewhere in Bangladesh. We probably would have killed crores of Bangalees in revenge on that night alone.” History was the witness that Sheikh Mujib had saved his people from a big catastrophe. Should anybody still blame Sheikh Mujib for not fleeing from his Dhanmondi home?

(6) Sheikh Mujib and his party looted and plundered the wealth of newly born Independent Bangladesh!

I wish I write a separate essay on this issue. However, I will try to make a very brief account of this issue here. We all know that Bangladesh was liberated from the erstwhile Pakistan through a bloody war of 9 months. It was a country, which was separated from the mainland Pakistan 1100 miles away. Pakistani Military junta was defeated and fled from Bangladesh (Erstwhile East Pakistan) leaving an empty nation with no share of common wealth. As a result Bangladesh was a new independent nation with virtually no wealth inherited from Pakistan. Therefore, it was a newly born nation with an interim revolutionary government residing inside India. This new nation had—no police, no army, no naval force, no air force, no civil aviation and apparently no infrastructure of a competent civil government. There was broken, damaged train system; There was no transport department, no central bank, no money, no nothing etc. etc.. It was a country having 75 millions mouths to feed, with no source of wealth. Country started from a big zero. Entire nation was broke with war damages everywhere. 10 million refugees back from Indian camp and needed immediate rehabilitation, hundreds of roads and bridges broken etc. etc.. Bangabandhu got very little financial help from international community since Western world including USA and entire Middle Eastern oil-rich nations were unfriendly with newly independent Bangladesh. Only monetary help the country got was from World Bank and some Eastern European communist nations. That financial help was a small drop against the need of huge financial necessity to build war-torn impoverished nation of Bangladesh. Now, what was the source of money and other wealth that Awami league and Bangabandhu looted during the period of 1972 to mid-’75? I do admit that there were some corruptions going on in the newly formed ministerial level which was quite normal in any government, especially when it was formed in a hurry. But that corruption was bound to be very minimal because source of wealth to be looted was very minimal in that newly independent Bangladesh. Besides, after the brutal killing of Bangabandhu and his nearest leaders, how much money was recovered from their bank accounts? Was there any foreign bank account in the name of Bangabandhu or his associates in which Bangalees recovered millions of dollars? ANSWER IS A BIG NO! So where were those wealth that Bangabandhu and his family looted? Answer is, it was a total propaganda only to finish Bangabandhu and his Bangladesh. Yes, it was done very successfully and efficiently with the collaboration of both internal and external propaganda conspiracies. Just please consider, if Tarek Zia (the king of corruption) could steal at least 20 thousand crores of Bangalis hard-earned Taka simply by sitting in his comfortable throne in the infamous Hawa Baban, then why in the world the eldest son of the Bangladesh President Sheikh Mujib needed to commit dacoity (rubbery) in the Bangladesh bank? This only tells us how much false propaganda was waged against Bangabandhu by those anti liberation Paki-agents! As per newspapers of then Bangladesh, we have learned that they had found 12 thousands Bangladeshi Taka in the personal bank account of Bangabandhu. We have not heard any other wealth that anybody has discovered anywhere in the whole world in the name of Sheikh Mujib or his family members. We have not heard any Swiss bank account having millions of dollars for any of those 4 or five nearest leaders of Bangabandhu either. Genuine question to be asked: Where went all the wealth that Bangabandhu and his family looted?

(7) Sheikh Mujib a failed Administrator!

Bangabandhu was not any superhuman to handle the monumental problems he faced in the new born and war-torn nation like Bangladesh. No founding father of any nation on earth could achieve what Sheikh Mujib achieved within three years of independence. I urge the readers to give me just one example from the whole world, where the founding father did better improvement of his newly created nation than what Sheikh Mujib was able to do within such a short period! Anti-liberation force of Zia generation utterly failed to see the great achievement of Bangabandhu within short time in a new born country having virtually zero capital for the war-torn nation. New born Bangladesh was not full of gold or oil fields, and in fact, this new nation had nothing except massive devastations everywhere plus 75 millions impoverished people to feed. After his triumphant return from Pakistani prison on January 10, 1972, Bangabandhu quickly formed a full fledged Govt. for the newly born nation, virtually from zero status. Within a year Bangabandhu managed to rehabilitate 10 million Bangali refugees returned from India, quickly disarmed 200,000 plus freedom fighters , rehabilitated 250,000 raped victims, repaired thousands of  broken/destroyed bridges and roads, repaired tens of thousands of broken offices, schools and colleges, and most importantly, he offered a best constitution for the new born nation within a year. It was only because of a most popular and charismatic leader like Sheikh Mujib—hundred thousand strong mighty Indian army left independent Bangladesh within a short period of time. There is no instance in the modern history where a “liberator” or “occupational army” is withdrawn so quickly. Second World War ended sixty years ago. The American army bases in Germany and Japan still exist. It took many years for US army to leave the Philippines. What about Iraq and Afghanistan? When the American army is planning to quit? The strange twist of history is if Mujib was subservient to Indians, the Indian army would not be leaving Bangladesh so soon. And the Paki inspired coup plotters would not dare to do such a dastardly act on the fateful night of August, 1975. During the early critical period of ’72-75, Anti-liberation forces were busy making all sorts of false propaganda to undermine Bangabandhu’s popularity so that they could eliminate him by assassination. Entire Muslim world and United States of America did not recognize this new born nation and were engaged in conspiracy with Pakistan to remove sheikh Mujib from the power. Sheikh Mujib wanted to kick out the Russian fleet, which was “cleaning” the mines from Chittagong Port. In fact the Sheikh wanted to get help from the United Nations. After failing to get the necessary help from America, he had to give in to Russian “request”. Mujib wanted to build up an independent entity of Bangladesh with the backdrop of Indian Soviet help in the birth of the nation. He went to join the OIC conference in Pakistan, which the Indians did not condone. His forming BAKSAL was necessary to establish a temporary emergency period to save the new-born nation from the hands of JSD’s gonobahini terrorists and conspiratorial Pakistani agents who attempted to destroy the country’s economy in the name of the so called scientific socialism. Thousands of Paki-lover Bangalee Govt. officers of newly born nation along with all the Razakars were secretly engaged in total conspiracy and false propaganda to malign this infant government of Bangabandhu. The 1975 coup plotters are talking about restoring democracy. That is totally nonsense. They actually established a martial democracy in Bangladesh. They paved the path of total anarchy by JSD’s gonobahini and made a military dictator Ziaur Rahman the ultimate beneficiary of the August coup. If Zia was not assassinated later, he would be still the President of Bangladesh. And the Pakistanization process would have been completed. He collected all the Paki minded parasites from dustbin to form his administration. He paved the way of Islamization of Bangladesh. After the end of Sheikh Mujib era Bangladesh fell in the hands of international mollahs. Please consider this imaginary episode: Let me ask my honourable readers to consider this scenario—say in 1971, freedom-loving Bangalees did not get any help from their neighbours, i.e., India. Say India was a good friendly country of Pakistan just like China, and did not like to interfere with the internal affairs of Pakistan. And as a result, India did not shelter or allow a single Bangalee to enter into India. Therefore, finding no help from its only big neighbor—Bangalees were helpless having no weapons, no shelter from any neighbours, scattered into many pockets of rebellious Bangalees with little or no weapons. Within a few weeks or months, the mighty Pakistani military junta with the kind help of local RAZAKARS and ALBADARS have crushed the Bangalees rebels and saved Pakistan from splitting into two. Most of the Awami leaders including Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Yahea’s big bird) and, most of the rebellious Bangalees (muktijoddhas) who survived had also been caught. Now, President Yahya Khan gave a national conciliatory/victory speech for the nation saying “Almighty Allah saved Pakistan”, and ordered Governor Tikka Khan to punish the rebellious leader only by martial law court. President Yahya told Tikka Khan that, he (Tikka) can hang only one rebel and let every body else go free by amnesty. Now, my dear readers, please tell me (honestly) which of the “Bangalee rebel” would have been hanged by the Butcher General Tikka Khan? Would not it (definitely) be that “Yahya’s big bird” the most unfortunate Bangalee named: Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman? Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the most popular Bangalee leader of all time. During the tumultuous days of nine months of 1971, many ordinary Bangalees fasted and prayed for the wellness of the leader in Pakistani jail. Mujib was a person with magnetic personality. I do not consider that Bangabandhu really needs any propaganda or defence from me or from anybody else. The glorious history of Bangladesh independence is now totally murky. The defeated force of 1971 (Fundamentalists and Razakars), along with those pro-Pakistani neo- Muslim league (BNP) was relentlessly trying to undermine the glorious role of Bangabandhu only to confuse the young generation of Bangladesh. It is only those Bangalees who never learned true history of the birth of independent Bangladesh (due to relentless distortion of the history of freedom struggle) or, those defeated anti-liberation

force will still continue their ill-campaign of defaming Bangabandhu.


No amount of false and baseless propaganda will be able to tarnish the epic image of the founding father of Bangladesh. Desperate quest of history distortion did not last forever and as always, truth has come true by burying all utter lies. Or, the most popular saying: “you can fool some people for sometimes, but you can never fool all people all the times”—is standing tall again. For most valid and incontrovertible reasons (I have cited above) and historical facts, Bangabandhu obviously deserves to be the undisputed ‘Father of Nation’ of Bengali nation. We are fortunate that the much needed statement has finally come out not from the mouth of any Awami-supporter, or Bangabandhu appeaser; rather it has voluntarily and instantly come out from the mouth of a neutral and sincere Army chief who perhaps was silently and painfully watching all the dirty games of history distortion for the last 25 years. Now is the good time to have the Bangladesh history of independence corrected and established for good. Time has come to discard all the past dirty job of history distortion and put the glorious history back in correct and true format. While this honest and sincere Army chief is still the power house behind this present Bangladesh Caretaker Government—nation should get its undisputed ‘Father of Nation’ established in the constitution once for all. Let all other secondary leaders like Tajuddin Ahmed, Syed Nazrul Islam et al get their due position in the history. Let General Ziaur Rahman and all other sector commanders get their due respect and position (as the valiant freedom fighters) in the glorious history of independence. This honest and heroic task of neutral caretaker government, if implemented, will definitely unite the divided nation again as proud people to concentrate fully on the task of nation building.

By Dr. Khurshed Alam Chowdhury

Freed of stigma, nation mourns

Freed of stigma, nation mourns

For thirty-four years the nation observed the death anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with a demand for justice, but it is different this year, as justice has finally been done.

Some historic developments in the judiciary in the past eight months gave this new dimension to observance of the National Mourning Day on the 35th death anniversary of Bangabandhu, today.

“It is impossible to forget the grief of the gruesome killings of August 15, but this time we at least have the consolation that we could ensure justice,” Bangabandhu’s grandson Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, who lost his parents in the August 1975 mayhem, told The Daily Star yesterday.

“We must mourn tomorrow [today], but this time we have an achievement, as the nation has been freed from its stigma. We hope that six other condemned killers absconding abroad will also be brought back to complete implementation of the court verdict,” continued Taposh, who was around four years at that time and survived the mayhem.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu, in a message on the occasion said, “We have freed the nation from the stigma to some extent through executing the verdict of Bangabandhu killing case.”

The attack at Bangabandhu’s residence on Road-32 in Dhanmondi on this day 35 years ago left 11 people — Bangabandhu, his wife, two daughters-in-law, three sons including 10-year-old Sheikh Russell, a brother and three others — dead.

Bangabandhu’s two daughters Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana survived the carnage as they were abroad at that time.

“They committed a crime against humanity by killing a child and three innocent women who were unarmed. They eliminated almost the entire family who were found in the house. There is no explanation on the side of the accused as to why they killed these innocent people. The acts of the accused were so barbarous which could only be compared with orgies,” observed the Supreme Court in the historic judgment over the Bangabandhu killing case.

Since the assassination, no government took initiative to bring the killers to justice until Sheikh Mujib’s own party Awami League came to power in 1996 under the leadership of his daughter Sheikh Hasina.

In November 1996, Hasina’s first government repealed the black indemnity ordinance of 1975 that barred the trial of the killers. Her second government completed the trial and executed the verdict January this year.

The court gave capital punishment to 12 killers. Of them, five have been hanged, one died abroad earlier while six are still hiding in different countries.

In another brutal case of assassination, four national leaders — Syed Nazrul Islam, acting president of Bangladesh government in exile in 1971, Tajuddin Ahmed, prime minister, M Mansur Ali, finance minister, and AHM Qamaruzzaman, minister for home affairs, relief and rehabilitation, of the same government — were murdered at Dhaka Central Jail on November 3, 1975.

The four were killed only 79 days after the assassination of Bangabandhu, but justice of this brutality is still due.

“Steps have been taken to bring back the remaining convicts of Bangabandhu killing. Measures have also been taken to expedite the trial of the killers of four national leaders,” Hasina said in her message.

On the dark night of August 15, 1975, AFM Mohitul Islam, 22-year-old receptionist at Bangabandhu’s residence, fortunately survived the heinous attack.

Mohitul, plaintiff of the Bangabandhu murder case, is still haunted by the trauma of that fateful night. He told The Daily Star yesterday, “I am happy as the verdict of the case has been executed, though partially. I will be happier when the verdict would be fully executed.”

Mohitul believes that some people other than the condemned killers were also involved in the conspiracy, and they patronised the brutal killings of Bangabandhu.

“The patrons and conspirators of the killings should also be brought to justice. If it is not possible now, the government should expose them in some way,” Mohitul demanded.

Taposh however claims that the nation knows about these patrons and conspirators who tried to hinder the trial of Bangabandhu killing case.

“It is a pity that the surviving family members of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the nation, as a whole, had to wait for about long 34 years to get justice by disposing of the criminal case of the gruesome murder,” the apex court said in the full text of the judgment released in December 2009, a month after it delivered the verdict in the open court.

The judgment said, “To protect and shelter such killers is a great crime, a great sin and sin spares none.”

The motive of the killings was to divert the country from the track of secular spirit, which is evident in the actions of the rulers after the assassination of Bangabandhu.

After the August 15 carnage, illegal military rule was introduced in the country for the first time and Khandker Mushtaque Ahmed, Abu Sadaat Mohammad Sayem and Maj Gen Ziaur Rahman unconstitutionally took over the state power.

They distorted constitution, protected the killers of Bangabandhu and rewarded them.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution had legitimised the governments and military rule since the assassination of Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975, to April 9, 1979, which was declared illegal by the apex court in February.

The declaration will remain an example in the history of the judiciary as so many hurdles had to be cleared before justice was done. Among those was the Indemnity Ordinance introduced by Khandker Mushtaque Ahmed and constitutionally legitimised by Ziaur Rahman through the Fifth Amendment.

“We are putting on record our total disapproval of martial law and suspension of the constitution or any part thereof in any form,” said the Supreme Court and continued, “The perpetrators of such illegalities should also be suitably punished and condemned so that in future no adventurist, no usurper, would dare to defy the people, their constitution, their government, established by them with their consent.”

These significant verdicts of the apex court in the last eight months not only paved the way for bringing the country back on track, but also gave a significant dimension to observance of the National Mourning Day, a national holiday restored by the High Court in a verdict in 2008.

Taposh, a ruling party lawmaker, said, “Two decisions of the Supreme Court [one on Bangabandhu murder and the other on the Fifth Amendment] supplement each other and these will help build the country as martyrs and freedom fighters dreamt of.

Author : Julfikar Ali Manik

Sunday, August 15, 2010
Painting By: Shahabuddin

It’s Bangabandhu, not Zia HC rules Sheikh Mujib declared independence

In a watershed judgment, the High Court yesterday ruled that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, not Ziaur Rahman, proclaimed the republic’s independence on March 26, 1971. The proclamation was relayed by Kalurghat Betar Kendra (radio centre) in Chittagong the following day, it added. Observers say the judgment will help end the long, bitter wrangle over a significant episode of the country’s independence history.

The unwanted debate over a settled issue began after the assassination of Ziaur Rahman in 1981 with his party BNP claiming he was the proclaimer of independence, not Bangabandhu. The HC bench comprised of Justice ABM Khairul Haque and Justice Mamtazuddin Ahmed yesterday dismissed that claim, which had befuddled many over the Liberation War history. It also ordered cancellation of second edition of the third instalment of 15-volume war documents that portray Zia as the declarer of independence. The Liberation War affairs ministry brought out the publications during the BNP-Jamaat-led alliance government in June 2004. The court said the government could take actions against those who sought to rewrite history. In the judgment containing several rulings and observations, it directed the administration to confiscate the books presenting Zia as proclaimer of independence. It also ordered the government to ensure that textbooks at all levels and for all mediums have the facts about the independence struggle.

The HC gave its verdict after reviewing all relevant documents, books, newspapers published at home and abroad in March 1971, and arguments of the lawyers. It directed the Attorney General’s Office and the petitioner to send a copy of the judgment to the education ministry.

The debate had the nation deeply split for nearly three decades, much to success of those relentlessly trying to warp the young minds. The most damaging was inclusion of distorted history in the textbooks. The judgment, first of its kind, came in response to a writ petition filed by freedom fighter MA Salam. Salam filed the petition as public interest litigation (PIL) on April 19, seeking court directives to stop distortion of history. Later, Wing Commander (retd) Hamidullah Khan, a freedom fighter and BNP leader, became party to the case, opposing the petition. Former chief of army staff Lt Gen (retd) Harun-ar-Rashid endorsed the petition and became involved in the proceedings on behalf of the Sector Commanders Forum. The court completed hearing last month.


The High Court bench observed that the Proclamation of Independence published on April 10, 1971, states beyond doubt that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made the declaration of independence. The Proclamation is protected by article 150 of the constitution and thus cannot be changed at will, it added. The court also declared illegal and unconstitutional the publications of the third volume of the books titled ‘Swadhinata Juddho: Dalilpatra’ (The Liberation War of Bangladesh: Documents). It directed the government to confiscate the books painting late president Ziaur Rahman as declarer of independence. Besides, it wants the government to stop sale, distribution and reprint of the books at home and abroad. The bench said the government might take initiative to bring to trial those involved in attempts to establish an untrue version of the Liberation War. It observed that the persons responsible have in fact committed an offence against the nation and the constitution.

The committee formed by the BNP-led alliance government to write and print history of the Liberation War had recommended that Ziaur Rahman be declared as the independence proclaimer in place of Bangabandhu, without having any authentic documents at its disposal. The court, however, said Zia had a valuable contribution to the independence war, and that he never claimed in his lifetime to be the proclaimer. Additional Attorney General M Enayetur Rahim, petitioner’s counsel Manzil Murshid, and Muntasir Mamun, a professor of history at Dhaka University, were present at the court during delivery of the judgment. They hailed the judgment as an epoch-making event. Talking to The Daily Star, they hope it would help restore the authenticated narrative of the Liberation War.


Originally, the information ministry compiled and published the documentary evidence of the Liberation War in 15 parts in 1982. Edited by Hasan Hafizur Rahman, those were reprinted in 2003. The Liberation War affairs ministry, set up during the BNP alliance regime, changed some of the facts in the second edition published in 2004. It deleted the first document of the third part that contained Declaration of Independence made in the name of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and broadcast from Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra on March 26, 1971. Instead, it included a document stating that Major Ziaur Rahman first declared independence from ‘Biplobi Betar Kendra [Chittagong]’ on March 27, wherein he claimed to be the ‘provisional president and commander-in-chief of the liberation army’. The second document of the third part stated that Zia made another declaration on March 28 from Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, this time on behalf of Mujib. In the first edition, the date was March 27. As the second edition caused an outcry, officials told The Daily Star, the then secretary Dr Mahbubul Alam had asked to stop selling the volume published under a Tk 5-crore project. Following his verbal orders, officials withdrew thousands of copies from the press.


According to the petition, the government on February 13, 1979, constituted an authentication committee for writing and printing history of the Liberation War. Dr Mofizullah Kabir was the committee chairman and Hasan Hafizur Rahman member-secretary. The books published by this committee in November 1982 were reprinted in December 2003. Both editions said Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared independence on March 26, 1971. Besides, the petitioner says, the fact was recognised in the Proclamation of Independence. The Liberation War affairs ministry on approval of the then prime minister Khaleda Zia formed a committee to reprint the 15-volume books. Rejaul Karim, Prof M Moniruzzaman Mia, Prof Emazuddin Ahmed, Barrister Moinul Hossain, Dr Kamal Uddin Siddiqui, Prof Sirajul Islam, Prof KM Mohsin, Prof Abul Kalam Monjur Morshed and Prof Jasim Uddin Ahmed were members of the committee. In June 2004, the committee published the books giving an inaccurate report of the declaration of independence. During hearing of the petition, the court assigned Barrister M Amir-Ul Islam, one of those involved in framing the Proclamation of Independence, as amicus curiae (friend of the court) on the issue

Author : Julfikar Ali Manik and Ashutosh Sarkar?

Bangabandhu The generator of Bangalee nationalism


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 The generator

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.

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

Bangabandhu an architect of the nation

He  is  not  a  mere  individual. He in an institution. A movement. A revolution.  An  upsurge. He  is the architect of the nation. He is the essence of epic poetry and he is history.

This   history   goes   back   a   thousand  years. Which  is  why contemporary  history  has  recognized him as the greatest Bengali of the past thousand years. The future will call him the superman of eternal time.

And  he  will  live,  in  luminosity  reminiscent  of  a  bright  star,  in historical  legends.  He  will show the path to the Bengali nation his dreams   are   the   basis   of   the   existence   of   the  nation.  A remembrance  of  him is the culture and society that Bengalis have sketched  for  themselves.  His  possibilities,  the promises thrown forth by him, are the fountain-spring of the civilized existence of the Bengalis.

He is a   friend to the masses. To the nation he is the Father. In the view of men  and women in other places and other climes, he is the founder of sovereign Bangladesh. Journalist Cyril Dunn once said of him, “In the thousand – year history of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujib is the only  leader who has, in terms of blood, race, language, culture and  birth,  been  a  full – blooded Bengali. His physical stature was immense. His  voice  was redolent of thunder. His charisma worked magic  on  people.  The   courage  and  charm that flowed from him made him a unique superman in these times.”Newsweek magazine has called him the poet of politics.

An Architect

The leader of the British humanist movement, the  late Lord Fenner Brockway   once  remarked,  “In a sense,  Sheikh  Mujib is a great leader than George Washington, Mahatma Gandhi and De Valera.” The  greatest  journalist of  the  new Egypt, Hasnein Heikal (former editor  of  Al  Ahram  and  close   associate   of   the late President Nasser) has said, “Nasser is not simply of Egypt.  Arab  world. His Arab nationalism is the message of freedom for the Arab people. In similar  fashion,  Sheikh   Mujibur   Rahman   does  not  belong  to Bangladesh  alone.  He  is the harbinger of freedom for all Bangalis. His  Bengali   nationalism   is   the   new   emergence   of  Bengali civilization   and  culture. Mujib  is  the hero of the Bengalis, inn the past and in the times that are.

Embracing  Bangabandhu  at  the  Algiers Non – Aligned Summit in 1973, Cuba’s  Fidel  Castro  noted, “I have not seen the Himalayas. But  I  have  seen  Sheikh Mujib. In personality and in courage, this man is the Himalayas. I have thus had the experience of witnessing the Himalayas.

Upon  hearing  the  news  of  Bangabandhu’s assassination, former British  Prime  Minister Harold Wilson wrote to a Bengali Journalist, “This  is  surely  a  supreme national tragedy for you. For me it is a personal  tragedy  of immense dimensions.” Refers to the founder of a  nation – state. In  Europe,  the  outcome  of  democratic  national aspirations   has   been   the  rise  of  modern  nationalism  and the national  state. Those  who  have  provided leadership in the task of the  creation  of nations or nation-states have fondly been called by their peoples as  founding fathers and have been placed on the high perches  of  history. Such  is  the reason why Kamal Ataturk is the creator of modern Turkey. And  thus it is that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur  Rahman   is  the  founder  of the Bengali nation – state and father  of  the  nation  of his fellow Bengalis. But in more ways than one, Sheikh Mujib has been a more successful founding father than either  Ataturk  or  Gandhi. Turkey existed even during the period of the  Ottoman  empire. Once  the empire fell, Ataturk took control of Turkey  and  had  it  veer  away  from  western  exploitation through giving shape to a democratic nation – state. In  Gandhi’s case, India and  Indians  did  not lose their national status either before or after him. But once the British left the subcontinent, the existence of the Bengali nation appeared to have been blotted out.

The  new  rulers  of the new state of Pakistan called Bangladesh by the  term  “East  Pakistan”  in  their   constitution.   By   pushing a thousand – year   history   into  the   shadows,  the Pakistani rulers imposed  the  nomenclature  of  “Pakistanis”  on  the  Bengalis, so much so that using the term “Bengali” or  “Bangladesh”  amounted to sedition in the eyes of the  Pakistani  state. The first man to rise in defense of the Bengali, his  history and his heritage, was Sheikh Mujibur  Rahman.  On  25   August   1955, he  said in the Pakistan Constituent  Assembly,  “Mr.  Speaker,  they ( government) want to change  the  name  of  East  Bengal  into  East Pakistan. We have always   demanded   that   the   name  ‘Bangla’ be used. There is a history  behind the term Bangla. There  is  a  tradition, a heritage, If this  name  is  at  all to be changed, the question should be placed before  the  people  of  Bengal: are  they ready to have their identity changed?”

Sheikh   Mujib’s  demand   was  ignored.  Bangladesh  began to be called  East  Pakistan  by  the  rulers. Years later, after his release from  the  so – called  Agartalas  case, Sheikh  Mujib  took  the first step  toward  doing  away with the misdeed imposed on his people. On 5 December 1969, he said, “At one time, attempts were made to wipe out all traces of Bengali history and aspirations. Except for the   Bay   of  Bengal,  the  term Bengal is not seen anywhere. On behalf   of   the   people  of  Bengal, I   am   announcing  today that henceforth   the  eastern  province of Pakistan will, instead of being called East Pakistan, be known as Bangladesh.”

Sheikh Mujib’s revolution was not merely directed at the achievement of political freedom. Once the Bengali nation – state was established, it become his goal to carry through programmes geared to the achievement of national economic welfare. The end of exploitation was one underlying principle of his programme, which he called the Second Revolution. While there are many who admit today that Gandhi was the founder of the non – violent non – cooperation movement, they believe it was an effective use of that principle which enabled Sheikh Sheikh Mujib to create history. Mujib’s politics was a natural follow – up to the struggle and movements of Bengal’s mystics, its religious preachers, Titumir’s crusade, the Indigo Revolt, Gandhiji’s non – cooperation, and Subhash Chandra Bose’s armed attempt for freedom. The secularism of Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, the liberal democratic politics of Sher-e-Bangla A. K. Fazlul Haque and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy Contributed to the molding of the Mujib character. He was committed to public welfare. Emerging free of the limitations of western democracy, he wished to see democracy sustain Bengali nationalism. It was this dream that led to the rise of his ideology. At the United Nations, he was the first man to speak of his dreams, his people’s aspiration, in Bangla. The language was, in that swift stroke of politics, recognized by the global community. For the first time after Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel achievement in 1913, Bangla was put on a position of dignity.

The multifaceted life to the great man cannot be put together in language or colour. The reason is put on, Mujib is greater than his creation. It is not possible to hold within the confines of the frame the picture of such greatness. He is our emancipation – today and tomorrow. The greatest treasure of the Bengali nation is preservation of his heritage, a defense of his legacy. He has conquered death. His memory is our passage to the days that are to be.

Author : Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury

London, 20 December, 1994