Basically a people’s man

BBcombdOn this day in 1975, the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was assassinated and the nation should be ashamed of the unpardonable failure of not being able to finish the trial processes of the killers even after the lapse of 34 years since his gruelsome killing.

This is very unfortunate for the nation that the man who materialised a thousand years’ dream of the Bengalee nation for a homeland through a long and arduous struggle without bothering about jail and torture, had to die along with most of his family members at the hands of some disgruntled Bengali army officers. Even the trial processes of the killers could not be completed because of some well known political reasons.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, despite being the undisputed leader of the nation, was basically a people’s man. His unprecedented popularity had never tainted his pure love for ordinary men and women, who make up the majority of the population. He was the creation of the people and he never had forgotten the real source of his strength: people’s love. The pull of people’s love was so strong that he continued to live in his Road 32 Dhanmondi house which was poorly protected even after he became the country’s most powerful prime minister..

Even though his decision to stay in that house proved fatal, he would not have changed his mind had he been alive even this day. His love for the people was like water for fish. He could not have lived a life of his choice without being close to the people — away from them inside a heavily guarded fortress. His unmatched concern for his people had made him as great a leader as he was.
As in other fields of political art and culture, Bangabandhu was equally brilliant as a parliamentarian. The role he played in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan as -well as in the National Assembly amply demonstrated his skilfulness and efficiency as a parliamentarian. As a parliamentarian he never failed to raise his voice to highlight the problems and sufferings of the downtrodden people particularly of the oppressed and subjugated people of the then East Pakistan. The major issues of his cor concern in the parliamentary debate were Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan, provincial autonomy, joint electorate, safety and preventive detention acts, freedom of press and freedom of expression, right to form political parties and trade unions, separation of judiciary from the executive and parity in services and in all matters between the two parts of Pakistan.

In a country like Pakistan where martial law administrators generally have had the major say in its socio-political matters, it was Bangabandhu who showed the guts to declare in the Constituent Assembly on February 17,1956 that martial law or emergency could be declared only with the approval of the national assembly. It was again he who pleaded for two capitals for a country like Pakistan -one at Karachi and the other at Dhaka.

Bangabandhu in his discussion on the draft constitution in the Constituent Assembly on February 6, 1956 demanded a separation of the judiciary from the executive. He emphatically pointed out that this would ensure justice. While pleading the case for separating judiciary from the executive within a period of two years, he said, “If any government cannot separate judiciary from the executive within two years, such a government must immediately resign. People will have no confidence in that government, because it is not an efficient government.”

However, for a new born country like Bangladesh, it would have been difficult for any leader to carry on his shoulder the unfulfilled aspirations of its people accumulated over so many years. Never’ having exercised effective state power, Bangabandhu was expected to learn the rules of governance from its practice. He had to secure recognition for such a newly earned independent state achieved through a nine-month war of independence which actually emerged out of the break up of a sovereign state. He had to rebuild an economy immobilised not just by war, but by its delinking from” institutions at the centre which had for 24 years run its finances, central banking, planning and foreign affairs.

The country had to cope with the overnight withdrawal of Pakistani businessmen who had dominated private industry, commerce, banking, insurance, inland waterways, shipping, foreign and regional trade. It faced an economy physically dislocated by war with 10 million refugees seeking immediate rehabilitation. With its communication network destroyed, bridges and infrastructure damaged, power system down, ports blocked by sunken wrecks, all foreign trade disrupted, factories closed, inventories low and disruption in the planting of two successive crops, the country needed a strong guiding force and an instant rehabilitation strategy.
Given the circumstances of its birth, the record of the post liberation government of Sheikh Mujib was of quality by any standard. Within a year the government had secured diplomatic recognition from all countries of the world except China and Saudi Arabia, which remained specially committed to Pakistan. Within two years after liberation Bangladesh had become a member of the United Nations and had been recognised by Pakistan. In February 1974 on the occasion of the first summit of Islamic countries Bangabandhu, who had just over two years ago been on trial for treason to Pakistan, was being presented arms by contingents of the Pakistan army at Lahore Airport with the Bangladesh national anthem being played by the army band.

Within a period of two years the government of Sheikh Mujib had laid the foundation of a central government which had the basis of a national administration, built up a foreign ministry, laid the foundation of the armed forces, established a central banking system, founded a planning commission which could publish the first five-year plan within two years and framed a democratic constitution on the basis of which election could be held in March, 1973,

However, things changed and very soon he realised that he was not being able to implement his plans, his ideas into reality. There were enemies within and without ; the enemies created rift in the party. In the midst of nation-building efforts his idealism remained untarnished but the self-seeking enemies promoted and encouraged by those who never accepted the reality of a sovereign country for the Bengalees, hatched the murderous plot and assassinated him on the fateful night ofAugust 15,1975.

The story of a nation that began in his mind years ago remained unfulfilled. The common people for whom he fought and suffered the whole life and dreamt for creating Sonar Bangla for a peaceful,happy and decent life for them still remains a dream.. Nonetheless the political legacy he nurtured will remain on the footprints of time. The country he created will be here forever and his ideals, philosophies and inspiring speeches will continue to guide us for ever and lead us to peace, prosperity and happiness .

Author : Zahid Hossain, Zahid Hossain is a political analyst.

August 15 and the transformation of Bangladesh

11-bangabandhuBangabandhu’s assassination on 15 August 1975 prematurely deprivedBangladeshof its founding father at a time when the process of nation building was still incomplete. This event both destabilized and created a fissure within the nation which has not yet been bridged. This division and destabilization of the polity deflectedBangladeshfrom the course set by its liberation struggle which had provided the basis for the foundational principles of theBangladesh constitution: democracy, nationalism, secularism and socialism. Since that fateful day in August, each of these foundational principles has been exposed to contestation or even outright repudiation. This assault on the very principles of our nationhood has destabilised the nation, compromised the working of our democratic institutions and thereby weakened the process of governance. It could, thus, be argued that the bullets which killed Bangabandhu were also intended to destroy the very idea ofBangladeshfor which the liberation war was waged. Let us briefly explore these long-term consequences which emanated from the events of 15 August 1975.

Assault on democracy

One of the central elements of theBangladeshliberation struggle was the centrality of democracy in our system of governance, built upon the principle of the supremacy of civilian rule established through free and fair elections. The last 13 of our 24 years of association withPakistanwere spent under substantive military rule which could only be sustained by the unbroken refusal ofPakistan’s ruling elite to tolerate any form of popular rule established through free elections. The repudiation of the outcome of the 1970 elections, which provided Bangabandhu with an overwhelming mandate for self-rule by the Bangalis, took us into the final stage of the democratic struggle — a war for national liberation.

The assassination of Bangabandhu set the stage for another 15 years of cantonment rule. As in the case ofPakistan, when Ayub Khan shed his uniform and transformed himself into a civilian leader, sustained by pseudo-elections and a political party fabricated in the cantonment, a similar political cycle was then repeated inBangladesh. The generals who seized power over the dead bodies of Bangabandhu and his four colleagues assassinated in jail in November 1975, similarly transformed themselves into civilian rulers. They too needed to do so through elections of dubious veracity and the fabrication of political parties within the cantonment.

The ascendance of one such leader, General Ziaur Rahman, and his party inevitably set the stage for a replay of the same drama. One more president was assassinated in May 1981, again by army officers who thought they could change the course of our politics. However, these assassins were no more able to hold power than were their predecessors in regicide. Yet another general, Hussein Mohammed Ershad, then Chief of Army Staff, seized power, under Martial Law, thereby perpetuating cantonment rule for another decade. Ershad went on to create his own party and stage his own electoral victories, thereby following a well established tradition set first by Ayub Khan, and perpetuated by his successors from the cantonment, whether inPakistanorBangladesh.
This compulsion on the part of some of our generals to reincarnate themselves as civilian leaders was instrumental in weakening the fabric of our democratic system. To construct a political party inBangladesh, which would confront the Awami League, which served as the vanguard party for our democratic and national liberation struggle, over three decades and remained politically unchallenged among the people ofBangladesh, demanded some skillful political engineering within the cantonment. Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan had shown the way in the 1960s by reaching out to Pakistan’s most purchasable political players, the Muslim League. Significantly, in later years, the ever saleable Muslim League provided a political base first for Ziaul Huq and later for Pervez Musharraf, when they decided to enter politics.

InBangladesh, fabricating a party which could challenge the Awami League, demanded more complex reverse political engineering. Hitherto unelectable groups of leftists had to be forced into an unnatural marriage with the very political forces which had historically fought against Bangali nationalism and eventually collaborated with thePakistanarmy to suppress our struggle for national liberation. Political parties which had fought unrelentingly against our national aspirations and were deemed to have been buried in the course of the liberation struggle had to be resurrected and legitimized so they could join the mobilization against the Awami League. In consequence, a party which actively participated in the genocide of the Bangali people could eventually be invited to sit in the government of an independentBangladeshand for some of its leaders to fly the national flag as cabinet ministers.

The distortions in the democratic process which followed on the events of August 15 also administered a near fatal wound to the rule of law. The tradition set in motion after August 15 when the military rulers of Bangladesh, in clear violation of the constitution, pardoned the killers of Bangabandhu and elevated most of them into our diplomatic representatives, has haunted us ever since. This shameful act was subsequently upheld by the subsequent administrations of H.M. Ershad and Khaleda Zia. That this act of murder was then ratified by Parliament did not add to the lustre of our democratic institutions. That the killers of Bangabandhu can remain unpunished after 34 years has served as an invitation to all assassins to practise their trade in the hope that the rulers of the day will politically rehabilitate them. Ziaur Rahman, himself became the first victim of this condoning of regicide.

Erosion of nationalism

Bangabandhu, in his person, embodied the nation. He was a larger than life figure who even before he became Prime Minister of an independentBangladesh, was a globally recognized figure. Even though incarcerated on death row in a prison cell inPakistanin 1971, he was the recognized face of our liberation struggle and became a household figure throughout the world. In 1971, Bangabandhu symbolized our struggle for nationhood. There was no second person fromBangladeshwho could have proclaimed our independence and invested it with credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the world.

As a result of Bangabandhu’s indelible association with the emergence ofBangladesh, he commanded a visibility and standing in the international community which no other leader ofBangladeshhas since enjoyed. The notion that he was, by any word or deed, willing to subordinateBangladesh’s interest, even to a much stronger neighbour such as India, remains one of the great calumnies of our history. He was a proud man who loved his country. He extended his pride to his country and in his lifetime saw that our flag was always held high.

Only a person of the stature of Bangabandhu could have persuaded Indira Gandhi to withdraw her troops from Bangladeshwithin three months of their entering our boundaries as an all conquering army who held 93,000 soldiers of thePakistanarmy in their custody onBangladeshsoil. That moment, on 15 March 1972, at the Dhaka stadium, when the commander of the Indian forces inBangladeshhanded over the Indian flag to Bangabandhu to symbolize the withdrawal of his troops fromBangladesh, was one of the proudest moments in our history. Two years later it was again only Bangabandhu who commanded the courage and authority to travel to Lahore, to attend the summit of Islamic states, stand on the dais at Lahore Airport with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and take the salute of the Pakistan army as it marched past him while Amar Sonar Bangla was being played by their band and the Bangladesh flag stood high behind him. Wherever else Bangabandhu travelled on the world stage, he was greeted by such leaders as Brezhnev, Tito, Castro, Sadat, Boummedienne, King Faisal and Heath as a respected equal.

In his relations withIndia, Bangabandhu recognized our great debt to that nation for their support to our liberation struggle, but he never let this influence his judgment when he negotiated with Indira Gandhi and she respected him for this. All outstanding problems were put on the table for resolution in Bangabandhu’s lifetime. Such negotiations did not require loud talk but were based on the authority Bangabandhu commanded in his relations with our neighbour and the unifying influence he exercised within the country. Our neighbours recognized that when Bangabandhu committed Bangladeshto a position in our bilateral relations, he could carry the country with him. Since his passing no leader could speak for the entire nation. This has weakened our stance in all sensitive negotiations and made it difficult for us to reach sustainable agreements on important issues.
End of secularism

Bangabandhu was a genuinely religious man who practised his faith out of belief and without ostentation. For him secularism did not mean the abandonment of religion. Brought up in the faith and traditions of ruralBengal, he knew full well the deep-seated faith which guided the lives of most Bangladeshis. What Bangabandhu had, however, learnt through long and painful experience was the dangerous consequences of the abuse of religion for political gain during the tenure of Pakistani rule. He was witness to the cynical opportunism of ambitious leaders who fed their secular appetites for money and power by assuming a religious identity in public. These same leaders thought nothing of repressing all forms of democratic struggle, in the name of defending Islam. The logical culmination of this mendacious abuse of religion for political ends was the genocide committed on the people ofBangladesh, under the leadership of a general who was rarely sober. It was a central tenet of Bangabandhu’s political faith that this deliberate manipulation of religious beliefs, by political parties and leaders seeking power, was fatal to the working of the democratic process and should not be replayed in an independentBangladesh. Secularism, as it was conceptualized in theBangladeshconstitution, was exclusively designed to end this tradition inherited fromPakistan, of abusing religion for political gain.Post-1975, the very same propaganda which had infected thePakistanpolity about religion being in danger, was back in use in an independentBangladesh, this time being used against the Awami League. The same variety of political adventurers, with strong appetites for material pleasures, again assumed public postures of piety, in order to make their political fortunes as defenders of the faith.

In this day and age, secularism remains the concern of a receding community of mostly aging liberals. Today, practising politicians, from all sides of the political divide, with aspirations for electoral gain, have to project their religious identity publicly, be seen to be observant in their religious practices and remain ambiguous about their commitment to secularism. The ultimate beneficiary of this new culture may, at the end of the day, be the cult of the terrorist who, in the final analysis, is willing to die for his ideology rather than merely seek electoral office.Towards a just society?

Bangabandhu could hardly be termed a socialist in the conventional sense of the term. But he was certainly possessed of a socialist consciousness which enabled him to empathise with the concerns of the dispossessed and the working class. He reached out to this class during the crucial phase of the liberation struggle between 1969-1971 and drew upon their support not just for his massive electoral victory but also to confront the mobilization against the forces of Bangali nationalism by the Pakistani junta. It was Bangabandhu’s recognition of the role played by these people in the liberation war, as much as his sensitivity to the concerns of ordinary people, which underwrote his commitment to the construction of a more egalitarian society than he left behind in Pakistan. How this was to be realized was, for him, a matter of empiricism rather them ideology. He understood, as a person who had invested his life in retaining the support of the masses, that a society built on growing economic inequality and widening social disparities, was politically unsustainable in a democraticBangladesh.

This vision of society, which guided Bangabandhu in the design of his economic agenda, remains a distant memory. TheBangladeshof today is built upon unjustly acquired wealth which has created unimaginable cleavages in what was, once, a relatively egalitarian society. Bangabandhu, himself grew up in a society where those at the upper echelons of the social ladder, such as himself, still shared the same universe of values with their less affluent relations in rural Bangladesh. This world no longer exists inBangladesh. Today we have created an elite which aspires to first world lifestyles within a globalised society. This world is the outcome of the economic policy regime which has guided our fortunes since 1975. It may have givenBangladeshgrowth, modernization and even reduction of poverty but it has left behind a divided society, replete with social tensions, permeated with envy, anger and violence. This is a world which is likely to be challenged not by socialists but by the cult of the suicide bomber, committed to a quite different ideology.Today we may seek to honour Bangabandhu’s memory through a month of mourning.

We may even bring his killers to justice. But can we reignite the message of his life by recapturing the values of democracy, secularism, nationalism and social justice which guided his political life? Can we build a society which can reestablish the rule of law, which punishes criminals irrespective of their political colour, which respects the right to political dissent and seeks to genuinely democratize the practice of democracy, which can let our minorities enjoy the same rights and opportunities open to the majority community, not just in principle but in practice? Can we look forward to a Bangladesh where the landless could aspire to cultivate their own land, the property-less could become shareholders in the corporate empires of the business world, the bustee dwellers could expect to own their own homes, our small farmers could share in the value created by their unrelenting toil on the land or our millions of women who sustain our garment industry could expect to share in the profits created by their long hours of labour? When the followers of Banglabandhu talk of implementing his dreams, they should keep such goals in mind. OtherwiseBangladeshwill continue along the long path we have travelled since 15 August 1975, which has distanced us from Bangabandhu and his vision of a Bangladeshfor which he and so many millions shed their blood.

Author : Professor Rehman Sobhan, Professor Rehman Sobhan is Chairman, Centre for Policy Dialogue.

? ??????? ???? ??? ??????? ??????? ?????????????? ????????


?????? ?? ?????????? ??? ????? ?? ??????? ???? ??????? ???? ????? ???????? ??????? ???? ???? ????_ ??? ?????? ?????????? ???? ???? ????? ? ?????? ??????? ???????? ???????? ?????? ????????? ????????? ????? ???? ??????? ????? ??? ?? ???? ??????????????? ??? ?? ?????? ????? ??? ????????? ????? ???????????? ???? ???????? ’??? ?????_ ??? ?????????’ ??????? ????? ????????? ????????? ??????-???????? ??? ???? ???????? ?????? ????????? ?????????? ??????? ?????? ?????, ????, ????_ ??????? ????? ??????? ???????? ????? ?????????? ???? ???? ????? ??? ???? ??? ?? ?????? ???????????? ????? ????????? ????????? ????? ??????? ????, “??????? ??????”

?????? ?????????? ???? ???? ?????? ????????? ?????? ?????? ????, ??????? ???????????? ????????? ????????? ???? ????? ?? ??????? ???? ??? ??? ?? ??? ???, ‘?????? ??????? ?????? ??????? ???????, ?????? ??????? ?????????? ???????? ??? ??????’ ????, ??????? ?? ??? ??????? ????????? ???? ???? ?????????? ????? ??? ????????? ?????? ? ??????? ?? ?? ?? ??????? ?????????? ?????????? ????? ????? ???? ????????? ???-??????????????? ?? ?? ??????? ????????? ?????? ????? ????? ????? ?????????? ???? ??? ???? ????? ???? ???? ???? ????? ?????? ??, ????? ?? ???? ???? “???? ??? ???? ??????, ??? ??? ???? ???- ??? ?????? ??????? ????? ????? ???” ???? ??? ???? ???????, “??? ??? ????? ????? ??-? ????, ??????? ?? ???? ??? ??? ????? ?????? ???????? ???? ????” ?? ??? ?? ?? ?????????? ???? ??????? ???? ??????????? ??????? ?????????? ???????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???????? ???? ??? ????? ???????? ???????????? ????????? ????? ??????????? ?????? ?????? ???? ???????? ?? ????????? ?????????? ???????????? ???? ????? ??????? ??????? ????? ???? ?????? ?????? ??? ???? ’????????????? ??????’ ??? ???????? ????, ???? ???? ???, ‘????????? ?? ????????????? ???? ??? ??????? ??? ????????? ??? ??? ???? ?????? ????????? ????’ ?????????? ?????? ??????? ???? ’??????????’ ?????? ???????? ?? ????? ???? ???? ??????????? ?????????? ???????????? ???? ???? ?????????? ?????? ??? ???????????? ??????? ? ?????????? ????? ??????? ??????

???????? ?????? ???????? ?????? ?20110818-bangabandhu460????, ????????? ?? ?? ??????? ?? ?????? ???????? ?????? ?????? ????? ????????????? ???? ???????? ??????????? ???????? ?????? ??????????????? ?????? ??????? ?????????????????? ?????? ???? ???????????????? ?????????? ????? ????????? ??????????? ? ??????? ???? ??????? ???????????? ?????? ???????? ?????? ??????? ???????? ????????? ?????????? ???????? ?????? ???? ???? ??????? ??????????? ????-??????? ??; ???????? ??????? ????????? ???? ????????? ??????, “??????? ?? ???? ??? ??? ????? ???????? ????? ??? ??? ????? ???? ?????”? ??? ????????????, ?????? ? ??????? ?????? ????????? ?????????? ????????? ????? ??????? ????????????? ????? ??? ???? ? ?????? ??? ????? ?????? ????????? ????? ??????, ?? ?? ?????, ????????????? ?????? ???? ? ????? ???????? ?????????? ??????? ?????? ??? ??????????? ?????? ’?????? ??????? ?????????? ???????’ ??? ???? ??????? ????????? ????????? ???????? ?? ?? ?? ????? ??????????? ??????? ?????????????? ????????????? ???? ????? ????????? ??????, ?? ??????? ????????? ???? ????? ????????? ????????? ???????? ????? ???? ??????????????, ???????????, ???, ????????? ????? ?????? ????????? ????????? ??????? ??? ??????? ???? ????? ????? ??????? ????????? ????????? ???????, ?????? ????? ????? ??? ??? ????????? ??????? ??????? ??????? ????????? ????? ??????
????????? ????????? ??????? ????????? ??????? ????????? ??????? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ?? ???? ????????? ??? ????? ????? ????? ????? ???????? ????? ’???????????’ ???? ????? ???? ?????? ??????????, ????? ?????????? ???????????? ?????? ?????? ???? ?????? ? ????????? ?????? ????? ?????? ??????????? ????? ??????????? ???????? ???????? ??? ???? ??? ??? ????? ?????? ??? ??? ??????????? ?????? ??????? ????????? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ?????? ?? ????? ????? ???? ?????????????? ????? ???????? ???? ??????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ????????? ?? ??????????? ??? ????? ????? ’?????? ?????????’ ???? ????? ???? ?? ????? ???? ?????? ??? ????????? ?????????????? ???? ????? ?????????? ??????? ???? ??????????? ?? ???? ?????????? ?????????? ?????? ???????? ?????

???? ????? ???? ????????? ???????? ??????????? ???? ???? ??????? ????????? ?????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ’??????? ????? ???????’ ?? ?? ?? ? ????? ???? ?????? ????????? ?????????? ????????? ???? ’??? ????????’ ????????????? ??? ??? ?? ????? (??????) ?? ?? ?-? ????? ???????? ??? ??? ???? ????? ???????? ????? ????? ????????? ?????????? ??????? ?????, ????? ?????????? ????? ?????????? ??? ????? ??????????? ????? ?? ?????????? ???? ?-???? ????? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ?????????? ????? ?? ?????? ??? ??????? ????? ?????????? ???? ??? ??????? ????? ????? ???????????????? ??????? ?? ?????? ???? ????? ?????????? ?? ????? ????????? ??? ??? ???? ????????? ????? ??? ???? ??????? ??? ????????? ?????? ??????????? ???????? ??? ?????????? ??????? ??? ???????? ??? ??????????? ??? ??????? ???????? ?? ??????? ?????????? ???? ??? ??? ?????????????? ?? ????????? ??????? ????????? ??????? ???? ????????? ???? ????? ? ????? ????????? ??? ?????? ??????? ??? ??????????????? ???? ???????????? ?? ?????????? ????? ???? ???? ??????????? ???????? ??????? ????????? ? ???????? ?????????? ?? ???? ????? ???? ? ????? ????? ???????????? ?????? ???, ‘??? ?????? ?????? ?? ???????? ??????? ??’? ???? ????? ??????? ??????? ???? ??? ????? ?????????? ???????? ?????? ??????? ?????????? ????? ?????? ???? ?????????? ????? ??? ???? ???? ????? ????? ??????? ?????????? ?????? ?????? ??? ??? ????? ????

? ??????? ??? ?????????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ?? ???????? ?????? ?????????? ???????? ???? ????? ????????????? ????? ?? ????? ?????????? ??????????? ???????? ???? ??? ??????????? ?????? ???? ?????????, ??????, ??????, ????? ? ??????? ???????????????? ???????? ????? ??????? ???????? ??????? ????????? ???? ??????? ?????? ???? ????? ????? ???????????????????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ? ????????? ????? ????????? ??? ??????? ??? ??????????? ????? ??????? ???? ???? ???????? ??????????? ???????? ??????? ?????????? ???- ????????? ??? ??????????? ??????? ????? ?????? ???????? ????? ??? ???? ??????? ?????????????? ????????? ???????? ????????? ??????? ???? ???? ??? ???????? ????????? ? ??????? ????? ??????????? ? ??????? ?????????????? ???? ?? ???? ???? ????????? ????????? ????????? ??????? ?????? ?????? ??????????? ? ??????? ????????? ?? ?????? ?????????? ?????? ??? ?????????? ????????, ????, ?????? ? ???????? ????????? ??????? ????? ????????, ???????????? ??????? ???????? ?????????? ??????? ?????????? ??????????,???????????? ?????? ??????????? ??????? ????? ??? ????????? ???? ?????????? (??????????? ??? ???), ?????????????? ?????????? ?????? ????????? ?????? ???????????? ???? ??????? ???????, ???????????? ?????? ?????????? ???? ????? ??????? ??? ???????? ???? ?????? ????????? ??????????? ????????????? (?????? ????? ???????????) ?????? ?????? ?????? ?????????? ??? ???????????? ?????????? ??????? ????? ????????? ??????? ????? ????????? ????????? ?????????? ???? ?????? ???? ???????? ???? ?? ????????? ????? ?????? ???, ????????? ??? ? ??????? ????? ??????? ????????? ???? ?????? ???????? ????? ??? ????? ???? ?????? ????????? ?? ??????????? ??? ??????????? ?????? ??????? ???,?????????? ??? ???? ’?????? ????????????’ ????? ??? ??????????? ????????? ?????? ??? ??? ????? ????????? ??????? ??-???????? ?? ????????? ???? ???????????? ????-???? ?????? ?????? ? ??????? ?? ?????????? ????? ?? ?????????? ????????

?? ??????? ?????????? ????????? ?????? ?? ?????????? ????????? ’?? ?????? ?????????? ????????? ?????’, ??????? ?????????? ????? (????? ??? ?????) ???, ???????? ??????? ?????? ???, ?????? ??????? ???? ???????????? ????? ??????? ????????? ?????? ???, ????? ??????? ??????? ?????? ??? ?????? ?????? ?????????? ??????? ??????? ????? ??? ???? ???????-????-??????? ????? ??????? ??????????
?????? ???????? ?????? ?????????? ??????????? ???????? ????? ??? ?????????? ?????? ????? ? ????? ?????? ?????? ??? ???????????? ??????????????? ?????? ?? ????????????? ????? ??? ???? ??? ????? ??????????? ?? ????????? ????????? ??? ??? ????? ?????? ???? ?????????, ????? ??????? ?? ??????????? ?????????? ??? ??? ???????????? ??? ???????? ??????? ????? ????? ????????? ?????? ????? ????????? ??????? ?? ??????????? ??????????? (?????????, ????, ?????????? ???? ?????????? ???)? ????????? ?????? ???? ?????????, ??? ????????? ????? ??????? ?????? ????? ?? ??? ????????????? ????????? ??????????? ??? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ??????? ????????????? ??-? ?????? ????-?? ?? ??????? ?????????????? ??????? ????? ? ???? ???? ??? ???????? ????? ?? ????? ????? ??????? ??????? ???????????? ?????? ???? ??? ???????? ???????? ??????? ??? ?????????? ? ??????? ????? ??????? ??????? ?????????????? ???-????????? ?? ????? ??? ?????????? ????? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ???????????? ????? ????? ??? ???????

???-??-??? ????? / [????: ????????]



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.

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

Images of the Father…

Icon of our NATION

Sometime in the later part of the 1950s, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, then a young, rising politician, threw a question at a rather drowsy Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. Was it not possible, he asked Pakistan’s prime minister, for East Pakistan to become independent someday? The question startled Suhrawardy wide awake. In a state of disbelief, the prime minister (he was in office only a year) admonished Mujib. Do not ever entertain such thoughts, he told his protégé. Pakistan had been achieved at a huge cost and its unity needed to be preserved. Mujib murmured, almost muttered: “We’ll do our job when the time comes.”

It was this spontaneity resting on decisiveness that sustained Bangabandhu in his political career. The trajectory he followed was clearly defined. There was no grey region in his politics, nothing to suggest that, like so many others before or during his time, he was ready to do flip flops. Never a fence-sitter, his overriding goal was ensuring the welfare of his Bengalis. His enthusiasm for Pakistan, a state for whose creation he had struggled mightily in his youth as a follower of the All-India Muslim League, had clearly begun to wane within months of its emergence. And by the time Ayub Khan clamped martial law on the country in October 1958, Mujib did not have any illusions about the future. Bengalis, he knew, had to find their own way to salvation.

Bangabandhu’s thoughts were as robust as his persona. Arriving in Rawalpindi a couple of days after the withdrawal of the Agartala conspiracy case in February 1969, he was intrigued by the warmth in which he was welcomed in West Pakistan. He quipped, about himself: “Yesterday a traitor, today a hero.” It was in that heroic mould that he met Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, his tormentor for years. When the dictator, by then a lion in extreme senility, offered Mujib the prime ministership of Pakistan, the Bengali leader prudently spurned it. The back door was not for him. It was Bangladesh where his heart and mind lay embedded. Indeed, he took the first step toward restoring their land to the Bengalis when he told a memorial meeting on Suhrawardy’s death anniversary in December 1969 that East Pakistan would henceforth be known as Bangladesh. His reasoning was unassailable: if Sind, Punjab, Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province could keep their old names, why not Bangladesh?

There was the indomitable about Bangabandhu. The state was never able to make him bite the dust. He kept going to prison, coming out of it briefly and then going back in. Following his release in 1969, he publicly demanded that Ayub Khan take his “patwary” Monem Khan out of the governor’s office. During the election campaign in 1970, a time when almost every politician in both wings of Pakistan appeared to be directing their spears and arrows at the Awami League and its Six Points and spreading innuendo against Mujib, the Bengali leader told them in no uncertain terms: “If you can’t speak the truth, don’t tell a lie.” Indeed, lies he abhorred, so much so that when the Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar narrated to him in 1972 Bhutto’s version of the meeting between the two leaders after Pakistan’s battlefield defeat in December 1971, Mujib’s response was that Bhutto was a congenital liar.

Bangabandhu remembered faces and did not forget names. He and the late Indian journalist Nikhil Chakravartty knew each other in the 1940s. When partition came, they went their separate ways. In January 1972, however, Chakravartty was in Dhaka to cover Bangabandhu’s maiden news conference as Bangladesh’s prime minister. Chakravartty sat right at the end of the hall. Bangladesh’s leader walked into the hall, greeted everyone with his customary smile and suddenly spotted his old friend. They had not met after 1947, but the Father of the Nation had no difficulty recognising Chakravartty. Tui Nikhil na (aren’t you Nikhil)? He asked. Chakravartty was overwhelmed.

In 1973, a young parliamentarian was busy delivering a rousing speech on the national budget in the Jatiyo Sangsad. As he spoke, Bangabandhu entered the chamber and took his seat. His arrival prompted a sudden change, tonally and thematically, in the young lawmaker’s speech. He moved away from the budget and went headlong into a profusion of praise for Bangabandhu’s leadership. Mujib stared at him, but the lawmaker showed little sign of stopping. Finally, Bangabandhu intervened. Ebar thaam (finish it now). Like a punctured balloon, the young man sat down.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman could be harsh when the times demanded firmness from him. When Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal griped that Bangladesh’s emergence had weakened Pakistan and indeed Islam, the Bengali leader asked him, with few of diplomatic niceties coming in, where Saudi Arabia had been when Islamic Pakistan’s soldiers went on a rampage raping tens of thousands of Bengali women and murdering Bengalis by the millions. That put Faisal in his place. In much the same way, when Nigeria’s Yakubu Gowon asked Bangabandhu if Pakistan could not have been a powerful Muslim state had Bangladesh not broken away, Mujib’s answer silenced him: “Pakistan would indeed be strong if it had stayed united; likewise India would have been stronger had partition not happened; indeed Asia would be a power if it had not been fragmented into so many diverse states. But, Excellency, do we always get what we want out of life?” Gowon said not a word.

Bangabandhu had a sure sense of destiny. When a foreign newsman asked him, at the height of the Agartala trial, what he thought his fate would be, his answer was emphatic. “You know,” he told the journalist, “they can’t keep me here for more than six months.” He turned out to be almost right. He was freed seven months into the trial. After he was arrested by the Pakistan army on the night of March 25-26, 1971, an officer asked Tikka Khan over walkie talkie if he wanted the prisoner brought to him. Tikka Khan answered in disdain, “I don’t want to see his face.” Three years later, on February 23, 1974, Tikka Khan, as Pakistan’s army chief, saluted Bangabandhu at Lahore airport when Bangladesh’s founder arrived to attend the Islamic conference. Mujib smiled meaningfully, said “Hello, Tikka,” and moved on.

Bangabandhu was a natural. His conversations were regular sessions in spontaneity. He identified as easily with a peasant or rickshaw-puller as he did with a political leader or academic or visiting statesman. His laughter was loud, came from deep within. His presence filled the room.

The scholar Khan Sarwar Murshid once asked the French philosopher Andre Malraux if he thought Mujib could lead Bangladesh to progress. Malraux said yes, and then qualified his answer: “If you don’t kill him.”

We killed him. And we go on paying the price for that gigantic sin.

Author : Syed Badrul Ahsan, The writer is Executive Editor, The Daily Star. E-mail: