FATHER OF THE NATION BANGABANDHU SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN




Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a charismatic leader per excellence. He organized dissent and rebellion against the British rule before freedom of the Indian Subcontinent in 1947 as a student leader and rose against the injustice and exploitation by the power-wielders in the then West Pakistan against the Bangali population of East Pakistan, and made the Bangali nation free from their misrule and oppression.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Awami League won a landslide victory—167 seats out of a possible 313—thereby securing an absolute majority in Pakistan Assembly in 1970’s election. This was unacceptable to Pakistan's military and political elites. As a result, instead of initiation of aprocess for forming the government led by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and handing over of power to the elected government, the Assembly was indefinitely postponed by the then military Junta of Pakistan on 1st March, two days before the first session was to convene. This infuriated the Bangalis, and a spontaneous mass movement against the military erupted.

Bangabandhu initiated to turn the rising public anger into a non-violent, civil disobedience movement.  As a result, during the three-week long movement Bangabandhuruled East Pakistan as the de facto head of government. A last ditch effort to negotiate a peaceful settlement failed on March 23. On midnight of March 25, 1971, the military of Pakistan unfortunately cracked down on the populating unarmed Bangali autonomy movement began, resulting in the arrest of Sheikh Mujib, the round-up of suspected Bangali leaders, and a general disarming of the Bangali police and Bangali members of Pakistan's armed forces. The crackdown known as Operation Searchlight accompanied by brutal killing of Bangali police, soldiers, and civilians in their thousands (first two days saw at least 25,000 people in Dhaka and its vicinity), served to harden Bangali resolve to fight the Pakistan military to the last. Bangabandhu finally declared country’s independence on 26 March 1971 after inspiring the people with the spirit of the Bangali nationalism over two decades. Bangladesh therefore emerged as a sovereign state in the world map.

Although Bangabandhu remained in a West Pakistan prison waiting execution for alleged treason, his name became a symbol of inspiration and strength for Bangalis everywhere. On January 10, 1972, he returned to independent Bangladesh as the nation’s hero. Promptly he took charge of the new nation and inspired the people to rebuild their war-torn country. His success as inspirer, as integrator, and as consensus-builder was reflected in the first general election of the new nation in 1973, when his Awami League Party secured another landslide victory. For Sheikh Mujib the battle for freedom from exploitation was never-ending. He wanted to turn the political freedom as an opportunity to exploit the creativity of Bangali nation and achieve his dream of Golden Bengal – a land of peace and prosperity. He continued to work relentlessly on that target achieving huge success in socio-economic development, in foreign affairs and in reorganizing the war torn country.

However, when the nation was striving hard to materialize the goals of freedom, the defeated forces of the War of Independence struck deadly with the help of a band of misled army officers on the fateful night of 15th August 1971, killing Bangabandhu and most of his family members. 

The 15th August 1975 is regarded as the most disgraceful chapter in the history of the Bangali nation. Upon hearing the news of Bangabandhu’s assassination, former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson wrote:“This is surely a supreme national tragedy for you. For me it is a personal tragedy of immense dimensions.” 

Although, the assassins killed the Father of the Nation yet they could not wipeout his principle, values and lifelong dream. He has conquered death. His memory is our passage to the days that are to be.For eternity he will show the path to the Bangali nation, his dreams are the basis of the existence of the nation. His legacy is the culture and society that Bangalis have sketched for them.

By BANGLADESH EMBASSY IN ANKARA