Bangabandhu the People’s Hero

Tall for a Bengali (he stands 5 feet 11 inches), with a touch of graying hair, a bushy mustache, and altar black eyes, Mujib can attract a crowd of a million people to his rallies and hold them spellbound with great rolling waves of emotional rhetoric. He is a poet of politics. So his style may be just what was needed to unite the classes and ideologies of the region.

Newsweek, 5 April 1971

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born in the village of Tungipara, situated in what was then Faridpur district (now Gopalganj district). His initial fascination with the Swadeshi (homeland) movement was ignited by tales of the sacrifices made by armed revolutionaries and the radical activities of Madaripur’s Purna Chandra Das, a comrade of Bagha Jatin, a renowned freedom fighter of Bengal, who operated near Mujib’s home.

At a crucial juncture, two significant incidents steered Mujib towards the politics of Muslim individualism. One day, his classmate and close neighbor, Nanigopal Das, invited him to his uncle’s home and seated him in the drawing-room. Later, Nanigopal, in a regretful tone, pleaded with Mujib not to visit their house again, recounting how his aunt, despite her fondness for Mujib, had scolded him for allowing Mujib indoors. She personally cleansed the room and coerced Nanigopal into doing the same. Reflecting on this incident, Mujib wrote, “This incident left a deep imprint in my mind; I have not forgotten it even today.”

The second incident occurred in 1938 during a public meeting and exhibition organized for the visit of Bengal’s Chief Minister A.K. Fazlul Haque and Labour Minister Shaheed Suhrawardy to Gopalganj. At the time, Mujib, then a school student, led a group of volunteers. However, just before the event, higher-caste Hindu youths withdrew from participating, following instructions from local Congress leaders. Despite this, scheduled caste Hindu boys remained, as the Minister Mukundubihari Mullick was also attending with the Chief Minister.

Mujib, reflecting on the incident, expressed surprise at the communal divide, as to him, there was no distinction between Hindus and Muslims. He had close friendships with Hindu boys, engaging in activities such as singing, playing music, games, and excursions together. Fortunately, the event concluded peacefully, defying concerns of communal tensions. Mujib often lamented the Hindu-Muslim divisions, acknowledging figures like Rabindranath Tagore, Chittaranjan Das, and Subhash Chandra Basu, who understood the root causes of such friction.

Following his initial encounter with Suhrawardy in Gopalganj, Sheikh Mujib traveled to Kolkata and met him again in 1939. Upon returning home, he founded the Muslim Chhatra (Students) League and the Muslim League in Gopalganj. While he assumed the role of Secretary of the Chhatra League himself, another individual was appointed Secretary of the Muslim League, yet it was Mujib who primarily undertook the key responsibilities.

The genesis of development took root when Bangabandhu assumed leadership of a nation torn by war. Under his dynamic guidance, Bangladesh embarked on a journey towards economic self-reliance, epitomizing his vision of ‘Sonar Bangla’ – a land of prosperity, stability, and autonomy. In a remarkable feat, Bangabandhu spearheaded the arduous tasks of rehabilitation and reconstruction, achieving unprecedented milestones within a mere three and a half years. His astute leadership garnered recognition from 140 nations and secured memberships in key international organizations and financial institutions, including the World Bank and the United Nations.

In this brief period, he crafted a visionary constitution, brokered pivotal agreements with neighboring nations – notably the historic water-sharing treaty and land boundary demarcation with India – and revitalized the educational infrastructure. Notably, under his stewardship, Bangladesh achieved a remarkable GDP growth rate of over 7.5% in 1974. However, on the tragic day of August 15, 1975, Bangabandhu and 16 members of his family, including his young son Russel, fell victim to a heinous assassination plot orchestrated by conspirators and adversaries. Yet, their nefarious designs failed to extinguish his indomitable spirit, enduring vision, and timeless principles, which continue to resonate within the hearts and minds of the Bangladeshi people.

Bangabandhu laid the groundwork for the nascent Republic through a series of pivotal measures, including the swift withdrawal of allied forces within three months of victory, the expeditious formulation of a new state constitution within ten months, and the garnering of international recognition for Bangladesh from over a hundred countries. His strategic diplomacy secured Bangladesh’s membership in influential global bodies such as the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

We know of few great human souls of such magnificence in the history of mankind. Bangabandhu emerged as the greatest leader of the Bengali Nation through his bravery, steadfast determination and extraordinary eloquence. The reputation of having extra-ordinary qualities and traits, as well as, charismatic leadership, Bangabandhu crossed the boundary of his country and nation making him not only the leader of Bangladesh but also a global leader standing against oppression of any kind and in favour of the oppressed wherever in the world they may be. Imprisonment, oppression, and torture – nothing could restrain him from taking up the challenge of standing against subjugation and suppression of human being and human rights.

The genesis of development took root when Bangabandhu assumed leadership of a nation torn by war. Under his dynamic guidance, Bangladesh embarked on a journey towards economic self-reliance, epitomizing his vision of ‘Sonar Bangla’ – a land of prosperity, stability, and autonomy. In a remarkable feat, Bangabandhu spearheaded the arduous tasks of rehabilitation and reconstruction, achieving unprecedented milestones within a mere three and a half years. His astute leadership garnered recognition from 140 nations and secured memberships in key international organizations and financial institutions, including the World Bank and the United Nations.

In this brief period, he crafted a visionary constitution, brokered pivotal agreements with neighboring nations – notably the historic water-sharing treaty and land boundary demarcation with India – and revitalized the educational infrastructure. Notably, under his stewardship, Bangladesh achieved a remarkable GDP growth rate of over 7.5% in 1974. However, on the tragic day of August 15, 1975, Bangabandhu and 16 members of his family, including his young son Russel, fell victim to a heinous assassination plot orchestrated by conspirators and adversaries. Yet, their nefarious designs failed to extinguish his indomitable spirit, enduring vision, and timeless principles, which continue to resonate within the hearts and minds of the Bangladeshi people.

Bangabandhu laid the groundwork for the nascent Republic through a series of pivotal measures, including the swift withdrawal of allied forces within three months of victory, the expeditious formulation of a new state constitution within ten months, and the garnering of international recognition for Bangladesh from over a hundred countries. His strategic diplomacy secured Bangladesh’s membership in influential global bodies such as the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

In the annals of history, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman stands as an extraordinary figure of unparalleled magnificence. His journey from the humble village of Tungipara to the forefront of global leadership is a testament to his bravery, unwavering determination, and unparalleled eloquence. Bangabandhu’s exceptional qualities and charismatic leadership transcended borders, making him not only the leader of Bangladesh but also a revered global figure, championing the cause of the oppressed wherever they may be.

Written by-

Abul Hasan Chowdhury
Fmr. State Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
& Executive Advisor, Diplomats World Publication

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