Bangabandhu : The architect of Independence
Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :
In 1960s when the people of erstwhile East Pakistan were subjected to the most humiliating treatment, it would be no exaggeration to state that they were experiencing the tribulations of a colonised people. In an atmosphere of all-pervasive fear and subjugation, Bangabandhu confronted the mighty Field Marshal Ayub Khan and showed the guts to forcefully advocate the rights of fellow people. During the trial of the so-called Agartala Conspiracy Case in Dhaka Cantonment, Bangabandhu took to task the rogue Pakistani army personnel and cautioned them to behave. He did not agree to participate in the Round Table Conference as a prisoner. The 1960s were, in fact, a time when the people could justifiably take pride in their courageous manner that drew sustenance from Bangabandhu's defiant disposition.
Bangabandhu was a real epitome of courage, both in the physical and moral sense. The historic Six-Point Programme, an explicit embodiment of Bengali nationalism, was unfurled at Lahore, the heart of Punjab by Bangabandhu. In Lahore, the bastion of arrogant Punjabi power, Bangabandhu displayed admirable physical and moral courage during the course of a public meeting in 1970 that he was addressing. It so happened that his speech was being purposely interrupted by some Muslim League-Jamaat hirelings. When these elements did not stop even after being cautioned, Bangabandhu shouted at them, asserting that he had not come to Lahore to seek votes as he had plenty of them in his place, and that they either listen to him or disappear from the meeting area. No Bengali had ever publicly ventured to rebuke the power-obsessed high nosed Punjabis in such a raw manner.
When Bangabandhu, the 'Poet of Politics' spoke, it had an electrifying effect on the people whose spirit soared immeasurably in heightened expectations. Their support for their leader was total as evidenced in the historic landslide electoral victory of the nationalist causes in 1970. When the time came for tough talks across the table, Bangabandhu did not wilt. In fact, the cabal of Pakistani army generals that accompanied General Yahya Khan for the meeting in March 1971 were awed and surprised by the gutsy presentation and forceful manner of Bangabandhu.
The military-civil bureaucracy conspired with the business oligarchy and the landed gentry to protect their vested interests in the post-partition scenario in Pakistan. It was in these circumstances that Bangabandhu could galvanise a somnolent people to unprecedented political activism for achieving real Freedom.
Bangabandhu was gifted with extraordinary organisational acumen and had the inkling of the brutality of the Pakistani military junta. Accordingly, he exhorted the people for an imminent armed struggle. His historic 7th March speech bears an eloquent testimony to that. Precariously positioned as he was in the extremely demanding tumultuous days of March 1971, he, as a constitutional politician acted with supreme forbearance. He could never be cowered into submission. The trappings of power did not allure him and he remained a solid rock in the shifting sands. It is time once again to gratefully remember and pay homage to the great patriarch.
During the nine-months of genocide, armed struggles and untold sufferings, Sheikh Mujib's name resonated ceaselessly in the hearts of millions of people, not only within the geographical boundaries of Bangladesh, but all over the world, and he remained a source of strength to the people of Bangladesh. In the words of General Rao Forman Ali, "Ninety per cent of the people of Bangladesh were taken in by the magical power of Sheikh Mujib, and they were ready to sacrifice their lives for the creation of Bangladesh". Sheikh Mujib was not a revolutionary guerrilla leader like Che Guevara or Mao Zedong; the source of his strength did not come from the barrel of the gun; rather, from the mandate and trust of his people. He rose to such a stature in the eyes of his people that he realised that it would have been cowardly if he sought shelter in a safe haven, leaving his people in the midst of death, destruction and genocide.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation, is the torch-bearer of peace, prosperity and piousness. We must follow his teachings, ideals and philosophy of life. He was awarded with 'Julio Curie World Peace Medal'. It was the recognition of this great man towards humanity, struggle against imperialism and expansionists. To establish peace and tranquility, we must follow the long cherished desire, leadership and worldwide relationship of the father of the nation. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a great visionary and mission-oriented leader. His greatness and personality as a man must be honored out and out by all irrespective of caste, creed and religion. If we carry forward the ideals and materialise the dreams of Bangabandhu, we could be able to achieve a real nation with its dignity to other world. So it is our responsibility to implement every dream of the father of the nation. And only then our country will achieve its Millennium Development Goal within the targeted time.
(Writer is columnist and researcher)