Ignoring Suhrawardy's ideals and his legacy we can't have democracy
The 56th death anniversary of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, the political legend of undivided Bengal and a believer of secular democratic concept, was observed on Thursday across the country apparently in a silent mood, though he has a special place in the history.
Born on September 8, 1892 in a well-known family of West Bengal's Midnapore, Suhrawardy ultimately became a statesman with vision and foresight. He saw the disintegration of Pakistan if the military leaders of West Pakistan went on denying democracy.
He fought all his life for democracy and with this objective he built Awami League as a democratic opposition to end the grip of Muslim League over power in the then East Pakistan.
He led the movement against one-man military rule of Ayub Khan along with other prominent leaders, including Ataur Rahman Khan, Abul Mansur Ahmad and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with a view to establishing democracy in the country.
Mr Suhrawardy proved how democratic values were greater than his personal vanity. He joined the Prime Minister Muhammad Ali's (of Bogra) Cabinet as Minister of Law and Justice in 1953 on the assurance he would be helped to frame the democratic Constitution of 1956.
After removal of Prime Minister Muhammad Ali following a no-confidence vote, the three-party coalition government of Muslim League, Awami League and the Republican Party accepted Mr Suhrawardy as Prime Minister but that coalition didn't last long. He was not trusted because he was a Bengali.
He earned the reputation of being the incarnation of democracy. As Prime Minister he released all political prisoners holding the belief that political opposition must be faced politically. He had confidence in himself to practice that kind of democratic politics. He never deviated from the rule of law and democratic value of free election and freedom of speech.
He never used Students' League for violent politics. It began after his death. After the Liberation War initiated and executed with India's support, Awami League forgot the values of democratic ideals to become an undemocratic party without respecting even the people's right to vote. Now Awami League has become dependent not on people but on police.
While we are observing his death anniversary, we have to acknowledge that the present Awami League by disregarding Mr Suhrawardy and his lifelong legacy of democracy, the party has ceased to be a believer in democracy. It is not even party depending on its own leadership.
This much be assured that we shall need him if we want democracy and dignity of the sovereignty of the people of Bangladesh.