Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: More Than A Leader
Bangladesh’s founding father and first president (26 March 1971 to 11 January 1972) Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born on March 17, 1920, in the village of Tungipara in the Faridpur district’s Gopalganj subdivision. Sheikh Lutfar Rahman, his father, was a serestadar at Gopalganj’s civil court. Mujib, the third of six siblings, attended Gimadanga School for his primary education.
Due to vision difficulties, his early education was disrupted for roughly four years. He completed his Matriculation from Gopalganj Missionary School in 1942.Also, he completed his intermediate from Calcutta Islamia College in 1944, and earned his BA degree from the same college in 1947.
Sheikh Mujib was delegated by the Muslim League to work for the party’s candidates in the Faridpur area during the general elections of 1946. He was admitted to the University of Dhaka to study law after partition (1947), but he was unable to complete it because he was expelled in early 1949 on the charge of “inciting the fourth-class employees” in their disturbance against the University authority’s apathy to their legitimate demands. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was one of the main organizers of the East Pakistan Muslim Students League’s creation (1948).
His active political career began while he was imprisoned, when he was elected to one of the three joint secretaries’ positions in the newly formed East Pakistan Awami Muslim League (1949). Khondakar Mostaq Ahmad and AK Rafiqul Hussain were the other two joint secretaries. He became the general secretary of the East Pakistan Awami Muslim League in 1953, a position he maintained until 1966, when he became the party’s president. Mujib’s suggestion led to the removal of the word “Muslim” from the party’s name in 1955, making it seem more secular.
Contribution to the Nation
In the early 1960s, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman rose to political prominence. He was able to save the Awami League from intra-party politics and the expulsion of several groups from the party’s core because to his fascinating organizing abilities. Sheikh Mujib, a brilliant organizer, had taken complete control of the party. He introduced his renowned six-point program, titled “Our (Bengalis’) Pledge of Existence”, in 1966. The points are:
1) A federal state and the introduction of a parliamentary form of government based on universal adult franchise;
2) All departments, except defense and foreign affairs, will be vested in the hands of the federating units or provincial governments;
3) All departments, except defense and foreign affairs, will be enmeshed in the hands of the provinces or regional governments;
4) The transfer of all taxing powers to the states;
5) The states’ independence in international trade; and,
6) The states’ rights to organize militia or paramilitary forces for self-defense.
In a nutshell, the initiative envisioned a new way of looking at politics. In both law and spirit, the Six-Point Programme amounted to East Pakistan’s virtual independence. Despite the fact that conservative members of all political parties were alarmed by it, it immediately piqued the interest of the younger generation, notably students, youth, and the working classes.
Contribution During the Liberation War
Mujib gave a momentous speech to a million people at the Race Course on March 7, 1971, which was a watershed moment in the history of the Bengali nation. Mujib made specific accusations in his speech against the martial law officials for failing to transfer authority to elected representatives. He concluded his address by saying: ‘In each homestead, construct forts. With whatever you have, you must fight the Pakistani adversary. Remember, we’ve shed a lot of blood, and we’ll shed much more, if necessary, but we’ll free the people of this country, In sha Allah. This time, the battle is for our freedom; this time, the struggle is for our liberation.
Despite the fact that Bangabandhu was a convict in Pakistan during the liberation war that began in the aftermath of the 25 March military clampdown, he was appointed President of the caretaker government, known as the mujibnagar government, founded on 10 April 1971 by the elected members of the people to lead the Liberation War in his absence. He was also appointed as the Armed Forces’ Commander And chief. Sheikh Mujib’s charm served as a source of motivation for liberation fighters as well as national unity and strength during the Liberation War.
Reconstruction of Bangladesh
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the first post-liberation administration of Bangladesh for only three and a half years. Starting from the ground up, his government had to cope with a slew of issues in a war-torn country. Bangabandhu’s leadership ushered in a period of state and nation-building that spanned all significant sectors. The formidable challenges before his government included reestablish rule of law, rebounding illegal weapons, recovering the freedom fighters, reconstructing the communication system, rescuing the lives of individuals hostile to the War of Liberation from community wrath, and, most importantly, trying to feed the hungry millions, among many others.
Conspiracy Against him and Death
Despite these gains, the resistance, primarily from ultra-leftists who saw the Liberation War as a “incomplete revolution” that necessitated the use of armaments, produced a challenging situation in the nation. The current crisis was fast worsening, which became frustrating for everyone. Above all, a famine plagued the nation in 1974, killing thousands of people. Sheikh Mujib, perplexed, sought to handle the problem by forming the Rakkhi Bahini, a special security unit. His next step, depending on his charm, was to implement a single-party (BAKSAL) system.
A gang of dissatisfied army adventurers killed him on August 15, 1975, along with all of his family members there, taking advantage of such a fluid and unpredictable environment.
From the very early age, his magnetic character has inspired people. Thousands waited to see the man who had single-handedly captured the Bengali people’s imagination. Millions sat glued to their radios, eager to hear firsthand news of his impending arrival.
He went forth as a dazzling icon and came back as the President of a sovereign nation. He charmed the imagination of the entire country as an orator of the highest caliber, a lively force of political energy, and a leader of the masses. It wasn’t your typical politician or celebrity. After all, our Bangabandhu was also their Bangabandhu.