August 15 Is a Painful and Tainted Chapter in the History of Bangladesh

Hiren Pandit: The brutal assassination of Bangabandhu was the first direct intervention of some disobedient middle and lower-ranking officers and members of the military in the civilian administration-centric politics of Bangladesh. But the subsequent history is different. The assassination is considered an ideological turning point in Bangladesh. Analysts agree that it was not just an assassination, but a political motive behind it. The verdict in the murder case briefly mentioned political conspiracy. However, the political motive behind the brutal killing and the involvement of politicians of the time remained unclear even after the trial.

According to analysts, it is not at all an easy task that some army personnel will take the father of the nation along with his family and kill unarmed people in tanks and families and also go on radio and television to inform the nation about the killing of Bangabandhu. Bangabandhu was a nationalist leader. He did a lot for the sake of the nation, for the sake of the country, and spent most of his life in jail. Many countries in the Middle East, the United States, China and Saudi Arabia sided with Pakistan in the war. They were also defeated mainly because of the support provided with the defeat of Pakistan in 1971. On the other hand, the Cold War was going on all over the world. World politics was turbulent at that time. Bangabandhu was a huge factor in regional politics. Naturally, Bangabandhu was a victim of this cold war. The assassination of Bangabandhu weakened the politics of the subcontinent.

According to researchers, Mujib’s assassination has two dimensions. One is domestic politics and the other is international. None of this came to trial. According to the customary law of the country, Bangabandhu’s murder was tried like ten other murders. Not much has come up regarding the background of Bangabandhu’s brutal murder. The assassins wanted to kill the soul of the state by killing Bangabandhu. Killing the dream of building a nationalist, non-sectarian, democratic, exploitation-free Bangladesh. The four principles of the state are undermined by military rule. Bangabandhu’s murder has been tried. But the conspiracy did not come up in the trial.

After the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 15 August 1975, Awami League had a difficult time. After killing Bangabandhu, his family members were also killed so that no one could take control of the Awami League. For killing Bangabandhu’s ideology, four national leaders of the party were also brutally murdered in jail on November 3. The party leaders were divided into different groups. Some of the senior leaders were betrayed. There was leadership instability. The leadership was cowardly. Some followed the ladder of Bangabandhu’s blood to join Khandaker Mushtaq’s cabinet. Party leaders were arrested all over the country at that time. Inhuman torture is carried out. Their houses and businesses were set on fire. Many activists were killed.

The grassroots (Trinamool) leaders of the party did not give up even though they could not call for the prevention of such tragic events. They wanted someone to come forward to resist. But there was no one to make that call. As a result, Awami League’s politics became difficult. Bangabandhu’s two daughters, the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, have lived a difficult life abroad.

Awami League had the fire of revenge for killing Bangabandhu. Organizational activities began to turn around. Around the then council of Awami League, leaders and activists were strengthened and organized across the country. The session demanded the immediate withdrawal of martial law and the transfer of power to the people’s representatives through general elections. They demanded the release of jailed Awami League leaders and justice for the August 15 murder and jail killings.

After the final victory in the War of Independence, Bangabandhu was released from Pakistani prison and returned to independent Bangladesh on January 10, 1972. He began work on restructuring the country’s constitution, education, health and economy. After independence, the defeated forces, domestic and foreign conspirators started various conspiracies against the country’s economy and politics. Bangabandhu and his family were assassinated on the night of 15 August 1975, when Bangabandhu was the President of independent Bangladesh. August 15 is not only a major disaster in the history of Bangladesh, it is a shameful chapter in the history of the world. The great architect of freedom, Bangabandhu and his wife and children were killed just three and a half years after the independence of the country, which has no precedent in the history of the world.

After the assassination of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu and his family, a shadow of intense grief fell across the world and the venom of hatred spread. After the assassination of Bangabandhu, the people of Bangladesh lost their credibility and integrity as people in the world. Foreigners thought that a Bengali could do any heinous act to kill Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib.

By killing Bangabandhu on August 15, the brave Bengalis presented themselves to the world as a cowardly-suicidal nation and as traitors. By killing Sheikh Mujib, the dreamer of the Bengali nation, the Bengali nation has shown its suicidal character to the world. The spirit of independence was banished by killing Bangabandhu. People think that without Bangabandhu, Bangladesh does not really exist. It can easily be said that the name of the consciousness of the Bengali nation, the name of a dream, the name of the history of creation, the name of aspiration, the name of struggle and the name of success – then its embodiment is Bangabandhu. He is the hero of history. Bangabandhu will forever remain immortal in the hearts of Bengalis.

Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently said that the criminals behind the conspiracy to kill Father of the Nation Bangabandhu will be revealed one day. She dedicated herself to realizing Bangabandhu’s unfinished dream of building a hunger- and poverty-free Bangladesh. During the period from 1947 to 1971, we have many leaders and they have made significant contributions. But above all, becoming the spokesman of the people, the people’s thoughts, consciousness, goals, and dreams were captured by only one person; he is Bangabandhu.

Bangabandhu and his family were killed in that house on the night of August 15, 1975, when he was the president of independent Bangladesh from the house at 32 Dhanmondi, Dhaka, where Bangabandhu declared independence until the beginning of the Bangladesh independence war. Bangabandhu and his wife and children were killed just three and a half years after the independence of the great architect of freedom, which has no comparison in the history of the world. German leader Willy Branditt, who won the Nobel Prize after Bangabandhu’s murder, said that Bengalis can no longer be trusted after Mujib’s murder. A Bengali who can kill Sheikh Mujib can do any heinous act.

Mourning Bloody August. In this month of 1975, Bengalis lost their best child of thousand years, the Father of the Bengali Nation Bangabandhu and most of his family members. On August 21, 2004, an attempt was made to kill the Awami League president, the then leader of the opposition and current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of the Father of the Nation, in a grenade attack. Fortunately, she survived that day, 24 people including Zillur Rahman’s wife and Awami League women’s affairs editor Ivy Rahman were killed and more than 500 leaders and activists were injured.

On the night of August 15, 1975, the assassins not only killed Bangabandhu, Bangabandhu’s consort Bangamata Begum Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, Bangabandhu’s three sons Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal, and Sheikh Russell, along with daughter-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rozi Jamal, lost their lives one by one. 16 family members and relatives including Bangabandhu’s brother Sheikh Nasser, sister-in-law of former Agriculture Minister Abdur Rob Serniabat, nephew Jubo League founder Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni, his wife Begum Arju Moni and Colonel Jamil could not escape from this most despicable murder in the world.

Indian-born British citizen and prominent writer Nirad C. Chowdhury described the Bengalis as ‘traitors’ and said that by killing Sheikh Mujib, the visionary of the Bengali nation, the Bengali nation has shown its suicidal character to the people of the world. The 16 August 1975 issue of ‘The Times of London’ stated that ‘In spite of everything, Bangabandhu will always be remembered. Because the existence of Bangladesh without him is unimaginable.

On the same day, the “Daily Telegraph” newspaper published in London said, “Millions of people in Bangladesh will consider Sheikh Mujib’s heinous murder as an irreparable loss.”

The nation has been freed to some extent by the execution of the verdict of the trial of the murderers of Bangabandhu. Similarly, the slander of Bengali’s suicidal character has also ended. Commenting on the Telegraph, the newspaper made far-reaching comments that day. The people of the country can now understand that the anti-independence and domestic and foreign conspirators are trying to destroy the spirit of the liberation war and bring back the Pakistani ideology in the country.

Just a few days after Bangabandhu’s assassination, The Guardian wrote on August 28 that through the events of August 15, the people of Bangladesh had reverted to Ayub’s religious campaign and military rule for political purposes. A few years after the tragic events of 1982, Time magazine also said on 5 April 1982 that the democratic period ended after the coup d’état on 15 August and the assassination of Sheikh Mujib. Meanwhile, Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmad also mentioned in his first speech as the head of the government that was formed through the August 15 coup was not constitutionally valid.

On August 15, Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmad became president after the assassination of Bangabandhu and his family. On this day, he gave a speech on radio and television to the nation as the head of the government and president who seized the power of martial law. On August 16, 1975, the daily Ittefa published news about this.

In his speech, Mushtaq mentioned that the responsibility of the government as the President has been entrusted to him by relying on the prayers of the merciful to carry out the sacred duty of realizing the right and true aspirations of the 7.5 crore people of Bangladesh as a whole and collectively. However, he said, although the change in the governance system of the country is desired by all quarters, as it is not possible according to the law, the military has to come forward to change the government.

Bangabandhu was able to reach the highest position of the great hero of history only through political and social activities. The basic elements of his self-identity such as his thoughts, goals, ideals, philosophy of life, etc. have gradually developed and passed from one position to the next. This pace of development and evolution never stopped, continuing till the last days of his life. He had to cross many adverse roads to take the long road of politics, and sometimes he had to adopt different approaches considering the reality; But the pace of its overall evolution was forward, in the direction of progress and in its actions, it was a reflection of the thoughts and aspirations of the common people.

For a long time, it seemed that there was no real existence in Bangladesh without Bangabandhu. But it can be said that if the Bengali nation is the name of consciousness, the name of a dream, the name of creating history, the name of aspiration, the name of struggle and the name of success, then its dreamer is Bangabandhu. He is the hero of history. Bangabandhu will always remain immortal in the hearts of Bengalis.

Hiren Pandit is a columnist
and a researcher.

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