Bangabandhu: Endless Source of Inspiration for Disadvantaged People of the World

Hiren Pandit: Every country has a great leader in its freedom struggle, such as George Washington of America, Lenin of Russia, Mao Zedong of China, Mahatma Gandhi of India, Sukarno of Indonesia, Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam and Bangabandhu of Bangladesh. As the father of the nation, the founder of the state, or the leader of the freedom struggle, they are forever occupying the seat of dignity in their respective countries. For example, we have Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the best Bengali of Bengal for a thousand years, the greatest son of the nation.
Bangladesh and Bangabandhu are the same. One cannot be imagined without the other. Bangabandhu is the prominent leader or hero of Bangladesh’s liberation war. The glorious event in the hundred-year history of the Bengali nation is the 1971 liberation war. The victory of the liberation war was attained on 16 December 1971 by giving the fresh blood of 3 million martyrs a disgrace to two lakh mothers and sisters and boundless sacrifice. The heroic Bengalis have snatched victory by defeating the Pakistani aggressors in 23 years of struggle and nine months of armed struggle. Many brave sons of the soil may have dreamed of breaking the shackles of the Bengali nation. The dream has been turned into reality by Bangabandhu, the best son of the soil for a thousand years, the greatest Bangali of all time, and the great hero of history. The Father of the Nation, Sheikh Mujib’s name will be revered as long as the Bangali nation survives.
History has etched in stone the profound connection between Bangladesh and Bangabandhu. ‘Mujib is for Bangladesh and Bangladesh is for Mujib,’ or it can be said that Bangladesh is Bangabandhu and ‘Bangabandhu is Bangladesh.’ The famous Bengali Poet Annada Shankar Roy has rightly said, ‘As long as the river Padma, Meghna, Gauri, Jamuna flows like the river, so long is the glory of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will survive.’
The birth centenary of this global icon has been celebrated with great fervor and respect all over the world, including Bangladesh. Bangabandhu, born on 17 March 1920 in an aristocratic Sheikh family at Tungipara in Gopalganj, was the third of four daughters and two sons of father Sheikh Lutfar Rahman and mother Saira Khatun. The affectionate name given to him by his parents was Khoka, a name that would one day be synonymous with greatness and leadership.
Bangabandhu’s protesting character was seen as a teenager. His protestant attitude against injustice, his love for the poor, and his promise to ease their suffering brought him into politics. He got involved in politics from school. Bangabandhu started his education at Gimadanga Primary School in 1926. He was admitted to Gopalganj Public School in 1929 and studied there till 1934. In 1938, he was admitted to the Gopalganj Mission School. In 1941, he took the matriculation examination with a sick body. His father did not stop him from getting involved in politics. According to the unfinished autobiography, his father told him, “Father, I will not object to politics; we are so happy to be fighting for Pakistan, but don’t forget to study. People cannot be without learning”.
Immediately after the matriculation examination, Kishore Mujib went to Kolkata. The significant changes in his political life began as a student at Islamia College, Kolkata. He became active in the Pakistani movement and came in contact with leaders like Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy and Abul Hashim. When Pakistan was formed in 1947, Sheikh Mujib also moved to Dhaka. He formed the Chhatra League in 1948 with new political thinking. 1949 he was elected joint secretary of the newly formed East Pakistan Awami Muslim League. Sheikh Mujib’s political activities began with his participation in the movement to make Bangla one of the state languages. He became the undisputed leader of the Bengalis through the great language movement of 1947 to 1952, the anti-military movement of 1958, the education movement of 1962, and the historic six-point movement of 1966.

During the mass uprising in 1969, the students were given the title ‘Bangabandhu’. In the election of 1970, the Bengalis expressed their unwavering support for Bangabandhu’s six-point. However, the Pakistani ruling class did not hand over power to the Awami League and started politics of conspiracy against the Bengals. Bangabandhu called for independence in his historic speech on 7 March 1971. On 26 March, Bangabandhu declared independence when the Pakistani forces started a planned genocide. Responding to his call, the country’s people fought for almost nine months, achieving an independent sovereign Bangladesh.
The happiest day for the people of Bangladesh is Bangabandhu’s birthday. He was the only one born in the country’s thousand-year history. If he had not been born, independent Bangladesh would not have existed. Bangabandhu will live forever among those who believe in Bangladesh and hold the ideology and spirit of the liberation war. Six-point movement and Bangabandhu: The six-point demand in the history of our national liberation war has played a very significant role. On 7 June 1966, the nation’s liberation charter was stained with the blood of martyrs. Later, at the beginning of the mass movement of 1969, we attained independence in exchange for a sea of blood with the mandate of the people in the historic election of 1970 under the leadership of Bangabandhu. Flowing deep in his heart was the independence of Bangladesh. He had no other thoughts outside of freedom. He has commanded the way in liberating Bangladesh from the shackles of subjugation by enduring imprisonment, oppression, and torture.
The people of Bangladesh went on a general strike on June 7 against the Pakistani ruling party led by the Awami League to demand independence and the release of all political prisoners, including Bangabandhu. The dictator Ayub Khan wanted to enslave the Bengali nation. Bangabandhu proposed to include in the agenda of the Convention of the Opposition Parties held in Lahore on 5 February 1966, raising the six-point for the liberation of Bengalis. Chowdhury Mohammad Ali, the chairman of the meeting, refused to discuss the six-point. Bangabandhu returned to the country on 11 February and gave details at a press conference at Dhaka Airport. At the working committee of the Awami League meeting on 20 February, a six-point was adopted as a party program. Six-point became so popular that this booklet was carefully preserved in every house in Bangladesh.
The dictator Ayub termed the giving of six points a crime and called Bangabandhu a ‘Separatist’ and arrested and tortured the Awami League under the National Defense Act. Protest Day was observed in the entire area on May 13 at the call of the Awami League. Public support for the six-point was expressed in the public meeting on the day of the protest. When the newly elected general secretary of the party, Tajuddin Ahmed, was arrested, the organizing secretary, Mizan Chowdhury, took over as the acting general secretary. During the strike on June 7, the agitated people of Bangladesh demanded independence and the release of all political prisoners, including Bangabandhu. June 7 was the starting point of the foundation of our freedom consciousness, which is laid on this day.
The six-point demand raised by Bangabandhu is not a ‘certificate of liberation’ and a ‘demand for survival’ of Bengalis; instead, it is the foundation of Bangladesh’s independence. In the context of June 7, the six-point day, the aspect of abandonment, struggle, and protest of the Bangali nation came to the fore. On this day, the Bengali nation has given its life to the movement for the realization of the six-point demand; the highway has been stained with blood, more than 600 people have been arrested, and countless people have been prosecuted. After demanding six points, Bangabandhu did not remain the leader of the Awami League or any other party; they became the sole leader of our Bengalis. Later, the right of Bengalis to self-control and the independence movement, post-independence politics and politics all revolved around one person, Bangabandhu. He was no longer a person; he became an institution.

Charismatic Leadership of Bangabandhu and Our Independence
Bangabandhu is the charismatic leader of Bangladesh; because of his visionary leadership, he realized at the beginning of March 1971 that war against the Pakistanis was inevitable. Therefore, on March 7, 1971, he instructed the people of Bangladesh to plunge into the war of liberation. He said, “This time, the struggle is for our freedom; this time, the struggle is for our independence.” In this speech, the picture of the killing, oppression and torture of Bengalis towards Bengalis became concrete. He instructed the Bengali nation in the face of the enemy, ‘Be ready with whatever you have.’ Inspired by this hypnotic speech of the Father of the Nation, the Bengali nation started preparing for a liberation war with weapons.
The historic, inspiring speech of this earth-shaking thunderbolt of only 19 minutes on March 7 was a thousand years of passion, a thousand years of the dream, a reflection of a thousand years of aspiration, which was a firm promise to liberate Bengalis. Bangabandhu said, ‘When we have given blood, we will give more blood; we will set the people of this country free, Inshaallah.’ It was the historic speech under the leadership and direction of Bangabandhu that inspired the freedom-loving Bengali nation to plunge into the armed struggle of the great liberation war against the occupying Pakistanis, and it was through this speech that the future destiny of the Bengalis became clear.
Bangabandhu gave the speech in a very symbolic style. On the one hand, he told the freedom fighters to be ready for a long struggle; on the other hand, he showed a thumbs up to the Pakistani rulers. Bangabandhu was not only a wise politician but also a world-class diplomat. In his speech on March 7, he expressed everything like a diplomat. He says the last 23 years are a history of deprivation. He spoke about the language movement, the elections of 1954, the military rule of 1956, the six-point of 1966, the mass-uprising of 1969, the elections of 1970, and the deprivation of Bengalis in Pakistan at that time. Gave an unwritten speech.
Many people say Bangabandhu was absent in our liberation war. They never judge. Bangladesh’s liberation war was a war of expulsion of foreign aggressors and enemies from the interior of an independent country led by an elected representative. After independence on March 26, 1971, it took us nine months to drive out those enemies. December 16 is our Victory Day because we were able to drive them out.
The declaration of independence by Bangabandhu as the leader of Bangladesh on 26 March is the basis of the country’s Independence. The entire constitution of Bangladesh was written based on this declaration. So, the nine-month war that took place in Bangladesh in 1971 was a war to liberate our independent country from the occupying forces. All the people of an independent country who came through elections fought this war.
Bangabandhu declared independence on 26 March as the elected leader of the people of Bangladesh after the beginning of the genocide and the imposition of war on Bangladesh. He ordered everyone to fight against the aggressors. The people accepted a valid declaration on behalf of the people of Bangladesh through the Declaration of Independence. Bangabandhu formed the government for the declared independent country. Bangabandhu was appointed the head of that government President, and Syed Nazrul Islam was the Vice President. The legitimate government then got all the rights regarding the country to make all the laws and all the revenue related to that declaration. The independent state declared on March 26, started its journey on April 10 with its constitution and legitimate government. There are only two obstacles for the state to move on. The first one is the Pakistani army then occupied several areas inside the state. The second one is that the state needs formal recognition from another state.
Two things were urgent for this formal recognition. One is the one who has formed this state, who must prove that they are not separatists, and two are elected representatives running the state. When it comes to recognizing another democratic new state for a democratic state, the first thing to look at is whether those who claim to have formed a new state are separatists. If they do not prove to be separatists, they meet around 60 percent of the conditions for recognition.
If Bangabandhu had fled in this war to drive out the Pakistani aggressors in Bangladesh or had gone underground and tried to run the war like the communist revolutionaries, the military ruler of Pakistan would have had ample opportunity to prove himself as a separatist. The country was occupied, and Bangabandhu declared independence from his residence. He called on his people to resist the aggressors and the world to recognize the new state.
The task of seeking this declaration and recognition was public and as an elected leader. So, when the Pakistani army arrested Bangabandhu, they arrested the elected head of government of an independent country. Bangabandhu proved that he or his party was not a separatist. In other words, with Bangabandhu being publicly arrested in this way, he alone did 60 percent of the rest of the victory that this country had to achieve after the declaration of independence. Bangabandhu proved to the world that he and his party are not separatists; they are fighting to liberate the aggressors from their land.
Just as he won 60 percent of the war by going to jail in Pakistan in nine months of 1971, so he transformed himself like the Agartala case while in jail; his shape is even bigger. The democratic world says the Pakistani military has no right to arrest an elected leader. Although the American president backed Pakistan, he repeatedly obstructed his Senate in favor of Pakistan.
Everyone also said that only Sheikh Mujib has the right to decide about his country. Not the Pakistani military authorities. Therefore, just as Bangabandhu was everywhere in the liberation war with the rifles, mines, and grenades of the freedom fighters through thunder, the arrested leader, Bangabandhu, fought almost alone in the international world.
Just as any liberation war and war for independence are through the sacrifices of the country’s people, the freedom-loving people of the whole world stand as comrades. The captive independent head of state Bangabandhu gave the freedom-loving people of the world the right to stand for Bangladesh that day. Prisoner Bangabandhu defeated Yahya Khan in the diplomacy of the people that day. The government, through constitutional politics, and the Pakistani authorities lost to Bangabandhu’s diplomacy in the battle to resist the aggressors by armed means. Bangabandhu became the winner and transformed from Bangabandhu to Father of the Nation. Many people mistakenly said that Bangabandhu was absent in the war of liberation.
However, without the support of India, Russia, and the world, it would not have been possible to attain independence in nine months. Moreover, no one can declare the independence of a country if he wants to. You have the authority to declare independence. Whoever declares must have the support of his country and the international world. People will not support the call for independence. As the winning party’s leader in the 1970 elections, only Bangabandhu had the right to declare independence.
Bangabandhu’s Initiatives to Build War-torn Bangladesh: Bangabandhu was released from Pakistan on 8 January 1972 and left for London on 9 January. Bangabandhu made a short break in Delhi and left for Dhaka on January 10. The plane touched down at Tejgaon Airport at 3 pm. From there, it took Bangabandhu two and a half hours to reach the Historic Racecourse ground through the love and affection of millions of Bengalis. Bangabandhu reached home at 7:00 pm out of millions of people on the Racecourse. After such a long journey, lengthy formality, public meeting, exchange of emotions, and tears, on 11 January, Bangabandhu started running the country without a moment’s delay, ignoring all the fatigue and emotions. Bangabandhu met twice with the Cabinet on the same day, and many important decisions were made, including drafting the Constitution.
At the beginning of the discussion about the Constitution, the issue discussed was that the basis of Bangladesh’s political and economic system would be Bengali nationalism, democracy, socialism, and secularism. The election manifesto of 1970 stated that socialist development and change should be brought into the economy of the country. Economists explained that it was the way to develop the country’s economy through poverty alleviation, inequality elimination, and planned development measures. It was on this basis that the budget of the finance minister Tajuddin Ahmed for 1972-73 was formulated, which reflected the principles of the constitution. Some of the medium- and long-term goals of Bangabandhu’s economic philosophy were to achieve self-reliance, maximize the use of the country’s internal resources, and receive and use foreign aid, which should be unconditional and gradually reduce this dependence.
Bangabandhu’s thoughts, ideas, and instructions regarding the country’s overall development are described in the constitution. Development of local government institutions and participation of women in national life. On 12 January, Bangabandhu took over as Prime Minister under the Provisional Constitution and formed a new Cabinet. Since Bangabandhu’s historic speech on March 7, the whole country, including all government and non-government organizations in the then East Pakistan, has been following Bangabandhu’s orders, and the Bengali part of the army is waiting for orders.
War-torn Bangladesh began to rebuild and successfully tackled various economic and other challenges. Bangabandhu returned to the newly independent Bangladesh and saw no food in the granaries, crops in the fields, or reserves in the Central Bank. The Banks were not functional. Roads and railways are cut off and seaports are destroyed. Schools and colleges were abandoned in Barracks. The Pakistani aggressors destroyed everything possible, knowing that defeat was inevitable.
First of all, Bangabandhu emphasized maintaining the non-aligned position and gaining the recognition of most of the countries in the world as soon as possible and gaining membership in various international organizations. Bangabandhu aimed to make Bangladesh stand first in the international arena. In just three and a half years of his rule, the Father of the Nation has given Bangladesh the recognition of 121 countries and membership of 36 international organizations, including the United Nations.
During the nine-month of the liberation war, the transport system was almost destroyed. As a result, the post-liberation economy almost stopped the import and distribution of food grains, raw materials used in industry, agricultural products and daily necessities. In such a situation, Bangabandhu took the initiative to compensate for all kinds of facilities in the port, development of shipping and other areas with utmost importance in the reconstruction work and gave importance to the commencement of civil aviation. The power system was also severely damaged in the war of liberation. Bangabandhu emphasized re-establishing the power system through the construction of transmission and distribution lines in a short time.
For most subsidized food production, he set a goal to introduce new mechanical methods of cultivation. To increase agricultural production, farmers are provided with fertilizers, medicines and high-quality seeds.
Bangabandhu emphasized family planning. A pilot population control program was started in 12 areas across the country. We are now talking about growth above seven percent. The growth rate in Bangladesh was 7.8 percent at the time of Bangabandhu. He developed strategies to develop the population into educated and skilled human resources. He formed the National Education Commission. Nationalized schools and colleges. He formed the University Grants Commission for Higher Education and in 1970, he said, we have to give importance to education and health. We need to build medical colleges and medical universities. Emphasis should be placed on technical education. He started building houses for the people affected by the liberation war. He wanted not a single person in his country to be homeless. So, he focused on housing, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.
In just three and a half years, Bangladesh has left a firm policy, plan and infrastructure in all health care and medicine areas. Three consecutive crop productions were affected, and the country had a food shortage. Many food aids were available from India and other developed countries. The UN Secretary-General called for 1 million tons of help, food aid to the affected and repatriated peoples through grants from the Japanese government and some barter agreements and rationing at various levels. Bangladesh became a member of the two organizations in August 1972, and the foreign exchange and gold needed in this regard were donated by Canada and Sweden. Earlier, the Indian government set aside some foreign currency as loans.
Reconstruction and reconstruction-related work were described in the budget of 1972-73. Many friendly countries helped Bangabandhu in this reconstruction, which did not need to be paid for. These donors included India, the Soviet Union (Russia), the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Bangabandhu’s goal was to achieve self-sufficiency in food production as soon as possible. Besides, in the budget of 1972-73, importance was given to the education sector after rehabilitation. The aim of Bangabandhu’s thought and effort to build the state’s economic structure was to alleviate the suffering of the poor people of Bangladesh and provide food, clothing, education, health and employment to all.
In the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s (50 years) independence, Bangladesh has risen to the top of the world. Bangabandhu planted the seeds of Digital Bangladesh. He made Bangladesh a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 1973. On 14 June 1975, he inaugurated the Satellite Earth Center at Betbunia, Rangamati. We saw the development of the sapling from the seed planted by Bangabandhu in 1996 when the people’s leader, Sheikh Hasina, took charge as the Prime Minister for the first time. She said she got the idea of Digital Bangladesh from her son and IT Advisor, Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
Bangabandhu tried to build friendly relations with other states, the principle of coexistence in peace, and the evidence of the struggle for the people, so different states extended a helping hand to Bangladesh. In the planning democracy, human rights, principles of ownership, state ownership, cooperative ownership, private ownership, and the emancipation of farmers and workers were included. Bangabandhu tried to ensure the people’s basic needs, like food, clothing, shelter, education, and health. He emphasized social security, rural development, agricultural development, and the education system’s structure, which aligns with society’s need for free and compulsory education to eradicate illiteracy effectively.
Bangabandhu adopted a comprehensive plan to utilize the freedom fighters. He took extraordinary measures to organize the police, militia, and reserve forces in Bangladesh. He gave the freedom fighters state status and took measures for the treatment and rehabilitation of the war-wounded freedom fighters. Apart from this, he was employed in various jobs in the country according to his qualifications.
Restoring the ceiling of land ownership was a historic step towards establishing justice in the social sense by bridging the gap between rich and poor. The Bangabandhu government initially recruited 500 village doctors to eliminate urban and rural life disparities. Adopting the Thana Health Project is still recognized as an essential step toward delivering health services at the grassroots level.
On 19 February 1974, Bangabandhu, in line with the national aspirations, formed the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy to make Bangladesh an art-cultured, creative humanitarian Bangladesh and enrich it by preserving the thousand-year-old culture and heritage of Bengalis. Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy is the only national institution for developing art and culture in Bangladesh. In his speech on 17 January 1974, Bangabandhu declared war on corruption. He said the nation’s future would be darkened if effective resistance against corruption could not be built. Describing the corrupt, bribe-takers, smugglers, collectors, black marketeers, and over-profiteers as enemies of the society and the state, Bangabandhu said that if the national life could not be cleansed by punishing them, the two eras of Awami League would be abandoned.
Bangabandhu’s Vision of Youth Development: Bangabandhu had many thoughts about the youth society. He imagined a lot about young people. He thought that the youth should be developed as ideal people. The youth will become a perfect force. By this ideal man, he means a person who will possess advanced human qualities and be followed by others. Everything that is socially good, best, decent and beneficial will be in the youth.
To be an ideal human being, the youth must be honest, devoted, hardworking, kind, compassionate, empathetic, unselfish, and courageous. Bangabandhu himself was an idealistic man and an idealistic and exemplary leader. The liberation of the exploited, oppressed, and downtrodden people of Bangladesh was the main goal and ideal of his life. He has struggled all his life to achieve that goal. He has been repeatedly imprisoned and tortured while talking about the rights of the people of Bangladesh. Prison torture became a regular chapter in his life. Bangabandhu’s personal life had nothing to say. Bangabandhu’s thoughts, views, dreams, and deeds were all for the welfare of the people of this country, the welfare of the people for the liberation of the motherland. Bangabandhu’s political ideal was to sacrifice for the people not to lead a happy life. Bangabandhu used to give the highest place to principles and ideals in politics. His politics aimed not merely to go to power; it was to achieve the rights of the Bengalis or national liberation. He believed that the youth should be robust in this power.
Bangabandhu has given importance to education to build the youth properly. Bangabandhu wanted a people-oriented, science-based and technical education system. He urged the youth to study as well as perform various duties. Addressing the youth on August 19, 1973, he said, “Fathers’ (the students and youths) continue your study attentively and learn something from your research.” No matter how much you chant slogans (Jindabad and murdabad), there is no benefit if you do not know your lessons properly or read books attentively. For the rest of your time, help your parents after you have finished your studies. Don’t be ashamed to take the helm with your father in agriculture and other work because you are learning to wear pants (modern dress). Look at the world. In the villages, plant some eggplant saplings next to the houses, some capsicum saplings, some gourd saplings, and some coconut saplings. Help your parents a little. There is no benefit in just passing a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Master of Arts (MA). We have to work for the welfare of the country’s people”.
In his speech on the founding anniversary of the Chhatra League in 1972, he said, “The people of Bangladesh, especially the young community, need to know our history.” A boy in Bangladesh who does not know the traditions of his past descendants cannot be a true Bangali.’
Media-Friendly Bangabandhu: Sheikh Mujib became popular as a young leader. From this time, his journey to the newspaper office began. Bangabandhu has been a media friend since then. The location of the journalist and newspaper office was close to his residence. He believes that the role of media in all the movements and struggles of Bangladesh and the great liberation war was unforgettable. The great leader termed the newspapers and electronic media during the liberation. The media’s contribution in the language movement and the outstanding contribution of the media in presenting the six-point demand for the survival of the people of Bangladesh.
The role of media in all the movements, struggles of Bangladesh and the great liberation war was infinite. This great leader called the newspapers and electronic media during the Liberation War mass media, not just news media. Throughout his life, Bangabandhu spoke of freedom of expression. Bangabandhu mentioned the importance of media in his memories, “My father used to keep a newspaper; Anandabazar, Basumati, Azad, Masik Mohammadi and Saugat”. He then spoke about the media politics of Bangladesh at that time and the history of the steps taken by the leaders of this section for the welfare of the people at that time.
When the Awami Muslim League was established in 1949, the weekly Ittefaq was published as the party’s spokespaper. Maulana Bhasani was the editor, Yar Mohammad Khan was the publisher, but Tofazzal Hossain (Manik Miah) was in charge of running the magazine. Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy used to finance the newspaper. Sheikh Mujib, along with party workers, also sold this magazine in Dhaka.
Tofazzal Hossain had a deep-hearted relationship with Sheikh Mujib. Sheikh Mujib first involved Suhrawardy with the daily Ittefaq and gave him the responsibility of administering and controlling the newspaper. When Sheikh Mujib raised his historic six-point demand in 1966, the Daily Ittefaq shattered the power of the Pakistani general by building public opinion in its favor.
During the 1970 election and the 1971 non-cooperation movement, the dailies also played a responsible role. They published all the decisions, instructions, statements, and speeches of Sheikh Mujib in large type on the first page with pictures. It is said that the newspapers have made an important contribution in motivating the people and building the public mind; they have given full support to the leadership of Bangabandhu.
Bangabandhu and Secularism: From the ‘Unfinished Autobiography,’ we learn that Islam was Bangabandhu’s favorite religion as a child of a Muslim family. However, he also respected all other faiths. He never faced any controversy on the way to becoming a true Bangali and a Muslim.
The constitution will include a guarantee to protect the sanctity of religious institutions. Adequate arrangements will be made to expand religious education at all levels. Minorities will enjoy full equal rights in the eyes of the law. The rights of minorities in practicing and propagating their religion, establishing and operating religious institutions, and educating adherents of their respective faiths will be constitutionally protected. No person from a minority community will be forced to pay duties for propagating any religion other than his own. No person shall be compelled to take any religious instruction or to participate in any religious worship or ceremony unless he is associated with his religion. This idea of religious tolerance is one of the fundamental pillars of the Bangabandhu and Awami League.
15-August: A Shameful & Black Chapter in Bangladesh’s History. The most disgraceful tragedy in Bangladesh’s history was the cruel assassination of Bangabandhu, the architect of Bangladesh and father of the nation. Bangabandhu struggled throughout his life for his country’s people, making them unite to throw out the restraints of Pakistani oppression and lead them towards independence.
The assassination of Bangabandhu and his family on August 15 is one of the most heinous, barbaric, and brutal killings in the history of world human civilization. It wasn’t just murder. There was also a conspiracy to silence forever the progress of a newly independent nation. A promising politician who had dedicated his whole life to serving his nation was killed so brutally that the people of our country were still weeping. After the assassination of Bangabandhu, the four principles of the war of liberation, secularism, Bengali nationalism, democracy, and socialism were violated. The occupiers of state power trampled on the spirit and values of independence and took Bangladesh in the opposite direction.
The steps taken by Bangabandhu for the economic liberation of the nation were stopped. The politics of military coups, counter-coups, assassinations, and conspiracies began in the country. One military dictatorship after another began to change. At the same time, under the umbrella of military dictators, defeated anti-independence groups, extremist communal and fundamentalist militant groups emerged in the country.
Bangabandhu’s Brutal Assassination Stigmatized the Nation
There was a conspiracy against him; Bangabandhu knew it. The people of the country are conspiring to assassinate him—it seems Bangabandhu could not have imagined. At the Commonwealth Summit in Jamaica, Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi stood up where Bangabandhu was sitting and said, ‘Sheikh Saheb, we have alarming news. There is a conspiracy against you. ‘Bangabandhu replied,’ Madam Indira, don’t worry. No Bengali will touch me. I will go to the village with the sheet (chador) around my neck if they do. Sheikh Mujib is not the one to hold on to power.’
Bangabandhu never paid attention to the matter despite knowing there was a threat to life. He never imagined that the people of Bangladesh could kill him, despite repeated warnings from various individuals and organizations. The intolerant political environment provided the logistics for Bangabandhu’s assassination. The emergence of opposition political forces in the newly independent country, the secret united forces of the defeated forces of 1971, the secret armed groups of the far-left parties on one side, the formation of squads, police stations, bank robberies, murders, robberies on the other side confuse the people. The conspirators took advantage of this opportunity. The killers meet the target. At the end of the successful mission, Bangladesh was taken back to the fundamentalist ideology.
Experts believe that the emerging leftist forces between 1972 and 1975 were primarily responsible for creating the conditions for Bangabandhu’s assassination. An ideological impasse arose over the management of the newly independent country. Awami League leaders considered democracy as their first choice.
The brutal assassination of Bangabandhu was the first direct military intervention in the civil administration-centric politics of Bangladesh. The assassination is considered an ideological turning point in Bangladesh. Analysts agree it was not a mere murder but a political motive behind it. The verdict in the murder case also mentions the political conspiracy in brief. However, the political motive behind the brutal assassination and its involvement with the politicians of the time remained unclear even after the trial.
According to researchers, Mujib’s assassination has two dimensions. One is domestic politics, and the other is international. None of this came up in the trial. Bangabandhu’s assassination has been tried in the same way as the other ten murders under the country’s customary law, regarding the background of Bangabandhu’s brutal assassination. The murderers wanted to kill the soul of the state by killing Bangabandhu, a nationalist, non-communal, democratic, exploitation-free Bangladesh. It undermines the four principles of the state through military rule. Bangabandhu’s murder has been tried. However, the conspiracy did not come up in the trial.
By assassinating Bangabandhu on 15 August, the brave Bengalis introduced themselves to the world as a cowardly-suicidal nation, the traitor. By assassinating Bangabandhu, the dreamer of the Bengali nation has shown his suicidal character to the people of the world. By killing Bangabandhu, the spirit of freedom was forgotten. For a long time, it seemed that there was no actual existence in Bangladesh without Bangabandhu. However, it can be said that if the Bengali nation is the name of consciousness, the name of a dream, the name of history of creation, the name of aspiration, the name of struggle, and the name of success – then its embodiment is Bangabandhu. He is the great hero of history. Bangabandhu will remain immortal in the heart of Bangalis forever. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently said the perpetrators behind the conspiracy to assassinate Bangabandhu would be unmasked one day. Sheikh Hasina also renewed her vow to materialize Bangabandhu’s unfinished dream of building a hunger and poverty-free Bangladesh.

Glowing tribute paid to Bangabandhu by World Leaders
World leaders paid glowing tributes to Bangabandhu on his 100-birth anniversary and the golden jubilee of independence. Bangladesh organized the ten days official celebrations of the Birth Centenary of Bangabandhu and 50 years of the country’s independence.
On Bangabandhu’s birthday, March 17, Chinese President Xi Jinping recalled Bangabandhu’s visits to China in 1952 and 1956 and his friendship with older Chinese leaders, including Chairman Mao Zedong and Chou En-Lai. President Xi Jinping lauded Bangladesh’s unprecedented development and success under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership. He called for taking the strategic partnership of China-Bangladesh cooperation to new heights under the ‘Belt and Road’ policy.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga extended heartfelt congratulations on the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu and the golden jubilee of independence. He mentioned that Japan was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh’s independence as a nation 50 years ago under the indomitable leadership of Bangabandhu. The Japanese Prime Minister recalled the historic occasion of welcoming Bangabandhu to Japan and mentioned Bangabandhu’s conversation with the local people while visiting Japan’s paddy fields and crop fields. He highlighted the flags of Japan and Bangladesh and the similarities between the two countries’ vast paddy fields. Besides, Japanese Prime Minister Suga has emphasized establishing stability and peace in the region by continuing assistance in various projects, including trade and infrastructure development.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, remarked that the friendship between the two countries was forged through Bangabandhu’s visit to 10 Downing Street on March 26, 1972.
Russian President Vladimir Putin described Bangladesh’s architect, Bangabandhu, as an extraordinary leader. He highlighted the historic relationship between the two countries and stressed the need for constructive cooperation for regional stability and security. On the other hand, in a congratulatory message, US President Joe Biden described Bangladesh as an example of generosity, humanity, and human rights in terms of economic progress and sheltering many Rohingya refugees.

South Asian countries’ views toward Bangabandhu have been uttered with deep sincerity in the voices of South Asian leaders. That is why the distinguished guests – Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of Nepal Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotte Shering, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, and President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohammed Salih. Ignoring the COVID-19 pandemic, they have responded unprecedentedly to the invitation of Bangabandhu’s daughter, Sheikh Hasina.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to the mausoleum of the Father of the Nation at Tungiparaand wrote, ‘The struggle of the people of Bangladesh for rights, their own culture and identity is a reflection of Bangabandhu’s life.
OIC Secretary-General Yusuf Al Othaimeen recalled his membership of the OIC in Bangladesh under Bangabandhu in 1974. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pledged to stand by Bangladesh, praising social development, disaster response, participation in peacekeeping missions, and sheltering millions of refugees from Myanmar.

Mujib Chirantan is a brilliant manifestation of Sheikh Hasina’s strong leadership, extraordinary intelligence, acquired experience, strong personality, and wisdom. This initiative is a unique achievement of Bangabandhu’s daughter, Sheikh Hasina, nationally and internationally.

Hiren Pandit is an essayist, researcher, and columnist based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He can be contacted at

One thought on “Bangabandhu: Endless Source of Inspiration for Disadvantaged People of the World

  1. So true! Without Bangabandhu, Bangladesh would not happen. Thank you so much for recalling him!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *