Hiren Pandit: Every country has a leader of the Independence movement like Lenin of Russia (Former Soviet Union), Mahatma Gandhi of India, George Washington of the USA, Mao Zedong of China, Sukarno of Indonesia, Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam, Fidel Castro of Cuba, Patrice Lumumba and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia and Bangabandhu for Bangladesh.
Bangabandhu is well established as an inevitable and integral chapter in world history for his enduring example of extraordinary patriotism and self-sacrifice. He is not only the Bangabandhu of Bengali but also a world-class and world-famous politician.
Bangabandhu was a brave and great fighting hero. Never backed down to face the enemy. He was arrested many times in his political career but never went into hiding. He did not leave home on that terrible night of March 25, knowing that he would die.
Bangabandhu an outstanding personality of infinite love for the country and people, humanity and infinite courage, won the hearts of people of all classes and professions, including the rich and the poor, poets, writers and intellectuals of Bengal.
So, Bangabandhu is our great leader. We have been agitating for 23 years for independence under his leadership. On his call, in 1971, the freedom-loving people of Bengal fought a liberation war with the arms of this country. Attained victory from the enemy. Brought the independent-sovereign Bangladesh of the red-green flag. Bangabandhu and Bangladesh are therefore one and inseparable.
He was not only a dreamer of the nation called Bangladesh, but he was able to make the dream of the Bengali nation a reality for a thousand years by uniting the Bengali nation in a bond of unique common unity.
Many famous politicians before and after Bangabandhu were born in this Bengal but no one could wake up the Bengalis in a dauntless movement for liberation. Therefore, everyone has given Bangabandhu the title of the best Bengali of a thousand years, and it is never possible to evict him from history. Bangabandhu roused and inspired Bengalis with the hypnotic power and magic touch of his leadership with the spirit of independence.
On April 5, 1971, US Newsweek magazine carried its cover story on Bangabandhu. In this report, he is called a ‘poet of politics’. But according to those who were present at the race course that day, that fiery speech was not a speech, but a lyrical poem by an accomplished, well-versed poet. In that speech, Bangabandhu urged the Bengalis of East Pakistan to prepare for the freedom struggle.
A written commentary on this speech was distributed. However, despite speaking like a poet in Bengal that day, Bangabandhu was awarded a beautiful title like the first ‘Political Poet’ by Newsweek magazine. On April 5, 1971, the magazine put the picture of Bangabandhu on its cover and called him Poet of Politics in the lead news. He was given this title for his historic speech on March 7.
When Bangabandhu declared independence for Bangladesh, many of his critics commented that Sheikh Mujib had almost relented to his extremist supporters and was trying to ride the crest of the mass tide that surrounded him. But Sheikh Mujib’s emergence as the struggling leader of this new Bengali nation was the logical outcome of his lifelong struggle for Bengali nationalism. If Sheikh Mujib wanted to ride the crest of the tide, his position there was not at all accidental.
Bangabandhu was born in Tungipara of Gopalganj on March 17, 1920. He was the third among four daughters and two sons of father Sheikh Lutfar Rahman and mother Saira Khatun. The name Khoka was given by the parents. His rebellious character was identified in his teenage years. Studying in the village school. Then Gopalganj Public School. Protest mentality against injustice, love for poor and suffering people and promise to remove their suffering brought him into politics. He got involved in politics right from school.
Bangabandhu did politics more than studies. His father did not stop him from joining politics. According to Bangabandhu’s unfinished autobiography, his father told him, “Father, I will not object to politics, you are fighting for Pakistan, it is so happy, but do not forget to study.” If you don’t learn education, you can’t become a human being.”
Admitted to Islamia College, Kolkata. There he caught the attention of his elders as an activist of the Muslim League. In 1917, the Russian Revolution took place on behalf of the exploited. World politics is divided between the exploited and the exploiters. Various active trends of anti-British movement have started in the politics of this subcontinent.
In political life, Bangabandhu was inspired by the slogans of the Russian Revolution – for the exploited, he was moved by the patriotism of the anti-British revolutionaries. At the same time, he was attracted by the systematic movement of Gandhi-Nehru. He deeply took to heart the non-sectarian Bengali nationalism of Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das. Netaji Subhash Bose’s Swadeshi movement was greatly stimulated by the young Sheikh Mujib.
Bangabandhu held the identity, culture, tradition, social and political history of undivided India deep in his heart. India’s first freedom movements, Sepoy Revolt, Santal Rebellion, Garo-Hajong Uprising, Peasant Rebellion, Blue Uprising including all the movements and struggles against British rule in undivided India.
He joined the anti-British movement for the liberation of the suffering people of Bengal from exploitation, deprivation, oppression and poverty in undivided India. He Always believed in systematic movement. That is why he joined Gandhi-Jinnah-Nehru’s anti-British systematic movement.
He supported the movement to establish the state of Pakistan in the desire of liberation of the exploited, deprived, poor Bengali people. But after 1947, when the mother tongue Bengali was attacked, the mask of Pakistani rulers was exposed, and Bangabandhu raised his voice in protest and joined the movement of the national language Bengali.
In 1948, in the meeting of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly held in Karachi, the Muslim League leaders expressed their opinion to make Urdu the state language, then Dhirendranath Dutta, the elected Member of Parliament of Cumilla, raised the demand to make Bangla, the language of the majority of Pakistan, the state language; But not a single member of the Muslim League of West Pakistan or any member of the Muslim League of East Bengal supported his proposal.
After the language movement of 1952, the people of this country gradually organized themselves in the spirit of independence and nationalism. Through movement and struggle, the protest started to be voiced against exploitation-oppression and discrimination. The movement for governance, the United Front elections, the 1962 education movement, the 6-point movement, the Agartala conspiracy case, the 1969 mass movement, 1970 elections are all milestones of that struggle.
Everyone knows the history of how Bangabandhu became the favorite leader of all who was tested through these movements and struggles for Bengali independence. Ayub Khan, the president of Pakistan, resigned in the face of the violent mass movements of 1969 and handed over power to a military general, Yahya Khan.
He seized power in Pakistan in 1958. After Yahya Khan took over as president, the political arena of Pakistan became electrified with the announcement of elections. Bangabandhu’s Awami League won a single majority in the general elections held on December 7, 1970. 160 seats out of 300 seats in the National Assembly.
The remaining 140 seats were won by nine other parties in Pakistan, including independents. Apart from winning 160 seats in the elections, Awami League won 7 seats out of the nine seats reserved for the National Assembly of East Pakistan. The total number of seats was 167. Bangabandhu’s Awami League won 288 seats out of 300 seats in the provincial elections held alongside the general elections. A huge victory was achieved by the Bengalis. Also known as Landslide Victory. Despite that, the Pakistani ruling group was wasting time by making various pretexts to hand over power.
Came seventy-one fire march! Since the beginning of March, the whole country has been in turmoil of non-cooperation movements, protests and struggles. The poet of politics was writing new chapters of the epic called Bangladesh every day.
When President Yahya Khan announced the cancellation of the National Assembly session held in Dhaka on March 3, the entire country erupted in protests. Dhaka became, in protest, a city of angry marches. On March 15, 1971, President Yahya Khan suddenly came to Dhaka. Already on March 7, the historic speech of Bangabandhu, the fearless poet of politics, was delivered in the public meeting of the race course. The unmistakable call for freedom.
Not a speech, but a unique poem of the heart desires of the people of Bengal which the poet recited for 19 minutes in a highly symbolic style. After coming to Dhaka, Yahya Khan hatched a deep secret conspiracy under the pretense of discussing the transfer of power. After several meetings between Mujib and Yahya between March 16-24, Yahya suddenly left Dhaka without informing anyone.
On the late night of March 25, according to the blueprint planned by the Pakistani ruling group, the Pakistan Army started the worst massacre in the history of the world called ‘Operation Searchlight’. A surprise attack was carried out in the middle of the night on a sleeping innocent Bengali. Bangabandhu was arrested and taken to West Pakistan. Before his arrest, in the early hours of March 26, Bangabandhu sent the declaration of independence to different districts of the country including Chattogram through a secret transmitter set from Old Dhaka’s Boldha Garden through East Pakistan Regiment (EPR) wireless set. That night, Bangabandhu ordered all his fellow leaders to move to safer positions; But he stayed at his house at 32 Dhanmondi and was arrested.
We all know the history of the Bengali movement-struggle and liberation war against the Pakistani ruling group under the leadership of Bangabandhu. He is an integral part of these histories. No matter how many conspiracies and attempts, he can never be separated from Bangladesh. He was our undisputed leader, a fearless poet of politics.
The poet imagines, thinks, and dreams. The counterpart of that dream is ‘poetry’. Bangabandhu dreamed about politics, that dream was to bring freedom to a people, to give an independent sovereign state. Like poets, Bangabandhu gave form to his dreams. He wrote that poetry, the embodiment of the dream of breaking the chains of subjugation and bringing freedom to this people, of giving an independent sovereign state. Bangabandhu’s poem became our beloved motherland Bangladesh.
Many writers and poets from different countries and abroad wrote stories, songs, poems, and plays about this poet of politics. Certainly, very few statesmen and poets in the world have written so many poems. Just as contemporary poets are writing inspired by the writings of the ancient poets, the poets of the future will portray Bangabandhu in their poems in various ways. As long as there is Bengali language and literature, some poems, stories, and novels will be written about Bangabandhu.
Bangabandhu’s unique simple writings in the book ‘Karagarer Rojnamcha’ he mentioned ‘Thala Bati Kambal-Jelkhanar Sambal’ can be easily imagined that the unique simple works of Bangabandhu are rich in symbols, similes and canvas of time. Bangabandhu wrote ‘Those who have not been to jail, those who have not been in jail – they do not know what jail is. I was forced to go to jail five times.
I was jailed as a royal prisoner and had to undergo rigorous imprisonment. He also had to go to jail as a murderer. Therefore, I have understood the condition of all kinds of prisoners with my own life. It is not known how many great poets in history have been able to present such a simple posture of depicting the imprisoned life in such beautiful language and poetic expression.
If Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had not been killed on August 15, Bangladesh would have become a developed country like Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore today. We are still aware of every moment of the deep depression that the nation plunged into after his death.
15 August 1975 is a painful and shameful chapter in the life of the Bengali nation. On this day, with the direct and indirect support of the anti-independence conspirators at home and abroad, the father of the Bengali nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the greatest Bengali of a thousand years, was martyred with his family at his residence in Dhanmondi by some misguided members of the army.
Fortunately, Bangabandhu’s daughter, the current Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister, Sheikh Rehana, survived because they were out of the country. All those who were killed that day were very good people. According to the document released by the United States, “Many true patriots and honest people were brutally killed on August 15. Their administrative skills may be questioned but their patriotism and integrity are unquestionable. Bangabandhu and Bangladesh are therefore one and inseparable. Bangabandhu is the symbol of the independence and sovereignty of Bangladesh.
The writer is a columnist and a research fellow