Hiren Pandit: Sheikh Mujib had no interest in Prime Ministership or power except to claim the rights of Bengalis. Bangamata also raised herself and her children in that ideal. Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib was not a wife, but a political colleague, and lifelong shadow companion of her beloved husband Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Until the last moment of her life, she was by the side of the great hero of history, Sheikh Mujib. What a cruel irony of fate. On August 15, 1975, all the members of the Bangabandhu family, including Bangamata, had to die from the merciless bullets of the assassins.
In recognition of the contribution of Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib in the history of Bengal’s freedom struggle, the people of Bengal awarded her the title of ‘Bangamata’. As Bangamata shines in Bangabandhu’s life, her contribution to our freedom and the people of the country is uniquely unforgettable. The more Bangabandhu is discussed, the more Bangamata’s contribution will be revealed. The names of Bangabandhu and Bangamata will remain forever in the history of Bangladesh.
Whenever we talk about Bangabandhu, Bangamata’s name comes up. She got married to Bangabandhu through family sources. From Khoka to Mujib, from Mujib to Bangabandhu and finally from Bangabandhu to the father of the nation, the contribution of women is undeniable, she is our Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib. Bangabandhu spent his entire life in the service of people, for the welfare of the country. Bangabandhu had to spend most of his time in jail. At that time Begum Mujib took responsibility like mail.
Bangamata took to the streets with leaflets to gather public support and mobilize people for the Six Point Movement of 1966. During this time, she sold her gold jewelry and ornaments to meet the needs of the organization. Bangabandhu’s historical speech of March 7 also had her right direction behind it. During the volatile period of the movement, she used to entertain the tortured leaders and activists at her house with the utmost compassion and took measures after listening to their advantages and disadvantages. Disillusioned activists would find a glimmer of hope, fueled by Begum Mujib’s much-anticipated speech. She personally helped martyr families and freedom fighters with money.
Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa married Bangabandhu at the age of eleven and had three sons and two daughters. She was killed along with Bangabandhu and most of his family members on 15 August 1975 by malcontent army officers. Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana are his two living daughters. Fazilatunnesa Mujib inspired Bangabandhu in all movements and through countless hardships. She is also known as Renu. This is her nickname.
Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib lived a life of a heroic, passionate, dedicated and enlightened soul with deep insights as expressed by the above lines about the freedom, sacrifice, valor, bravery, and patriotism of the people of the world. The war in Bangladesh will always be considered a leading light. The victory that Bangladesh has achieved through the nine-month-long liberation war under the call and leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the greatest achievement of the people of this country. Bangabandhu was inspired by his life partner Fazilatunnesa Mujib in the historic and extensive journey of the liberation war. For her extraordinary patience, honesty, generosity, compassion, cooperation, wisdom, deep patriotism and dedication, she is honored as our ever-remembered mother.
Bangamata played a leading role in nation-building alongside Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib is the pride of the Bengali nation and a source of inspiration for women. Possessing brave and indomitable qualities since childhood, Bangamata faced any situation with her intelligence and wisdom. She stood by her husband during Bangabandhu’s repeated imprisonments and bravely faced difficult times. Bangabandhu had to go to jail many times for the sake of the country. Bangamata had to manage Bangabandhu’s cases, give instructions and help in the organizational activities of the party besides looking after the family.
Not only as Bangabandhu’s consort in every step of the struggle to establish Bangladesh, Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib is a silent master organizer who devoted herself to the Bengali liberation struggle and brought Bangabandhu to the seat of the Himalayas.
Born on August 8, 1930, in Tungipara, Gopalganj, Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib is a name respected and loved by the people of Bengal. She was by Bangabandhu’s side like a shadow throughout his political career during the liberation war. That is why Bangabandhu was able to bring the taste of freedom to the mind of a nation. Sheikh Mujib’s favorite Renu worked behind the scenes to implement his political philosophy and ideals. Just as Bangabandhu, Bengalis and Bangladesh are tied together by the same thread, so the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib are inseparable names. Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib was not only the consort of the Father of the Nation, but also one of the pioneers of the Bengali freedom struggle. Bangamata played an important role behind the scenes in Bangabandhu’s historic March 7 speech. The unwritten speech that Bangabandhu gave under his inspiration was a call for freedom that emanated from her heart. Her contribution to the history of freedom struggle and liberation war will be remembered forever.
Bangabandhu gave examples of many countries of the world and also told the family about the dire consequences of the unilateral declaration of independence. At this critical moment of indecision, when Bangabandhu presented many examples to his family members, Bangamata Mahayasi Begum Fazilatunnesa (Begum Mujib) said, ‘No, you cannot do that. You have established a permanent seat in the heart of Bengalis through six points, what harm will your announcement do to them – you thought the Pakistan Army was waiting for your announcement. They will kill you; They will also destroy your beloved Bengali nation.’ After listening to Begum Mujib’s words, Bangabandhu stood silently for a while holding the pipe in his hand. Begum Mujib, despite being a housewife, was also a great politician, thinker and philosopher.
Apart from fulfilling family responsibilities, Bangamata played a unique role in giving motivation, strength and courage to Bangabandhu to guide the struggle for freedom and liberation war in the right direction.Bangamata was Bangabandhu’s steadfast supporter and inspiration in his political, social and family life. She played an outstanding role in Bangabandhu’s political success. Bangamata was an expert and sincere supporter of Bangabandhu in the struggle for the rights and independence of the Bengali nation. Bangamata faced the situation with patience, bravery, and wisdom when her husband was imprisoned in Pakistan during the Liberation War in 1971. After independence, Bangamata devoted herself to the reconstruction of the war-torn country. She stood beside the victims of torture and martyred women sisters by ensuring treatment, sympathy and cooperation and took initiatives to establish them socially. The nation has truly awarded Fazilatunnesa Mujib the title of Bangamata for her unparalleled sacrifice, cooperation and prudence. The ideals and examples set by Bangamata will continue to be a source of inspiration for Bengali women for ages. Through the life and work of Sheikh Fazilatunnesa, the new generation will be inspired by patriotism and will know many unknown chapters of the liberation war, freedom struggle and Bangabandhu’s life and struggle.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and a researcher.