Hiren Pandit: As one of the organizers of the great liberation war, he organized the student and youths and actively participated in the liberation war of the country. Sheikh Kamal was the ADC of General Osmani, the Commander-in-Chief of the Liberation Army. Organized the independent Bengal football team during the liberation war. During the liberation war, he was optimistic that if the country became independent, he would change the image of Bangladesh’s sports field and make the country sit at a unique height. After achieving victory in the war of liberation, Sheikh Kamal took the ideals of the father of the nation with his outstanding talent and tireless performance in the reconstruction of the country that was turned into ruins. After the liberation war, he left the army and returned to Dhaka University. He completed his master’s degree in sociology from there.
We could not properly evaluate a vibrant young talent like Sheikh Kamal. Far from being evaluated, attempts have been made to change his character after the political change. But who knows the identity of his artist? Today, when the communal power is trying to rise again when a self-interested group is trying to distort the history of independence, then Bangladesh lacks a skilled organizer like Sheikh Kamal. Today, leadership like him is greatly needed in this country. It is possible to make Bangladesh a truly non-communal country by following his ideals. When politics is a ladder to power for some, it is possible to use politics for real human welfare following the path shown by Sheikh Kamal. Sheikh Kamal has left his unique example of how to remain innocent even in the land of all possibilities. Being the son of the most powerful person in the government and state, Sheikh Kamal has created a unique example of how to blend in with the common people.
Sheikh Kamal’s contribution to the sports and cultural movement of independent Bangladesh is undeniable. He learned sitar lessons from Chhayanat. Sheikh Kamal was always engaged in trying to present Bengali and Bengali culture to the world, starting from studies, music practice, acting, debates, and present speeches. Along with studies, cultural activities were prominent in his walk. After independence, Sheikh Kamal founded the theater group Dhaka Theater’ and the modern music organization ‘Spandan Shilpagusthi’ with the help of his friends. He was a well-known cultural and sports organizer and actor on the Dhaka University campus. He is remembered in the country’s sports world for establishing Abahani Krirachakra. The establishment of ‘Spandan Shilpagushthi’ also gave him immortality. In fact, Sheikh Kamal was a sportsman and a cultural-minded man. He never engaged in business activities, never chased after money in vain.
Sheikh Kamal, the eldest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, was born on August 5, 1949, in Tungipara village of Gopalganj district. Today is his 75th birthday. Sheikh Kamal was the second of five siblings. He received matriculation from Shaheen School, intermediate from Dhaka College and a degree with honors and post-graduate degrees from the Department of Sociology, Dhaka University.
As a devoted worker and organizer of the Chhatra League, Sheikh Kamal actively participated in the 6-point and 11-point movements and the popular uprising of 1969. Sheikh Kamal’s daily presence in the movement was very encouraging for everyone. In this movement, the students of Dhaka College organized a procession and gathered at Bat Tala. In 1969, the military junta government of Pakistan banned Rabindra Sangeet, citing religious extremism. Sheikh Kamal then organized artists of Rabindranath music and took the initiative to sing Rabindranath’s song ‘Amar Sonar Bangla Ami Tumai Bhalobasi’ by famous artist Zahidur Rahim at various meetings and events. He is the son of the greatest leader of the Bengali nation, with the spirit of leadership and Bengali nationalism in his veins since birth. The Cultured Sheikh Kamal’s language of protest was Rabindra Sangeet. Starting from the university, wherever he got the chance, Bishwa Kabir set an extraordinary example of non-violent protest by singing songs.
As a student of Shaheen School, he was indispensable in every school sport. Cricket was his favorite among them. He was one of the emerging pacers of that time. ‘Azad Boys Club’ was a haven for rising talents like Sheikh Kamal. This is where Sheikh Kamal played first-division cricket for a long time. After the independence of the country, he established the ‘Abahani Social Welfare Organization’ in 1972. Football team ‘Iqbal Sporting’ and cricket, hockey team ‘Ispahani Sporting’ were organized under the name of this organization. Later, ‘AbahaniKrira Chakra’ started the journey to Nabodyam in cooperation with these groups. Sheikh Kamal’s dream was to take Bangladesh to the international level in football, cricket, and hockey. His dream was that one-day Bangladesh will be an unbeatable sports power in the international sports arena. It was possible if he was really alive. The dream stretched far beyond his vision. Abahani appointed foreign coach Bill Hart in 1973 to improve football. Sheikh Kamal changed the sports field of a newly independent country in a short time with his outstanding ability, skill and patriotism. Not only in sports but in all branches of art, literature and culture, he played the role of dynamic and outstanding organizer.
Sheikh Kamal’s newlywed bride Sultana Kamal Khuku was a student at Dhaka University. She had national fame. She was known internationally as a talented athlete. She married by choice. On July 14, 1975, two brothers Sheikh Kamal and Sheikh Jamal got married at Ganabhaban. Shortly after the wedding, on August 15, 1975, father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, mother Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib and the newlywed two brides, two brothers Sheikh Jamal, Sheikh Russell and other family members were brutally killed by some traitorous and disorderly soldiers of the army.
The father of the nation spent twelve years of his youth in prison. The members of Bangabandhu’s family have never expressed any regret even in the midst of suffering in his absence. Rather, the family members accepted all that with pride and became part of the Bengali national liberation struggle. It is sad to say that after the independence of the country, the perverted corner of the people tried to spread false propaganda against Sheikh Kamal, which was totally baseless and unsustainable.
The assassin’s bullet wanted to wipe out the existence of independent Bangladesh by killing the father of the nation and his family. The killers wanted to make Bangladesh leaderless. They knew that the children of the father of the nation were the bearers of the ideals of the great liberation war. That’s why they didn’t spare anyone Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal, or Sheikh Russell. As the two daughters of the father of the nation were abroad that day, the assassin’s bullet could not touch them. After the most brutal murder in history, in 1981, the party flag soaked in the blood of martyrs was handed over to Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of the father of the nation, a symbol of party and national unity. Taking that flag with due dignity and upholding the ideals of the father of the nation, she is leading the country today and is successfully carrying out the unfinished work of Sheikh Kamal’s dream of making Bangladesh’s sports arena a seat of honor in the world assembly.
Today, 5th August, on his birthday, we respectfully remember the vivacious man, whose inspiration one day inspired the youth of our country in the politics of Bengali nationalism. It was he who initiated us in the mantra of patriotism.
As the son of a politician father, Sheikh Kamal naturally became interested in politics as a student. Sheikh Kamal has seen since his birth how his father Sheikh Mujib’s life was troubled by fighting against Pakistan’s undemocratic autocratic misrule and exploitation. Not wife-daughter-son-family-family, Sheikh Mujib’s life was dedicated to the welfare of all the people of the country. Keeping his father’s ideals in his chest, Sheikh Kamal was also inspired by the welfare of people. He became brave and fearless like his father. He started the struggle for justice against injustice as an activist of the Chhatra League.
After independence, a special environment was created in the country. On one hand, those who fought with arms, on the other hand, those who could not leave the country. Again, the party of the direct opposition to the liberation war. All in all, a psychological crisis. Was the social status slightly shaken due to various reasons? The country was war-torn. Resources were limited. Again there was an urgent and difficult task of reconstruction. All the leaders and activists of Awami League obeyed Bangabandhu’s instructions and got motivated by self-sacrifice and patriotism to build the country – not even that. Some even indulged in the work of poisoning people’s minds by exaggerating the competition to make their own fortune. Licking gangs, gangs of thieves became active. Bangabandhu was struggling to handle all aspects. He regretted that the Pakistanis had left a group of thieves with everything.
Defeated communal forces that directly opposed the liberation war became active. The leaders and activists who left the Awami League-Chhatra League and formed the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal or Jasad, known as Bangabandhu’s one-time followers, played a supporting role in preparing the field for them. Pro-Chinese groups including Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani, known as a public leader, also took an anti-Mujib role. Armed sabotage continued in different parts of the country. Various kinds of propaganda continued to make Bangabandhu’s government unpopular. An anti-Mujib and anti-Bangladesh atmosphere was created by spreading various fictions about Bangabandhu’s family members. Sheikh Kamal was also the target of targeted propaganda. His name was falsely associated with various crimes.
Sheikh Kamal is rude and arrogant, he supports terrorists, does not show manners to women, and even charges of bank robbery are circulated against him. Maulana Bhasani’s weekly newspaper ‘Haqkatha’, Enayetullah Khan’s English weekly ‘Holiday’, Jasdar’s daily mouthpiece ‘Ganakantha’ and the voices of all the anti-independence forces including hundreds of Razakars are used as vehicles of these campaigns. Awami League’s nemesis Betrayers-Khandkar Mushtaq-Shah Moazzem-Obaidur Rahman-Taher Thakur Gong were secretly associated with it. It is now clear to many that these were being done with a great plan and goal in mind. Keeping in front of the far-reaching objective of creating an area to kill Bangabandhu, the groups that failed to prevent the victory of unity within the country and outside the country have worked together to create a blueprint to mislead people by spreading false propaganda, lies and rumors. All these years later it is clear to many that what happened on August 15, 1975, was not a rash decision by a few stubborn military officers. Even on August 15, all the behind-the-scenes villains are yet to be unmasked, but one day they will surely be.
Sheikh Kamal never transgressed the bounds of modesty and courtesy. The discussion of what he could have been if he had lived is worthless and meaningless now. Those who spread slander against him have disappeared, but the name of Sheikh Kamal is and will remain bright in the hearts of Bengalis.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist
and a researcher.