100 years of Bangabandhu

, Cover Story

The 100th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation is being celebrated as ‘Mujib Barsha’ or ‘Mujib Year’ through year-long programmes By: Syed Ishtiaque Reza

Bangabandhu was born at Tungiparha in Gopalganj on March 17, 1920. He spearheaded the Bengalis’ liberation struggle and Bangladesh emerged as an independent country on the world map in 1971. A year after his 100th birth anniversary, Bangladesh will celebrate the golden jubilee of independence on March 26, 2021.

Sheikh Mujib was born to a very ordinary family at Tungipara, Gopalganj District. An energetic youth, he became involved in politics during his school years. He believed in nationalism, democracy, secularism and socialism. He felt that these principles were required for the good of the common man. Bangabandhu, as he was later called, was also a firm believer in the rich cultural and literary heritage of Bangladesh and for him that was the springboard of the Bangalee ethos, its tradition and its nationalism. That instilled in him the pride of being a Bangalee living in Sonar Bangla.

Sheikh Mujib rose to the top of Bengali leadership for his role in various movements

 

 

Fast facts

Sheikh Mujib wrote two volumes of his autobiography- The Unfinished Memoirs and Karagarer Rojnamcha, where he expressed his view on politics and described his personal life. They were later published by his daughter and current Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

 

Sheikh Mujib was an eighth grader at Gopalganj Mission School when he first spent time behind bars for taking part in protests against the British rule. He became close to then top Muslim League leaders Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy and Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq during his time at Kolkata’s Islamia College. He quickly established himself as a young leader and joined the Awami Muslim League.

At the initiative of Mujib, the party was renamed as ‘Awami League’. He was arrested on March 11, 1948 for taking part in a general strike to have Bangla recognised as a state language. His political activities landed him in jail multiple times during the period between 1948 and 1952.

He took lead during the United Front election in 1954, protests against Ayub Khan’s martial law dictatorship in 1958, the 1962 movement against the Education Commission and other campaigns for public demands.

Sheikh Mujib rose to the top of Bengali leadership for his active role in these various movements. In 1966, he proposed the historic six-point charter of demands as the head of Awami League. The move landed him in jail when the then Pakistan government accused him of sedition in the 1968 Agartala Conspiracy Case.

The movement for autonomy of then East Pakistan evolved to a struggle for self-determination under Bangabandhu’s leadership. In March of 1971, he began the non-cooperation movement.

Bangabandhu returned to Dhaka amidst a rapturous welcome on January 10, 1972

The fiery speech he delivered on March 7, 1971 to a sea of mass supporters at Dhaka’s then Race Course Maidan, calling out for blood to be spilled for independence, is immortalised in Bangladesh’s liberation history. He was arrested after the Pakistan Army began its genocide of Bengalis on the night of March 25. But before his capture, Bangabandhu declared Bangladesh independent from Pakistan in the early hour of March 26.

He was jailed in Pakistan throughout the nine months of war that followed. He was made president of the exiled, war-time government that swore oath at Mujibnagar.

Sheikh Mujib was an eighth grader at Gopalganj Mission School when he
first spent time
behind bars

With the sacrifice of three million lives, Bangladesh was liberated on December 16, 1971. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, released from his internment in Pakistan on January 8, 1972, eventually returned to Dhaka, the capital of independent Bangladesh amidst a rapturous welcome on  January 10. On the way he stopped over in London and New Delhi. The return of Father of the Nation completed our struggle for independence.

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