Known facts about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Bangabandhu’s marriage was fixed when he was only 13 years old
When Begum Fazilatunnesa was only three and Sheikh Mujib was 13, their marriage had been fixed by elders in the family. Interestingly, they were both cousins. When Begum’s father passed away when she was 5, Sheikh Abdul Hamid (grandfather to both Fazilatunnesa and Sheikh Mujib) asked his son Sheikh Lutfar Rahman to get his son Sheikh Mujib married to Begum Fazilatunnesa.
They got married in the year 1938 when Mujib was 18 years old. There was a 10 year difference between them. The couple later gave birth to two daughters, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, as well as three sons, Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russel.His daughter Sheikh Hasina is the prime minister of Bangladesh.
Source: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, The Unfinished Memoirs/ wikipedia
At 5 feet 11 inches tall, Mujib was a towering figure
As a towering figure in the history of our country’s politics, the Father of the nation, at 5 feet 11 inches in height, stood uncharacteristically tall for a Bangladeshi man. On April 5, 1971, Newsweek magazine had Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on its cover page with the article stating, “Tall for a Bengali (he stands 5 feet 11 inches), with a touch of greying hair, a bushy moustache and alter black eyes, Mujib can attract a crowd of a million people to his rallies and hold them spellbound with great rolling waves of emotional rhetoric. He is a poet of politics, so his style may be just what was needed to unite all the classes and ideologies of the region.”
His larger than life persona was matched with his confidence and charisma, both making him stand out among men as well as international personalities such as Fidel Castro, Marshal Tito, Henry Kissinger, Andre Marlaux, Curt Waldheim, Ne Win, Colonel Gaddafi, Motubo, and even Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Fidel Castro compared Mujib to the Himalaya’s
In 1973, at the non-aligned summit in Algiers, Bangabandhu visited Fidel Castro. Embracing Mujib, he remarked, “I have not seen the Himalayas. But I have seen Sheikh Mujib. In personality and in courage, this man is the Himalayas. I have thus had the experience of witnessing the Himalayas.”
He was an energetic, sports-loving man
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib may not have distinguished himself in his studies, but was certainly liked by his teachers and peers. Growing up in a rural setting, he had a love for sports and outdoor activities. “My father grew up rural – amid rivers, trees, birdsong. He flourished in the free atmosphere inspired by his grandparents. He swam in the river, played in the fields, bathed in the rains, caught fish and watched out for birds’ nests. He was lanky, yet played football,” reads an excerpt from Sheikh Hasina’s essay on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman titled Mujibur Rahman for a special section on Asiaweek magazine’s June 12 (1998 edition).
The special section contained a collection of essays on the leaders, fighters, fathers and martyrs of new Asia. The English-language news magazine focused on Asia, and was published weekly by Asiaweek Limited, a subsidiary of Time Inc.
Timeline of few major events in Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s life:
1934 – Eye injury nearly makes him blind
1939 – Meets Sher-e-Bangla A. K. Fazlul Huq and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy for the first time
1942 – (Officially) marries cousin Begum Fazilatunnesa
4 January 1948 – Co-finds East Pakistan Muslim Chhatro (Students) League
17 March 1948 – Support for Dhaka University’s employee rights
26 March 1949 – Expelled from Dhaka University
23 June 1949 – Appointed Joint Secretary of newly formed East Pakistan Awami Muslim League
14 February 1952 – Hunger strikes from jail during Bhasha Andolon
June 1954 – Jailed for 7 months after Jukta Front win election
21 October 1955 – 1966 – Re-elected General Secretary of Awami League
11 October 1958 – Held as political prisoner for 14 months
1 March 1966 – Elected President of Awami League
1966 – Arrested numerous times for advocating 6-Dafa (Six Point movement)
1968 – 22 February 1969 – Arrested and tried in ‘Agartala Shorjontro Mamla’ (Agartala Conspiracy Case)
23 February 1969 – Tofail Ahmed gives honorary title of “Bangabandhu” (Friend of Bengal)
7 December 1970 – Leads Awami League to landslide victory in General Election
7 March 1971 – Addresses over a million Bengali crowd with historic “Ebarer Sangram” speech in Ramna Racecourse, Dhaka
26 March 1971 – Arrested at the start of Muktijuddho and jailed in West Pakistan for nine-and-half months
8 January 1972 – Released from prison in Pakistan. Returns to independent Bangladesh two days later
12 January 1972 – Steps down as President and becomes Prime Minister
1973 – Leads Awami League to victory in Bangladesh’s first ever General Election
24 September 1974 – Addresses General Assembly of the United Nations in Bangla
25 January 1975 – Becomes self-appointed President and replaces all political parties with BAKSAL
15 August 1975 – Assassinated in his home in Dhanmondi, Dhaka, along with most of his family