Shashi Tharoor reflects on Bangabandhu’s leadership
Hossen Sohel for DOT
As part of the Dhaka Lit Fest 2019, a discussion yesterday commemorated the works of Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his role as a phenomenal leader of postcolonial era.
The discussion took place at Abdul Karim Shahitya Bisharad auditorium in Bangla Academy where Indian writer Shashi Tharoor, historian Afsan Chowdhury, poet and government official Kamal Chowdhury expressed their thoughts.
Former Indian minister of state for external affairs and writer Tharoor reflected on the vitality of Bangabandhu’s leadership after partition.
“The original postcolonial liberators had the advantage of fighting for freedom from a foreign power … [but] in the case of Sheikh Mujib, he had already witnessed that moment of liberation. The foreigners were gone … he became the first leader in the postcolonial system to interrogate what identity it meant and to do so through enormous struggle,” he said.
He further mentioned that during his term as Prime Minister, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman articulated the four pillars of the state very well to guide the nation.
“He had a tremendous ability to move people with his oratory, his language. He had a vision,” said Shashi Tharoor.
Eminent historian and researcher Afsan Chowdhury noted that since partition Bangabandhu sought for a state free from all kind of oppression and added that Bangabandhu “was never loyal to Pakistan”.
He mentioned that Bangabandhu realised the power of peasantry of Bengal region very well and won them over with his leadership.
“Sheikh Mujib was not interested in any other region, he just wanted a Bengal region of what he saw a peasantry region,” he said.
“In 1947, Pakistan comes into being. In 1948, first strike against Pakistsn is called. If Sheikh Mujib was pro Pakistan, then he’d have never called the strike,” he added.