As Long as Padma, Megha and Jamua Flows…
Today is the day we lost our beloved leader and the Father of our nation. But, let us not only mourn on this day. Rather, also remember the legacy that Bangabandhu has left for us, and the nation he left for us. His glory will never fade away from the pages of history of Bangladesh. The struggle we have been through for freedom and how strongly he inspired us to keep marching toward our goals. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is a role model for us. To love a nation, to love a country and cherish one’s ethnicity. He taught us the value our identity and how to protect it against all odds. This is a small country of simple minded people, who were only surviving by any means possible. But Bangabandhu gave us hope. He encouraged to live fully, with self-respect and freedom. He was able to unite us all under one notion and one target. That is to establish, our unique nation free from oppression, and where everyone’s dreams could come true. Not only that, he alone led us to march toward the sun with his strong virtuous voice and with the call for freedom under one flag. Centuries long rivalry, class degradation and racism, all faded under his leadership as he was able to unite all for a single cause. He also dreamt of secular state. Because he was one of the first person, who saw himself as a Bangali, before anything else. He was proud of his identity and gave his whole lifetime to prove that. Till his last breath, he never showed any doubt on that. But this was also the reason, he became the target of the non-believers, who never wanted to see Bangladesh prosper and make a name in the map of the world. The people of this country were nothing but subjects of oppression to them, in the chains of slaves. Bangabandhu dedicated his life to break these chains.
Bangabandhu was more than just a political figure. He was the symbol of hope. We did not need Superman. He was our savior in the times of Pakistani oppression. Sheikh Mujibur was born (17 March 1920) into a reputed and loving, native Bengali family in Tungipara, in Gopalganj District. Through his childhood, he grew to love this land, the people and with dreams of a unique nation. Though, he suffered from severe problems and even after the surgery, it took him long to recover. But he was never the man who would ever give up. He tackled his obstacles
in life through difficulties and became one of the most highly educated person of his time. He was aware of the situations, oppressions and freedom for rights going around him. Mujibur wanted to take part in. He joined the All India Muslim Students Federation in 1940 during his college life, while continuing to study law. Later, he became acquaintances with Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, who didn’t only love him as pupil but also respected Mujibur’s sheer will. As, Mujibur joined Bengal Muslim League in 1943, soon he became the general secretary of his College Students Union and “emerged as the most powerful man in the party”, described by M. Bhaskaran Nair. But through his time, Mujibur always knew he was from Bangla and decided to stay here after the Partition of India. The greater challenges of his life came after that.
He enrolled in the University of Dhaka to complete his study in law and founded the East Pakistan Muslim Students’ League. Even from that time, he was developing solution to mass poverty, unemployment and poor living conditions of his people. He was always active in the movements against the Pakistani government’s oppressions. Even while captured in jail, Mujib encouraged fellow activist groups to launch strikes and protests in the Language Movement for Bangla, and he undertook a hunger strike for 13 days. Mujib sent message to the President of the Constituent Assembly, “Sir, you will see that they want to place the word “East Pakistan” instead of “East Bengal.” We had demanded so many times that you should use Bengal instead of Pakistan. The word “Bengal” has a history, has a tradition of its own. You can change it only after the people have been consulted.”
Later, Mujib left the Muslim League to join Suhrawardy, Maulana Bhashani and Yar Mohammad Khan in the formation of the Awami Muslim League. He believed, they could organize first united movements to ensure the rights of the people of Bangla. First joint secretary, then following the footsteps of H.S. Suhrawardy, he became the second head of the Awami League. He shifted towards secularism and a broader appeal to all the people of this land, by dropping the word ‘Muslim’ from the Party’s name. Mujibur took strong leadership over the party in ensuring the rights of his people. He knew Ayub Khan’s ‘Basic Democracies’ plan was unfair and a scam. So, he patented his revolutionary ‘6-point movement’ titled ‘Our Charter of Survival ‘. But the political parties in Lahore refused to even hand over the regional power, even after the fair elections of 1964 and 1970. So, unrest over continuing denial of democracy spread across Pakistan and Mujib intensified his opposition to the disbandment of provinces in 1966. He became targets of several conspiracies and was arrested several times. But his inspirations made Bangali people never to lose hope.
Expecting, a war is coming. Mujib gave his legendary speech on 7 March 1971, hinting all the daunting possibilities, “The struggle now is the struggle for our emancipation; the struggle now is the struggle for our independence. Joy Bangla!..Since we have given blood, we will give more blood. God-willing, the people of this country will be liberated … Turn every house into a fort. Face (the enemy) with whatever you have.” He called for independence and launched a major campaign of civil disobedience at a mass gathering of people held at the Race Course Ground in Dhaka. Following that came, the conspiracies of Bhutto, martial law of Yahya Khan, their trickery of deceiving and finally the Darkest night in the history of Bangladesh, March 25th. Mujibur was captured and taken to West Pakistan, to discourage the Liberation War participants. But Mujib already had set the revolution in motion. Called for, to create resistance against Pakiskani Army of occupation by a telegraph at midnight on 26 March 1971. The nine months’ war for independence began.
On 8 January 1972, after victory Sheikh Mujibur Rahman stepped on the free ground of Bangladesh, and breathed the air of independence for the first time. Then, took on his rightful place to govern this new country as a president. He did his part. Sadly, the long-waited happiness did not last that long, for him. Previously, we joined in through his inspiration. But we failed in protecting him. Sir, we are deeply sorry that no one was there in the time when you needed them the most. None were able to rescue you from your worst nightmare. Sheikh Mujibur was betrayed by some of his closets. After all, trusting and loving the people of your country was his biggest weakness. Much like the tragic story of betrayal of the fall of Bengal, when Siraj ud-Daulah was betrayed and slain by his own people. History repeated again, as the hope Bangla fell again with your murder, by the coup of a junior army personnel. But your death was even more dreadful. The horror of Kings and Czars, befell upon you. Sheikh Mujibur’s whole family was massacred, even the grandchildren. Fortunately, his daughters survived as they were visiting West Germany. But was exiled to return to their homeland. Later, this left Bangladesh in such political turmoil, that took decades for us recover from. Our beloved Father of our nation was murdered along with his family, in his own house. To this day, we still mourn this tragic loss. Bangamata still cries for you Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
It was a shame for us a nation that, this day was never given such importance as if now. Let alone, our failure in protecting Bangabandhu. Things changed for the first time, when his eldest daughter, Sheikh Hasina won the election as the leader of the Awami League and took power in 1996. Since then, 15 August has been commemorated as our ‘National Mourning Day’. She is also our current honorable prime minister who made our nation believe again in progress and prosperity. Sadly, even after decades, Bangabandhu’s actions are being criticized by a particular group and whispers from the dark. May be none of the tragedies could happen, if he did not Declare the common amnesty to the suspected war criminals. Some, Pakistani leaders influenced US government in believing that, Sheikh Mujibur might have been planning to create a communist state, or dictatorship. So, Bangladesh would not get support from US or UN. But who are we to judge him? Wo are we to predict what could have, or could not? There were desperate and struggling times. Without him Bangladesh could not have made a place in the map of the world. We are always in debt to him for that. Our heart is heavy today, but let our wills be strong and determined commemorating his memory and with his notions for this country. With which, Bangabandhu inspired us all.