ABU JAKIR, Dhaka
History has always been shaped by the forces of extraordinary leadership. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who had made the history of Bangladesh, was not only a Bangladeshi politician and statesman, but he also was known as the “leader of the leaders”.
The Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born at Tungiparha in Gopalganj on Mar 17, 1920.
Mujib was born to an ordinary family at Tungiparha.An energetic youth, he became involved in politics during his school years. Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy had been his political mentor.
From his early life, he showed the potential of leadership, who gradually grew as the torchbearer of the Bangali Nation. It is the reality of history that Bangladesh wouldn’t get freedom without Mujib.
As a leader Bangabandhu was handsome, self-confident, faithful, popular, simple, far- sighted, charismatic and patriot. He never compromised with anybody under any threat or illegal pressure. He proved these attributes all through his life.
London’s Sunday Times had dubbed him as “A poet of politics. He was able to attract a crowd of millions people to his rallies and hold them spellbound with great rolling waves of emotional rhetoric.
A famous columnist from Sunday Observer had said “There is no other real Bengali leader like Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in terms of his physique and facial features. The tall, handsome man has a resounding voice. He can really mesmerise his people.”
Bangabandhu was also a leader of masses. He showed the first sign of being a people’s leader in 1943 when he distributed rice to the famine-stricken people from his father’s stockpile, without any knowledge of the latter. In the coming years, he grew up to be the leader he was meant to be, and steered his nation to their most glorious moment in history.
A study, titled “Evaluation of Charismatic Leader of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”, revealed that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has stimulated people by his charismatic leadership capability and huge political knowledge. From his early life he had demonstrated two main leadership qualities, among many others; which make him an indisputable leader of Bangladesh. One of them was proactive social consciousness and paramount dedication for politics, which gave him the recognition to be a leader of general people.
However, Mujib was arrested on Mar 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. Later on in 1955, the year that Mujib took up the helm of the Awami League (AL) as its General Secretary.
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 Six-Points became so popular in a short while that it turned into the Charter of Freedom for the Bengalis or their Magna Carta.
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.
The fiery speech he delivered to a sea of mass supporters at Dhaka’s then Race Course Maidan, calling out for blood to be spilled for independence, is immortalized in Bangladesh’s liberation history.
He was arrested after the Pakistan Army began its genocide of Bengalis on the night of Mar 25.
But before his capture, Bangabandhu declared Bangladesh independent from Pakistan in the early hour of Mar 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.
With the sacrifice of 3 million lives, Bangladesh was liberated on Dec 16, 1971. Bangabandhu, released from the Pakistani prison, returned home on Jan 10, 1972.
He then delved into the work to reconstruct a new nation and its people left devastated by war.
In 1975, he announced a national programme for securing economic freedom, and formed the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League or BKSAL which prohibited activities of all other political parties.
Under one-party rule, all newspapers, except four, were closed down.
Bangabandhu, then president, was assassinated when a group of army officers stormed into his Dhanmondi residence on Aug 15, 1975.