Fact File on Bangabandhu
The life of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the saga of a great leader, turning people power into an armed struggle that liberated a nation and created a dignified independent state. The birth of the sovereign state of Bangladesh in December 1971, after a heroic war of nine months against the Pakistani colonial rule, was the triumph of his faith in the destiny of his people. Sheikh Mujib, endearingly called Bangabandhu or Friend of Bengal, rose from the people, molded their hopes and aspirations into a dream and staked his life in the long battle for making it real. He was a true democrat, and he employed, in his struggle for securing justice and fair play for the Bengalees, only democratic and constitutional weapons until the last moment. It is he who firmly established democracy in one of the least developed countries of Asia.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the third child of Sheikh Lutfar Rahman and Sheikh Sayera Khatun, was born in the village of Tungipara under the then Gopalganj Subdivision of the then Faridpur District on March 17, 1920.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman married Sheikh Fazilatunnesa. Together they had two daughters, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, and three sons, Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russel.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman passed the Matriculation examination from Gopalganj Missionary School and got himself admitted into the Islamia College from where he completed his graduation in the year 1947.
On January 26, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Khawaja Nazimuddin declared at a public meeting in the Paltan Maidan that Urdu would be the only state language of Pakistan. While in captivity, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman stayed in constant touch with those waging the movement to realize Bangla as one of the state languages. On February 21, the agitated students came out on strike in order to press hard their demand to make Bangla one of the state languages of Pakistan in defiance of the curfew enforced by the authorities. In a statement released from the jail, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman expressed deep sorrow for those who lost their lives and continued protesting against the unjust police firing through hunger strike.
On January 3, the Ayub government filed a case, bringing the charge of forced secession of East Bengal with the assistance of India, known as the ‘Agartala Conspiracy Case’ against a number of Bengalis on the charge of treason. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was made the number 1 accused and the official name of the case was ‘The State vs Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Others’.
The Agartala Conspiracy Case resulted in a nationwide student movement and mass upsurge demanding the withdrawal of the case and the release of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. With continued pressure from the public, the Ayub Khan government on February 22 was forced to withdraw the Agartala Conspiracy Case and release Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and others.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Awami League President, urged his countrymen to elect Awami League candidates in the country’s first general elections held on December 7 (National Assembly) and December 17 (Provincial Assembly). Awami League achieved an absolute majority in the general elections on December 7, winning 167 out of the 169 seats of the National Assembly in East Pakistan and 298 seats of the 310 seats of the Provincial Assembly of East Pakistan.
Because of postponing the assembly of 3rd march, 1971 almost all people came out on the street to protest this decision. On March 7, in his historic speech before the millions of people at the Racecourse Maidan (Suhrawardy Udyan), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called his fellow countrymen to take all-out preparations for the war of liberation and independence of Bangladesh. On the midnight of On March 25, the Pakistan army launched its heinous campaign of genocide against the unarmed Bengalis. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed the Independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of March 26. After nine months of bloody war, Bangladesh was liberated on December 16, 1971.
The Government of Pakistan was forced to release Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in January under immense international pressure. On that very day, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman respectively traveled to London and then Delhi on his way to Dhaka. On January 12, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took charge as the Prime Minister of the Bangladesh government and embarked on the reconstruction of a war-ravaged country.
Bangladesh received world recognition by becoming the 136th member of the United Nations on September 17. On September 25, at the 29th General Assembly of the United Nations, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed the world in Bangla, the first-ever Bangla speech delivered at the UN.
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the architect of Bangladesh, was assassinated by a handful of army renegades in the pre-dawn hours of August 15. They murdered every member of his family except his daughters Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, who, fortunately, were abroad at that time. Bangladesh observes August 15 as the National Mourning Day and remembers the noblest and the greatest Bengali.
It is impossible to write the history of pre and post-independence Bangladesh without mentioning the name of Bangabandhu. The names of two great Bangalees will remain forever shining in the minds of the Bangalees. One is Rabindranath Thakur and the other is Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. One had shaped the Bengali language and wrote the national anthem of Bangladesh. The other materialized the age-old dream of the Bangalees by helping create an independent territory called Bangladesh for an entire nation. I feel proud for this, and my posterity will also be so. The names ‘Bangali’, ‘Bangladesh’ and ‘Banagabandhu’ will continue to live on.
PS: It is impossible to make a fact file based on someone's life history in 180-200 words.