THE LEADER OF ASIA PACIFIC
THE PICTURE OF DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF BANGLADESH ON 07/03/1971 AT RACECOURSE GROUND
A Political Profile of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born in a respectable Muslim Family on 17 March, 1920, in Tungipara village under the then Gopalganj subdivision ( at present district ) of Faridpur district. He was the third child among four daughters and two sons of Sheikh Lutfar Rahman and Sheikh Shahara Khatun. His parents used to call him Khoka out of affection. Bangabandhu spent his childhood in Tungipara.
At the age of seven, Bangabandhu began his schooling at Gimadanga Primary School. At nine, he was admitted to class three at Gopalganj Public School. Subsequently, he was transferred to a local Missionary School.
Bangabandhu was forced to go for a break of study when, at the age of fourteen, one of his eyes had to be operated on.
At eighteen, Mujib married Begum Fazilatunnesa. They later became the happy parents of two daughters, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, and three sons, Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russel. All the sons were to be killed along with their parents on 15 August, 1975.
Bangabandhu’s political career was effectively inaugurated while he was a student at Gopalganj Missionary School. He led a group of students to demand that the cracked roof of the school be repaired when Sher-e-Bangla A. K. Fazlul Huq, Chief Minister of Undivided Bengal, came to visit the school along with Hussein Shaheed Suhrawardy.
Sheikh Mujib joined the Nikhil Bharat Muslim Chhatra Federation (All India Muslim Students Federation). He was elected Councilor for a one-year term.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman passed the Entrance (currently Secondary School Certificate) Examination. He then took admission as an Intermediate student in the humanities faculty of Calcutta Islamia College, where he had lodgings at Baker Hostel. The same year Bangabandhu got actively involved with the movement for the creation of Pakistan.
Sheikh Mujib’s busy active political career took off in the literal sense with his election as a Councilor of the Muslim League.
Bangabandhu took part in the conference of the all Bengal Muslim Students League held in Kushtia, where he played an important role. He was elected Secretary of Faridpur District Association, a Calcutta-based organization of the residents of Faridpur.
Sheikh Mujib was elected General Secretary of Islamia College Students Union.
Bangabandhu obtained Bachelor of Arts degree from Islamia College under Calcutta University. When communal riots broke out in the wake of the partition of India and the birth of Pakistan, Bangabandhu played a pioneering role in protecting Muslims and trying to contain the violence.
Bangabandhu took admission in the Law Department of Dhaka University. He founded the Muslim Students League on 4 January. He rose in spontaneous protest on 23 February when Prime Minister Khwaja Nazimuddin in his speech at the Legislative Assembly declared : ” The people of East Pakistan will accept Urdu as their state Language”. Khwaja Nazimuddins’s remarks touched off a storm of protest across the country. Sheikh Mujib immediately plunged in hectic activities to build a strong movement against the muslim League’s premeditated, heinous design to make Urdu the only state language of Pakistan. He established contacts with students and political leaders. On 2 March, a meeting of the workers of different political parties was held to chart the course of the movement against the Muslim League on the language issue. The meeting held at Fazlul Huq Hall approved a resolution placed by Bangabandhu to form an All-Party State Language Action Council. The Action Council called for a general strike on 11 March to register the protest against the conspiracy of the Muslim League against Bangla. On 11 March, Bangabandhu was arrested along with some colleagues while they were holding a demonstration in front of the Secretariat building. The student community of the country rose in protest following the arrest of Bangabandhu. In the face of the strong student movement
Sheikh Mujib was released from jail on 21st January. Bangabandhu extended his support to a strike called by the Class Four employees of Dhaka University to press home their various demands. The University authorities illogically imposed a fine on him for leading the movement of the employees. He rejected the unjust order. Eventually, the anti-Muslim League candidate Shamsul Huq won a by-election in Tangail on 26 April. Mujib was arrested for staging a sit-in strike before the Vice-chancellor’s residence. When the East Pakistan Awami Muslim League was formed on 23 June. Bangabandhu was elected its joint Secretary despite his incarceration. He was released in late June. Immediately after his release, he began organizing an agitation against the prevailing food crisis. In September he was detained for violating Section 144, Later, however, he was freed.
He raised the demand for Chief Minister Nurul Amin’s reJsignation at a meeting of the Awami Muslim League in October.
The Awami Muslim League brought out an anti-famine Minister Liaquat Ali Khan’s visit to the province. Once again Bangbandhu was arrested and jailed, this time for two years and five months for leading the demonstration.
On 26th January, Khwaja Nazimuddin declared that Urdu would be the state language of Pakistan. Though still in jail, Bangabandhu managed to play a leading role in organization a protest against this announcement. From prison he send out a call to the State Language Action Council to observe 21st February as Demand Day for releasing political prisoners and making. Bangla the state language. He began a hunger strike on 14 February. On 21 February the student. Community violated Section 144 and brought out procession in Dhaka to demand the recognition of Bangla as the state language. Police opened fire, killing I the process Salam, Barkat, Rafique, Jabbar and Shafiur, who thus became Martyrs of the of the Language Movement. In a statement from jail, Bangabandhu condemned the police firing and registered his strong protest. He was on hunger strike for 13 consecutive days. He was moved from Dhaka Central Jail to Faridpur Jail to prevent him from making contact with the organizers of the movement. He was released from jail o 26 February.
On 9 July, Mujib was elected General Secretary of East Pakistan Awami League at its council session. Efforts were made to forge unity among Moulana Bhashani, A.K. Fazlul Huq and Shaheed Suhrawardy with the objective of taking on the Muslim League at the general elections. To achieve this goal, a special council session of the party was called on 14 November, when a resolution to form the Jukta Front (United Front) was approved.
The first general election were held on 10 March. The United Front won 223 seats out of a total of 237, including 143 captured by the Awami League. Bangabandhu swept the Goppalganj constituency, defeating the powerful Muslim League leader Wahiduzzaman by a margin of 13.00 votes. On 15 May, Bangabandhu was given charge of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests when the new Provincial Government was formed. On 29 May, the Central Government arbitrarily dismissed the United Front ministry. Bangabandhu was again arrested once he landed at Dhaka airport after a flight from Karachi on 30 May. He was freed on 23 December.
Bangabandhu was elected a member of the Legislative Assembly on 5 June. The Awami League held a public meeting at Paltan Maidan on 17 June where it put forward a 21 point programme demanding autonomy for East Pakistan. On 23 June, the Working Council of the Awami League decided that its members would resign from the Legislative Assembly if autonomy was not granted to East Pakistan.
On 25 August, Bangabandhu told Pakistan’s assembly in Karachi.
“SIR, YOU WILL SEE THAT THEY WANT TO PLACE THE WORD ‘EAST PAKISTAN’ INSTEAD OF ‘EAST BENGAL’ WE HAVE 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. IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE IT THEN WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO BENGAL AND ASK THEM WHETHER THEY ACCEPT IT SO FAR AS THE QUESTION OF ONE-UNIT IS CONCERNED IT CAN COME IN THE CONSTITUTION. WHY DO YOU WANT IT TO BE TAKEN UP JUST NOW? WHAT ABOUT THE STATE LANGUAGE, BENGALI? THEY WILL BE PREPARED TO CONSIDER ONE-UNIT WITH ALL THESE THINGS. SO, I APPEAL TO MY FRIENDS ON THAT SIDE TO ALLOW THE PEOPLE TO GIVE THEIR VERDICT IN ANY WAY, IN THE FORM OF REFERENDUM OR IN THE FORM OF PLEBISCITE.”
On 21 October, the party dropped the word “Muslim from its name at a special council of the Bangladesh Awami Muslim League, making the party a truly modern and secular one. Bangbandhu was reelected General Secretary of party.