Politicians

A BIOGRAPHY OF BANGABANDHU SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN

A Biography of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

BIOGRAPHY OF
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
(Father of the nation, Leader, Politician and Statesman)
(17 March 1920 – 15 August 1975)

 “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman” is the name of that greatest leader, politician and statesman in the history of Bangladesh who had worked behind the independence of Bangladesh.

“Father of the Nation” and “Bangabandhu” the names stateliness his identity. Sheikh Mujib united the whole of Bangladesh to fight against the then oppressive West Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman served as the first President of Bangladesh and later as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from 17 April 1971 until his assassination on 15 August 1975. He is considered to be the driving force behind the independence of Bangladesh. Sheikh Mujib is called as “Bangabandhu” which means “Friend of Bengal” in English terms for his popularity and contribution to the country.

Sheikh Mujibwas a leading figure as the leader of the Awami League, founded in 1949 as an East Pakistan–based political party in Pakistan. For his efforts to gain political autonomy for East Pakistan and later as the central figure behind the Bangladesh Liberation Movement and the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is credited as the most important figure in the history of Independent Bangladesh. Thus, he is regarded as “JatirJanak” or “Jatir Pita” both meaning “Father of the Nation” of Bangladesh. His daughter “Sheikh Hasina” is the current leader of the Awami League and also the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

The birth of Bangladesh was impossible without Bangabandhu. In a 2004 BBC poll, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was voted the “Greatest Bengali of all time”.

Life of “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman” At a Glance:

🏹 Real Name: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
🏹 Nick Name:Khoka
🏹 Title:
⨭ Bangabandhu
⨭ Father of the Nation
⨭ Jatir Pita
⨭ Jatirjonok
🏹 Profession:
⨭ Famous Bangladeshi politician
⨭ Leader
⨭ Statesman
🏹 Date of Birth: March 17, 1920
🏹 Place of Birth:Tungipara under the then Gopalganj Subdivision (now District) of the then Faridpur District
🏹 Nationality:
⨭ British Indian (1920–1947)
⨭ Pakistani (1947–1971)
⨭ Bangladeshi (1971–1975)
🏹 Religion: Islam
🏹 Education:
⨭ Gopalganj Public School
⨭ MadaripurIslamia High School
⨭ Gopalganj Missionary School
⨭ Islamia College (now Maulana Azad College
⨭ University of Dhaka
🏹 Father: Sheikh Lutfar Rahman
🏹 Mother: Sheikh SayeraKhatun
🏹 Spouse: Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib
🏹 Children: Five
🏹 Political party: Bangladesh KrishakSramik Awami League (1975)
🏹 Other Political Affiliations:All-India Muslim League (Before 1949)
🏹 Zodiac Sign: Pisces
🏹 Died:15 August 1975
🏹 Dying Age: 55 years
🏹 Dying Place: His own residence
🏹 Reason For Death:Assassination

Early Life of “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”:

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born in the village of Tungipara village in Gopalganj District in the province of Bengal in British Indiaon March 17, 1920. He was the third child of “Sheikh Lutfar Rahman” and “Sheikh SayeraKhatun”. Sheikh Lutfar Rahman was a serestadar in the civil court of Gopalganj. He had three sisters and one brother. In the family, he was adoringly called by “Khoka”.

Sheikh Mujib entered into class three at Gopalganj Public School in 1929. Twoyears later, admitted into class four at MadaripurIslamia High School. There was a very potential leadership in Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from very early age.He organized a student protest in his school for the removal of an inept principal at a very young age. Sheikh Mujib was withdrew from school in 1934 to undergo an eye surgery, and returned to school only after four years, owing to the severity of the surgery and slow recovery.

Later, he passed his Matriculation from Gopalganj Missionary School in 1942, Intermediate of Arts from Islamia College (now Maulana Azad College) in 1944 and BA from the same college in 1947. He was admitted into the University of Dhaka to study law, after the partition of India, but could not complete the course because he was expelled from the University in early 1949 on the charge of ‘inciting the fourth-class employees’ in their agitation against the University authority’s indifference towards their legitimate demands. After 61 years, in 2010, the expulsion was withdrawn as unjust and undemocratic.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman married Sheikh Fazilatunnesa (Renu). Together they had two daughters, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, and three sons, Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russel. ​

Political Career of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as a Leader of Pakistan:

⮞ Bengali language movement:

In 1948, Sheikh Mujbur Rahman He founded the East Pakistan Muslim Students’ League, the first opposition student organization in Pakistan, on January 4. When Chief Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin declared that the people of East Pakistan must accept Urdu as their state language in the Constituent Assembly, he rose in spontaneous protest on February 23, Sheikh Mujib immediately plunged himself in overt activities to build a strong movement against the Muslim League’s resolve to make Urdu the only state language of Pakistan.

On March 2, a meeting held at FazlulHuq Muslim Hall approved a resolution placed by Sheikh Mujib to form an All-Party State Language Action Committee. In the face of overpowering student protests, the Muslim League government was forced to release Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other student leaders on March 15. On June 23, the East Pakistan Awami Muslim League (present Awami League) was founded and he was elected as joint secretary in 1949 whilst in prison.

In 1952, then Prime Minister of Pakistan Khawaja Nazimuddin declared that Urdu would be the only state language of Pakistan at a public meeting in the Paltan Maidan, on January 26. While in captivity, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman stayed in constant touch with those waging the movement to realize Bangla as one of the state languages. He issued key directives to make the movement a success even from the confines of his prison. On February 16, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman started a hunger strike that lasts 11 days. In defiance of a curfew enforced by the authorities on February 21, agitated students came out on strike in order to press their demand to make Bangla one of the state languages of Pakistan. Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar, Shafiur and many others are martyred when police fire on a rally.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman expresses deep sorrow for those who lost their lives and protested against the unjust police firing through a hunger strike, in a statement released from jail. On 26 February, he was released from jail.

In the same year, he visited China to attend the World Peace Conference, where he delivered a resounding speech in Bangla, taking the cause of the Mother Language Movement to a global audience.

⮞ Foundation of the Awami League:

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was elected as the “General Secretary of Awami Muslim League” at its council meeting and continues to gain prominence as a Bengali leader in 1953. In the first elections in East Bengal, the United Front had won 223 seats out of 237 Muslim reserved seats, on March 10, 1954. The Awami Muslim League alone obtained 143 seats. Sheikh Mujib won the election in Gopalganj constituency as minister for Co-operative and Agricultural Development in the new provincial government.

The central government arbitrarily dismissed the United Front cabinet on May 30, and as Bangabandhu landed in Dhaka from Karachi the same day he was immediately arrested. He was released on December 23.

In 1955, Under the leadership of General Secretary Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Awami Muslim League was renamed Awami League, dropping the word ‘Muslim’ to open the doors of the party to all, regardless of religion.

⮞ Six Point Movement:

In 1966, February 5, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman presented his historic six-point program known as the `Charter of freedom of the Bengali nation’. It drew the roadmap for the independence of Bangladesh under the garb of greater autonomy. The program hit hard at the roots of Pakistani colonial rule over the Bengalis. According to his plan:

1. The constitution should provide for a Federation of Pakistan in its true sense on the Lahore Resolution and the parliamentary form of government with supremacy of a legislature directly elected on the basis of the universal adult franchise.
2. The federal government should deal with only two subjects: defense and foreign affairs, and all other residuary subjects shall be vested in the federating states.
3. Two separate, but freely convertible currencies for two wings should be introduced; or if this is not feasible, there should be one currency for the whole country, but effective constitutional provisions should be introduced to stop the flight of capital from East to West Pakistan. Furthermore, a separate banking reserve should be established and separate fiscal and monetary policy be adopted for East Pakistan.
4. The power of taxation and revenue collection shall be vested in the federating units and the federal center will have no such power. The Federation will be entitled to a share in the state taxes to meet its expenditures.
5. There should be two separate accounts for the foreign exchange earnings of the two wings; the foreign exchange requirements of the federal government should be met by the two wings equally or in a ratio to be fixed; indigenous products should move free of duty between the two wings, and the constitution should empower the units to establish trade links with foreign countries.
6. East Pakistan should have a separate militia or paramilitary forces.


⮞ Anti-Ayub Movement:

In 1968, the Ayub government filed the Agartala Conspiracy Case against a number of Bengalis (Politicians, members of the Army, Navy and Air Force, Civil Servants etc.). Along with Sheikh Mujib, 34 others were charged with forced secession of East Bengal with the assistance of India.

A mass movement was spread across the country demanding the release of all the accused including Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. On June 19, the trial of the accused began at Dhaka Kurmitola Cantonment with intense security and scrutiny.

In 1969, The Agartala Conspiracy Case resulted in a nationwide student movement and mass uprising demanding the withdrawal of the case and the release of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Under pressure from the public, the Ayub Khan government was forced to withdraw the Agartala Conspiracy Case and released Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and others on February 22.

On February 23, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was given the title ‘Bangabandhu’ at a mammoth public meeting organized by the Central Student Action Committee at the Racecourse Maidan (now SuhrawardyUdyan). At a meeting held on December 5 to observe the death anniversary of ShaheedSuhrawardy, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declares that East Pakistan would be called Bangladesh from then on.

⮞ 1970 elections and civil disobedience:

In 1970, The Awami League president, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, urged his countrymen to elect Awami League candidates on the basis of their 6-point demand in the country’s first general elections held on December 7 (National Assembly), and December 17 (Provincial Assembly), barring a few seats in the cyclone affected coastal areas in the south. He chose ‘boat’ as the party’s symbol to represent Awami League and the nation’s hope.

After a million people die in a catastrophic cyclone in the coastal areas on November 12, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman suspends the election campaign and rushes to the affected areas.

Awami League achieved an absolute majority in the general elections on December 7, winning 167 (including 7 women reserved seats) out of the 169 seats of the National Assembly in East Pakistan and 298 seats (including 10 women reserved seats) of the 310 seats of the Provincial Assembly of East Pakistan.

Role of Bangabandhu in the Establishment of Bangladesh:

In 1970, following General Yahya khan’s postponement of the National Assembly session on March 1, only two days before the session was due to take place, Bengalis from all walks of life took to the streets in massive demonstrations. From March 1 onward, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was virtually running East Pakistan as its de-facto head of government.

On March 7, in his historic speech before millions of people at the Racecourse Maidan, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called on his fellow countrymen to take all out preparation for the War of Liberation. Pakistan President General Yahya Khan visited Dhaka and holds a series of meetings with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from March 16- 24, but no resolution can be reached.

At midnight on March 25, the Pakistan army launches its heinous campaign of genocide against unarmed Bengalis. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed the Independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of March 26. Right after the proclamation, he was arrested and had taken to a Pakistani prison.

On April 10, the first government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was formed and Bangabandhu was elected President by the constituent assembly.

After nine months of bloody war, Bangladesh was liberated with the surrender of the Pakistani occupation army on December 16, 1971. In August and September, the Pakistan Junta held a secret trial of Bangabandhu and sentenced him to death. People of the world are enraged and demanded the security of the President of Bangladesh.

Role of Bangabandhu in the Governing Bangladesh:

In 1972 Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took charge as Prime Minister of the Bangladesh government and began the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country. Within three-and-a-half years, Bangabandhu laid the foundations of the new Republic by, putting into effect several measures, including rehabilitation of 10 million Bengali refugees, withdrawal of all allied forces within 3 months of victory, formation of the constituent assembly & a constitution for the new state within 10 months, recognition of Bangladesh by more than a hundred states. He also ensured Bangladesh’s membership to important international bodies including the Commonwealth of Nations, United Nations, NAM, and OIC, as well as the enactment of International Crimes Tribunal Laws.

In 1974, 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 delivered the first ever Bangla speech at the UN.

AssassinationOf Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman:

On 15 August 1975,Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the architect of Bangladesh, was assassinated by a handful of army renegades as part of a larger national and international political conspiracy hatched by anti-liberation forces in the pre-dawn hours.

Every member of his family was murdered along with Bangabandhu, except his daughters Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, who by fortune alone were abroad at that time.

Bangabandhu’s eldest daughter, Sheikh Hasina, is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh observes August 15 as the National Mourning Day and remembers the noblest and the greatest Bengali who ever lived, through his spirit, ideology, courage and love for the people of his nation.

Personal Life, Family and Relatives of Bangabandhu:

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born in the village of Tungipara, village in Gopalganj District in the province of Bengal in British Indiaon March 17, 1920. His Father was “Sheikh Lutfar Rahman” and mother was “Sheikh SayeraKhatun”. Sheikh Lutfar Rahman was a serestadar in the civil court of Gopalganj. He had three sisters and one brother. He was the third child among his brothers and sisters. In the family, he was adoringly called by “Khoka”.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman married Sheikh Fazilatunnesa (Renu) when he was 13 years old. Fazilatunnesawas only three and had just lost her parents, so her grandfather, Sheikh Abdul Hamid, had commanded his son Sheikh Lutfar Rahman to marry his son Sheikh Mujib to her.

9 years later, in 1942, when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was 22 years old and Begum Fazilatunnesa was 12 years old, their marriage was consummated. Together they had two daughters,”Sheikh Hasina” and “Sheikh Rehana” and three sons,”Sheikh Kamal”, “Sheikh Jamal”, and “Sheikh Rasel”.

Sheikh Kamal was an organizer of the MuktiBahini guerrilla struggle in 1971 and received a wartime commission in the Bangladesh Army during the Liberation War. He was perceived to be the successor to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Sheikh Jamal was trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Great Britain and later joined the Bangladesh Army as a Commissioned Officer.

The Sheikh family was under house arrest during the Bangladesh Liberation War until 17 December, Sheikh Kamal and Sheikh Jamal found the means to escape and cross over to a liberated zone, where they joined the struggle to free the country.

Legacy:

⮞ Bangladesh:

➸ Mujibur has been depicted on Bangladeshi currency, Taka and is the namesake of many Bangladesh public institutions.
➸ Following the assassination of the Father of the nation, succeeding governments offered low-key commemorations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Restoration of his public image awaited the election of an Awami League government in 1996, which was led by his eldest daughter, Sheikh Hasina, the leader of the party.
➸ 15 August has since been commemorated as “National Mourning Day”. The country keeps it flags lowered to half-mast in this day as a sign of mourning. In 2016, the Awami League government passed a law that criminalized any criticism of Mujibur Rahman.
➸ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is one of the most popular figures in Bangladesh. In a 2004 BBC Bengali opinion poll, Mujibur was voted as the “Greatest Bengali of All Time.
➸ The style of waistcoat that Mujibur wore during his political campaign is called a Mujib Coat (Bangla: মুজিবকোট) in Bangladesh.

⮞ Worldwide:

➸ Cuban leader Fidel Castro compared Mujib’s personality with the Himalayas during the Non-Aligned Summit in 1973.
➸ In 2003, author David Ludden describe him as a “Forgotten Hero” in an article on Frontline.
➸ On 30 October 2017, UNESCO recognisedMujib’s 7 March Speech as part of the world’s documentary heritage.
➸ There is an avenue named after him in Ankara, Turkey

Bibliography:

Sheikh Mujib wrote two volumes of his autobiography, where he expressed his view on politics and described his personal life. Both books were published after his death by his daughter and current Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

⮞ The Unfinished Memoirs: The University Press Limited, Penguin Books and Oxford University Press, 12 June 2012, ISBN 9789845061100.

⮞ The Prison Diaries. Bangla Academy. 17 March 2017. ISBN 978-0-470-60264-5.

⮞ Amar DekhaNoya Chin. Bangla Academy. 2 February 2020. ISBN 978-9840759880.

Awards:

Year

Prize Name

1973

Joliot-Curie Medal of Peace

2020

Gandhi Peace Prize

Portrayals:

⮞ Bengali language movement:
⮞ Bangladesh:
⮞ Humayun Ahmed included Sheikh Mujib in two of his historical novels, 2004’s Jochona O JononirGolpo and 2012’s Deyal.
⮞ Neamat Imam’s novel The Black Coat depicts Mujib as a deadliest dictator.
⮞ In the 2014 Indian film Children of War, ProdipGanguly portrayed of Sheikh Mujib.
⮞ In 2015, the Centre for Research and Information (CRI) department of Bangladesh Awami League published a four-part children’s comic book named Mujib based on Sheikh Mujib’s two autobiographies.
⮞ In the 2018 documentary film Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale, Sheikh Mujib’s daughter Sheikh Hasina spoke about the assassination of her father.

 

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the greatest leader of the history of Bangladesh who cannot be forgotten and will be remembered forever to the nation.

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