Wednesday, 25 May, 2022

Bangabandhu’s Dream and Sheikh Hasina’s Success by M. Shahinoor Rahman: A Work Reflecting Respect and Dedication for Bangabandhu and Bangladesh

  • Dr Miah Md. Rashiduzzaman
  • 9th May, 2022 01:59:31 AM
  • Print news

This book narrates the account of Bangabandhu’s quest for independence, which ignited the Bengali liberation war that ultimately liberated the entire country. Sheikh Mujib was one of the world’s most extraordinary leaders because he founded an independent nation, as opposed to other great leaders who ruled their countries for a long time or improved the social and economic conditions of a specific population in their own countries. The story of Sheikh Mujib is a rare one in global history: he dreamed of founding a nation and saw it through completion within his lifetime. The history of the world is littered with examples of leaders who have led revolutions and movements that have had a significant impact on both the social and political dynamics of the world and the lives of ordinary inhabitants.

The Liberation War’s chief pilot was Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation. True, Bangabandhu was not present when the Bengalis celebrated victory in December 1971. Still, the aura of his gigantic personality, words, and leadership relentlessly pushed us through the nine-month liberation battle to joyous triumph. Those who lived through the events of 1971 must remember who provided solace in those trying days of wandering across the fields, through the jungles, and being exiled as refugees away from home to save lives from the invading forces; who provided a nation’s explosive energy in those fire-breathing months of building defenses and launching guerrilla attacks against the Pakistani attackers. He instilled the magnificent spirit of motherland and independence in the psyche of the Bengali people inclusive of literate and illiterate farmers, labourers, intellectuals, students, and others, making nationality, religion, and caste obsolete.

Before the war of independence, Bangabandhu initiated and led a very effective non-cooperation campaign and a movement for autonomy. He went around the country spreading the inspiration he had garnered from his accomplishment as a true national leader. Even though Pakistani authorities captivated Bangabandhu in March 1971, his motivational speeches and messages became the driving force behind the public insurgence at the outset of the independence war. The victory in the month of December, after a nine-month-long bloody war, would have been unlikely without the charisma of Bangabandhu’s leadership. Bangabandhu’s efforts to instill a unique dream for freedom in the hearts of a nation and to make that nation bear a spirit of sacrifice paved passages to the great victory. Those who witnessed the 1971 liberation war recall that Bangabandhu’s non-cooperation campaign effectively brought the issue of the independence of Bangladesh to light. From then on, Bangabandhu was in charge of the country.

It was for the great leadership of a true visionary in the form of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman that the Bangladeshi people finally achieved their long-awaited freedom in December 1971. In the aftermath, Bangabandhu, the founding father of the Bengali nation, demonstrated the first marks of being a people’s leader by devising an intelligent, time-worthy and sustainable constitution for the nation containing benevolent laws which could become the proper tools to break away from the suppressive web of colonizing British laws. His rapid development as a people-oriented leader of the cabinet transformed him into the firm leader that his newborn country urgently needed. From that moment he demonstrated magnetic leadership and remained a popular leader until the day he died.

Regarding Bangabandhu’s assertive leadership Gary Bass observes, “Mujib’s very presence exuded raw might, a power derived from the masses and his charismatic demeanour. His features were rough, and his eyes were piercing.” The importance of Bangabandhu’s 7th March speech should not be underestimated. Each syllable of it, which was impromptu and lasted only 19 minutes, conveyed strategic counsel for the final phase of the revolution and fostered patriotism in the minds of Bengalis. According to Jacob F. Field’s 2013 book, We Shall Fight on the Beaches: The Speeches That Inspired History, this speech was recognized as one of the most exhilarating and inspiring warfare speeches spoken in the last 2,500 years.

Jacob F. Field gathered excerpts from some of the most inspiring speeches in history, including addresses by Cicero, Churchill, Lincoln, Mao, and many more, to explain the reasoning behind this rating. As some have claimed, Bangabandhu did not declare Bangladesh’s independence of a sudden. The Pakistani authorities detained him multiple times along the process as he took urgent action to liberate Bengalis from Pakistan’s politico-economic exploitation. Bangabandhu’s first arrest occurred while he was a student in 1938, and he was arrested twelve more times in the following years: 1940–1948–1949–1951–1954–1958–1961–1962, 1964–1966, 1968–1971.

Following an investigation into persecution of Mujib through abuse of law, it was discovered that under Pakistan’s 25-year dictatorship, he had been imprisoned for 12 years and sentenced to death twice. But, because of his love for the Bengali people, he could bear all of this with a smile on his face. Gary J. Bass argued that Mujib’s lifetime campaigning had “cast him into jail, making him a hero to the populace.” Both Bangladesh and Sheikh Mujib are connected. If Sheikh Mujib had not been born, Bangladesh would not have been recognized as a country, as no other leader of Bengal in the thousands of years of history before Mujib had ever dreamed of the independent existence of Bengal, and no other leader of Bengal had ever dreamed of the separate existence of Bengal before Mujib. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s efforts resulted in Bengal becoming an independent country. In recognition of his contributions, he has been referred to as the ‘Father of the Bengali Nation’ and the ‘Greatest of All Bengalis’.

The book under review commemorates the centennial of the birth of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through twenty neatly written essays. Each of the essays focuses on a particular aspect of Bangabandhu’s leadership and the contributions of Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, his deserving daughter, Honourable Prime Minister Jononetree Sheikh Hasina, and other individuals to the Bengali nation. The essays are intellectually reflective, free-flowing, and thought-provoking. Apart from exposing the author’s deep-delved love and respect for the Father of the Nation and his family, the book harbours some poignant questions against the vested parties who relentlessly try to deface the true history of the emergence of Bangladesh by defaming Bangabandhu and his family. I am convinced that this work will prove to be an interesting read for anyone who reads it.

(The Reviewer is an author, academic, translator, Professor of English, Islamic University, Kushtia, Bangladesh)