Bangabandhu —The people's politician
Anwar A Khan
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's personal belief was to love, be affectionate and gratified and with these distinguishing features of his personal nature, he won the hearts of his people. Suzy Kassem's words "Selflessness, humility and truthfulness and these are the three marks of an honourable man" remind us how a true honourable man was living in Bangabandhu's soul. Pakistani rulers always created hatred and a state of deep-seated ill-will against the Bengalis. They said Muslim's language must be Urdu. Bangla is the language of the Hindus. It was as if we were Hindus only, despite we were Muslims and the majority people of the-then Pakistan. Their habitual mental attitude was that they determined how they deliberately interpreted and responded to our situations in this part of Bengal. In every aspect, their narrow and mean mindedness was revealed toward their treatment to us which compelled us to dislike them intensely.
Bangabandhu's outlook and thoughts always centred round how to achieve the due rights of his people. We know well that religion based emotion amongst other emotions are very responsive to physical stimuli which they used at all times against us to demean or belittle our people. On the dark night of 25th March, 1971, they started a vigorous campaign against us under the cloak of our holy religion-Islam and stormed on us with tanks, cannons and other sophisticated weapons to annihilate the Bengalis from this planet. But Bangabandhu had firm conviction that the creation of Bangladesh was a matter of little time only. He believed nothing could be achieved by exerting coercion, torture, sheer neglect and exploitation. He was the dreamer of Bangladesh since long. People responded to his clarion call to fight against the cruel Pakistani military junta and attain the country, Bangladesh. He let our people to dream of our own country and with his dream; he struggled against the Pakistani rulers throughout his life. For, the real goal of attaining freedom was ahead. Our people fought the monstrous Pakistani army valiantly with whatever we had in our hands and it happened only at the call of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
He had a long standing dream of freedom and liberation from the far past. By dint of his hard labour and long standing struggles, he created the necessary ground to gain Bangladesh. He felt for achieving Bangladesh, a strong political party was needed and he worked tirelessly to that effect. As a result, he gradually started to becoming the principal political hero after 1954 in the annuls of Bangladesh's history for shaping his nation to attain Bangladesh. He was not a politician sprouting from the earth. He was not a usurper of history. He himself created history for his own people. And Bangladesh is a great testimony to this fact. That's why, he is revered as the Father of the Nation; and he is fondly addressed to: Bangabandhu.
The universal appeal of our cultural binding established on a thousand years of heritage and that has kept people of all religions, castes and creeds of this land tied in a single chord. And for which to further strengthen this school of thought, he used to say: "Without cultural freedom, political and economic freedoms are meaningless." Bangabandhu urged his people: "General masses, those who are poor and oppressed, those who are living with relentless struggles, their happiness and sorrows shall have to be the focal point of our art, literature and culture. The artists, litterateurs and cultural groups must take due responsibility for them. Our own literature and culture shall be based on the hopes and aspirations of our mass people centring our focus on our soil and people." He further emphasised on the economic emancipation of the people of this land. In his words:"The world is divided into two camps - exploiter and oppressed. I am in favour of the oppressed. If I can't bring about smiles in my people's faces; if I see that the people of Bangladesh remain hungry, I shall not be able to die peacefully." He further said: "If people of Bangladesh are not able to eat their full bellies, then the true spirit of liberation will turn futile. If my mothers and daughters do not get necessary clothing, this liberation will not be full. This freedom will not be full, if the youths do not get jobs. Our farmers are the most distressed and oppressed class and in order to improve their condition, the vast part of our initiatives must be spent to their well-being.
He strongly believed that secularism did not mean anti-religion. People of every religion will perform his/her own religion at ease. Nobody will do any harm to religion belonged to people of other religions. People of Bangladesh do not want interference in any one's own religious affairs. For political reasons, religion can't be used. None will be allowed to use religion to gain political benefits. If anyone wants to try to use religion, people of Bangladesh will reject any such ugly effort. Communalism must not be allowed to rise up its ugly head. Bangladesh is a secular state and he became the true symbol non-communalism.
He is a rare breed of human being. He is a rare breed of politician in world domain. He has the mesmerising power to bring people to his fold so easily by his fatherly touch. For this reason, he became the symbol of trust and confidence to his people. Bangabandhu is not only a leader of Bangladesh but also a rare political leader of this sub-continent. With his affectionate touch, he could win the hearts of so many. The truth of his dream is today's Bangladesh. Even after more than four decades of his assassination, Bangladesh is today irrepressible and it is a truth throughout the world.
Bangabandhu's brutal killing is a colossal political disaster for Bangladesh which we achieved through our glorious Liberation War in 1971. It also acted as unnatural death for our rich heritage of culture. His assassination also blocked the path of blossoming people's culture in Bangladesh. On 5th December, 1969, Bangabandhu renamed the-then East Pakistan as Bangladesh. Under his charismatic leadership, people of Bangladesh became united under a single platform to liberate Bangladesh from the Pakistani occupation forces. It is very outrageous that terrorism has now raised its cruel head in the country but it will be reduced to ashes with the combined efforts of our people.
Telling about the woes and weal of mass people in a very louder voice, he became the symbol of our Liberation; he became our Bangabandhu and the Liberator. Noted journalist and columnist Syed Badrul Ahsan has aptly said: "He was our troubadour." He is truly our Liberator. His meteoric rise to the political scene in Bangladesh's history reminds us of the famous words of Shakespeare: "There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
We should pledge on this sorrowful month: "Let us form one body, one heart, and defend to the last warrior our country, our homes, our liberty, and the graves of our fathers. On this cruellest month of August, we wish to say in the words of JF Kennedy: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."r
Anwar A Khan is a political commentator