Bangabandhu : "the unchallenged political leader" ... "Poet of Politics".
As the Mujib-Yahya talks entered the second day (March 17, 1971), the atmosphere was suddenly charged with news of army opening fire on Bengali civilians in Chittagong.
Apparently a riot had broken out, instigated by armed forces' personnel dressed in civvies, and they had opened fire on a pro-Awami League procession while it was passing by a "Bihari" neighborhood.
The whole country was outraged at the incident and everybody knew that it was a "probing" tactics of the Pakistanis. Consequently, it was not to be taken lightly.
To assuage feelings or to "cover-up", actually, the Martial Law Administrator Zone B announced a probe "to go into the circumstances which led to the calling of the Army in aid of civil power in various parts of East Pakistan between March 2 and March 9.
Bangabandhu promptly rejected it and sent his colleagues: Capt. Mansur Ali, leader of the parliamentary party in the East Pakistan Assembly, Khandaker Mushtaque Ahmed, vice-president, East Pakistan Awami League and Abidur Reza Khan, MNA-elect to Chittagong to make an on-the-spot inquiry into the recent firings and other incidents there.
Meanwhile, International journalists posted in the sub-continent during 60s and 70s, were all amused by the firmness of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for freedom of his country and countrymen.
After Bangabandhu's historic speech at Suhrawardy Udyan on March 7, 1971, the New York based Time Magazine on their March 15 edition, carried out an article titled "Pakistan: Jinnah's Fading Dream." The article termed Bangabandhu as 'the unchallenged political leader of the more populous, poverty-stricken eastern segment. "Following the December elections, Mujib twice turned down Yahya's invitations to confer in Islamabad.
Yahya went to Dacca, the capital of East Pakistan, and so did Bhutto. They got nowhere with Mujib, who warned stiffly that the minority would no longer rule the majority," the article said.
In one of its edition that was published on April 5, 1971, American weekly news magazine "Newsweek", dedicated its cover page on to Bangabandhu and described him as a "Poet of Politics".
"Tall for a Bengali (he stands 5 feet 11 inches), with a shock of graying hair, a bushy mustache and alert back eyes, Mujib can attract a crowd of a million people to his rallies and hold them spell-bound with great rolling waves of emotional rhetoric...Eloquent in Urdu, Bengali and English, three languages of Pakistan, Mujib does not pretend to be an original thinker. He
is a poet of politics..." the Newsweek article said.
American weekly news magazine Time on its April 5, 1971, edition wrote, "Grey-haired, stocky and tall for a Bengali, the bespectacled Mujib always wears a loose white shirt (Panjabi) with a black, sleeveless, vestlike jacket. A moody man, he tends to scold Bengalis like so many children."
In his article titled 'How Mujibur Turned Into Bengal's Hero' journalist Cyril Dunn said, "Although it has taken Sheikh Mujibur Rahman more than 20 years to bring his life to its present stunning climax the 'liberation' of his homeland, East Pakistan, from its status as 'a colony' of West Pakistan has always been his aim."
"In spite of this dramatic background, the Sheikh is not in any sense a wild man, though he can readily rouse the people with his oratory. He is tall and quite handsome, with a slight resemblance in profile to Stalin," the article said, which was carried out by London-based The Observer.