Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
On March 26, 2019 Bangladesh will remember its heroes of the war of independence and celebrate the Independence Day. Exactly on this day, back in 1971, Pakistani occupation forces went into extremely brutalities on the unarmed and innocent Bangalis which had paved the path of creation of the independent and sovereign Bangladesh, a country of Bangalis. The man who led the nation and had been the source of inspiration was none but Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – founding father of our country. Bangabandhu too was born in this month – on March 17, 1920. To many of the global leaders, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not only a Bangladeshi politician and statesman, but he also was known as the “leader of the leaders”.
Bangbandhu 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. He is popularly dubbed with the title of Bangabandhu (Friend of Bengal) by the people of Bangladesh.
An advocate of democracy and socialism, Mujib rose to the ranks of the Awami League and East Pakistani politics as a charismatic and forceful orator. He became popular for his opposition to the ethnic and institutional discrimination of Bengalis in Pakistan, who comprised the majority of the state’s population. At the heightening of sectional tensions, he outlined a 6-point autonomy plan and was jailed by the regime of Field Marshal Ayub Khan for treason. Mujib led the Awami League to win the first democratic election of Pakistan in 1970. Despite gaining a majority, the League was not invited by the ruling military junta to form a government. As civil disobedience erupted across East Pakistan, Mujib indirectly announced independence of Bangladesh during a landmark speech on 7 March 1971. On 26 March 1971, the Pakistan Army responded to the mass protests with Operation Searchlight, in which Prime Minister-elect Mujib was arrested and flown to solitary confinement in West Pakistan, while Bengali civilians, students, intellectuals, politicians and military defectors were murdered as part of the 1971 Bangladesh genocide. During Mujib’s absence, many Bengalis joined the Mukti Bahini and defeated the Pakistan Armed Forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War. After Bangladesh’s independence, Mujib was released from Pakistani custody due to international pressure and returned to Dhaka in January 1972 after a short visit to Britain and India.
Sheikh Mujib became the Prime Minister of Bangladesh under a parliamentary system adopted by the new country. His government enacted a constitution proclaiming socialism and secular democracy. The Awami League won a huge mandate in the country’s first general election in 1973.
However, critics of Bangabandhu would bring the cases of rampant unemployment and poverty, as well as the Bangladesh famine of 1974, which actually was the result of a new-born nation, that was left with acute financial challenges by the Pakistani occupation forces. Still this charismatic leader would definitely resolve these challenges should he not be brutally assassinated by some notorious people – more precisely, enemies of Bangladesh. But of course, since 2009, Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina has been very efficiently and successfully leading Bangladesh towards a prosperous nation. The country already has attained the status of one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is expected, within the span of next 10 years, Bangladesh’s economic growth will cross that of Singapore and by 2041 we certainly are going to turn into a developed nation. But of course, to achieve these goals, political stability is the priority. Thanks to the diligent leadership qualities of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for creating an excellent atmosphere of political stability in Bangladesh. For this reason, friendly nations of this country are extending fullest support in multiple ways to help Bangladesh in continuing its pace of socio-economic growth. We are particularly grateful to several friendly nations such as United States, China, India and Saudi Arabia.
Bangladesh will continue to prosper. Our adored Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working hard in transforming an economically struggled Bangladesh into a developed country.
While we are celebrating our 48th Independence Day, we are sending our profound gratitude and respect to those precious people who had sacrificed their lives for this country.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the editor of Blitz. Follow him on Twitter at @Salah_Shoaib