Sheikh Kamal: An Epitome of Youthful Zeal

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Published on August 5, 2020
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Sharif Shahab Uddin:

Sheikh Kamal, one of the most prominent organisers of the Liberation War of Bangladesh, was a symbol of the overwhelming spirit of the youth and made a tremendous contribution to keeping the youth on the right track and getting them engaged in the nation-building work of war-ravaged Bangladesh that was a crying need for the country immediately after the Liberation War in 1971.

Sheikh Kamal, the eldest son of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was a legendary figure in sports and cultural arena of Bangladesh. Such a simple and amiable young leader I have never seen in my life. He had an active presence in the field of sports, culture and politics. Sheikh Kamal is still an inspiration of the young leaders of the country irrespective of caste and creed and political affiliation. He is a symbol of enthusiasm. He was such a magnetic personality that nobody getting in touch with him could forget or avoid him.

Being a proud son of the Father of the Nation, he took arms and fought a tremendous battle against the Pakistani occupation army during the Liberation War. And he was ADC (aide-de-camp) to MAG Osmani, the Commander-in-Chief of the Mukti Bahini (Freedom Fighters). Sheikh Kamal, the valiant son of the soil, was born on this day, August 5, in 1949.

Coming back from war, he got admitted to the University of Dhaka to complete his study. He was as simple as other boys in the class. Despite being the eldest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu, he was not an egoistic person; rather he was a modest, amiable and helpful man for all.

Sheikh Kamal’s contribution to the sports and cultural arena of Bangladesh is huge and the sector is still carrying on his legacy. He was the founder president of the country's leading sporting club, Abahani Krira Chakra, and founder member of Dhaka Theatre. Kamal introduced modern football in Bangladesh after independence.

Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the Bangladesh Awami League, was organised by Sheikh Kamal in 1960. He placed Chhatra League on a rock-solid foundation which instilled the spirit of the Liberation War into the blood and philosophy of the students of Bangladesh.

He has hundreds of friends and followers across the country who will never forget him. He could mix with new friends so easily and become close to them within seconds.

Sheikh Kamal was a real leader of the general people. Immediately after the liberation of the country, Bangladesh Chhatra League, the forerunner of the Liberation War, got divided. At that crisis moment, Sheikh Kamal started reorganising the student front which he loved more than his life itself. By working day and night and reaching the grass-roots level, he made Chhatra League one of the strongest student fronts in Bangladesh within a month.

Sheikh Kamal lived such a simple life that nobody could understand he was the son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib unless somebody introduced him.

Sheikh Kamal got married to Sultana Kamal, a famous athlete of the country who was the first female recipient of ‘Blue’ of the University of Dhaka.

Bangabandhu was scheduled to visit Dhaka University on the 15th of August, 1975. And accordingly, we were passing a busy hour on the 14th of August on the campus to ensure that everything is alright. Some of us, including Ismat Kadir Gama, SM Salam who recently died in Canada, Tayabul Bahar, Shahed Reza, Abdul Motin and me, were working at the Arts Faculty and at around 9 PM Sheikh Kamal came to us. He was inspecting how things were going on. Sheikh Kamal stayed with us for a few minutes and asked about the bomb blast near the University Library on that day.

Passing sometimes with us, he went to attend the marriage ceremony of one of his friends. And that was my last meeting with Kamal Bhai.

We remember Sheikh Kamal with profound regard and respect. Through his demise, we lost our leader and nearest one and the nation lost its future leader who could lead the country to the pinnacle of development.