1101Published on August 16, 2020
Sharif Shahab Uddin:
Bangladesh has been fighting a grim battle for its survival since the history’s barbaric brutality that took place on the 15th of August, 1975 when Bangabandhu was assassinated along with most of the members of his family by the forces defeated in the War of Liberation.
Once in a century a man is born with great heroism rare to find and fortunate indeed is the country where such a one is born. Bangabandhu was such a man, whom we look upon as the very salt of the earth. He embodied the highest qualities that a man might desire. He was a patriot, an idealist, a man of action, a dreamer and finally he led us to the Liberation War.
With the killing of Bangabandhu, the country’s independence was threatened and all the national pride, values and ideals upon which Bangladesh was founded, were dismantled by the anti-liberation forces that were active in disguise right after they had surrendered to the freedom fighters on 16 December 1971.
A glimpse into the past shows us that the people of Bangladesh had earned an international repute as a nation of heroes for overthrowing the decade of military rule of General Ayub khan and establishing democracy and rule of law in the country after a long struggle under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the iconic leader of Bengal.
The international community has also paid their respect to the people of Bangladesh and its founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. But the inveterate foes of mankind dealt a mortal blow like cowards from behind. They killed the leader of the oppressed of the world on that fateful night of August 15, 1975.
August is the month of an unendurable tragedy of the century which had struck the nation like a bolt from the blue on the night of 15 August. The memory is filled with indefinable grief and pain that unfolds this day every year for the nation.
Every year it brings us profound sorrow and pain in our life as we have lost our beloved leader and the father of the nation, who gave us an independent country where we are living today and our children, grandchildren and the posterity will be living in future, and they will feel proud as citizens of the free and independent nation.
In the wee hours of the night of August 15, 1975, the assassins’ bullets, breaking the predawn silence, took the life of a man who had sacrificed his life for the freedom of the people. Since that fateful night, we and our future generation to come will remain indebted forever to Bangabandhu who laid down his life for us.
With his death, the country lost its founding father, and the world lost a great leader. The death of Bangabandhu is a national trauma which is irreparable. This death will continue to cause the hearts of the peace-loving people of the world to bleed. Every year, the month of August brings back the haunting memory of a dark era in the life of the people of Bangladesh.
The people will continue to observe 15 August as the Black Day so long as the nation will survive. As long as the nation exists, Sheikh Mujib will live in the hearts of the people of Bangladesh and also be remembered by the oppressed of the world.
The death of Bangabandhu is tantamount to the loss of independence of Bangladesh. Immediately after the killing of Bangabandhu, the state principles were changed overnight. The military Junta that took over power after the killing had started behaving like the rulers of ‘East Pakistan’ as they proved to be loyal to Pakistan.
They worked to make this land of ours a vassal state of Pakistan again. The state policy pursued by them was directly against the ideals upon which Bangladesh was founded. They were grossly contradictory to the principles laid down in the constitution of the country. And it was clear that the Bengalis have lost their independence with the killing of Bangabandhu.
Independence war was thrust upon Bangabandhu. With the sad demise of Bangabandhu freedom of the nation was at stake. Some antagonistic forces infiltrated into the party and as a result, the nation was divided into two camps.
The democratic character of the AL was very much there. But the workforce of the party was not capable of materialising the ideals of Bangabandhu. Bangabandhu did not get the time to build a workforce dedicated to the cause of a prosperous Bangladesh.
It is known to all that the play Hamlet can’t be staged without the prince of Denmark and similarly, the independent Bangladesh is not complete without Bangabandhu. So, Bangabandhu and Bangladesh is inseparable. The people of Bangladesh love Bangabandhu more than they love their lives.
How much the people love Bangabandhu can be easily assessed when the independence was achieved with the surrender of the Pakistan army on 16 December 1971, but Bangabandhu was in prison in Pakistan. They were seriously shocked and found the independence without Bangabandhu is incomplete. They were determined to sacrifice their lives to see Bangabandhu free from jail.
It may be recalled that an unprecedented pressure, initiated by the then India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, mounted on the Pakistani rulers by the world leaders to release Bangabandhu. With the global pressure intensified the Pakistani rulers were compelled to set him free.
They sent him to London and the British Royal Air force aircraft brought Bangabandhu back to Bangladesh making a stopover at India’s Palam airport, where Bangabandhu was accorded a grand reception by the Indian government on his way to Dhaka. Meanwhile, thousands of cheering people arrived at Tejgaon Airport from across the country to have a glimpse of Bangabandhu. It was an ocean of human heads that almost covered the airport area. After a long wait, finally the aircraft of the British Royal Air force appeared in the western sky. The ecstatic freedom fighters started firing blank shots with joy and emotion.
The aircraft landed and Bangabandhu emerged from the plane. What a spectacular scene it was! Mere words are not enough to describe the exhilarating atmosphere prevailing there. I had never seen such enthusiasm and cheering crowd milling around there. They were crying with joy for their beloved leader.
Bangabandhu went to Suhrawardy Udayan, the then Racecourse, from where he addressed millions of people who had gathered there. The speech was fully surcharged with emotion. He was so proud of his people that at one stage of his speech, Bangabandhu challenged Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote about the Bangalees: “Shath Koti Shontanere Hey Mughdha Jononi, Rekhechho Bangalee Kore, Manush Koroni.” Bangabandhu, addressing Rabindranath Tagore very proudly said, “Look, Kobi Guru, my Bangalees have become real human beings today.”
If I could have a chance, I would have asked Bangabandhu, “How did you feel about your Bangalees at the moment when you were hit by bullets on August 15, 1975?”
Well, there is no denying that Bangladesh and its people are fortunate enough as they have got in their midst Sheikh Hasina, the capable daughter of Bangabandhu, as their leader, who is steering the country towards the path of progress and economic prosperity. Through achieving the development goals, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wants to restore the country’s independence lost on the fateful night of August 15, 1975.
By her charismatic leadership she is leading the country towards progress despite numerous roadblocks. She is carrying forward her father’s ideals and democratic ideology. She is constantly imbuing the AL workers with the ideals of her father to dedicate themselves with single-minded devotion to the cause of the country and free the party from infiltrators.
To conclude, Bangladesh will continue to observe 15 August as the black day as long as the nation will survive. As long as the nation and the country exist on the earth, Bangabandhu will remain immortal in the hearts of the Bangalees.
Writer: Editor-in-Chief, Bangladesh Post.