Bar Moudud Ahmed, May I Have Your Attention Please


DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

ImageBar Moudud Ahmed, May I Have Your Attention Please

By Shazzad Khan

The purpose of this write-up is to draw attention of Bar Moudud Ahmed (afterwards Bar Moudud) and share with him some information and put before him some questions and logics for his kind reply, if he pleases. Through Bar Moudud I am also drawing attention of those, irrespective of Awami League and BNP, who are engaged in a battle by capitalising the issue of declaration of independence – undoubtedly for political gain. As a barrister Mr Moudud is unquestionably a learned man in his field, but it cannot be taken for granted that he is an omniscient in all the issues of the world. Practically, in his recent deliberations in regard to declaration of independence has made him appeared that, even though as a barrister, he is still in the dark of certain knowledge and information, which is very usual of a human, or he is pretending to be unaware of those – not to say for political reason. No matter what the state may be, it is my duty as a conscious non-partisan citizen of Bangladesh to tell him how he is utterly mistaken and what he should know to amend his deliberations in future regarding the issue in question.

Before I go into my main points, permit me to observe that it has been a foolish step to take a matter to the court, which is a history and evident truth based on innumerable witnesses and evidences. With our normal conscience we understand that there are certain things that the court has nothing to do with even though people blare against them. For example, the court cannot pass an order stating that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, even if it sees that some people differ this truth, because it is something of an obvious fact. Similarly, the events of declaration of independence in 1971 are so real, so vivid, so evident that the court has nothing to do with it to make a legal binding on us. At the fag end of 25th March and on 26th March in 1971 the declaration of independence was so pulsating and so in pandemonium that the whole world knew about it. It may be true that Bar Moudud was nowhere either at the place where Bangabandhu and his associates were dealing with the matter of declaration or at the place where people were clamouring with the declaration as a matter of celebration. Very obviously, all these events have become part of history and any attempt of distorting or denying them is nothing but an utter foolishness. Therefore, in this write-up I shall put up the factual events and evidences for people like Bar Moudud and hope this will end the funny battle between Awami League and BNP. Also what Bar Moudud says earlier or is saying now in his books are not taken into consideration. Let’s go back 38 years and enjoy the events!

Image

First of all it is important to note that Bangabandhu had a long-cherished dream of establishing an independent “Bangla Desh” (pronounced separately before liberation). For that purpose he had been struggling for an independent nation with some leading political leaders of the then East Pakistan since 1948 and succeeded in planting a number of milestones including the magna carter of the Bengalis, the historic “Six Points.” Let me take the opportunity to share two paragraphs below from the most authentic book written by a Pakistani by himself. This will indicate how Bangabandhu was planning (to the Pakistanis “conspiring”) to secede from West Pakistan to make East Pakistan an independent Bangla Desh. Siddiq Salik observed in his most popular book titled Witness to Surrender:

[It was the first anniversary (26th March 1970; added by this writer) of the second martial law in Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was on his way to a rural town in East Pakistan to address an election rally. On the back seat of his rattling car sat with him a non-Bengali journalist who covered his election tours. He provoked Mujib on some current topic and quietly switched on his cassette tape recorder. Later, he entertained his friends with this exclusive possession. He also played it to me. Mujib’s rhetorical voice was clearly intelligible. He was saying: ‘Somehow, Ayub Khan has pitched me to a height of popularity where nobody can say “no” to what I want. Even Yahya Khan cannot refuse my demands.’

What were his demands? A clue was provided by another tape prepared by Yahya Khan’s intelligence agencies. The subject was the Legal Framework Order (LFO) issued by the government on 30 March 1970. Practically, it was an outline constitution which denied a free hand to Mujib to implement his famous Six Points. He confided his views on LFO to his senior colleagues without realising that these words were being taped for Yahya’s consumption. On the recording, Mujib said: ‘My aim is to establish Bangla Desh. I shall tear LFO into pieces as soon as the elections are over. Who could challenge me once the elections are over? When it was played to Yahya Khan, he said, ‘I will fix him if he betrays me.’]

ImageIn his life Bangabandhu was the follower of Gandhian philosophy of “non-violence” and wanted a bloodless, peaceful and democratic solution for attaining absolute autonomy in the East Pakistan built on his Six Points formula. He was dead sure that with the passage of time the autonomy would have led to an independent Bangla Desh with popular support from international community. General Yahya also assured Bangabandhu that an LFO would be formulated to give full autonomy to East Pakistan and its people, and that is why Bangabandhu patiently waited even until 25th March evening in 1971. However, with apprehension of “fixing him and the Bengalis” he was also ready for responding to any treacherous suppressive move by the Pakistani junta, if Yahya had planned not to accept the framework of autonomy proposed by Awami League. The preparation was in the form of declaration of independence and start of an all-out freedom-fight to counter any possible attack by Pakistani armed forces. As part of this plan Bangabandhu got a pre-recorded message ready for transmission as a counteraction against any form of possible crackdown.

Unfortunately Yahya Khan opted for a crackdown instead of providing an agreeable LFO. The apprehensive crackdown began at 11.00pm of 25th March 1971. Therefore, this time Bangabandhu had no other option but to okay the transmission of the pre-recorded message of the declaration. At around 11.30pm of 25th March 1971 this pre-recorded message went on air for a couple of times from a handy transmitter, purposefully set up at Boldha Garden. Many in Dhaka heard this message because it was cleverly transmitted on the frequency very close to Radio Pakistan Dacca. The purpose of this transmission was to inform the foreign journalists and diplomats, listening naturally to Radio Pakistan Dacca, about the compelling action of declaring independence against the crackdown by Pakistani army. This move was successful because many heard the message very clearly, among whom was David Loshak of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph of London, who was then in Dhaka on duty. Back to London a few weeks after the 25th March he published an authentic book called “Pakistan Crisis” (I have collected the book from London’s old bookshop). When this book was published, Bangla Desh was still a couple of months away from gaining independence. So there should not be any dearth of doubt that Bangabandhu made a declaration of independence – at least this is the book, which is above any doubt – (even Late President Ziaur Rahman officially registered this declaration during his presidency). Moreover, Tikka Khan along with his associates also heard this message on radio and mentioned in his speech on 26th March 1971 and in the Whitepaper published later. Tikka Khan also mentioned about this declaration while giving an interview to Musa Sadik (war correspondence in 1971) and Rezaur Rahman (of Ain Adalat) during the SAARC summit in Pakistan in 1988. Moreover, Bangla Desh documents published by Foreign Ministry of Indian Government also contains this declaration. To speak the truth, although heard by small number of people, this was the very first declaration of independence in the real sense by Bangabandhu. The message read like this: “This may be my last message. From today Bangla Desh is independent. I call upon the people of Bangla Desh, wherever you are and with whatever you have, to resist the army of occupation to the last. Your fight must go on until the last soldier of the Pakistan occupation army is expelled from the soil of Bangla Desh and final victory is achieved.” …Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The text version of this message was also transmitted through EPR wirelesses throughout the country all-over Bangladesh at early hours of 26th March 1971. However, it may be mentioned here that in his historic 7th March speech he gave a clarion call for independence and liberation war in a diplomatic language for technical reasons. This was a “green signal” to all walks of life for an impending liberation war, including to the then Major Ziaur Rahman who categorically mentioned this in his great write-up Ekti Jatir Jonmo in 1972.

ImageExtract from the book “Pakistan Crisis” by David Loshak page 89

Moreover, apart from signalling his men to transmit the pre-recorded message Bangabandhu also dictated another message of declaration of war after 11.00pm of 25th March 1971. The dictation was given, among others, to Dr Mazharul Islam, Col (retired) Osmani and Tajuddin Ahmed. After the pre-recorded message was transmitted this second message was also given to EPR for transmission all-over the country as well. The message read like this: “Pak Army suddenly attacked EPR base at Pilkhana, Rajarbagh Police Line and killing citizens. Street battles are going on in every street of Dacca and Chittagong. I appeal to the Nations of the World for help. Our freedom fighters are gallantly fighting with the enemies to free the motherland. I appeal and order you all in the name of Almighty Allah to fight to the last drop of blood to liberate the country. Ask police, EPR, Bengal regiment and Ansar to stand by you and to fight. No compromise. Victory is ours. Drive out the last enemy from the holy soil of motherland. Convey the message to all Awami League leaders, workers and other patriots and lovers of freedom. May Allah bless you. Joy Bangla.” …SK Mujibur Rahman. During that time the telecommunication system was not very efficient and that is why some parts of the country received the first message while other parts received only the second one. However, in some parts of the country both the messages were picked up.

Documentary evidence of Bangabandhu’s message received through EPR in different parts of the country

Anyway, whichever the message was, the contents were very clear to the receivers – that Bangabandhu declared independence. After the receipt of the message(s) instant measure was taken up by political leaders to announce the declaration of independence by using loudspeakers. It is important to note that when Bangabandhu gave his messages and instructions it was late night of 25th March 1971, but the mass people all-over the country received this declaration on the next day, i.e. the 26th March. That is why our Independence Day is observed on the 26th March.

Especially for Chittagong Bangabandhu’s strategy was different. As an initial strike of the freedom-fight, planned earlier, he wanted his people and armed forces to liberate Chittagong and proceed to Comilla. Besides the above-mentioned formal messages he also sent a couple of secret instructions in this regard to Chittagong through telephone lines by Nayeem Gohor and Mosharraf Hossain (ex energy and mineral resource minister of BNP). Bangabandhu wanted to make sure that his instructions had been reached without any fail to the intended receivers of Chittagong and that is why he opted for two persons at a time to convey the same instructions through two different telephone lines. Bar Moudud, could you please talk to Nayeem Gohor and your party man Mosharraf Hossain, they will confirm Bangabandhu’s declaration.

In Chittagong many people received both the formal messages. They copied them with carbon papers and in cyclostyles, and distributed among mass people. Loudspeakers were also used to disseminate the contents of the messages (aren’t you Bar Moudud aware of it?!). One of the leading Awami League leaders of Chittagong MA Hannan took a remarkably courageous step. For a brief period he managed to switch on Chittagong Radio and broadcast the contents of the messages as the first person to do so on behalf of Bangabandhu at 2.30pm on the 26th March 1971. This was followed by similar repeated broadcasts quoting “Bangabandhu’s declaration in Dacca” by the initiators of SwadhinBangla Biplobi Betar Kendra from Kalurghat (one of the initiators was Abul Kashem Swandip). Almost all the leading global press and broadcast media including those of India quoted these declarations on the 26th and 27th March – Anil Bhattacharjiya of PTI was the man who picked up the announcement of these messages and reported to Gouhati news media. From there Akashbani, BBC and other news and press media came to know about the declaration and broadcast its contents in their news items or printed in their newspapers. Moreover, one Japanese ship anchored midstream of Chittagong harbour also caught the message possibly from Shitakund wireless station and informed the foreign countries about the declaration. Radio Australia was the one to pick up the declaration and broadcast over the radio. Australian newspapers also covered the news of Bangabandhu’s declaration of independence. On the following day in the 27th March issue the Statesman of India published the news that after the crackdown by the Pakistani forces Sheikh Mujib declared Bangla Desh as Democratic Republic. The news of the Statesman looked like the following:

March 27, 1971

THE  STATESMAN

BANGLA DESH DECLARES FREEDOM- RAHMANS’S STEP FOLLOWS ARMY CRACKDOWN- CIVIL WAR ERUPTS IN EAST PAKISTAN- AWAMI LEAGUE LEADERS GO UNDERGROUND

Press Report from Delhi on March 27, 1971

Pakistan’s eastern wing, rechristened the independent state of Bangla Desh by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in a clandestine radio broadcast, was in the throes of a civil war on Friday with west wing troops restoring to force to regain control and the people, aided by the east Pakistan rifles and the police, resisting the attempt, reports UNI.

Heavy fighting was going on in Dacca, Chittagong, Sylhet, Comilla and other towns, according to reports from across the border gathered by UNI bureaus in Shillong and Calcutta and correspondents close to the border in the eastern sector. Casualties were believed to be heavy.

Mr. Rahman and other Awami League leaders had gone underground according to highly reliable reports received in Gauhati by PTI and UNI. A later report said Pakistan troops went hunting for them but could not find them.

Speaking over “Swadhin Bangla” (Free Bengal) Betar Kendra, Mr. Rahman later proclaimed the birth of an independent Bangla Desh.

Moreover, the American Spot Report also mentioned that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared East Pakistan a sovereign and independent People’s Republic of Bangla Desh. Subsequently, many leading press media of the world covered the news of the declaration by Bangabandhu with his picture. The American Spot Report (DIA Report) of 26th March 1971 looked like the following:

Pakistan was thrust into civil war today when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed the east wing of the two-part country to be “the sovereign independent People’s Republic of Bangla Desh.” Fighting is reported heavy in Dacca and other eastern cities where the 10,000 man paramilitary East Pakistan Rifles has joined police and private citizens in conflict with an estimated 23,000 West Pakistani Regular army troops. Continuing reinforcements by sea and air combined with the government’s stringent martial law regulations illustrates Islamabad’s commitment to preserve the union by force. Because of logistical difficulties, the attempt will probably fail, but not before heavy loss of life results.

Ziaur Rahman as a Major of the 8th EBR of Chittagong also gave a declaration on behalf of Bangabandhu on the 27th March evening 1971. He was very spontaneous when one of the initiators of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, Belal Mohammad requested him to give a declaration as a representative of Bengali military forces. His first declaration was quite a long one which began with “I, Major Ziaur Rahman, do hereby declare the independence of Bangladesh on behalf of our great national leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”. It was at 7.30pm on the 27th March – at least 40 hours after the declaration by Bangabandhu and the start of mass resistance by common people and Bengali armed forces.

Now my question to you Bar Moudud, how can you claim that Ziaur Rahman was the first to declare independence? Your yourself repeatedly said that Ziaur Rahman declared independence on the 27th March evening 1971, which is a historical fact. To be more specific he read out the declaration on behalf of Bangabandhu at 7.30pm. The fact is: he went to visit Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra when Belal Mohammad requested him to give a declaration as an army officer. He did it, and he did it on behalf of Bangabandhu on 27th March evening. I have the recording of that declaration; if you want I can lend you the recording. Please mark one very important point: how come the Statesman of India published the news of declaration of independence in its 27th March issue quoting Bangabandhu? The simple logic is: unless there had been a declaration which its newsmen heard, the Statesman could not have published the news. Do you Bar Moudud accept this logic? Bar Moudud you admitted that Ziaur Rahman gave his declaration on the 27th March, therefore the news of the Statesman definitely had not been the one of Ziaur Rahman’s. Also my simple question is: why did Ziaur Rahman include Bangabandhu’s first declaration in the 15 volumes of historical accounts which he himself published in his lifetime with his own initiative?

Moreover, some uninformed people like you Bar Moudud influenced by a vested interest group claim that Major Ziaur Rahman was the first to declare the independence of Bangladesh and it was only after his declaration the liberation war began. In fact, this is a ridiculous fantasy because, as I already mentioned, the very first declaration was made by Bangabandhu and the liberation war starting with mass resistance began since the night of 25th March 1971. However, it is also true that Ziaur Rahman’s declaration acted as immense encouragement for those military personnel who heard it. We must also remember that it was only in the name of Bangabandhu our liberation war was initiated and carried out. Bar Moudud, my another question is: if it had been Ziaur Rahman who first declared independence and it was only after his declaration the liberation war began, then why do you people accept 26th March as our Independence Day? Why not 27th March, because Ziaur Rahman declared independence on the 27th March 1971? And why didn’t you people change the constitution wherein it is written that Bangabandhu declared independence on 26th March 1971 in Dacca, when you were in power with absolute majority? The answer is very simple: Bar Moudud you are dead sure that Bangabandhu did it, but for political gain, now you are saying something ridiculous keeping yourself at par with the shameless protégés of BNP. What has your coveted education like Bar At Law given you? Ask yourself.

There is one more thing that is also brought forth linking the declaration of independence issue. It is also claimed for years together by a vested interest group that it was Ziaur Rahman’s declaration alone that gave a direction to an unprepared nation for a war. This claim is also an utter fantasy. Very briefly, please be informed that Bangabandhu was hundred percent prepared for a war, had the Pakistanis compelled him to do so. Secretly before his 7th March Speech India’s consent for an all-out support for freedom-fight was sought and ensured, MAG Osmani was made the de-facto commander-in-chief of the liberation force, different sectors were planned and divided, declaration of independence was recorded, meeting (planned earlier) between Indira Gandhi and Tajuddin was held on the 3rd April 1971, Bengali army officers met at Telia Para under Osmani’s command on the 4th April for sector-wise encounters, and much more. Please read extremely useful books like Witness to Surrender, Muldhara Ekattur, Pakistan Crisis, Emergence of a Nation, Bloodbath in Bangladesh, SwadhinBangla Betar Kendra, Bangladesh Wins Freedom, The Evolution of Politics in BangladeshThe Last Days of United Pakistan, American Spot Report, Legacy of Blood, Bangla Desh Documents, and so forth. I can give you a book-full of details on this issue, but for now please be satisfied with this.

Moreover, it is also a fact that even Late President Ziaur Rahman in his lifetime never claimed that he was the first to declare independence of Bangladesh. In front of President Ziaur Rahman nobody ever said or dared to say that the then Major Ziaur Rahman was the first to declare independence in 1971. The reason was that Ziaur Rahman had very strong personality as an army officer and was uncompromising in his personal life about speaking the truth. He strongly disliked people flattering him and that is why the vested interest group of today had no access to him in his lifetime in regard to the declaration of independence issue. I shall give you one example from many in this short write-up. Mir Shawkat was very close to Ziaur Rahman. During Ziaur Rahman’s lifetime he himself admitted that he heard the powerful voice of MA Hannan announcing for the first time the declaration of independence on behalf of Bangabandhu from Chittagong Radio on the 26th March 1971. Please find his statement in the 15 volumes of historical accounts, which Ziaur Rahman himself took very sincere initiative to compile and publish. I do not know how people with political interest evaluate Ziaur Rahman about his honesty to the liberation war, but his sincere and uncompromising efforts for the compilation and publication of the 15-volume historical accounts of our liberation war has truly made him an adorer of independence. And that is why in the original version of those 15 volumes the first declaration of independence by Bangabandhu was included without any question, by Ziaur Rahman himself. If he wished or had the declaration been a sceptical one, Ziaur Rahman could have easily discarded that declaration from the volumes, but he did not do that because of two reasons. Firstly, he knew about declaration very much, which he himself learnt on the 26th March 1971 in Chittagong and secondly, he was not at all craving for snatching or grabbing any undue credits. But it is really very sad that after the death of Ziaur Rahman in 1981 a vested interest group has been unnecessarily engaged in making him equivalent to Bangabandhu by capitalising the issue of declaration of independence – which is practically an absurd approach. We are quite aware why this vested interested group is so eager to pull Ziaur Rahman up to the level of Bangabandhu, which is just impractical and not a relevant matter of discussion today.

In support to what I have written here I can furnish a host of quotes from different sources that can simply authenticate the declaration of Bangabandhu, but that would increase the volume of this write-up. However, here are a few quotes on the declaration of Bangabandhu given by the direct witnesses. I hope this will give some light to those who are lacking relevant information and ignorantly engaged in discarding Bangabandhu’s declaration.

“Tajuddin came to my residence for shelter in that terrible night. It was, most probably, 12:45am (26th March). With great concern Tajuddin told me about two serious events: 1. Bangabandhu has officially declared the independence of Bangladesh and sent it to Chittagong and other districts via wireless; 2. I implored him (Bangabandhu), holding his knees, to leave his residence and hide out, but he did not agree” … Mr Abdul Gafur, Engineer Bangladesh Railway

“…Before he was arrested, Sheikh Mujib made a formal declaration of independence of Bangladesh sometime between 12:00am and 1:30am on March 26, 1971. It was broadcast over the clandestine Swadhin Bangladesh Betar (Radio) controlled by the Mukti Fauj (freedom fighters) at noon of March 26, 1971” … SK Chakrabarti, The Evolution of Politics in Bangladesh

“…The 25th of March was spent by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his party leaders in awaiting a call from General Pirzada for a final meeting with Yahya Khan and also for the final drafting session for working out the details of interim transfer of power. No such call came. At zero hours on the 26th March, the army swung into action against the unarmed people of East Pakistan, launching operation on a war scale. Meanwhile Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed the birth of sovereign Independent State of Bangladesh” … Prabodh Chandra, Bloodbath in Bangladesh

“…In the night of March 25, 1971, he (Mujib) formally declared the independence of Bangladesh. This declaration was later broadcast all over the country via wireless. In the morning of March 26, 1971, I got this message at Mymensingh Agricultural University (BAU). The then Vice Chancellor of BAU, Kazi Fazlur Rahman called all the teachers, showed them Mujib’s declaration message and said: “This message came via the Mymensingh Police Line and Mr Rafiq Bhuiyan, the leader of Mymensingh Awami League, personally brought this message to me”. Immediately after the VC’s announcement, a meeting was held where Mr Bhuiyan read out the declaration of independence and recounted the dreadful military crack down in Dhaka city the previous night…” …Shamsuz Zaman Khan

…“Soon after darkness fell on March 25, the voice of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman came faintly through a wavelength close to that of the official Pakistan Radio. In what must have been, and sounded like, a pre-recorded message, the Sheikh proclaimed East Pakistan to be the People’s Republic of Bangla Desh. He called on Bengalis to go underground, to reorganise and to attack the ‘invaders’…” …David Loshak, Pakistan Crisis

…“The full text of the proclamation is published in Bangla Desh Documents released by the Indian Foreign Ministry. It said, ‘This may be my last message. From today Bangla Desh is independent. I call upon the people of Bangla Desh, wherever you are and with whatever you have, to resist the army of occupation to the last. Your fight must go on until the last soldier of the Pakistan occupation army is expelled from the soil of Bangla Desh and final victory is achieved’…” …Siddiq Salik, Witness to Surrender

Finally let me tell you that the declaration of independence by Bangabandhu is an absolute truth like the daylight and there should not be any dispute over this historical event and the court should be away from handling it. Practically, the people who are engaged in discarding the declaration of Bangabandhu from the annals of our liberation war are not only doing injustice but also dishonouring a man, for whom we take pride on a glorious liberation war and are honourably independent today on the globe. Moreover, we must remember that it is the human quality to pay respect and gratitude to someone when one does a favour for us. Even from that perspective these history distorters are lacking a human quality to claim themselves as real human beings. We also should bear in mind that any distortion of our glorious history means divide in our Nation. For the sake of our nation, please resist this vested interest of distortion of our history and disseminate the real facts among the common people, especially the new generation and children. We should not forget that our history is our pride and we must uphold this for the sake of our respectful existence.

About Ehsan Abdullah

An aware citizen..
This entry was posted in BANGABANDHU - Father of our Nation, BENGALI NATIONALISM, HISTORY OF BENGAL, LIBERATION - 1971 BIRTH OF A NATION, RAZAKARS - Genocide & War Crime Trial - Anti Liberation Forces. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bar Moudud Ahmed, May I Have Your Attention Please

  1. Shazzad Khan says:

    Just saw that you have added one of my write-ups. I also have written a number of articles on Bangabandhu and liberation war. Please find another one. Please acknowledge this article.

    7th November 1975
    Rest Assured We Know the Facts
    By Shazzad Khan

    One can very easily guess that the title of this article bears something to counter and refute in regard to what some vested interest groups distort about 7th November 1975. For decades together the groups have been calling the day as the “day of revolution”, jointly led by sepoys and common people. In fact, on the day of 7th November 1975 the circle in power could make it appear before the countrymen that the sepoys and the common people had successfully eliminated all anti-state elements and spontaneously given responsibility to Ziaur Rahman as the guardian of the country. No doubt, the circle in power had been successful in achieving what they had wanted. As a result, for decades together Ziaur Rahman, his protégés and his party people established and celebrated the day as the day of revolution by sepoys and the mass people, and this circle of Ziaur Rahman is still doing so.

    If anyone takes the pain of looking at the BNP-sponsored supplements of 7th November in different years in their tenures, they would definitely find some repeated names of writers and their articles glorifying Ziaur Rahman as the hero of the day – also with a special comment, adding that he was the sole creator of Bangladesh in 1971. Among these writers there are a couple of doctorates who have changed their colours in favour of Ziaur Rahman after joining BNP.

    In fact, I am not at all jealous if I find that the supporters of any party are glorifying their leader, but when this glorification attempts to distort the true history of my country, I, as a conscious and non-partisan citizen cannot keep myself irresponsibly mum. I have come to know through my intent search for truth that 7th November was not at all a “day of revolution”, but it was actually a day of “sepoy mutiny” as well as a treachery by a man whom many people honour so much because of their ignorance. And that is why I am putting some counter remarks against 7th November to portray that how lies have overshadowed many unknown truths on so many occasions.

    Please permit me to put before the readers some crude facts for neutral judgement on 7th November. As a conscious being I do not want to get our real history distorted by some political protégés and stooges who, only for their own interest, have engaged in putting up lopsided and concocted information to the nation. I feel pity and sympathised from the core of my heart for their behaviour like slaves and stooges of BNP, even though they have attained the highest degree of PhD and attached with some renowned educational institutions. All their educations have turned out to be worthless. Anyway, at the moment let us face the facts relating to the so called revolution of 7th November 1975.

    First of all please take my conviction that I am not at all a supporter of BNP, Awami League, Jatiya Party or JSD, let alone Jamat. I am a non-partisan free thinker. So there is no possibility that I would be lopsided to any political party or any faction like the shameless protégés and stooges of different parties. Practically my only purpose today is to defend the truths about 7th November, so that the readers at home and abroad can get rid of the falsehoods they consider as truths so long. Even I shall not bring forth any analysis of the events happened during 1975, which some protégés and stooges of BNP try to do by linking the theories of social science for taking the credit in their favour, misleading the ignorant common people.

    The first thing I would say about 7th November is that the incidents taken place on that day in 1975 had not been isolated an event, rather that was an outcome of the failure of Awami League in fulfilling the dream they germinated in the common people’s minds as a promise of liberation war in 1971. At the same time it was the ambition of a number of senior army officers to capture state power by taking advantage of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib’s failure to run the country righteously. Added to this was the grievance of a couple of mid-ranking army officers (majors) towards Bangabandhu, as he did some injustice to them. These mid-ranking officers (Farook-Rashid and their gang) secretly planned to overthrow and kill Bangabandhu and establish military-backed government. Among the very few persons this plan was also communicated to Ziaur Rahman for his consent. This made Ziaur Rahman to germinate an ambition to become the head of the state. However, before this plan was known to him he was dreaming more of becoming chief of armed forces. But as soon as he found the possibility that Bangabandhu could be deposed and killed by the junior officers, his dream reached the sky-high – his ambition went up to the extent of becoming the president of the country. So he silently approved of the Farook-Rashid’s plan on the condition that they could come back to him only if they were successful, otherwise he would not take any responsibility if they failed.

    Moreover, he had been involved with another secret mission, which was a violation of military rules as his being an army officer. He developed very close relation with Col (rtd) Abu Taher, who was then a leader of JSD and engaged in overthrowing Bangabandhu and his party Awami League (later Bakshal). At that time JSD was the staunch opponent of Awami League in politics and they had underground activity to depose Awami League government and capture state power through communist-style armed revolution. In 1975 Taher was already a revolutionary of JSD and was dreaming of establishing “classless people’s army” breaking the hierarchy of existing military structure. He managed to develop popular support from the sepoys of regular army and underground activists of JSD who wanted to be the part of people’s army and JSD-led revolutionary government. Very interestingly Ziaur Rahman wanted to be a part of this revolution as well, because he also wanted the removal Awami League, although he encouraged Taher to do that without being exposed himself (Ziaur Rahman). The reason behind this desire was the fact that Ziaur Rahman’s normal ambitious attitude was not very welcomed by Bangabandhu and it was planned that he would be retired and sent abroad as a high commissioner latest by September 1975. This made Ziaur Rahman restless in doing something done by some quarter, so that he could continue in the army to reach his goal.

    As a man Ziaur Rahman had a unique gifted quality of capitalising any emerging opportunities. He wanted to get the butter ready for him, he would only eat that. He kept all possible chances within his grip. For example, while he was maintaining close relation with JSD’s Taher for a revolution, he became a member of Bangabandhu’s one party system Bakshal through lobbying. And at the same time he gave a green signal to Farook-Rashid’s plan to remove and kill Bangabandhu. As all these chances were naturally very unpredictable, he overtly kept showing his loyalty to Bangabandhu and his government. That was why he became the member of Bakshal, so that he could be in the good book of Bangabandhu and had Bakshal continued, he could have taken benefit from Bangabandhu’s government. Again he said to Farook-Rashid that he would not be with them, but they could proceed with their plan. This was Ziaur Rahman’s original character – to shoot by putting the gun on other’s shoulder. I shall also cite some of his opportunistic activities later on in this write-up. Let me first finish the 7th November affairs briefly.

    Before JSD could bring about any revolution Farook-Rashid and their gang killed Bangabandhu and eliminated his Bakshal regime on 15th August 1975. They set up their own rule and made Ziaur Rahman chief of staff within a few days. So one of Ziaur Rahman’s ambitions was fulfilled – one who was supposed to be retired from the army just one month later, had the government of Bangabandhu continued. Ziaur Rahman turned extremely grateful to Farook-Rashid. But his dream to become the president of the country was yet to be achieved. Therefore, he still kept on secret relation with Taher, who was supposed to hit for a revolution in the near future to form people’s army under the leadership of Ziaur Rahman on the condition of power sharing between the two.

    In the mean time after 15th August there was practically no formal government in the country. Moshtaque Ahmed was made puppet president, and Farook-Rashid and their gang were running the country defying all constitutional formalities. This made the senior officers in the Dhaka cantonment very resented on the situation. Many of them repeatedly requested Ziaur Rahman to remove the Farook-Rashid circle from illegal power and re-establish chain of command in the army and a civil government. But Ziaur Rahman was very reluctant to do so and showed complete indifference to the requesting officers. He was inactive apparently for 3 reasons. Firstly, it was Farook-Rashid who made him chief of staff, secondly, he craftily wanted to get them removed by some other officers, so that Farook-Rashid could not treat him ungrateful anyway and however they would be removed the chance of Ziaur Rahman to take the state power would remain fully legitimate as the chief of staff, and thirdly, Ziaur Rahman did not want any civil government through political process, because that would have stood against his plan. So why should Ziaur Rahman take the pain when the possibility of doing the same for him by others, was very strong? Anyway, when it became very clear that Ziaur Rahman would do nothing for changing the anarchic power-play by Farook-Rashid, two other senior officers Khaled Musharraf and Shafaet Jamil decided to do something. Many other army officers supported this plan. Ziaur Rahman came to know about it as well but he just overlooked. So, as per plan, between 2nd and 3rd November night 1975 Khaled Musharraf and Shafaet Jamil, in assistance with other junior officers, carried out a coup and managed to remove Farook-Rashid and their supporters from Bangabhaban. Initially the coup was successful and all quarters gave sigh of relief considering that at least a system was going to be in place. Ziaur Rahman was put under house arrest and for saving his own life and escaping his accountability, he resigned. But he did not forget to do one important task – he managed to call Taher and said that his life was at stake and asked him to do something against Khaled-Shafaet, so that pro-Awami element could not come to power. In fact, Bangabandhu had a soft corner for Khaled Musharraf and after Gen Shafiullah, he was supposed to be the next chief of staff. But on Khaled’s part he was more professional than emotional like Bangabandhu. That was why when Bangabandhu was assassinated he did not feel very sorry. Anyway, after his initial successful coup Khaled took promotion as chief of staff and concentrated on establishing chain of command in the army.

    Meanwhile, although it apparently appeared that the coup had established a system in the country, which Khaled-Shafaet really wanted, Col (rtd) Taher was preparing to strike as per Ziaur Rahman’s “go ahead” call. Taher took the strategy of provoking the sepoys, who had been mentored by him to establish people’s army, that Khaled-Shafaet coup was meant for bringing back Awami League supported by India, and the coup and counter-coup would go on because the army officers were power-greedy and utilising sepoys for officers’ benefit. Therefore, it would be wise to wipe out the officers and establish people’s army by breaking class structure. He instructed the sepoys, who were already joined by a huge number of JSD underground activists with military dress, to rescue Ziaur Rahman and take control of the cantonment by driving away the officers. Interestingly, this move got reinforced by another unpredictable and coincidental event on 4th November. On that day Awami League brought out a procession demanding trial of all Bangabandhu’s killer – the irony of fate was that the procession was led by Khaled’s brother and mother. The next day all the dailies covered this news with big photographs of Khaled’s brother and mother. So, very naturally it was automatically established that Khaled-Shafaet made the coup in favour of Awami League and India, although it was a fallacy, because Khaled-Shafaet had no connection with Awami League for quite a long time, let alone India. But to Taher the incident came as an extra trump card to play – now he could convince the sepoys more strongly that Khaled-Shafaet were staunchly pro-Awami League and they had to be removed at any cost. This time Taher’s call sparked like magic among the sepoys. The sepoys came out from everywhere like avalanche, rescued Ziaur Rahman from house arrest, took control of the cantonment and reinstated Ziaur Rahman as the chief of staff on 7th November. They drove many army officers out of the cantonment, killed Khaled Musharraf and other officers and joined mass people to celebrate their success. This is why BNP put the event as a revolution by sepoy and common people. But the crude fact is that the common people had nothing to do with this sepoy mutiny. They had no hand in it. Practically, when they learnt from the celebrating sepoys and JSD activists that pro-Awami League and Indian move by Khaled-Shafaet had been crushed and people’s government was going to be established by anti-Awami League Ziaur Rahman, the curious crowd turned jubilant with the sepoys. In fact, this was the one and only reason for the common people to be happy and cheerful, because by that time they were utterly fed-up with India, Awami League, coup, counter-coup and anarchy in the country.

    Now let us see the betrayal of Ziaur Rahman as an efficient exploiter of emerging opportunity. As he was reinstated to his previous position as the chief of army staff on 7th November 1975 by pro-Taher sepoys, he once again started feeling and behaving like a king forgetting his helplessness even a day before. But he was yet to share what he had promised to Taher for operating such a long-awaited revolution (mutiny). It had long been a secret deal between Ziaur Rahman and Taher that in lieu of placing himself (Ziaur Rahman) at the centre of state power, Ziaur Rahman would establish an officer-free people’s army fulfilling 12 points of JSD. When the sepoys started setting up a congenial atmosphere in Dhaka cantonment Taher came to Ziaur Rahman with his pre-agreed 12 points. Embracing Taher Ziaur Rahman welcomed him and said, “Thanks a lot Taher, you have saved my life. I am ever grateful to you”, but this time he refused to accept Taher’s 12 points. In fact, it was very natural of Ziaur Rahman, because he did not believe and had never been in favour of hierarchy-free people’s army – he made the promise only to achieve his mission. Taher repeatedly demanded to Ziaur Rahman for accepting the 12 points, but Ziaur Rahman was unmoved. This made Taher to withdraw his support to Ziaur Rahman and just within 24 hours time the whole situation changed. The sepoys who chanted slogan “Ziaur Rahman our leader” on 7th November, were after Ziaur Rahman to remove him for his betrayal with what they called “sacred sepoy revolution”. Consequently, on 8th November, just a day after, with his shattered face, Ziaur Rahman was found rushing to sepoy leaders escorted by some senor officers and securities, for cooling down the infuriated soldiers.

    The subsequent events went on like this – Ziaur Rahman in assistance with some senior officers survived from the outrage of the sepoys, consolidated his position by giving false hopes to the sepoys, arrested the leaders of JSD including Taher and hanged him (Taher) on the charge of provoking sepoys for mutiny and looting arms depot. What an irony! The man who did all these for saving Ziaur Rahman, the saved hanged his saviour – a lame man (like Taher) who legally should not have been given capital punishment. In fact, as Taher was about to expose the real face of Ziaur Rahman, how could Ziaur Rahman keep him alive? Because a living Taher meant a fallen Ziaur Rahman!

    More afterwards, Ziaur Rahman forced the then civilian president Sayem to call off the general election to be held in early 1977 and captured power as president in April 1977 by removing Sayem. And thus began the rehabilitation and reintroduction of pro-Pakistani elements in Bangladesh in all spheres of life. But the people who he betrayed with did not forgive him. During his military dictatorship under pseudo multi-party democracy, as many as 18 coups were carried out by many discontented military personnel for which thousands of officers and soldiers were sent to gallows by Ziaur Rahman without any visible trial – a government estimate shows that a number of 1143 army personnel were killed by hanging alone; the unofficial number was much higher, because many were killed and disappeared by secret means. The saddest part of these killings was that a majority of them were innocent freedom fighters and had no connections with the coups. Blood begets blood. In the 19th coup Ziaur Rahman was brutally killed by angry army officers in Chittagong in 1981 backed up by Gen Ershad. Ultimately Ziaur Rahman had to pay his toll with his own blood in lieu of the blood he shed by killing many innocent military personnel. Once again it was proved that “history does not forgive anyone”.

    Before I conclude I want to say a few words reflecting what I started with. Owing to a few self-seeking protégés and stooges of BNP people would find during BNP’s tenure that in all the supplements on our national events only Ziaur Rahman’s photographs and some concocted articles pampering Ziaur Rahman, were published. Those who are new to the emergence of Bangladesh and subsequent events they will naturally have the impression that after the partition of India in 1947 nothing happened in the East Pakistan. But as an unknown Major (Ziaur Rahman) declared independence after the military crackdown of Pakistani army on 25th March 1971, the liberation war began and the Pakistani army surrendered on 16th December 1971 (apparently to Major Ziaur Rahman). This is as ridiculous as anything and if anybody whosoever tries to establish this, he would be proved to be an insane – at least to those who saw the history on their own eyes. It is more than a fact that the root of our liberation war was planted in language movement starting in 1948. This was trailed by killing of students involved in the language movement in 1952, the massive victory of United Front in 1954, the education movement in 1962, the historic six points by Bangabandhu in 1966, the Agartala Conspiracy in 1967, the mass upsurge in 1969, the landslide victory of Awami League in 1970, the historic 7th March speech by Bangabandhu in 1971 and the declaration of independence by Bangabandhu at the early hour of 26th March 1971. Just look at this trail, how big this is. This long trail of struggle is occupied by a number of popular political leaders including Bangabandhu. Unfortunately, this trail of mass struggle is intentionally chopped off by the ill-educated protégés and stooges of BNP while they write the flatteries on Ziaur Rahman to portray that he was the one and only hero to have been in the struggle and emergence of Bangladesh including 7th November incident. They simply do not show the courage to mention the unfathomable contribution of Bangabandhu to found Bangladesh, maybe he had some failures as he took over after the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. It is not Ziaur Rahman’s but Bangabandhu’s photo should always be portrayed on our independence and victory days, as he is the architect of Bangladesh. This is the history and we must respect it.

    Now let me tell you something more about Ziaur Rahman. It is indeed immaturity to compare or match him with Bangabandhu. Undoubtedly Bangabandhu had limitations and failures during his regime, which we all know, still Ziaur Rahman is no match for him. Bangabandhu was political leader occupying the trail of long liberation struggle. He had his own formula of autonomy and independence. That is why he was jailed many times. But what about Ziaur Rahman? How many times had he gone to jail? He has no place in the long liberation struggle before 1971. Even in Agartala Conspiracy he had no involvement, although many military officers were involved with that. It is a stark lie that prior to army crackdown on 25th March 1971 he was ready for revolution and he materialised that on 26th March 1971, as put by BNP. We all know the facts. Ziaur Rahman was induced to revolt by his fellow junior officers. Ask Major Rafiqul Islam, Col. Wali Ahmed and Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, they would tell the truth. It is also a lie that he spontaneously formed a revolutionary government and declared independence. The fact is that since the night of 25th March 1971 people started resisting the Pakistan army and it took revolutionary form all over the country as the news of Pakistani crackdown spread. The mass resistance of Joydevpur, Tangail and other places started automatically. And it was very normal because people already had signal from the 7th March speech by Bangabandhu (even Ziaur Rahman acknowledged that in his write-up titled Ekti Jatir Jonmo in 1972). Now if any revolt by military is considered on 25th March, it was first done by then Capt Rafiqul Islam at 8.30pm in Chittagong, just two and a half hours before the Pakistani crackdown began. In Dhaka Rajarbagh police and EPR also started resisting the crackdown. It is true that Ziaur Rahman with his fellow junior officers also revolted against the Pakistanis at the early hours of 26th March after he was persuaded by his fellow officers. Before that he was in a dilemma and was watching which way the wind was blowing. When he understood that as Bengali officers he and his colleagues had no option but to revolt, he then decided to revolt with his fellow officers.

    Throughout his life Ziaur Rahman was very calculative, witty and ambitious (in fact, the then most of the officers graduated from Kakul Militatiry Academy had normal tendency of being ambitious). After revolt on 26th March 1971 Ziaur Rahman started fighting against Pakistani army to resist them. He fell back and took shelter at Patya, where at Kalurghat Swadhin Bangla Biplobi Betar Kendra (Free Bengal Revolutionary Radio Centre) had already been started functioning. This Kendra was boldly initiated by some student leaders of Awami League, Chhattra Union and technical staff members of Chittagong Radio Centre. One of the key persons of the Kendra Belal Mohammad requested Ziaur Rahman to read out a declaration of independence, which had already been read out on behalf of Bangabandhu in the afternoon of 26th March 1971 by MA Hannan. Ziaur Rahman spontaneously responded to the call of Belal Mohammad and declared independence of Bangladesh on behalf of Bangabandhu in the evening of 27th March 1971 (I, major Ziaur Rahman, do hereby declare the independence of Bangladesh on behalf our great national leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman…). But the next day his natural ambitious mind made him declare from the same radio station another announcement proclaiming himself as the provisional head of the revolutionary government and the chief of liberation army. However, later, on the question of locus standi he kept the declaration same but added that he was doing that under the leadership of Bangabandhu. To speak the truth, this declaration made him popular at that time, as he could implicate himself with Bangabandhu and his liberation struggle.

    There are much more to write but it is not possible in the short span of a newspaper. I would humbly request the readers to go through at least 3 books for learning the truths about 7th November and its other relevant events. The books are Legacy of Blood, Tinti Sena Obbhuttan and Unfinished Revolution. These books mainly reflect the rise and fall of Bangabandhu, why it had become inevitable to depose Bangabandhu from power, why Khaled-Shafaet had to carry out the coup, what actual role Ziaur Rahman played at the critical juncture of the nation, how Ziaur Rahman overlooked the killing of Bangabandhu and 4 national leaders, what was the dream of Taher and how it was crushed by Ziaur Rahman, how Ziaur Rahman seized power, how Ziaur Rahman indulged Farook-Rashid and their gang to play with state power, how Ziaur Rahman carried out cleansing operation to remove pro-liberation forces, what were other coups, how Ziaur Rahman was killed, and so forth.

    Finally I shall sincerely request the prudent members of BNP and its allies to dissuade those, who, for their own petty interest, are putting Ziaur Rahman into mockery. When people can understand that some persons are pampering Ziaur Rahman with concocted stories and BNP is indulging that, then all laugh at this affair. I want to give a simple analogy here. Say, my father is an accounts officer of a company, but some of his flatters present him as the managing director! What will this indicate? They are doing mockery with my father and as a son I shall feel ashamed. Same is the case for Ziaur Rahman. What he did not do, what he was detached from, what he did not want and what he was against, should not be made them in his favour telling or writing fabricated and imaginary stories. This naturally creates laughter at Ziaur Rahman, which I personally don’t like. Whatever Ziaur Rahman was and did, he was a president of this country and held the helm of the nation when it was almost at the verge of collapse. Moreover, as a sector commander and chief of Z-force, he did some gallantry performances in the liberation war, which had brought him the title Bir Uttam. So there is no point to ornate him what he was not. But we can see this falsehood everywhere – in books, in papers, in seminars, in government documents and above all, in history. But remember, history is made by people and they place the contributors as per their level of contributions. So it is the people who know best where Ziaur Rahman’s position is. Let him live that way in the history and in the hearts of the people. That would be better for us and better for the nation.
    [The writer is political analyst]

    [The writer is a political analyst. Email: npfreethinker@yahoo.com]

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