BANGABANDHU: THE MARTYR STATESMAN WHO DREAMT A PROSPEROUS NATION
Md Mahfuzur Rahman
Leaders like Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are not born every day. They belong to a rare breed of statesmen like Mahatma Gandhi of India, Mao Tse-tung of China and Nelson Mandela of South Africa, who came to this world to change the course of history.
The Father of the Nation was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He had to struggle hard to rise to fame and become the liberator of the nation. His only dream was to build a prosperous nation. Mujib was a statesman, a hero and martyr who will be remembered in history for his achievements and great dedication for the country.
Today is August 15, the 40th death anniversary of Bangabandhu. An eerie silence engulfed the entire nation on the day in 1975, as the nation along with the rest of the world witnessed the cruellest and bloodiest political massacre of contemporary history. A journey to backwardness started since the assassination, which continued at least for 21 years.
On the fateful night of August 15 in 1975, forty years ago from today, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members were assassinated at his Dhanmondi Road-32 residence in the capital in a military putsch carried out by a group of disgruntled army officers.
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The August 15 carnage not only claimed the life of Bangabandhu but also the lives of his wife Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnessa Mujib, sons Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and 10-year-old Sheikh Russell and his daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal.
Some 16 members of Bangabandhu`s family, including his brother Sheikh Naser, bother-in-law Abdur Rab Serniabat, nephew and noted journalist Sheikh Fazlul Huq Moni, his pregnant wife Arzoo Moni and Colonel Jamil were killed in the mayhem.
However, both the daughters of Bangabandhu -Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana -escaped the carnage as they were abroad. Since the mayhem, Awami League, its associate bodies and other like-minded pro-liberation parties, social, cultural and professionals` organizations have been observing the day as the National Mourning Day.
The August 15 has been observed as the National Mourning Day since assumption of office by the Awami League government on June 23, 1996.
However, the death of Bangabandhu on that dark night of August 15 in 1975 put the country on back gear and for next two decades it had to reel under military or pseudo military dictatorship. Bangabandhu could have been killed on the night of March 25-26, 1971 when the Pakistani Army launched the operation to annihilate the Bengalis.
It was sheer luck that he survived the night of mayhem only to be killed by the very people for whom he had dedicated his entire life. As a matter of fact, his death warrant was signed on March 26th 1971 when he declared the independence of Bangladesh before his arrest by the Pakistani army.
The trials of the Bangabandhu killers were therefore very necessary. But it is to be regretted that it was only the Awami League governments of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina which saw fit to launch them and to bring them to fruition.
There is much left to be done, with six of the convicted killers still beyond the reach of the law. No stone should remain unturned in our efforts to bring them back to Bangladesh to face justice. This is about justice, not revenge, and it is the cry of the entire nation not that of one political party or one family.
40 years have already gone but the people of the country are bearing the wound and stigma of killings of the Father of the Nation along with his family still now. Even though some of the killers were tried and punished by a court of law, there has not been any enquiry to unveil the motives behind the killings. So, the time has come to do this.
AUGUST 15, 2015