Father of the Nation

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman



Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born in a respectable Muslim family on 17 March, 1920 in Tungipara village under the Gopalganj subdivision (at present district) of Faridpur district.


At the age of seven, Bangabandhu began his schooling at Gimadanga Primary School. At nine he was admitted to Class three at Gopalganj Public School. Subsequently he was transferred to a local missionary school.


Bangabandhu was forced to go for a break of study when at the age of fourteen; one of his eyes had to be operated on.


Bangabandhu returned to school after a break of four years caused by the severity of an eye operation.


At eighteen Mujib married Begum Fazilatunnesa. They subsequently became the happy parents of two daughters and three sons.


Bangabandhu’s political career was effectively inaugurated while he was a student at Gopalganj missionary school. He led a group of students to demand that the cracked roof of the school be repaired when Sher-e-Bengal came to visit the school along with Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy.


Sheikh Mujib joined the Nikhil Bharat Muslim Chhatra Federation (All India Muslim Students Federation). He was elected Councilor for a one year term.


Sheikh Mujibur Rahman passed the Entrance (currently Secondary School Certificate) Examination. He then got himself admitted as an intermediate student in the Humanities faculty of Calcutta Islamia College, where he had lodgings at Baker Hostel. That same year Bangabandhu got actively involved with movement for the creation of Pakistan.


Sheikh Mujib’s busy and active political career took off in the literal sense with his election as a Councilor of the Muslim League.


Bangabandhu took part in the conference of All Bengal Muslim Students League held at Kustia where he played a significant role. He was also elected Secretary of Faridpur District Association.


Sheikh Mujib was elected General Secretary of Calcutta Islamia College Students Union.


Bangabandhu obtained Bachelor of Arts degree from Islamia College under Calcutta University. When communal riots broke out in the wake of the partition of India and the birth of Pakistan. Bangabandhu played a pioneering role in protecting Muslims and trying to contain the violence.


Bangabandhu took admission in the Law Department of Dhaka University. He founded the Muslim Students League on 4 January. He rose in spontaneous protest on 23rd February when Prime Minister Khawja Nazimuddin in his speech at the Legislative Assembly declared: The people of East Pakistan will accept Urdu as their state Language. On 11 March Bangabandhu was arrested along with some colleagues while they were holding a demonstration in front of the Secretariat building and in the face of strong student movement the Muslim League government was forced to release Bangabandhu and other student leaders on 15 March. Following his release, the All Party State Language Action Council held a public rally at Dhaka University Amtala on 16 March. Bangabandhu presided over the rally which was soon set upon by the police. To protest the police action Bangabandhu immediately announced a countrywide student strike on 17 March, Mujib was arrested again on 11 September for joining the movement against Cordon system at Faridpur.


Sheikh Mujib was released from jail on 21 January. Bangabandhu extended his support to a strike called by the Class Four employees of Dhaka University to press home their various demands. The university authorities illogically imposed a fine on him for leading the movement of the employees. He rejected the unjust order Mujib was arrested for staging a sit-in strike before the Vice-Chancellor�s residence. When the East Pakistan Awami League was formed on 23 June, Bangabandhu was elected its Joint Secretary despite his imprisonment. He was released in late June. In September he was detained for violating Section 144. However, he was released later. Once again Bangabandhu was arrested and jailed for two years and five months for leading the demonstration on occasion of Pakistan Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan�s visit to the province.


On 26 January, Khawja Nazimuddin declared that Urdu would be the state language of Pakistan. On 16 he began hunger strike at Dhaka Central Jail in support of the Bangla language movement. On 21 February the student community violating Section 144 imposed by the government brought out a procession in Dhaka to press the demand for recognition of Bangla as the state language. Police opened fire and killed Salam, Barkat, Rafique, Jabbar and Shafiur. They are acknowledged as martyrs of the Language Movement. Bangabandhu was on hunger strike for 13 consecutive days. He was released from jail 26 February.


On 9 July, Mujib was elected as the General Secretary of East Pakistan Awami League at its council. Efforts were made to build unity among Maunala Bhasani, A. K. Fazlul Huq and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy with the objective of defeating the Muslim League at the ensuring general elections. To achieve this, a special council session of the party was called on 14 November in which a resolution to form the Jukta Front (United Front) was approved.


The first general elections in East Bengal were held on 10 March. The United Front acquired 223 seats out of 237. Awami League captured 143 seats. Bangabandhu took oath as Minister in the provincial government. On 15 May he took over as Agriculture and Forest Minister. The central government arbitrarily dismissed the United Front ministry on 29 May. Bangabandhu was once again arrested when his plane landed at Dhaka airport from Karachi on 30 May. He was released on December 18.


Bangabandhu was elected as a member of the Constituent Assembly on 5th June. On 23 June the Working Committee of the Awami League took a decision that the Awami League members of the legislative assembly would resign if autonomy was not granted to East Pakistan. On 21 October Awami Muslim League dropped the word ‘Muslim’ from its name at a special council to make the party a truly modern and secular one. Bangabandhu was re-elected General Secretary of the party.


On 3 February, Awami League during a meeting with the chief Minister demanded that the subject of provincial autonomy be included in the draft constitution. On September an anti famine procession was brought out under the leadership of Bangabandhu defying Section 144. At least three persons were killed when police opened fire on the procession at Chawkbazar area. On 16 September Bangabandhu assumed the responsibility of Industries, Commerce, Labour, Anti-Corruption and Village-AID Ministry in the coalition government formed by Ataur Rahman Khan.


On 30 May Bangabandhu resigned from the cabinet to strengthen the organization by working full time. On 7 August he went to official tour to China and the Soviet Union.


On 7 October Pakistan President and the military dictator General Ayub Khan imposed martial law and banned political activities. Bangabandhu was arrested on 11 October. He was released from prison after a long 14 months but he was arrested at the jail gate.


Bangabandhu was released from jail after the High Court declared his detention unlawful. After his release from the jail he set up an underground organization called ‘Swadhin Bangla Biplobi Parishad’ against the martial law regime comprising outstanding student leaders in order to work for the independence of Bangladesh.


Bangabandhu was arrested under the Public Security Act on 6 February. He was freed on 18 June following of four years long martial law on 2 June. On 24 September he went Lahore and joined Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy to form the National Democratic Front, an alliance of the opposition parties. He spent the entire month of October traveling across the Bengal along with Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy to build up public support for the Front.


Bangabandhu went to London for consultations with Suhrawardy who was there for medical treatment. On 5 December Suhrawardy died in Beirut.


The Awami Leeague was revitalized on 25 January at a meeting held at Bangabandhu’s residence. The meeting elected Maulana Abdur Rashid Tarkabagish as party President and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mijib as the general secretary. On 11 March an All-Party Action Committee was formed. Bangabandhu led a committee to defuse communal riots. Bangabandhu was arrested 14 days before the presidential election.


The government charged Sheikh Mujib with sedition and for making objectionable statements. He was sentence to a one year imprisonment. He was later released by the order of the High Court.


On February, a national conference of the opposition parties held in Lahore. Bangabandhu placed his historic 6-Pionts programme before the select committee of the conference. On 1 March, Bangabandhu was elected the president of the Awami League. Following his election he launched a campaign to obtained enthusiastic support for the 6-Points demand. He was arrested eight times in the first quarter of the year. On 8 May he was arrested after his speech at a rally of jute mill workers at Narayanganj. A countrywide hartal was observed on 7 June to press the demand to release Bangabandhu.


While serving long term jail sentences, the Pakistani military dictator brought charges of high treason against Sheikh Mujib. They accused Sheikh Mujib of conspiring with 34 Bengali Senior Civil and military officials to overthrow the government. The trial started on 19 June inside Dhaaka Cantonment amidst tight security under a special tribunal and the case became famous as Agartala Conspiracy Case.


The Central Students Action Council was formed on 5 January to press for the acceptance of the 11-points which included the 6-Points of Bangabandhu, The protest against the so-called Agartala conspiracy case slowly gained momentum and the huge mass upsurge of February brought the downfall of Gen Ayub Khan and withdrawal of Agartala Conspiracy Case as well as the release of Sheikh Mujib and other co-accused. The Central Student Action Council arranged a reception in honour of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 23 February at the Race Course where millions of people gave an unprecedented reception to Sheikh Mujib and he was accorded the title \”Bangabandhu\”- friend of Banga (Bengal).

On 10 March Bangabandhu joined the round table conference called by Ayub Khan in Rawalpindi. On 25 March Ayub Khan took over and imposed martial law. On 25 October, Bangabandhu went to London on a three week organizational tour. In the death anniversary of Suhrawardy, Bangabandhu announced that the name of the independent East Pakistan would be Bangladesh.


Bangabandhu was re-elected president of the Awami League on 6 January. In the general election held on 7 December of Pakistan, the Awami League acquired an absolute majority and secured 167 seats out of 169 National Assembly seats in the then Eat Pakistan and won 288 out of 300 seats in the Provincial Assembly.


On 3 January, Bangabandhu conducted the oath of the peoples� representatives at a meeting at the Race Course ground. The Awami League inaugurated the oath to frame a constitution on the basis of 6-Points demand. On 27 January Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto arrived in Dhaka for talks with Bangabandhu. The talks failed after three days of deliberations. On 3 March In protest to Gen Yahyah Khan’s deliberate refusal to hand over political power, Sheikh Mujib declared the cancellation of the session of the National Council. Under the leadership of Sheikh Mujib, all Bangalees vehemently opposed Yahya’s dictatorial intervention into national politics.

On 7 March, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed a mammoth public rally at the Race Course ground, where declared upholding the promise for the liberation of the Bangalees……..this is our fight for liberation; this is our fight for independence………….Joy Bangla.

On 25 March, Pakistan army unleashed its barbaric attack on the unprepared Bangalees in the dead of the night. Official declaration of independence via wireless from his residence, 32 Dhanmondi Road, just before he was captured by the Pakistani occupation forces. On 17 April 1971, Formation of the Mujibnagar (provisional) government in Meherpur and Sheikh Mujib was elected the President. Syed Nazrul Islam the acting President and Tajuddin Ahmed the Prime Minister. The Liberation War ended on 16 December when the Pakistani occupation forces surrendered at the historic Race Course ground accepting defeat in the glorious war.


On 8 January the Pakistan government released Bangabandhu from military custody bowing to international pressure. The same day Bangabandhu left for London en route to Dhaka. In London British Prime Minister Edward Heath met him. On his way back to Dhaka Bangabandhu had a stopover in New Delhi. He was received by Indian President V. V. Giri and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the airport. On 10 January an unforgettable reception was accorded to Bangabandhu when the Father of the Nation reached at the airport he drove straight to the Race Course ground. On 12 January took over as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.


The Awami League secured 293 seats out of the 300 Jatiyo Sansad (Parliament) seats in the first general election. On 3 September the Awami League, CPB and NAP formed Oikya Front. On 6 September Bangabandhu set off to Algeria to attend the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) summit conference.


The People’s Republic of Bangladesh was accorded membership of the United Nations. On 24 September, Bangabandhu addressed the UN general assembly in Bengali for the first time in the history of UN.


On 25 January the country switched over to the Presidential system of government and Bangabandhu took over as the President of the republic. On 24 February, BKSAL (Bangladesh Krisak Sramik Awami League) was launched for economic independence.

In the pre-dawn hours of 15 August , the noblest and the greatest of Bengalees in a thousand years, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the architect of Bangladesh and Father of the Nation was assassinated by a handful of ambitious and treacherous military officers. In the same afternoon Mujib’s body was taken straight to Tungipara, escorted by the military, his place of birth and was given a hasty burial.

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