Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bangabandhu and Muktijuddher Chetona

Bangabandhu and Muktijuddher Chetona 

Bangabandhu is not a mere individual. He in an institution, a movement, a revolution, an upsurge.  He is the architect of the nation. He is the essence of epic poetry and he is history.

This   history   goes   back   a   thousand years. Which is why contemporary history has recognized him as the greatest Bengali of the past thousand years? The future will call him the superman of eternal time.

And  he  will  live,  in  luminosity  reminiscent  of  a  bright  star,  in historical  legends. He will show the path to the Bengali nation his dreams   are   the   basis   of   the existence   of   the nation.  A remembrance of him is the culture and society that Bengalis have sketched for them.  His possibilities, the promises thrown forth by him, are the fountain-spring of the civilized existence of the Bengalis.

I feel pain as we could not honor the dead, nor the victims, nor the freedom fighters yet with due solemnity. I feel bad when I find the national leaders questioning the ‘Muktijuddher Chetona”. What a travesty of justice, what a shameful act!! How can we make friendship with those that still refuse to accept their guilt and deny the existence of injustice and atrocities of 1971? How can we not ask them to solicit mercy and forgiveness for their crime against mankind? A crime is a crime. It cannot be ignored with the lapse of time. Lord Cromwell was tried from his dead and the Nazis of World War II are still being sought after. The Nazis and the KKK are barred from getting elected in democratic societies. We must not condone a criminal or his crime, nor should we give shelter to criminals. We can only forgive them provided they ask for forgiveness and mercy---there is no alternatives known to me. Those who believe in Islam know that even the Almighty Allah will not forgive those who have committed crimes against His creatures unless they forgive them first. Therefore, unless they solicit mercy and forgiveness and confess their guilt publicly, they must not be forgiven. If a group or a person forgive them for group or personal interest, then they share the same loathe and disdain of our dead. They cannot be our heroes nor can they be the torchbearers for our future generations.

Muktijuddher Chetona is very simple and pure. It stands for justice and fair play in human relations. It abhors racism, intolerance, dehumanization discrimination and communalism that the occupation force represented. It seeks equity in society and equal opportunities for all. It upholds democratic values; after all the 1971 war was fought to ensure democracy and economic emancipation. Can we therefore forget Muktijuddher Chetona?

Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib : Dr. Mustif M Choudhury

Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib : Dr. Mustif M Choudhury
It is said that behind every successful man, there is a virtuous woman. For our father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the woman behind his success was his wife, Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib. August 8 was the 80th birth anniversary of this great woman who had been with the father of the nation from an early age and had departed to the hereafter along with him.
Begum Mujib (also named as Renu) was born in Tungipara of GopalGanj district in 1930. Her early schooling was in a missionary school, followed by religious education at home. She lost her father and mother at the age of five and was groomed by her future mother-in-law. She was married to Sheikh Mujib at the age of eleven and had three sons and two daughters.
The new generation, which did not see the war of independence or encounter such hardships, will never understand how and in what magnitude Begum Mujib had contributed towards the freedom of this nation. Sheikh Mujib was a born politician and had spent most of his life in jail. This lady had not only looked after the family but had also lent her hand in keeping the Awami League organised.
During hard times, she never expressed her worries or dismay. Instead, she encouraged and frequently advised the leaders and party men on how to proceed in times of trouble.
During the Agartala Conspiracy case, Sheikh Mujib was in custody in the cantonment. There was an uprising of the people for withdrawal of this case and freedom of the captives. In order to tackle the situation, the then army dictator Ayub Khan proposed a round table discussion.
It was anticipated that Bangabandhu would go to Lahore for the round table conference on parole. There was also pressure from politicians like Ataur Rahman Khan, Abul Mansur Ahmed, Tofazzal Hossain, and others to sit in the meeting. But Mrs. Mujib, who was very much a housewife, vehemently opposed the Sheikh's release on parole and taking part in the round table discussion.
She was so firm on her decision that Sheikh complied, and refused to attend the conference. History indicates that this incident paved the way for the release of all the captives and revival of one man one vote system. These were mainly attained by the stance taken by Fazilatunnesa Mujib
Mrs. Mujib was also known for her immense patience and her capability to recall any event of the past. Besides, she also had the ability to lead. The killers of Bangabandhu and his family propagated the lie that the Sheikh had a huge amount of money in local banks and immense wealth. However, even 21 years after Sheikh Mujib's death, a local bank discovered only a single bank account of the late president and found that it had a balance of roughly five hundred taka.
His house had no luxurious fixtures and fittings. It was an ordinary man's house. If Mrs. Mujib had desired, being the wife of a president, she could have anything she wanted, but she was not like that. It may be worth mentioning that Mrs. Fazilatunnesa Mujib sold her jewellery for collecting the money for the war of independence.
Understanding Sheikh Fazilatunnesa's contribution to the nation is difficult for a person who was born in the post-independence period of Bangladesh. Looking at the chain of events that led to independence, this writer reached the conclusion that it would have been difficult for Bangabandhu to achieve freedom for the Bengali people if he did not have a lady like Fazilatunnesa Mujib with him.
After independence, Sheikh Fazilatunnesa's role in building international relationships becomes apparent in her intimacy with Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister of India. Moreover, she had always been besides Sheikh Mujib when different world leaders visited Bangladesh.
Sheikh Fazilatunnesa was an excellent homemaker. She groomed her children to be good citizens and worthy children of a great father. Not only that, she was also courageous, determined, painstaking, and a true and ideal daughter-in-law.
Thirty-five years have elapsed since the death of this great lady. The nation has shown respect to this lady only by erecting a dormitory in her name in Dhaka University. This would have not been possible if it had not been proposed by the then Senate member Professor Dr. Abdul Mannan Choudhury. We are fortunate to have a commemorative book on her.
However, we are longing to see that her contributions are recognised and to see the next generation pick her as their idol for she was a true friend of the nation, a philosopher, and a guide and mentor to the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Dr. Musfiq M. Choudhury is Assistant Professor, University of Dhaka.