The glorious victory that the we earned in 1971 following 23 year’s of political struggle and nine months of bloody war seems to be still unsafe. Anti-liberation forces even after fifty-years of Bangladesh’s independence are still very much active. They are propagating obnoxious views against women just to undermine them. The Pakistani rulers used religion to exploit the religious sentiment of the Bengalees with a view to serving their political interest. Their purpose was to transfer the resources earned by Bengalis by the sweat of their brow.
Even during Pakistan era, religious fundamentalists were not as active as they are found today. These notorious fundamentalists adopted a subtle technique during 1972 to 1975 to play with peoples’ religious sentiment. They adopted such technique just to hide the heinous crimes that they committed during the war of liberation. They collaborated with the Pakistani military junta and got themselves involved in mass killing, looting arson and rape. The local collaborators also killed our national intellectuals.
Although Jamaat was the arch rival of independent Bangladesh, it was General Zia who usurped state power and allowed them to be co-sharer of power and politics to consolidate his position as the head of an unlawful government. In fact, General Zia is the person who changed the dimension and quality of governance of independent Bangladesh.
The Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
wanted to emancipate our people from all kinds of exploitation
and build a secular Bangladesh
He is the person who brought Golam Azam back (number one enemy of our war of liberation), offered citizenship and gave rebirth to his party Jamaat. General Zia who claims to be a freedom fighter did everything to negate our independence following the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The concept of our independence, very much integrated in our 1972 constitution made at the cost of a sea of blood, was distorted and defamed by Zia during the tenure of his six years rule.
The Father of the Nation and the leader of the revolution Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman wanted to emancipate our people from all kinds of exploitation and build a secular Bangladesh. He wanted to instill a secular culture in place of communalism. By secularism he meant no discrimination against anybody in the name of religion. What he meant by secularism was to keep the state free from the interference of religion.
Religion must not influence the state organ. He learnt it from the realities of East Pakistan where in the name of Islam the majority population of East Pakistan were subjugated by the West. They used Islam as a tool to exploit the people of the East. The God fearing Muslims of the then East Pakistan was condemned by the Pakistan as second class citizens and the Hindus as agents of India. It was the religion of Islam that they utilized for creating division among the Hindus and Muslims of the East Pakistan.
It was Sheikh Mujib who truly realized the conspiracy and united almost all the people of East Pakistan to frustrate the heinous conspiracy of the West. His six-point programme gave them a befitting reply. The demand for autonomy virtually turned into a movement against the West and ultimately paved the way for emancipation.
Against this backdrop the six-point programme became a mandate in 1970 election. Sheikh Mujib’s Awami League secured 167 out of 169 seats in East Pakistan. It was actually a mandate for six-point against exploitation of West. The central government refused to hand over power to Sheikh Mujib, the leader of the majority party. Bangabandhu called for non-cooperation movement. It continued from 3rd March to 26th March. The kind of movement that Bangabandhu launched against the military junta against Ayub was unparalleled in the history of political history. It were the dictates of Sheikh Mujib that became the governing law. Beginning from primary school to highest court of law followed the dictates making the central government totally defunct.
The entire world observed the scenario. Sheikh Mujib proved that the central government had no legitimacy to rule East Pakistan. What a strange reality, East Pakistan was then ruled by Sheikh Mujib even before it became independent. In retaliation to that the Pakistani military junta attacked on Dhaka city on 25th March and 25,000 innocent Bengalis in one night. Immediately after the attack Bangabandhu declared independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of 26th March. The war continued for long 9 months and on 16th December 1971 the Pakistani occupation army surrendered to the joint forces—the Indian army and the Mukti Bahini. Bangladesh came into being as an independent Bangladesh in the world map.
The creation of Bangladesh is the outcome of long arduous struggle under the leadership of Bangabandhu against the Pak rulers. He was fortunate enough to see the result of his life long struggle for emancipation of the Bengalees. Bangladesh is now an independent country. The people are the owners of its resources. None could exploit us if we are alert.
The writer is former Political adviser to the Prime Minister, Member of Parliament, General Secretary of Bangabandhu Parishad and Columnist.