Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

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Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (March 17, 1920 – August 15, 1975) was a Bengali
Bengali people
The Bengali people are an ethnic community native to the historic region of Bengal in South Asia. They speak Bengali , which is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit and Sanskrit languages. In their native language, they are referred to as বাঙালী...

 nationalist
Bengali nationalism
Bengali nationalism is the political expression of ethno-national consciousness of the Bengali people, who inhabit the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. The region's territory is divided between Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal...

 politician and the founder of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh
President of Bangladesh
Since 1991, the President of Bangladesh is the head of state, a largely ceremonial post elected by the parliament. Since 1996, the President's role becomes more important after the term of the government has finished, when his executive authority is enhanced as laid down in the constitution of the...

 and later became its Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
The Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh is the Head of the Government of Bangladesh. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Jatiya Sangsad Parliament, to their political party and ultimately to the electorate...

. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh
President of Bangladesh
Since 1991, the President of Bangladesh is the head of state, a largely ceremonial post elected by the parliament. Since 1996, the President's role becomes more important after the term of the government has finished, when his executive authority is enhanced as laid down in the constitution of the...

 and later became its Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
The Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh is the Head of the Government of Bangladesh. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Jatiya Sangsad Parliament, to their political party and ultimately to the electorate...

. He is popularly referred to as Sheikh Mujib, and with the honorary title of Bangabandhu (বঙ্গবন্ধু Bôngobondhu, "Friend of Bengal"). His eldest daughter Sheikh Hasina Wajed is the present leader of the Awami League and the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
The Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh is the Head of the Government of Bangladesh. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Jatiya Sangsad Parliament, to their political party and ultimately to the electorate...

.

A student political leader, Mujib rose in East Pakistani politics and within the ranks of the Awami League as a charismatic and forceful orator. Though he was an insurance company broker in occupation Mujib became popular for his leadership against the ethnic and institutional discrimination of Bengalis. He demanded increased provincial autonomy, and became a fierce opponent of the military rule of Ayub Khan. At the heightening of sectional tensions, Mujib outlined a six-point autonomy plan
Six point movement
The 6 Point Movement was a Bengali nationalist movement in East Pakistan spearheaded by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which eventually led to the liberation of Bangladesh. The movement's main agenda was to realize the six demands put forward by a coalition of Bengali nationalist political parties in 1966,...

, which was seen as separatism in West Pakistan
West Pakistan
West Pakistan , common name West-Pakistan , in the period between its establishment on 22 November 1955 to disintegration on December 16, 1971. This period, during which, Pakistan was divided, ended when East-Pakistan was disintegrated and succeeded to become which is now what is known as Bangladesh...

. He was tried in 1968 for allegedly conspiring with the Indian government
Government of India
The Government of India, officially known as the Union Government, and also known as the Central Government, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the union of 28 states and seven union territories, collectively called the Republic of India...

 but was not found guilty. Despite leading his party to a major victory in the 1970 elections, Mujib was not invited to form the government.

After talks broke down with President Yahya Khan
Yahya Khan
General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan Qizilbash, H.Pk, HJ, S.Pk, psc was the third President of Pakistan from 1969 to 1971, following the resignation of Ayub Khan...

 and West Pakistani politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

, Sheikh Mujib on 26 March 1971 announced the declaration of independence of East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

 and announced the establishment of the sovereign People's Republic of Bangladesh. Subsequently he was arrested and tried by a military court. During his nine month detention, guerrilla war
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

 erupted between government forces and Bengali nationalists aided by India. An all out war between the Pakistan Army and Bangladesh-India Joint Forces led to the establishment of Bangladesh, and after his release Mujib assumed office as a provisional president, and later prime minister. Even as a constitution was adopted, proclaiming socialism and a secular democracy, Mujib struggled to address the challenges of intense poverty and unemployment, coupled with rampant corruption. In the aftermath of the 1974 famine
Bangladesh famine of 1974
The Bangladesh famine of 1974 refers to a period of mass starvation beginning in March 1974 and ending in about December of the same year. The famine is considered the worst in recent years; it was characterised by massive flooding along the Brahmaputra river as well as high...

 and amidst rising political agitation, he banned other political parties and most of the newspapers but four Government owned. He established a one party state. After only seven months, Mujib was assassinated
Assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
The assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took place in the early hours of August 15, 1975, when a group of junior Bangladesh Army officers invaded Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's residence with tanks...

 along with most of his family by a group of army officers.

Early life


Rahman was born in Tungipara
Tungipara Upazila
Tungipara is an Upazila of Gopalganj District in the Division of Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is the birthplace of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is considered as the father of the nation and founder of independent Bangladesh.-Geography:...

, a village in Gopalganj District
Gopalganj District (Bangladesh)
The district of Gopalganj consists 356 mosques, 359 temples, six churches and four tombs.-Places of interest:* Ulpur has a former Zamindar palace which is currently used a Tafsil Office and many other Zamindar mansions. It was the home of the Basu Roy Chowdhury family. Arpara has a zamindar palace...

 in the province of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

, to Sheikh Lutfur Rahman, a serestadar, an officer responsible for record-keeping at the Gopalganj civil court. He was the third child in a family of four daughters and two sons. In 1929, Rahman entered into class three at Gopalganj Public School, and two years later, class four at Madaripur Islamia High School. However, Mujib was withdrawn from school in 1934 to undergo eye surgery, and returned to school only after four years, owing to the severity of the surgery and slow recovery. At the age of eighteen, Mujib married Begum Fazilatnnesa. She gave birth to their two daughters—Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina is a Bangladeshi politician and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has been the President of the Awami League, a major political party, since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh and widow of a reputed nuclear...

 and Sheikh Rehana—and three sons—Sheikh Kamal
Sheikh Kamal
Sheikh Kamal was the son of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding leader of Bangladesh. Sheikh Kamal, had completed his matriculation from Shaheen School, Dhaka, and Higher Secondary Certificate Examination from Dhaka College. He practiced sitar at Chhayanaut, a school of music...

, Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russel.

Mujib became politically active when he joined the All India Muslim Students Federation
All India Muslim Students Federation
The Muslim Students Federation was an Indian Muslim students union affiliated with the All India Muslim League. Splitting off from the All India Students Federation in 1937, the body was organised under patronage of Quaid-e-millath Ismail Sahib.- About MSF:...

 in 1940. He enrolled at the Islamia College
Maulana Azad College
Maulana Azad College is located in central Calcutta, West Bengal, India. It is located near the junction of Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road and SN Banerjee Road, popularly called "Lotus crossing".It is a Government college and affiliated to the University of Calcutta...

 (now Maulana Azad College), a well-respected college affiliated to the University of Calcutta
University of Calcutta
The University of Calcutta is a public university located in the city of Kolkata , India, founded on 24 January 1857...

 to study law and entered student politics there. He joined the Bengal Muslim League in 1943 and grew close to the faction led by Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy
Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy
Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy was a Pakistani-Bengali politician and statesman who served as 5th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1956 till 1957, and a close associate of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan, first Prime minister of Pakistan...

, a leading Bengali Muslim leader. During this period, Mujib worked actively for the League's cause of a separate Muslim
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 state of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and in 1946 he was elected general secretary of the Islamia College Students Union. After obtaining his degree in 1947, Mujib was one of the Muslim politicians working under Suhrawardy during the communal violence that broke out in Calcutta, in 1946, just before the partition of India
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

.
On his return to East Bengal
East Bengal
East Bengal was the name used during two periods in the 20th century for a territory that roughly corresponded to the modern state of Bangladesh. Both instances involved a violent partition of Bengal....

, he enrolled in the University of Dhaka
University of Dhaka
The University of Dhaka is the oldest university in Bangladesh. It is a multi-disciplinary research university and is among the top universities in the region. Established on July 21, 1921, as per the Government of India Act, 1920, it was modelled on the Universities in England and soon gained...

 to study law and founded the East Pakistan Muslim Students' League
East Pakistan Muslim Students' League
The East Pakistan Muslim Students League was founded following the independence of Pakistan to support the political activities and campaigns of the Muslim League in electoral politics. One of its founders was Sheikh Mujibur Rahman....

 and became one of the most prominent student political leaders in the province. During these years, Mujib developed an affinity for socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 as the ideal solution to mass poverty, unemployment and poor living conditions. On January 26, 1949 the government announced that Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

 would officially be the state language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 of Pakistan. Though still in jail, Mujib encouraged fellow activist groups to launch strikes and protests and undertook a hunger strike
Hunger strike
A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change. Most hunger strikers will take liquids but not...

 for 13 days. Following the declaration of Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a Muslim lawyer, politician, statesman and the founder of Pakistan. He is popularly and officially known in Pakistan as Quaid-e-Azam and Baba-e-Qaum ....

 and the province chief minister Khwaja Nazimuddin in 1948 that the people of East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

, mainly Bengalis, would have to adopt Urdu as the state language, agitation broke out amongst the population. Mujib led the Muslim Students League in organising strikes and protests, and was arrested along with Khaleque Nawaz Khan, Shamsul Haque by police on March 11. The sustained protest from students and political activists led to the immediate release of Mujib and the others. Mujib was expelled from the university and arrested again in 1949 for attempting to organize the menial and clerical staff in an agitation over workers' rights.

Early political career



Mujib launched his political career, leaving the Muslim League to join Suhrawardy and Maulana Bhashani in the formation of the Awami Muslim League
Bangladesh Awami League
The Bangladesh Awami League , commonly known as the Awami League, is the mainstream center-left, secular political party in Bangladesh...

, the predecessor of the Awami League. He was elected joint secretary of its East Pakistan unit in 1949. While Suhrawardy worked to build a larger coalition of East Pakistani and socialist parties, Mujib focused on expanding the grassroots organisation. In 1951, Mujib began organising protests and rallies in response to the killings by police of students who had been protesting against the declaration of Urdu as the sole national language. This period of turmoil, later to be known as the Bengali Language Movement, saw Mujib and many other Bengali politicians arrested. In 1953, he was made the party's general secretary, and elected to the East Bengal Legislative Assembly
East Bengal Legislative Assembly
The East Bengal Legislative Assembly was the elected law-making body of the province of East Bengal in Pakistan. It was later renamed the East Pakistan Legislative Assembly and would be succeeded by the Jatiyo Sangshad in 1971.-Speakers:...

 on a United Front
United Front (East Pakistan)
The United Front was a coalition of mainly political parties from East Pakistan, organized and led by A. K. Fazlul Huq, Maulana Bhashani and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy of the Awami League. The coalition demanded greater provincial autonomy, the United Front had claimed during their 1954 election...

 coalition ticket in 1954. Serving briefly as the minister for agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 during A. K. Fazlul Huq
A. K. Fazlul Huq
Not to be confused with the cricket ground in Dhaka Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium Sher-e-Bangla Abul Kashem Fazlul Huq was a well-known Bengali statesman in the first half of the 20th century...

's government, Mujib was briefly arrested for organizing a protest of the central government's decision to dismiss the United Front ministry. He was elected to the second Constituent Assembly of Pakistan
Constituent Assembly of Pakistan
The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was formed to write Pakistan's constitution, and serve as its first parliament. It first convened on 11 August 1947, before the end of British rule on August 15, 1947. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the first President of this Assembly until his death on...

 and served from 1955 to 1958. During a speech in the assembly on the proposed plan to dissolve the provinces
Historical regions of Pakistan
The former administrative units of Pakistan are states, provinces and territories which mainly existed between 1947 and 1975 when the current provinces and territories were established. The former units have no administrative function today but some remain as historical and cultural legacies...

 in favour of an amalgamated West Pakistan and East Pakistan with a powerful central government, Mujib demanded that the Bengali people's ethnic identity be respected and that a popular verdict should decide the question:

"Sir [President of the Constituent Assembly], you will see that they want to place the word "East Pakistan" instead of "East Bengal." We had demanded so many times that you should use Bengal instead of Pakistan. The word "Bengal" has a history, has a tradition of its own. You can change it only after the people have been consulted. So far as the question of one unit is concerned it can come in the constitution. Why do you want it to be taken up just now? What about the state language, Bengali
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

? We will be prepared to consider one-unit with all these things. So I appeal to my friends on that side to allow the people to give their verdict in any way, in the form of referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 or in the form of plebiscite."


In 1956, Mujib entered a second coalition government as minister of industries, commerce, labour, anti-corruption and village aid, but resigned in 1957 to work full-time for the party organization. When General Ayub Khan suspended the constitution
Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the supreme law of Pakistan. Known as the Constitution of 1973, it was drafted by the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and, following additions by the opposition parties, was approved by the legislative assembly on April 10, 1973...

 and imposed martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 in 1958, Mujib was arrested for organising resistance and imprisoned till 1961. After his release from prison, Mujib started organising an underground political body called the Swadhin Bangal Biplobi Parishad
Swadhin Bangal Biplobi Parishad
The Swadhin Bangal Biplobi Parishad was an underground student political group organized in 1961 by Mujibur Rahman, the founder of Bangladesh. The group worked to oppose the military rule of Ayub Khan, as well as for greater autonomy and the independence of East Pakistan as "Bangladesh."...

 (Free Bangla Revolutionary Council), comprising student leaders in order to oppose the regime of Ayub Khan and to work for increased political power for Bengalis and the independence of East Pakistan. He was briefly arrested again in 1962 for organising protests.

Leader of East Pakistan




Following Suhrawardy's death in 1963, Mujib came to head the Awami League, which became one of the largest political parties in Pakistan. The party had dropped the word "Muslim" from its name in a shift towards secularism
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 and a broader appeal to non-Muslim communities. Mujib was one of the key leaders to rally opposition to President Ayub Khan's Basic Democracies plan, the imposition of martial law and the one-unit scheme, which centralized power and merged the provinces. Working with other political parties, he supported opposition candidate Fatima Jinnah
Fatima Jinnah
Fatima Jinnah , was one of the figurative and pioneering woman figure in Pakistan Movement and was the younger sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. An active political figure in the movement for independence from the British Raj, she is commonly known in Pakistan as Khātūn-e...

 against Ayub Khan in the 1964 election
Elections in Pakistan
At the national level, Pakistan elects a bicameral legislature, the Parliament of Pakistan, which consists of a directly elected National Assembly of Pakistan and a Senate, whose members are chosen by elected provincial legislators. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is elected by the National Assembly...

. Mujib was arrested two weeks before the election, charged with sedition
Sedition
In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent to lawful authority. Sedition may include any...

 and jailed for a year. In these years, there was rising discontent in East Pakistan over the atrocities committed by the Pakistani Armed Forces against Bengalis and the neglect of the issues and needs of East Pakistan by the ruling regime. Despite forming a majority of the population, the Bengalis were poorly represented in Pakistan's civil services, police and military. There were also conflicts between the allocation of revenues and taxation.

Unrest over continuing denial of democracy spread across Pakistan and Mujib intensified his opposition to the disbandment of provinces. In 1966, Mujib proclaimed a 6-point plan titled Our Charter of Survival at a national conference of opposition political parties at Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

, in which he demanded self-government and considerable political, economic and defence autonomy for East Pakistan in a Pakistani federation
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 with a weak central government. According to his plan:
  1. The constitution should provide for a Federation of Pakistan in its true sense on the Lahore Resolution
    Lahore Resolution
    The Lahore Resolution , commonly known as the Pakistan Resolution , was a formal political statement adopted by the Muslim League at the occasion of its three-day general session on 22–24 March 1940 that called for greater Muslim autonomy in British India...

     and the parliamentary form of government with supremacy of a legislature directly elected on the basis of universal adult franchise.
  2. The federal government should deal with only two subjects: defence
    Defense (military)
    Defense has several uses in the sphere of military application.Personal defense implies measures taken by individual soldiers in protecting themselves whether by use of protective materials such as armor, or field construction of trenches or a bunker, or by using weapons that prevent the enemy...

     and foreign affairs
    Foreign relations of Pakistan
    Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country in terms of population , and its status as a declared nuclear power, being the only Islamic nation to have that status, plays a part in its international role....

    , and all other residuary subjects shall be vested in the federating states.
  3. Two separate, but freely convertible currencies
    Paisa
    The paisa is a monetary unit in several countries. Linguistic variants of paisa include poisha and baisa . In India, Nepal and Pakistan, the paisa currently equals of a rupee. In Bangladesh, the poisha equals of a Bangladeshi taka...

     for two wings should be introduced; or if this is not feasible, there should be one currency for the whole country, but effective constitutional provisions should be introduced to stop the flight of capital from East to West Pakistan. Furthermore, a separate banking reserve
    Bank reserves
    Bank reserves are banks' holdings of deposits in accounts with their central bank , plus currency that is physically held in the bank's vault . The central banks of some nations set minimum reserve requirements...

     should be established and separate fiscal
    Fiscal policy
    In economics and political science, fiscal policy is the use of government expenditure and revenue collection to influence the economy....

     and monetary policy
    Monetary policy
    Monetary policy is the process by which the monetary authority of a country controls the supply of money, often targeting a rate of interest for the purpose of promoting economic growth and stability. The official goals usually include relatively stable prices and low unemployment...

     be adopted for East Pakistan.
  4. The power of tax
    Tax
    To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

    ation and revenue collection shall be vested in the federating units and the federal centre will have no such power. The federation will be entitled to a share in the state taxes to meet its expenditures.
  5. There should be two separate accounts for the foreign exchange
    Foreign exchange market
    The foreign exchange market is a global, worldwide decentralized financial market for trading currencies. Financial centers around the world function as anchors of trading between a wide range of different types of buyers and sellers around the clock, with the exception of weekends...

     earnings of the two wings; the foreign exchange requirements of the federal government should be met by the two wings equally or in a ratio to be fixed; indigenous products should move free of duty
    Duty (economics)
    In economics, a duty is a kind of tax, often associated with customs, a payment due to the revenue of a state, levied by force of law. It is a tax on certain items purchased abroad...

     between the two wings, and the constitution should empower the units to establish trade links with foreign countries.
  6. East Pakistan should have a separate militia or paramilitary forces.



Mujib's points catalysed public support across East Pakistan, launching what some historians have termed the 6 point movement
Six point movement
The 6 Point Movement was a Bengali nationalist movement in East Pakistan spearheaded by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which eventually led to the liberation of Bangladesh. The movement's main agenda was to realize the six demands put forward by a coalition of Bengali nationalist political parties in 1966,...

— recognized as the definitive gambit for autonomy and rights of Bengalis in Pakistan. Mujib obtained the broad support of Bengalis, including the Hindu
Hinduism in Pakistan
Hinduism is the indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent, including Pakistan. However since the independence of Pakistan in 1947 as a Muslim majority nation, Hindus have had a much smaller numerical presence there...

 and other religious communities in East Pakistan. However, his demands were considered radical in West Pakistan and interpreted as thinly-veiled separatism
Separatism
Separatism is the advocacy of a state of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. While it often refers to full political secession, separatist groups may seek nothing more than greater autonomy...

. The proposals alienated West Pakistani people and politicians, as well as non-Bengalis and Muslim fundamentalists in East Pakistan.

Mujib was arrested by the army and after two years in jail, an official sedition trial in a military court opened. Widely known as the Agartala Conspiracy Case
Agartala Conspiracy Case
Agartala Conspiracy Case was a sedition case in Pakistan, brought forward by the Government of Pakistan against Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, leader of the Awami League and East Pakistan, and 34 other persons.-The Case:...

, Mujib and 34 Bengali military officers were accused by the government of colluding with Indian government agents in a scheme to divide Pakistan and threaten its unity, order and national security. The plot was alleged to have been planned in the city of Agartala, in the Indian state of Tripura
Tripura
Tripura is a state in North-East India, with an area of . It is the third smallest state of India, according to area. Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to the east. The capital is Agartala and the main languages spoken are...

. The outcry and unrest over Mujib's arrest and the charge of sedition against him destabilised East Pakistan amidst large protests and strikes. Various Bengali political and student groups added demands to address the issues of students, workers and the poor, forming a larger "11-point plan." The government caved to the mounting pressure, dropped the charged and unconditionally released Mujib. He returned to East Pakistan as a public hero.

Joining an all-parties conference convened by Ayub Khan in 1969, Mujib demanded the acceptance of his six points and the demands of other political parties and walked out following its rejection. On December 5, 1969 Mujib made a declaration at a public meeting held to observe the death anniversary of Suhrawardy that henceforth East Pakistan would be called "Bangladesh":

"There was a time when all efforts were made to erase the word "Bangla" from this land and its map. The existence of the word "Bangla" was found nowhere except in the term Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

. I on behalf of Pakistan announce today that this land will be called "Bangladesh" instead of East Pakistan."


Mujib's declaration heightened tensions across the country. The West Pakistani politicians and the military began to see him as a separatist leader. His assertion of Bengali cultural and ethnic identity also re-defined the debate over regional autonomy. Many scholars and observers believed the Bengali agitation emphasized the rejection of the Two-Nation Theory
Two-Nation Theory
The Two-Nation Theory proposed by Allama Iqbal is the ideology that the primary identity of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent is their religion, rather than their language or ethnicity, and therefore Indian Hindus and Muslims are two distinct nationalities, regardless of ethnic or other...

— the case upon which Pakistan had been created — by asserting the ethno-cultural identity of Bengalis as a nation. Mujib was able to galvanise support throughout East Pakistan, which was home to a majority of the national population, thus making him one of the most powerful political figures in the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

. It was following his 6-point plan that Mujib was increasingly referred to by his supporters as "Bangabandhu" (literally meaning "Friend of Bengal" in Bengali
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

).

1970 elections and independence



A major coastal cyclone
1970 Bhola cyclone
The 1970 Bhola cyclone was a devastating tropical cyclone that struck East Pakistan and India's West Bengal on November 12, 1970. It was the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, and one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern times...

 struck East Pakistan in 1970, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced. The subsequent period exposed extreme outrage and unrest over the perceived weak and ineffective response of the central government. Public opinion and political parties in East Pakistan blamed the governing authorities as intentionally negligent. The West Pakistani politicians attacked the Awami League for allegedly using the crisis for political gain. The dissatisfaction led to divisions within the civil services, police and Pakistani Armed Forces. In the elections held
Pakistani general election, 1970
General elections were held for the first time in Pakistan in on 7 December 1970, although the polls in East Pakistan, originally scheduled for October, were delayed by disastrous floods and rescheduled for later in December and January 1971....

 in December 1970, the Awami League under Mujib's leadership won a massive majority in the provincial legislature, and all but two of East Pakistan's quota of seats in the new National Assembly
National Assembly of Pakistan
The National Assembly of Pakistan is the lower house of the bicameral Majlis-e-Shura, which also compromises the President of Pakistan and Senate . The National Assembly and the Senate both convene at Parliament House in Islamabad...

, thus forming a clear majority.

The election result revealed a polarization between the two wings of Pakistan, with the largest and most successful party in the West being the Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

 of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

, who was completely opposed to Mujib's demand for greater autonomy. Bhutto threatened to boycott the assembly and oppose the government if Mujib was invited by Yahya Khan
Yahya Khan
General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan Qizilbash, H.Pk, HJ, S.Pk, psc was the third President of Pakistan from 1969 to 1971, following the resignation of Ayub Khan...

 (then president of Pakistan) to form the next government, demanding his party's inclusion. There was also widespread opposition in the Pakistani military and the Islamic political parties to Mujib becoming Pakistan's prime minister. And even though neither Mujib nor the League had explicitly advocated political independence for East Pakistan (openly at least), smaller nationalist groups were demanding independence for Bangladesh. Capitalization on West Pakistan and fearing East-Pakistani separatism, Bhutto feared civil war, therefore, Bhutto sent a secret message convened by his most trusted companion and life-long friend dr. Mubashir Hassan
Mubashir Hassan
Mubashir Hassan PhD, is a Pakistani civil engineer and science administrator known for his work in Hydraulics and his political role in the development of the atom bomb project....

, to Mujib and his inner circle. Hassan succeeded to meet with Mujib and convinced to form a coalition government with Bhutto. It was decided that Bhutto would served as President with Mujib as Prime minister. All of these development took place hidden from General Yahya Khan's watch, therefore none of Pakistan Armed Forces personnel were kept inform. Meanwhile, Bhutto increased the pressure on Yahya Khan to take a stance on whether who shall governed.

Liberation War, 1971


Following political deadlock, Yahya Khan delayed the convening of the assembly — a move seen by Bengalis as a plan to deny Mujib's party, which formed a majority, from taking charge. It was on March 7, 1971 that Mujib called for independence and asked the people to launch a major campaign of civil disobedience
Civil disobedience
Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power. Civil disobedience is commonly, though not always, defined as being nonviolent resistance. It is one form of civil resistance...

 and organised armed resistance at a mass gathering of people held at the Race Course Ground
Suhrawardy Udyan
Suhrawardy Udyan formerly known as Ramna Racecourse ground is a national memorial located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Once known as ‘‘Bagh-e-Badshahi’’ during the Mughal rule, it is named after Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. Originally it served as the military club of the British soldiers stationed in Dhaka...

 in Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

.

"The struggle now is the struggle for our emancipation; the struggle now is the struggle for our independence. Joy Bangla!..Since we have given blood, we will give more blood. God-willing, the people of this country will be liberated...Turn every house into a fort. Face (the enemy) with whatever you have."


Following a last ditch attempt to foster agreement, Yahya Khan declared martial law, banned the Awami League and ordered the army to arrest Mujib and other Bengali leaders and activists. The army launched Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971. Ordered by the central government in West Pakistan, this was seen as the sequel to "Operation Blitz" which had been...

 to curb the political and civil unrest, fighting the nationalist militias that were believed to have received training in India. Speaking on radio even as the army began its crackdown, Mujib asked his fellows to create resistance against Pakiskani Army of occupation by a telegraph at midnight on March 26, 1971:

"[The] Pakistan Army have suddenly attacked the Pilkhana EPR Headquarter and tha Rajarbag Police Line as well as killed many innocents in Dhaka. The battle has started in various places of Dhaka and Chittagong. I am asking help to all the nations of this world. Our freedom fighters are valiantly fighting against the foes to save their motherland. In the name of Almighty Allah my last request and order to you all is to fight for independence till death. Ask your brothers of Police, EPR, Bengal Regiment and Ansar to fight with you. No compromise, the victory is ours. Execute the last foe from our holy motherland. Carry my message to all the leaders, activists and the other patriots from the every corner of the country. May Allah bless you all. Joy Bangla." - from Shadhinota Shongrame Bangali by Aftab Ahmad


Sheikh Mujib was arrested and taken to Pakistan after midnight via Tejgaon international airport on a PAF C-130 flight right under the noses of ATC Officer Squadron Leader Khaja, Senior Operations Officer Wing Commander Khademul Bashar
Khademul Bashar
Air Vice-Marshal M Khademul Bashar was Chief of Air Staff of the Bangladesh Air Force during 1976. He also held the office of Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrator and was in charge of the Ministry of Petroleum, the Ministry of Food and Civil Aviation and the Department of Tourism.He served as...

 and Director of Airport and Flight Security Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan. All were on duty that night due to the state of emergency. Mujib was moved to West Pakistan and kept under heavy guard in a jail near Faisalabad
Faisalabad
Faisalabad , formerly known as Lyallpur, is the third largest metropolis in Pakistan, the second largest in the province of Punjab after Lahore, and a major industrial center in the heart of Pakistan. Before the foundation of the city in 1880, the area was very thinly populated. The population has...

 (then Lyallpur). Many other League politicians avoided arrest by fleeing to India and other countries. Pakistani general Rahimuddin Khan
Rahimuddin Khan
Rahimuddin Khan Afridi is a retired four-star general of the Pakistan Army who was the fourth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee from 1984 to 1987. He was also the longest-serving Governor and martial law administrator of Balochistan, from 1978 to when he resigned in 1984...

 was appointed to preside over Mujib's military court case in Faisalabad
Faisalabad
Faisalabad , formerly known as Lyallpur, is the third largest metropolis in Pakistan, the second largest in the province of Punjab after Lahore, and a major industrial center in the heart of Pakistan. Before the foundation of the city in 1880, the area was very thinly populated. The population has...

, the proceedings of which have never been made public.

The Pakistani army's campaign to restore order soon degenerated into a rampage of terror and bloodshed. With militias known as Razakars
Razakars (Pakistan)
The Razakar was the paramilitary force organized by the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.The Urdu word razakar literally means "volunteer". The Razakar force was composed of mostly pro-Pakistani Bengalis and Urdu-speaking migrants living in erstwhile East Pakistan...

, the army targeted Bengali intellectuals, politicians and union leaders, as well as ordinary civilians. It targeted Bengali and non-Bengali Hindus across the region, and throughout the year large numbers of Hindus fled across the border to the neighbouring Indian states of West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

, Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

 and Tripura
Tripura
Tripura is a state in North-East India, with an area of . It is the third smallest state of India, according to area. Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to the east. The capital is Agartala and the main languages spoken are...

. The East Bengali army and police regiments soon revolted
Mutiny
Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly situated individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject...

 and League leaders formed a government in exile
Government in exile
A government in exile is a political group that claims to be a country's legitimate government, but for various reasons is unable to exercise its legal power, and instead resides in a foreign country. Governments in exile usually operate under the assumption that they will one day return to their...

 in Kolkata under Tajuddin Ahmad
Tajuddin Ahmad
Tajuddin Ahmad was a Bangladeshi politician and statesman who served as the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh...

, a politician close to Mujib. A major insurgency led by the Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini
Mukti Bahini , also termed as the "Freedom Fighters" or FFs, collectively refers to the armed organizations who fought against the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was dynamically formed by Bengali regulars and civilians after the proclamation of Bangladesh's independence on...

 (Freedom Fighters) arose across East Pakistan. Despite international pressure, the Pakistani government refused to release Mujib and negotiate with him. Most of the Mujib family was kept under house arrest during this period. His son Sheikh Kamal was a key officer in the Mukti Bahini, which was a part of the struggle between the state forces and the nationalist militia during the war that came to be known as the Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

. Following Indian intervention
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan's December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike on 11 Indian airbases...

 in December 1971, the Pakistani army surrendered to the joint force of Bengali Mukti Bahini and Indian Army, and the League leadership created a government in Dhaka.

Upon assuming the presidency after Yahya Khan's resignation, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

 responded to international pressure and released Mujib on January 8, 1972. He was then flown to London where he met with British Prime Minister Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

 and addressed the international media. Mujib then flew to New Delhi on a Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 plane given by the British government to take him back to Dhaka. In New Delhi, he was received by Indian President Varahagiri Venkata Giri and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhara was an Indian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms and a fourth term . She was assassinated by Sikh extremists...

 as well as the entire Indian cabinet and chiefs of armed forces. Delhi was given a festive look as Mujib and Indira addressed a huge crowd where he publicly expressed his gratitude to Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhara was an Indian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms and a fourth term . She was assassinated by Sikh extremists...

 and "the best friends of my people, the people of India. From New Delhi, Sheikh Mujib flew back to Dhaka on the RAF jet where he was received by a massive and emotional sea of people at Tejgaon Airport.

Governing Bangladesh


Mujibur Rahman briefly assumed the provisional presidency and later took office as the prime minister, heading all organs of government and decision-making. In doing so, he dismissed Tajuddin Ahmad following a controversial intra-party power struggle that had occurred during Mujib's incarceration. The politicians elected in 1970 formed the provisional parliament
Jatiyo Sangshad
Jatiya Sangsad or National Assembly is the national parliament of Bangladesh. The current parliament of Bangladesh contains 345 seats including 45 women reserved seats distributed on elected party position in the parliament, the occupants of which are called Members of Parliament or MPs...

 of the new state. The Mukti Bahini and other militias amalgamated to form a new Bangladeshi army
Bangladesh Army
The Bangladesh Army is the land forces branch and the largest of the three uniformed service of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. The primary mission of the Army is to provide necessary forces and capabilities in support of Bangladesh's security and defense strategies including defense of the nation's...

 to which Indian forces transferred control on March 17. Mujib described the fallout of the war as the "biggest human disaster in the world," claiming the deaths of as many as 3 million people and the rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

 of more than 200,000 women. The government faced serious challenges, which including the rehabilitation of millions of people displaced in 1971, organising the supply of food, health aids and other necessities. The effects of the 1970 cyclone had not worn off, and the state's economy
Economy of Bangladesh
The economy of Bangladesh is a rapidly developing market-based economy. Its per capita income in 2010 was est. US$1,700...

 had immensely deteriorated by the conflict. There was also violence against non-Bengalis and groups who were believed to have assisted the Pakistani forces. By the end of the year, thousands of Bengalis arrived from Pakistan, and thousands of non-Bengalis migrated to Pakistan; and yet many thousands remained in refugee camp
Refugee camp
A refugee camp is a temporary settlement built to receive refugees. Hundreds of thousands of people may live in any one single camp. Usually they are built and run by a government, the United Nations, or international organizations, or NGOs.Refugee camps are generally set up in an impromptu...

s.

After Bangladesh achieved recognition from major countries, Mujib helped Bangladesh enter into the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

. He travelled to the United States, the United Kingdom and other European nations to obtain humanitarian and developmental assistance for the nation. He signed a treaty of friendship with India, which pledged extensive economic and humanitarian assistance and began training Bangladesh's security forces and government personnel. Mujib forged a close friendship with Indira Gandhi, strongly praising India's decision to intercede, and professed admiration and friendship for India. But the Indian government did not remain in close cooperation with Bangladesh during Mujib's lifetime.

He charged the provisional parliament to write a new constitution
Constitution of Bangladesh
The Constitution of Bangladesh is the supreme law of Bangladesh. It declares Bangladesh as a secular democratic republic where sovereignty belongs to the people; and lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles of the state and spells out the fundamental rights of citizens...

, and proclaimed the four fundamental principles of "nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

, secularism
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

, democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 and socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

," which would come to be known as "Mujibism." Mujib nationalised
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 hundreds of industries and companies as well as abandoned land and capital and initiated land reform aimed at helping millions of poor farmers. Major efforts were launched to rehabilitate an estimated 10 million refugees. The economy began recovering and a famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 was prevented. A constitution was proclaimed in 1973 and elections
Elections in Bangladesh
Elections in Bangladesh gives information on election and election results in Bangladesh.Bangladesh elects on national level a legislature with one house or chamber...

 were held, which resulted in Mujib and his party gaining power with an absolute majority. He further outlined state programmes to expand primary education
Education in Bangladesh
The educational system in Bangladesh is three-tiered and highly subsidized. The government of Bangladesh operates many schools in the primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels. It also subsidizes parts of the funding for many private schools...

, sanitation, food, healthcare, water and electric supply across the country. A five-year plan released in 1973 focused state investments into agriculture, rural infrastructure and cottage industries.

Although the state was committed to secularism, Mujib soon began moving closer to political Islam
Political aspects of Islam
Political aspects of Islam are derived from the Qur'an, the Sunna , Muslim history, and elements of political movements outside Islam....

 through state policies as well as personal conduct. He revived the Islamic Academy (which had been banned in 1972 for suspected collusion with Pakistani forces) and banned the production and sale of alcohol and banned the practice of gambling, which had been one of the major demands of Islamic groups. Mujib sought Bangladesh's membership in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the Islamic Development Bank
Islamic Development Bank
The Islamic Development Bank is a multilateral development financing institution located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was founded by the first conference of Finance Ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference , convened 23 Dhu'l Qa'dah 1393 AH.The bank officially began its activities on...

 and made a significant trip to Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 in 1974 to attend the OIC summit, which helped repair relations with Pakistan to an extent. In his public appearances and speeches, Mujib made increased usage of Islamic greetings, slogans and references to Islamic ideologies. In his final years, Mujib largely abandoned his trademark "Joy Bangla" salutation for "Khuda Hafez" preferred by religious Muslims. He also declared a common amnesty to the suspected war criminals in some conditions to get the support of far right groups as the communists were not happy with Mujib's regime. He declared, " I believe that the brokers, who assisted the Pakistanis during the liberation war has realized their faults. I hope they will involve themselves in the development of the country forgetting all their misdeeds. Those who were arrested and jailed in the Collaborator act should be freed before the 16 December 1974.".

In 1974, Bangladesh experienced the deadliest famine ever, which killed around 1.5 million Bangladeshi people from hunger. The Bangladesh famine of 1974
Bangladesh famine of 1974
The Bangladesh famine of 1974 refers to a period of mass starvation beginning in March 1974 and ending in about December of the same year. The famine is considered the worst in recent years; it was characterised by massive flooding along the Brahmaputra river as well as high...

 is a major source of discontent against Mujib's government. Bangladeshi people feel ashamed, insulted and demoralised as a nation for this famine that was not due to a food crisis but, according to Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen, CH is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society's poorest members...

, but due instead to the lack of governance and democratic practices.

BAKSAL


Mujib's government soon began encountering increased dissatisfaction and unrest. His programmes of nationalisation and industrial socialism suffered from lack of trained personnel, inefficiency, rampant corruption and poor leadership. Mujib focused almost entirely on national issues and thus neglected local issues and government. The party and central government exercised full control and democracy was weakened, with virtually no elections organised at the grass roots or local levels. Political opposition included communists
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 as well as Islamic fundamentalists
Islamic fundamentalism
Islamic fundamentalism is a term used to describe religious ideologies seen as advocating a return to the "fundamentals" of Islam: the Quran and the Sunnah. Definitions of the term vary. According to Christine L...

, who were angered by the declaration of a secular state. Mujib was criticized for nepotism
Nepotism
Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives regardless of merit. The word nepotism is from the Latin word nepos, nepotis , from which modern Romanian nepot and Italian nipote, "nephew" or "grandchild" are also descended....

 in appointing family members to important positions. A famine in 1974 further intensified the food crisis, and devastated agriculture — the mainstay of the economy. Intense criticism of Mujib arose over lack of political leadership, a flawed pricing policy, and rising inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 amidst heavy losses suffered by the nationalised industries. Mujib's ambitious social programmes performed poorly, owing to scarcity of resources, funds and personnel, and caused unrest amongst the masses.

The 1974 famine
Bangladesh famine of 1974
The Bangladesh famine of 1974 refers to a period of mass starvation beginning in March 1974 and ending in about December of the same year. The famine is considered the worst in recent years; it was characterised by massive flooding along the Brahmaputra river as well as high...

 had personally shocked Mujib and profoundly affected his views on governance, while political unrest gave rise to increasing violence. In response, he began increasing his powers. On January 25, 1975 Mujib declared a state of emergency
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

 and his political supporters approved a constitutional amendment banning all opposition political parties. Mujib assumed the presidency and was given extraordinary powers. His political supporters amalgamated to form the only legalised political party, the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League
BAKSAL
The Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League was a political amalgmation of the Awami League with the Krishak Sramik Party that supported President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in governing Bangladesh...

, commonly known by its initials—BAKSAL. The party identified itself with the rural masses, farmers and labourers and took control of government machinery. It also launched major socialist programmes. Using government forces and a militia of supporters called the Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini
Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini
The Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini was a highly controversial political militia force formed in 1975 with a status of an elite force which was loyal to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman...

, Mujib oversaw the arrest of opposition activists and strict control of political activities across the country. Members of Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini were granted immunity from prosecution and other legal proceedings. The militia known as RakhiBahini and police were accused of torturing suspects and political killings. While retaining support from many segments of the population, Mujib evoked anger amongst veterans of the liberation war for what was seen as a betrayal of the causes of democracy and civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

.

Assassination


On August 15, 1975, a group of junior army officers invaded the presidential residence with tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

s and killed Mujib, his family and personal staff. Only his daughters Sheikh Hasina Wajed and Sheikh Rehana, who were visiting West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

, escaped. They were banned from returning to Bangladesh. The coup was planned by disgruntled Awami League colleagues and military officers, which included Mujib's colleague and former confidanté Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad
Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad
Khondaker Moshtaq Ahmad was a Bangladeshi politician who served as the President of Bangladesh from 15 August to 6 November 1975 after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding leader of Bangladesh...

, who became his immediate successor. There was intense speculation in the media accusing the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 of having instigated the plot. Lawrence Lifschultz has alleged that the CIA was involved in the coup and assassination, basing his assumption on the then US ambassador in Dhaka Eugene Booster.

Mujib's death plunged the nation into many years of political turmoil. The coup leaders were soon overthrown and a series of counter-coups and political assassinations paralysed the country. Order was largely restored after a coup in 1977 gave control to the army chief Ziaur Rahman
Ziaur Rahman
President Ziaur Rahman, Bir Uttam, was a Bangladeshi politician and general, who read the declaration of Independence of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971 on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He later became the seventh President of Bangladesh from 1977 until 1981...

. Declaring himself President in 1978, Ziaur Rahman signed the Indemnity Ordinance
Indemnity Act
The Indemnity Act of Bangladesh was formulated to give immunity from legal action to the persons involved in the assassination of president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman...

, giving immunity from prosecution to the men who plotted Mujib's assassination and overthrow. Ziaur Rahman and Hossain Mohammad Ershad
Hossain Mohammad Ershad
Lieutenant General Hussain Muhammad Ershad is a Bangladeshi politician who was President of Bangladesh from 1983 to 1990. Previously, he was Chief of Staff of the Bangladesh Army and then Chief Martial Law Administrator in 1982....

 reversed the state's commitment to secularism and socialism, as well as most of Mujibur Rahman's signature policies.

In exile, Sheikh Hasina became the leader of the Awami League. She returned to Bangladesh on May 17, 1981 and led popular opposition to the military regime of President Ershad. In the elections following the restoration of democracy in 1991, Sheikh Hasina became the leader of the opposition and in 1996, she won the elections to become Bangladesh's prime minister. Revoking the Indemnity Ordinance, an official murder case was lodged and an investigation launched. In 1998, Colonel Syed Faruq Rahman and 14 others were convicted and sentenced to death for their involvement in the assassination. Three individuals were later acquitted, while five others in custody – Syed Faruq Rahman, Mohiuddin Ahmed, Bazlul Huda, Shahriar Rashid Khan, and A. K. M. Mohiuddin Ahmed – submitted appeals to the Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
The Supreme Court of Bangladesh is the highest court of law in Bangladesh. It is composed of the High Court Division and the Appellate division, and was created by Part VI Chapter I of the Constitution of Bangladesh adopted in 1972. This is also the office of the Chief Justice, Appellate Division...

 to commute the sentence
Commutation of sentence
Commutation of sentence involves the reduction of legal penalties, especially in terms of imprisonment. Unlike a pardon, a commutation does not nullify the conviction and is often conditional. Clemency is a similar term, meaning the lessening of the penalty of the crime without forgiving the crime...

. Their final appeals to the Supreme Court were dismissed, and the men were executed on 28 January 2010 in Dhaka Central Jail
Dhaka Central Jail
Dhaka Central Jail is the largest jail in Bangladesh, located in the old section of Dhaka, the country's capital. The jail has been used to house criminals as well as political prisoners, especially during the Language Movement of 1952, the 6 Point Movement, and the Bangladesh Liberation War....

. Seven fugitives remain at-large abroad.

Criticism and legacy



The Pakistani leadership in 1971 was considered by some observers and governments to be fighting to keep the country united in face of secessionist activities led by Mujib. Indian support for the Mukti Bahini dented the credibility of Mujib and the League in the community of nations. Some historians argue that the conflicts and disparities between East and West Pakistan were exaggerated by Mujib and the League and that secession cost Bangladesh valuable industrial and human resources. The governments of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 and China criticised Mujib and many nations did not recognise Bangladesh until after his death. In a secret government affidavit, Yahya Khan stated:
It was Bhutto, not Mujib, who broke Pakistan. Bhutto's stance in 1971 and his stubbornness harmed Pakistan's solidarity much more than Sheikh Mujib's six-point demand. It was his high ambitions and rigid stance that led to rebellion in East Pakistan. He riled up the Bengalis and brought an end to Pakistan's solidarity. East Pakistan broke away.


Several historians regard Mujib as a rabble-rousing, charismatic leader who galvanised the nationalist struggle but proved inept in governing the country. During his tenure as Bangladesh's leader, Muslim religious leaders and politicians intensely criticized Mujib's adoption of state secularism. He alienated some segments of nationalists and the military, who feared Bangladesh would come to depend upon India and become a satellite state
Satellite state
A satellite state is a political term that refers to a country that is formally independent, but under heavy political and economic influence or control by another country...

 by taking extensive aid from the Indian government and allying Bangladesh with India on many foreign and regional affairs. Mujib's imposition of one-party rule and suppression of political opposition alienated large segments of the population and derailed Bangladesh's experiment with democracy for many decades.

Following his death, succeeding governments offered low-key commemorations of Mujib, and his public image was restored only with the election of an Awami League government led by his daughter Sheikh Hasina in 1996. August 15 is commemorated as "National Mourning Day," mainly by Awami League supporters. He remains the paramount icon of the Awami League, which continues to profess Mujib's ideals of socialism. Mujib is widely admired by scholars and in Bengali communities in India and across the world for denouncing the military rule and that what he maintained was 'ethnic discrimination in Pakistan', and for leading the Bengali struggle for rights and liberty.
In a 2004 poll conducted on the worldwide listeners of BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's Bengali radio service, Mujib was voted the "Greatest Bengali of All Time" beating out Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore , sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European Nobel laureate by earning the 1913 Prize in Literature...

 and others.

Film


The Poet Of Politics
Poet Of Politics
Poet Of Politics ,is a Bengali language film set in Bangladesh. Poet Of Politics is film based on the life of Bangladesh's founding leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.-plot:...

 will be a film based on the life of Bangladesh's founding leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

External links



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