A particular personality may be killed and even his close associates may be silenced either by physical elimination or by distraction from the original path, but their ideas and principles can never be defeated or compromised. The conspirators were able to kill Bangabandhu, his close relations and some of his political associates, but were they successful in totally eliminating the spirit and ideals of independence for which the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sk. Mujibur Rahman and his close political associates struggled throughout their lives?
If we look back on Pakistan rule between 1947 and 1971, we see that it was a period of denial of self-rule for the Bengalees and their exclusion from effective participation in the share of state power in the centre. The emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation in 1971 gave the Bengalees control over their own destiny.
But the army-bureaucrat coterie of Pakistan, which effectively ruled that country, could never forget and forgive Bangabandhu and his associates for effectively organising the people of the then East Pakistan and liberating Bangladesh. The Pakistanis maintained close contacts with their Bangladeshi collaborators of 1971 as well as with some international conspirators for implementing their heinous design to destabilise the existence of Bangladesh.
The brutal assassins killed the Father of the Nation not only to capture power. They had a long- drawn plan to reverse the history of our independence, which started with the language movement in 1952. The conspirators knew how popular Bangabandhu Sk. Mujib was and that was why they were afraid of even his dead body, so they sent it to Tungipara.
Bangabandhu was undoubtedly a hundred percent Bengalee. He was also a true Muslim. His beloved Sonar Bangla had no room for exploitation in the name of religion, caste or creed. Democratic principles were the basis of governance and secularism was one of the state principles. But those ideals were not acceptable to those who opposed our War of Independence and could not accept the birth of a secular nation called Bangladesh.
And thus the conspiracy started -- the conspiracy not only to physically eliminate Bangladesh but to have a new Bangladesh with some fundamental principles and concepts of their choice and not the Bangladesh Bangabandhu founded in 1971. The first phase of the conspiracy was the physical elimination of Bangabandhu. The conspirators took it for granted that once they were successful in physically eliminating him, the major obstacle on their way to establishing a new Bangladesh would be removed. They were able to execute their sinister plan on August 15, 1975.
But for the general people of Bangladesh who, under the dynamic leadership of Bangabandhu, made supreme sacrifices for achieving independence and a homeland of their own, it was a day of mourning, a day of expressing heartfelt gratitude and acknowledgement to the great leader who is our real national pride who gave us an identity as a nation.
After August 15, 1975, the conspirators immediately changed the name of Bangladesh Betar to Radio Bangladesh and tried their best to make maximum use of it in propagating their anti-people designs to negate the ideals for which Bangladesh was founded. They gradually started re-opening some of the issues which the seventy five million people of this country had settled finally in 1971 through their supreme sacrifices. Use of religion for political purposes was a dirty trick and those who used it during the Pakistan days were once again found active in pursuing their old game in the national politics of Bangladesh.
Since the spirit of our independence was the main target and all their conspiracies mainly centred around this, the conspirators who captured power after the killing of Bangabandhu engaged all the agencies to find out the officials who were pro-Pakistani and belonged to anti-Bangladesh lobby for posting in the key positions like home secretary, foreign secretary, cabinet secretary etc. Pakistani collaborators and members of al-Badar and al-Shams were identified and invited to Bangabhaban and other government offices, and their support and cooperation were sought to form a new political party. The aim was very simple -- to change the ideals for which Bangladesh was created by using the services and support of this known section of our people. A section of our social elites who became well-known for their anti-people roles during the period of Pakistan and who actively collaborated with the military junta in 1971 were given key positions, both political and administrative. Shah Azizur Rahman, who was sent to UN for opposing the cause of Bengalees, was made prime minister of the country and Razakars like Abdul Alim and Maulana Mannan were made ministers.
As their target and the evil design were fixed and the strategy was also chalked out in a planned way, the conspirators consolidated their position before starting their operation to change the spirit of independence. They organised the so called “yes” or “no” referendum which actually made the country a laughing stock in the world media.
And the real game of the ugly design started after that. The conspirators hired people like Khandakar Abdul Hamid, Taslim Hossain, Salauddin Ahmed and few others who were known for their anti-Bengali role during the War of Independence in 1971, to introduce Bangladeshi nationalism in place of Bengali nationalism only to confuse the people about their cultural identity. The ugly motive behind this heinous step was clearly to distort the history and culture of the Bengalees.
Thus the conspirators who played their dirty games during the Independence War in 1971 and tried to make some underhand dealings with a foreign agency nullifying the efforts of the freedom fighters, continued their anti-state activities after 1972 as well. Bangabandhu had all the information. But it was the goodness of his heart and the magnanimity of his character that prevented him from taking actions against those who had been with him for long.
The sky of Bangladesh is now apparently free from the dark cloud of conspiracies, especially after the annulment of Indemnity Act and subsequent trial of the killers of the Father of the Nation and the four national leaders in jail. Many of the known collaborators and conspirators were brought to political limelight by the martial law administrators. Fortunately, the promulgation of martial law has been declared illegal and unconstitutional by the higher courts.
More importantly, the trial processes for the war crimes and acts against humanity during the War of Independence in 1971 have also been started on the basis of the unanimous decision by the present parliament. As a result, many of the known politicians who opposed the Independence War and acted as collaborators of Pakistan army in killing, arson and looting will soon be put under trial.
Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina is now the prime minister of Bangladesh and those conspirators and their associates are once again active to create obstacles on our way to economic development, political stability and welfare of the people.
Therefore, it is high time for taking effective deterrent steps against those known conspirators and their associates. On National Mourning Day, let us take a pledge to do our best to complete the unfinished task of Bangabandhu in building a Sonar Bangla. And this is the only way we can express our heartfelt gratitude to the greatest son of the soil.
The writer is Chairman, Society for Projection and Advocacy for Awareness Programme.