Mujib Borsho 2020: First week of Bangabandhu after homecoming | Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 17, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:46 AM, January 17, 2020

His first week after homecoming

Bangabandhu’s arrival on January 10, 1972, truly completed Bangladesh’s struggle for freedom, and the state building efforts of the new-born country got momentum. Bangabandhu in his 10 January speech at Race Course (now Suhrawardy Udyan) outlined the guiding principles of Bangladesh as a nation-state: democracy, socialism and secularism.

The war-ravaged country posed a formidable task of simultaneously building both a state apparatus and a stable political system. There was an urgent need to establish a central locus of authority, which would exercise moral authority as well as demonstrate that the government was effectively in charge of the country. Bangabandhu put a gigantic effort to address this immediate concern. 

On 11 January 1972 Bangabandhu chaired a meeting where it was decided that a parliamentary system would be introduced in the country. He issued a provisional constitutional order under which parliamentary democracy was established. It was also decided that all the elected MNAs and MPAs of December 1970, January and March 1971 elections, otherwise not disqualified, will form the first Constituent Assembly of Bangladesh and they will also formulate the constitution of the country.

On 12 January, Bangabandhu stepped down from his previous role as the president of the country and took the charge of prime minister. The main reason behind this change was the prevailing political situation, which demanded Bangabandhu’s charismatic role and the political commitment to establishing parliamentary democracy. The oath-taking ceremony was held at the Durbar Hall. Justice Abu Syed Choudhury was made president of the new country.  Eleven others took oath as ministers and their ministerial portfolio was distributed on that day.

Next day, Bangabandhu held a grand press conference, first after his arrival in independent Bangladesh. In that meeting he reiterated his thought of establishing socialism within a democratic framework. He also promised an early constitution.

Bangabandhu chaired the first meeting of the cabinet on the same day.  It was decided to waive all rent of agricultural land till April 14, 1972. The cabinet also adopted the first 10 lines of Rabindranath Tagore’s “Amar Sonar Bangla” as the national anthem and Kazi Nazrul Islam’s “Chol Chol Chol” as the national marching song.

After the Liberation War another major concern was to gain control over the large number of small armed groups with different political orientations. Bangabandhu put all his charisma behind it. An appeal was made on 17 January calling upon freedom fighters who still bore arms (other than those who formed the regular units recognised to be part of the national armed forces of the state) to surrender their arms.

[Source: Dainik Bangla (January 11-17, 1972), The Bangladesh Observer (January 11-17, 1972) and Kamal Hossain’s Bangladesh: Quest for Freedom and Justice]

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