Bangabandhu: A miracle of history
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the dreamer and creator of independent Bangladesh, was born in the twilight zone of a mystical time. A budding yet intelligent politician, he was mature enough to smell the emerging rut of his own land through exploitation and realised one fact: the residents of East Pakistan were being trampled by the Punjabi hegemony in West Pakistan, which was determined to exploit us as a race and was there to wipe us out. And its physical demonstration was chalked out by General Yahya Khan and his cohort Zulfikar Ali Bhutto through the ignoble, dastardly, and genocidal Operation Searchlight launched on March 25, 1971.
But Bangabandhu, with his wisdom and tact, was ahead of everyone in the art of tactics and saved our nation from all nefarious moves by the Pakistan government. Against all odds, Bangabandhu realised his goal of leading his nation to independence. He had to cross many invincible hurdles laid out by the Pakistan Army machinery – the Pakistani generals resorted to mass murder, political trickery, and spiteful international diplomacy against the then East Pakistan. But in the end, all those tricks failed, and the international humanitarian forces stood by Bangabandhu. His towering personality and an unending love for a suffering humanity carried the day.
Bangabandhu was unwavering even at the prospect of death and/or personal injury. At the hour of utmost need, the leader gave us a clarion call to unite. And we did unite ourselves with steely determination to defend our motherland at all costs. At that hour of glory came the momentous declaration of independence: "From today, Bangladesh is independent." As he was imprisoned by the Pakistani bureaucracy and military oligarchy, Bangabandhu did not fail to pronounce his ultimate order to his nation of 75 million people: "Go and fight till the last drop of your blood" and "destroy the last of the enemies."
And the people responded to this call, coming out in hordes to face the enemies who had all the might at their disposal and executed a planned attack with a full arsenal of modern weaponry. But to the collective wisdom, ferocity, and determination of a people led by Sheikh Mujib, the beneficiaries of evil had to fail. And fail it did, and the concomitant cost paid by the marauders went down in the annals of modern warfare as the most ignominious defeat of an army.
When a historian would try to depict this man, there would be no room to fumble. Bangabandhu was a giant, a magician, a poet of politics, a charismatic leader. If elucidated, each one of these titles could be sized into volumes without limit. And I reckon it is the duty of a historian to research in depth to find the right proportion and volume. I tried to understand him through the looking glass of a common participant in the writing of the most simple, short and robust history of my country, the Liberation War, its underlying philosophy, and the role of Sheikh Mujib. And I found myself engrossed in the life and story of a budding personality transforming himself into a giant of a man.
Bangabandhu lived to serve his fellow beings long tied to the unbearable clutch of poverty and diabolical restrictions to progress. The budding persona turned into a magician by dint of his long and relentless quest for a successful transformation of his people's fate. Looking at the achievements throughout his life, one can appreciate this man for what he truly was: a miracle of history.
Mahbub Uddin Ahmed, Bir Bikram, was a sub-divisional police officer of Jhenaidah during the Liberation War. He was in charge of presenting the guard of honour to the acting president of the government-in-exile, Syed Nazrul Islam, at the oath-taking ceremony on April 17, 1971.