| The Legacy of Bangabandhu |
Sk. Mujibar Rahman
The assassination of Bangabandhu and his family, and his removal from political power by brutal and undemocratic means is a traumatic event in the history of Bangladesh. Amid the outpouring of tributes for Bangabandhu from all walks of life, it is worthwhile to look back at the scenarios that led to this traumatic event.
The assassination of Bangabandhu and his family on the morning of 15 August 1975 stunned the whole nation. It was the outcome of a conspiracy, hatched by a group of disgruntled army officers with the blessings of Nixon administration. A small pro-Pakistani anti-Indian politicians hiding within the ranks of Awami League party also joined in. The conspirators took advantage of the people’s rising frustration about the ruling party Awami League’s inability to combat the corruption and the declining law order situation, brought about by the militancy of Gono Bahini and the Sarbahara Party led by Late Siraz Sikdar. The heavy handed and often ruthless policing adopted by Rakhi Bahini also became very unpopular among the massess. However, we have to remember that Bangabandhu was in power for about three years, while he faced the uphill task of rebuilding the country from the ruins of war of liberation. Bangabandhu himself was deeply frustrated as he saw the situation getting out of his control. Headstrong as he was, he continued to believe in his people’s mass support base, which in reality was declining fast once he established the one party rule of BAKSAL to put away any opposition to his political and administrative reforms. The decision to appoint Governor from BAKSAL at district level did not go down well with the civil administration, which they viewed as a potential threat to the administrative power vested upon them. It was when the appointment of the District Governor was announced, that the conspirators struck. The reverberation from the shock and the disbelief that such tragedy could happen to the founder of the nation put to rest any possibility of opposition from the people and Awami League. Except few sporadic protests from the Communist Party and its student wing Chatra Union, unfortunately, there was no organised protest and opposition from the ranks and files of Awami League.
We can debate what went wrong with Bangabandhu’s politics during his tenure, but his patriotism remains unquestionable. Bangabandhu swore that he would, if needed, lay down his last drop of blood for his country, which he did. The tide of adulation for Bangabandhu we are experiencing now is a clear sign that the legacy of Bangabandhu lives on. We have to ensure that it continues to do so without any political affiliation.
Faruk Kader, Sydney