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Bangladesh Political Odyssey of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

The story of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangabandhu―friend of Bengal―to his people, remains an epic tale of struggle for the people of Bangladesh and indeed for people in the South Asian region. In his relatively brief life of fifty-five years, a significant segment of which he spent in prison when Bangladesh was part of the Pakistan state, he engineered the rise of Bengali nationalism based on the need for his people to have their voices heard in the country.

Mujib’s campaign throughout the twenty-four years in which his country was part of Pakistan was defined by a consistency underscored by his political programme of seeking autonomy for East Pakistan. Leading his political party to a landslide victory at Pakistan’s very first general election in December 1970, he soon realised that the political and military establishment in distant Rawalpindi was not ready to hand over power to him.

That was the moment which propelled him into a movement for the liberation of Bangladesh. Detained and flown to (West) Pakistan to face trial before a military court, which sentenced him to death, Bangabandhu was freed when Bangladesh stood liberated as a sovereign state in December 1971. And yet his struggle was far from over. Taking charge of Bangladesh, he was soon buffeted by an enormity of problems. Political intrigue led to his assassination as also the murder of almost his entire family in August 1975.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was, and is, Bangladesh’s window to the world. This is the story of his rise from political worker to Father of the Nation.

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: 8.7" x 6"

About The Author

Syed Badrul Ahsan

Syed Badrul Ahsan is an associate editor at the Daily Observer.

He went to school in Quetta, Pakistan. He did his Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) from Notre Dame College, Dhaka, before going on to study English literature at Dhaka University, from where he did his Masters in 1979.

Ahsan went into teaching while he was a student at Dhaka University, with long stints instructing pupils in English language, literature and history at such schools as Greenherald and Scholastica. He served as a lecturer in English at Notre Dame College between 1982 and 1985. He has also been involved in part time teaching at Dhaka University, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) and Independent University Bangladesh (IUB).

He joined the New Nation as an assistant editor in the early 1980s, subsequently moving on to other newspapers, among which were the Morning Sun, the Bangladesh Observer, the Independent, News Today, New Age and the Daily Star.

Ahsan is a regular contributor to the Indian Express and has reviewed books for Asian Affairs, the quarterly journal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs (RSAA) in London.

At the Daily Observer, he writes a weekly column, news analyses, book reviews and other articles.

He is at work on a comparative study of the politics of Chittaranjan Das, Subhas Chandra Bose and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The work is the result of a fellowship at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study (JNIAS), JNU, Delhi, between December 2012 and March 2013.

Syed Badrul Ahsan is married to Syeda Zakia Badrudduja, who lives and works in London.

The story of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangabandhu―friend of Bengal―to his people, remains an epic tale of struggle for the people of Bangladesh and indeed for people in the South Asian region. In his relatively brief life of fifty-five years, a significant segment of which he spent in prison when Bangladesh was part of the Pakistan state, he engineered the rise of Bengali nationalism based on the need for his people to have their voices heard in the country.

Mujib’s campaign throughout the twenty-four years in which his country was part of Pakistan was defined by a consistency underscored by his political programme of seeking autonomy for East Pakistan. Leading his political party to a landslide victory at Pakistan’s very first general election in December 1970, he soon realised that the political and military establishment in distant Rawalpindi was not ready to hand over power to him.

That was the moment which propelled him into a movement for the liberation of Bangladesh. Detained and flown to (West) Pakistan to face trial before a military court, which sentenced him to death, Bangabandhu was freed when Bangladesh stood liberated as a sovereign state in December 1971. And yet his struggle was far from over. Taking charge of Bangladesh, he was soon buffeted by an enormity of problems. Political intrigue led to his assassination as also the murder of almost his entire family in August 1975.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was, and is, Bangladesh’s window to the world. This is the story of his rise from political worker to Father of the Nation.

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