A little Khoka-turned Sheikh Mujib-turned-Bangabandhu-turned Prometheus of the Bengali nation
Khoka sets his mellow foots:
One hundred years ago on March 17, 1920 a child was born and set his mellow foot in the house of his parents Sheikh Lutfur Rahman and Sayera Khatun who lived on the ground of serenity and sublime beauty of nature at a small hamlet of Tungipara with picturesque surrounding where river Modhumoti flows with rippling sound. He was the third child in line of five children of his parents and naturally his parents and elder sisters were all much delighted overwhelmed with joy at his birth. He was given a beautiful cosmetic name Sheikh Mujibur Rahman perhaps on the sixth day of his birth. His name giving ceremony was perhaps followed by an improvised feast of rural culinary delight which was presumably attended by the Imam of the nearby mosque and his near and dear members of family and close-door neighbors. The ceremony was perhaps ended with a Munajat seeking divine blessing and long life for him. This is how the journey of life of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman began in this world like billions other who came and passed away before him although his one was of special and unique of its kind. His parents and other elders of his family used to fondly call him khoka. He was growing healthy and cheerful with the pace and rhythm of nature in rural tranquility. His primary education started in a village school. Khoka used to reach the doors of school everyday through the arbor of nature of eloquent silence. His mellow foot was gradually getting stronger for romping on earth with equal power and strength well enough to play football in nearby paddy field or school ground. Wandering like a stubborn boy through creeks & alleys nestled with sweet melodies of singing birds in sultry summer days, he used to look perhaps at the line of trees stood with greenery abound stretching along river Modhumat and its tributaries & canals flowing by his homestead and remained pensive for a while. At the fall of dusk, he used to perhaps gaze at the astral skies causing relentless thoughts and imaginations brewing from cascade of his soul. At the passage of time, taller he was growing; the taller his imaginations reaching to a height, centering on life and fate of rural population that he himself was a part of.
Khoka turned Sheikh Mujib:
Khoka's inborn desire to be of help to poor and marginalized people were gradually getting stronger as he was coming of age and become a tall and supple Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. At the passage of time, as the situation demanded, in one fine morning, he left his abode at Tungipara leaving behind his dear life-partner Begum Fazilutunnesa Mujib, (Renu) other members of family and peoples in his thoughts and imaginations for Calcutta to pursuing studies. With the waves of passing time like the waves of running river, side by side with pursuing studies, he deeply involved himself with all political movements towards achieving independence of undivided India and securing a separate homeland for muslims under the leadership of vetern politicians of those tumultuous days in undivided India. Soon he became a young political leader under the tutelage of vetern politician Hussain Shaheed Shuharawardy.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman or Sheikh Mujib/Sheik Shaheb or his fond name Mojibor by whatever name you may call him, became a leader of towering height over the years and duly anointed with the title of Bangabandhu and eventually became the legendary Prometheus of the Bengali Nation, as the wheels of time rolled on, shaping an Independent Bangaldesh. The rest is history.
Bangabandhu --- the Prometheus of the Bengali Nation:
Who is Prometheus? He is said to be the benefactor of human race by gifting fine to them. How is the name of a mortal Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in flesh & blood synonymous to immortal mythological god of Pantheon – Prometheus? This question demands detail explanation. Appended below is a narrative of how Bangabandhu attained immortality and became Prometheus of the Bengali Nation.
Having lost all the graces and comforts of Paradise, parents of human race had landed on the earth of dust by the divine order long and long time ago when the plant Earth, after cooling and condensing from the state of being a fire ball out of cosmic cataclysm, was ready to house both animal and plant kingdom in its still mellow surface. The environment and physical feature of the Earth being absolutely Greek to them, the first couple of human race wandered breathlessly from North to South and East to West of the different strange terrain of the Earth with no definite direction where to settle in, at the end of the day. They watched pensively how the sun rises in the East and sets in the Western horizon. They wondered how Moon was growing slowly from its crescents shape and made a full Moon with nature's eye-blinding tricks and jugglery. They were equally bemused and overwhelmed with the wonders of cosmic splendor of how stars twinkle and the galaxies swirl in the immensity of distant skies. Waltzing waves of the roaring seas and rippling sound of the Running Rivers immensely stirred their thoughts and imaginations to reckon as to how sorcery of nature triggered an unknown force to keep the Earth moving with its all burgeoning fauna and flora profusely sprawling around.
Having endowed with all the gifts of nature no matter how friendly or hostile they were in the terrain, of sprawling vegetation, snow-clad ground or blistering sands of deserts; where the parents of the human race were gradually attuning and adapting themselves into, through enduring evolutionary process. Among lot more innumerable gifts of nature brimming abound, what the parents of human race were missing was the warmth of fire that they were denied for being fire was stored in the vault of heavens by the order of gods. That caused persistent misery and plight for the parents of the human race in their living process in the new world of planet Earth.
With Sardonic smiles, gods in the Pantheon of Olympus Mountain mocked over the agony of human race with missing flambeau of fire in their hands for survival thus pushing them into the brink of being extinct ultimately in the gradual process of struggle for existence.
Prometheus--- son of the Titan Iapetus had observed perpetual human misery, caused from being without the flames of fire, from the distant heavens. He was deeply shocked and perturbed at wanton human misery and out of his deep love for humans, passed fire to humans by stealing fire from the encrypted vault of heaven when gods were fallen asleep in pantheon with loud snoring. Prometheus's such daring act of defiance enraged gods when they woke up from deep slumber. Gods decided to punish Prometheus for helping human race by giving fire and chained him in the mountain rock in the Caucasus where a giant eagle fed upon his liver, which was renewed during the night. Prometheus had embraced misery and pains for himself for giving fire to humans for their daily chores and future prosperity thus leading them to become the crown of the creation.
Drawing an analogy with the above episode from the Greek mythology, this is to mention at this point that having lost freedom at the battle field of Plessey in 1757 due to conspiracy, intrigues and vile treachery, Bengalis were consigned and relegated to the subject-hood of the British Raj for long 190 years. After the British packed their baggage in 1947 with truncating the sub continent of India into two States---India and Pakistan, Bengalis thought that their miseries under the British Raj were over. Alas! With the creation of Pakistan based on flawed Two Nation Theory, Bengalis were only thrown from fry pan to burning fire under the jackboot of Pakistani ruling class who demeaned and subjugated Bengalis as second class citizens of the State of Pakistan.
Like the legendary Prometheus, agony of the Bengali Nation caused from wide disparity, deprivation and ill treatment including a grisly attempt to snatch the mother tongue from the Bengali's mouth with spilling costly bloods of the martyrs on the street in 1952, deeply disturbed Bengali's undisputed leader of towering height --- Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who was fondly decorated with the title of Bangabandhu for his great love for the Bengali Nation. During his long struggle after the State of Pakistan came into existence in 1947, Bangabandhu felt by his heart that what the Bengali Nation was missing, in the true sense of the term, was nothing but complete freedom and independence from Pakistan.
As the legendary Prometheus thought that the extinction of human race from the planet Earth could be stopped by gifting fire to humans, similarly Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also thought that it was nothing less than complete freedom or independence which could only save the Bengali Nation from being obliterated and become non-entity as proud nation in their own soil. Bangabadhu fell prey to the wrath of the Pakistani rulers when he stood firmly like solid rocks in realizing the rights of Bengalis that were otherwise denied in all spheres of life in the State of Pakistan. With his long struggle and charismatic leadership and through the Liberation War that was fought long nine months in his name; which is part of the nation's glorious history needing no further mention, at this point; Bangabandhu eventually succeeded in shaping and gifting an independent Bangladesh to the Bengali Nation in 1971 to stand with heads held high in the global scenario.
Bangabandhu's Politico-Economic reforms in nation building:
Soon after freeing the country from the vile hands of occupation forces in 1971, Bangabandhu, after his return home alive from incarceration in Pakistan's prison on January 10, 1972, inherited a totally shattered and war ravaged economy and political
system; still languishing in the state of trauma and further inculcated in post War Liberation by the intrigues and conspiracies of the defeated forces wearing Bangladeshi faces. In the context of the prevailing situation where Bangladesh in general and
Bangabandhu in particular was the eye-shore of super power U.S. and robust Pakistani allies like China and Saudi Arabia and some other countries in the Middle-East, Bangabandhu thought of bringing in a economic, administrative and political changes and reforms in the newly-born nation State of Bangladesh. With the country's totally shattered infrastructure, administration and crumbling industrial and other economic sectors, Bangabandhu, as a part of change & reform, nationalized major industries and other vital sectors of prime national interest and created a wing named Nationalized Industries Division (NID) under the Ministry of Industries and recruited about 1300 officers in different phases from among the freedom-fighters across the country, with pre-qualification, just returned triumphant after the War of Liberation was over; to take charge of industries and administration. Keeping in his thoughts and imaginations of glaring glows of turning Bangladesh a Sonar Bangla with four state Principal i.e. Democracy, Socialism, Nationalism, Secularism; Bangabandhu initiated the great task of training up newly recruited officers at home and abroad particularly in the Eastern European countries; to learn and follow the models of how socialist pattern of managing government owned industries and other economic sectors of prime importance, succeeded in those countries pursuing socialism; for economic emancipation of people, as one of their state policies and equally securing and egalatarian society of guaranteeing equal rights for all citizens of the State.
Bangabandhu, over the years in his political career, observed with concern how handful members of civil bureaucracy, during Pakistani era, ruled supreme over the peoples, representatives and people in general as ruling class and with a view to bringing about political and administrative changes and reforms in true meaning and spirit, created a decentralized system of Governorship headed by a Governor in each administrative 61 districts under whom all other regional administrative districts including civil bureaucracy was to work, thus giving back power and authority to the people of the country that the country itself belong to, in the real sense of the term.
Bangabandhu observed and felt with great pain how dark ominous clouds were gradually gathering in the firmament of politics perpetrated by the defeated forces, in silent mode, joining hands with a segment of ultra-leftists believing in the vile politics of killing, looting and arson country wide to make the strong footings of the country shaky and unstable and take the country to the dark alley of regression.
With dismantling the conventional system, inherited from colonial era Bangabandhu introduced a new democratic system and with noble intention apparently created BAKSAL which stood firmly on three pillars like administrative, legislative and judiciary, with the aim and intention of uniting the nation in its strong grip with active participation of politicians, economists, sociologists, academics, journalists cultural activists, doctors, engineers, professionals and people from all walks of life of different colors and hues under one roof to accelerate the growth of the country to the road to progress without indulging in making the country sunk in the quagmire of persistent chaos and anarchy in the name of politics. Bangabandhu dreamt a dream for a prosperous Bangladesh with a egalitarian society to rip the best harvest and deliver the taste of independence to all Bangladeshis irrespective of religious caste or creed and political difference in thoughts & imaginations.
Economic initiatives of Bangabandhu:
Bangbandhu established Bangladesh Bank and Planning Commission in 1972. Under his leadership first five year plan was (1973-78) announced with a view to creating employment opportunity, poverty alleviation and increasing GDP growth rate by 5.5% and per capita income byt 2.5% annually. Having inherited a war ravaged economy with all infrastructure totally shattered and vault of Bangladesh Bank's foreign exchange reserve virtually reduced to Zero level; Bangabandhu gave his first budget of 1972-1973 financial year to the tune of Tk.786 crore. The size of first five year plan was Tk 4 thousand 455 crore; and a bold initiative was taken to stabilize the balance of investment through 6 nationalized banks. With his long vision, Bangabandhu established Petrobangla to explore oil, gas other mineral resources. He established Atomic Energy commission, Bangladesh scientific and Industrial Research Council, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council and lot more other welfare oriented institutes like BADC and TCB to harvest and deliver the benefits of independence at the doors of all citizens.
Bangabandhus astronomical image facilitated Bangladesh to earn recognition from most of the countries globally. Soon after independence, despite Bangldesh was passing through a state of cold relation with the countries of the Islamic world particularly the Middle-East countries, Bangabandhu with his charismatic leadership traversed through the difficult part and earned the membership of Bangladesh in OIC, although Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China and few others waited untill the pre-planned and pre-meditation murder of Bangabandhu, to recognize Bangladesh as an independent state.
Bangabandhu's such political drive in creating a new system for political and economic emancipations was welcomed by the general mass where people from all professions happily joined BAKSAL but nevertheless a small segment of ultra-rightists were critical to the system and stealthily lurking here & there and acquiring strength and rode the bandwagon of defeated forces from both ultra-rightists and ultra-leftists to topple the government of Bangabandhu by hook & crook with playing the orgy of blood by killing and other macabre acts.
Alas! Bangabandhu's dream to turn Bangladesh to a Sonar Bangla could not come true apparently in his life time as the forces of dark emboldened by the enemies at home and abroad surfaced from the stinking holes and killed Banglabandhu with his entire members of the family except two daughters in the fateful night of August 15, 1975, thus pushing back Bangladesh into the dark cave of regression with cruelly airbrushing the name of Bangabandhu and Joy-Bangla Slogan untill people of Bangladesh got back the country after long 21 years under the able leadership of Bangabandhus daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 1996.
As the mythological gods of the Olympus mountain did not like the noble act of Prometheus gifting fire to the human race and consequently, with fury and rage, punished and chained Prometheus in the manner as has been briefly narrated above, devils in human shape on earth and their accomplices who did not like Bangabandhu giving freedom to the Bengali Nation, fumed and spewed venomous poison silently with their outrages, looked for opportune moment and in one fateful wee hour of August 15, 1975 came out of their holes of darkness with killing machines, in fiendish look, and sprayed bullets of vengeance on Bangabandhu's chest with murderous orgy of playing not only on Bangabandhu's costly blood but also with bloods of entire members of his family except two daughters who were then abroad. The devils of the dark did not sphere four national leaders who led the war of Liberation and the government of Bangladesh in exile in Bangabandhu's name in 1971 and murdered them within the safe custody of prison in November 1975 thus adding one blacker chapter in the history book of vile barbarity and brutality. Fiends of dark wearing certain abhorrent political face celebrated the day of Bangabandhu's murder in ghastly fashion like cutting cake on someone's fake birthday for long years in the manner as the barbarians in grotesque face stage macabre dance encircling the carcasses of the beasts of their prey; before the people believing in the true spirit of Liberation War got back the country and pushed back the evil forces into the dark alley of regression that they in fact belong to.
The cruelty of ghouls wearing human face who killed Bangabandhu along with the members of his family and political disciples for his giving freedom to the Bengali Nation through his long enduring struggle, virtually surpassed the cruelty of the mythological gods of heavens in handing punishment to Prometheus, who out of his great love, gave fire to humans.
Prometheus had been punished by the gods of Olympus mountain but the spark of fire that he had kindled to pass it to human race remain ablaze with its flames still gliding in towering heights. Physically, Bangabandhu is no more with us, but his ideology and thunderous voice still resonates in the air of his Golden Bengal and reverberates in the hearts of every true Bengalis, where the forces with double standard often seen frothing in mouths uttering the name of Bangabandhu, with forming unholy political alliance with the evil forces of dark have no place.
Bangabandhu's voice rose to crescendo:
A small spark of fire can ward-off all gathering darkness and make the world enlightened to live in. Freedom is highly sought-after to live with, without which human life sinks in the morass of stagnation. Prometheus gave fire to the human race and Bangabandhu kindled the light of fire to give freedom to the Bengali Nation. A vox populi – Bangabandhu made his voice rise to a crescendo to reverberate in every bit and pulsation of hearts of every Bengalis.
Names of Bangabandhu and Prometheus are synonymous to each other. Gifted with undying souls, both Prometheus and Bangabandhu suffered equal eventualities for their noble and benevolent acts. So, allegorically, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the undying Prometheus of the Bengali Nation in deed.
Celebration of Mujib Borsho:
It is long one hundred years since Bangabandhu was born in the soil of Bangladesh wearing a charismatic human face in Olympian height and with unalloyed love for his people, over the period of long struggle, became the Prometheus of the Bengali nation. His birth centenary on March 17, 2020 is being celebrated as Mujib Borsho in pomp & grandeur not only in Bangladesh but across the world where Bengalis live with their heads held high by taking pride in his name --- the greatest Bengali ever born in last thousand years.
Viva Bangabandhu. Viva Prometheus of the Bengali Nation. Viva Mujib Borsho.
The writer is a former Civil Servant