There are many books on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's life. And there will be many more. Not all of them deserve the readers' time and attention, only some do. I believe 'Se Agun Choriye Gelo Shobkhane' (The flame that spread everywhere) belongs to the latter category. It is worth reading and rereading.
It is by and large a journey into the life of Bangabandhu. Styled like a diary, it chronicles what happened at different moments of his life. The book simply presents facts, without an attempt to pass any judgement or offer any interpretation. Neither is there any dramatic revelation nor any new historical perspective.
Such a presentation has its own value, especially to the young readers, because the narrative allows the reader the freedom to form his/her own understanding of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
And as one reads through the events date by date – his supreme sacrifice, unwavering allegiance to the cause of Bangalis' emancipation, conviction to his vision - one discovers how a boy from a non-descript Tungipara village grows into a political leader and ultimately turns into the architect of a nation.
But the book offers a parallel story too.
Sheikh Mujib's biography, as one would inevitably realise, is to a significant extent the account of the Bangalis' freedom struggle. So inextricably is Sheikh Mujib's life bound up with Bangalis' liberation movement. So, as one goes through the different stages of Bangabandhu's life one also passes through the different turns and junctures in the history of what became Bangladesh. Isn't it a great initiation into Bangabandhu and Bangladesh for a young mind?
There are a lot of pictures to enthuse the readers. Along with the usual ones there are not-often-seen ones. I particularly loved the picture where Bangabandhu and poet Jasimuddin are sitting with his (Bangabandhu's) right hand on the poet's shoulder. Then there is one with Satyajit Ray and a host of artistes from West Bengal and one with Iraq's Saddam Hossain (along with others) when he was Vice President.
Then there are some hand-written letters by Sheikh Mujib and from others to Sheikh Mujib (unfortunately, some of them are hard to decipher due to reprinting). His world famous (it is now a UNESCO documentary heritage) speech on 7 March 1971 is included in its entirety. Some newspaper headlines from those days are also included. They offer the reader an intimate sense of the tumultuous time in our nation's history.
The book is published in three sizes - the smallest one is a pocket book, the middle one is a traveler's edition while the largest one is for the collectors. Wrapped up in a deep red cover, the book bears the mark of good care in terms of printing and paper used. Published by Shilalipi, it is worth a read.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.