Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa is a name of inspiration, encouragement and bravery. She never cared about her own interests rather scarified her life for the nation. Sheikh Fazilatunnesa, wife of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, assumed the title Bangamata by showering her husband in his bad times, including many years in jail during the struggle for independence of Bangladesh, with volumes of advice, encouragement and words of bravery that kept his spirits up and flaming.
She had been indirectly involved in the long struggle against West Pakistan for two decades. She was like the shadow of Bangabandhu and she followed his political philosophy. To uphold the ideology, she took many risks in her life and never compromised with anything.
Begum Mujib (also known as Renu) was born in Tungipara of Gopalganj district in 1930. At the age of five, she lost her parents and was nursed by the mother of Sheikh Mujib, who was her paternal cousin. Her early schooling was in a missionary school, followed by religious education at home.
Bangamata aided Bangabandhu to take many vital political decisions. Even he took her suggestions before delivering the historic address at Ramna Race Course on 7th March, 1971 (now Suhrawardy Udyan) Bangabandhu was frequently imprisoned on political grounds, but during that time, she played a crucial role in upholding the ideology and managing the party. During the nine-month war, Bangamata had tackled the situation with patience, courage and wisdom while her husband was in jail in Pakistan.
Bangamata set up rehabilitation centers for women who were abused during the liberation war. On august 15, 1975, she was brutally assassinated by some disgruntled army officers along with her husband and other family members.
Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa will always be remembered as one of the most inspirational women in the liberation war. Bangabandhu's followers also appreciate that Bangamata was her appropriate title as she had always stood by Bangabandhu, the Father of the Nation.
The writer works for The Asian Age
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