Published:  12:26 AM, 12 July 2019

Great men do great things

Great men do great things Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Sher-E- Bangla A K Fazlul Huq Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy

"There is no greatness where there is no goodness, truth and simplicity "- Leo Tolstoy, renowned Russian novelist and moral philosopher (1828- 1910)

 The basic difference between great men and ordinary men is that great men give and forgive. On the other hand, ordinary men get and forget.  Hardly, one or a few great men are born in a century possessing extra-ordinary leadership skills that can change the course and cause of history and as such, the destiny of the people.

Only a few remarkable events,  out of many,  will be highlighted  in brief that occurred in the lives of some  selected great men who loved their  people (more than their own lives)  living in the  utterly backward region of  the northeastern part of undivided India (now Bangladesh).

1)Bangabandhu  Sheikh Mujibur Rahman  (1920- 1975) : He is widely regarded  as founding father  of modern Bangladesh  which recently  has been elevated to the status of a developing country through a skillful  and calculated bailout from the grim  of the  least developed one.

Right after partition (in 1947) perceived exploitation /deprivation/ dominance over the majority (East Pakistan) by the minority (West Pakistan) started in full swing. Bangabandhu came up with a strong genuine demand of the Bengalis for autonomy against dominance/ democracy against oligarchy/ parity against disparity/ right for ballot against bullet.

This ultimately led to the historic charter of 6 points that was valiantly and vehemently proclaimed by the greatest hero of the golden soil of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in May, 1966 with a view to uprooting the seeds of exploitation and repression by the minority.

The tiny  spark (in the wake of struggle for 6 point demand) ultimately  kindled a mighty flame  of liberation war that brought defeat for the Pakistani occupation forces and victory for the Bengalis getting independence on the 16th  December, 1971 under the leadership of Bangabandhu  Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangabandhu served as the 1at President after liberation and later Prime Minister till his tragic death in 1975.

Bangabandhu is no more with us. Yet, his memories will persist in our hearts. His clarion call in a thundering voice for mass movement and liberation struggle in the historic public meeting at the Suhrawardy Udyan on the 7t March, 1971 will inspire everyone who loves Bangabandhu / who loves freedom and who loves Bangladesh.

2)Sher-E- Bangla A K  Fazlul Huq (1873- 1962):  Sher-E- Bangla was  a great statesmen, a self-sacrificing patriot , a spokesman of truth and justice,  a champion of freedom of the oppressed and more importantly, a student gifted with  extra ordinary caliber and ready resourcefulness.

As a student he was extraordinarily brilliant which hardly had an exact parallel. In this connection it may be mentioned that in 1894 he passed Honors with 1st class simultaneously in Mathematics/ Physics/ Chemistry under the Calcutta University.

Later on he passed M A in Math with the highest credit and that too with only 6 month's preparation by obtaining special permission from Calcutta University. Further, he obtained the law degree with distinction only to become one of the most celebrated and legendary lawyers of the subcontinent in no time.

The establishment of Dhaka University in 1921 bears ample evidence in favor of his active support and contribution towards disseminating the light of education among the Bengalis particularly living in the northeastern part of the undivided India who were lagging behind in every sphere of life-  health/ education/ employment/ politics/ financial support. With this end in view, he set up a lot of schools and colleges to kindle the light of education for the cause of the people of the neglected East Bengal during the time.

Sher-E- Bangla possessed a career ornamented with multitude of virtues which can hardly dwell in a single human. He had a heart that acutely suffered for the poor and the oppressed- irrespective of caste/ creed/ color/ clan. His generous heart could feel the pulse of the poor pertaining to their miseries and sufferings.

By virtue of being courteous/ sharp/witty/ kind/ generous- he had the capacity to promptly give out his judgment and counsel which was often sought and valued. Entirely selfless/ free from all narrowness/ truthful in thought/ meek as a lamb, but a tiger in spirit as he was ; Sher-E- Bangla  never failed to  rise to the occasion and respond to the call and urges of the needy.

His farsightedness was indeed amazing which was revealed in a letter written on August 2, 1942 to the then Governor of Bengal (Sir John Herbert). In the letter he demonstrated his courage and firm conviction for a separate Bengali Army (consisting of 100 thousand Bengali soldiers both from Muslim and Hindu youths on 50- 50 basis).

So diverse was his political life. He was holding a host of political positions- stretching from the 1st elected Mayor of Calcutta city (1930)/Education Minister of Bengal (1924)/ crowned with the post of Prime Minister of Bengal (1937)/ Chief Minister of East Pakistan (1954) after the land slide victory in the general election under the historic platform Jukta Front/ Home Minister of Pakistan (1956).

In this connection it may be mentioned that Sher-E- Bangla administered the oath of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as one of the cabinet members soon after the historic victory of Jukta Front in 1954.

Sher-E-Bangla always chose to remain a "Tiger of Bengal" (rather than a renowned political giant of the undivided India). Veritably, he was the pioneer of Bengali Muslim Renaissance. He was even the great mover of the historic Lahore Resolution in  1940 drafting which  he had clearly indicated  (with  all delicate arguments)  a separate  and independent homeland for the Muslim dominated  part of the undivided Bengal (now Bangladesh).

It is great to see that within less than a decade of his death, his thoughts and dreams were successfully translated into reality through the emergence of the sovereign independent state of Bangladesh on the 16th December, 1971 under the able and undisputed leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

3)Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy (1892- 1963):  Born in an illustrious Muslim family, Suhrawardy was educated in Calcutta and was trained as a Barrister in Oxford. He was a Bengali Politician and a lawyer and served as the 5th Prime Minister of Pakistan appointed on the 12th September, 1956 until his resignation on the 17th October, 1957.

As the partition of undivided India loomed in 1947, (contrary to Jinnah's 2 Nation Theory  of partitioning undivided India and in consequence, partitioning undivided  Bengal) Suhrawardy championed by hammering out an alternative to Jinnah's plan of  partitioning Bengal and came up  with the idea of an united Bengal federated neither with Pakistan, nor with India. This proposal attracted support from a lot of Bengalis.

But ultimately, it was not implemented. Nevertheless, Suhrawardy worked towards integration of East Bengal into the Federation of Pakistan. Later on, he partied away from the Muslim League and joined hands to establish Awami League in 1949. He died on December 5, 1963 in Beirut (Lebanon).

4)Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani (shortened as Maulana Bhasani.   1880- 1976):  Bhasani was an Islamic scholar and a political leader during the British rule of pre-partition India. His political tenure spanned the British colonial India, Pakistan and Bangladesh Period.

His long political struggle against the oppression and corruption wrought by the British/ Pakistan and even Bangladesh Govt. (prior to his death in November, 1976) famed him as the leader of the oppressed. His political activities started based on the political and economic emancipation of the Muslims dwelling in East Bengal and Assam-   one of the most underdeveloped and neglected regions of the undivided India during the time.

In 1969, Bhasani launched a massive movement to withdraw the Agartala conspiracy case for the unconditional release of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other co-accused persons. The movement continued until Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other co-accused persons were set free on February 22, 1969.

5) Surya Sen (1894- 1934):  Born in Chittagong, he was a leading Indian Nationalist and a terror to the British, but a great hero to the people of undivided India (craving for liberty and self-rule). In 1930, he led a surprising raid on the Chittagong armory when he determined to declare the independence of Chittagong. He managed to escape, but was sadly caught later on and executed in 1933.

Conclusively, a great man is born to live, struggle and die for the cause of his people without expecting anything in return from them. Blessed is the country where such a man is born. 

The writer is a former General Manager, Credit Information Bureau, Bangladesh Bank

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