Published:  01:51 PM, 03 November 2019

Rise up and salute the sun

The murder of a president, prime minister or other world leaders can resonate throughout a country. Sometimes the assassination of a leader is so shocking and profound that it triggers what psychologists call flashbulb memory in a country's citizens. Many will remember forever where they were and what they were doing at the moment they heard their leader was murdered.

As a result of painful experiences in their or our histories, most governments now surround their leaders with protection, which ranges from a handful of personal bodyguards to elaborate security services, to deter a prospective assassin or group of assassins from carrying out their deadly actions.

 Tajuddin Ahmad called upon Bengalis to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle…against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself. In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. He did not shrink from this responsibility-he welcome it.…The energy, the faith, the devotion which he brought to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

Among Bangladesh's heroes, Tajuddin Ahmad continues to have a unique appeal for his fellow countrymen and also for people of other lands. This charm derives from his remarkable life story-the rise from humble origins, the savage murder and from his distinctively human and humane personality as well as from his historical role as saviour of the Bengali nation from the Pakistani rulers standing beside our nation's Founding Father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

 His relevance endures and grows especially because of his eloquence as a spokesman for democracy, freedom, peace and upholding the spirit of our glorious Liberation War of 1971 to establish a new nation-state - Bangladesh as its first Prime Minister. In his view, Bangladesh is worth saving not only for its own sake but because it has embodied an ideal, the ideal of self-government. In recent years, the scholars continue to find him a rich subject for research.

 In the years after his death, Tajuddin has remained the most widely known Bangladesh's leader of his era and afterwards after Bangabandhu Mujib. His stature as a major historical figure should be confirmed by the successful campaign to establish a national holiday in his honour in Bangladesh and by the building of a Tajuddin Ahmad memorial on the Halls in Dhaka and elsewhere of Bangladesh side by side of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Many places, at the government initiatives should be enacted Tajuddin Ahmad holidays, authorised public statues and paintings of him, and named streets, schools, and other entities for him.

It is not easy to forget that the savage murder of Tajuddin Ahmad and his three other bright stars compatriots happened in the wee hour of 3 November 1975 i.e. about half a century ago. However, the true cause not remains elusive, and everyone knows what really happened then.  The history of the movements for creating Bangladesh is full of stories of such perseverance in the face of violence and stiff odds and successes come at the end of long struggles on 16 December 1971.

The Proclamation of Tajuddin Ahmad's government on 17 April 1971 at Mujib Nagar did more than lift the war to the level of a crusade for Bangladesh's freedom from the foreign brutal rule of Pakistani military junta.

 It brought some substantial practical results, because it allowed the whole world to know of our liberation war and it successfully garnered strong support and cooperation for our just cause to attain a new country - Bangladesh mostly from all corners across the world.

He insisted that the Declaration of Independence by Bangabandhu Mujib and the Constitution adopted thereafter in the independent country in 1972 comprised a promissory note guaranteeing all Bangladesh's people the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

On the very late at night of November 2, 1975, the light of a full moon stole through the windows of central jailhouse in Dhaka, one of the oldest houses graced with a beautifully balanced red brick facade, a portico with white Corinthian columns and a roof balustrade carved of wood, the three-story edifice, built during the British regime, Tajuddin Ahmad and his illuminated colleagues were gunned down and bayonet charged. It's the case that just never goes away. The cult leader had his own answer…, but he was not given a single moment by those cruelest bestial creatures of the hell to pronounce a single word before his death.

Other killers have come and gone. Other crimes since have accounted for more deaths. People more famous than Tate, hairdresser-to-the-stars Jay Sebring and coffee heiress Abigail Folger have been slain. Still, the memory of Tajuddin Ahmad has not faded, but will remain ever fresh in our memories with deep sadness unto our deaths.

A fierce humanist and democratic rights campaigner like Bangabandhu Mujib, he was known for speaking truth to power, especially when it came to crimes in any form. As he was a tireless political warrior and an ardent believer of socialistic justice type of government for a people's welfare oriented state, it is the case that just never goes away. No one just can't destroy that dream he truly embodied in his pure soul.

November 3, 1975 was a very sad day for a country like us where a human at 50 only, pure in heart, was brutally murdered. Tajuddin had been ground zero for the war on the Pakistani military rulers in 1971 to attain Bangladesh. Even at the time of death, he remains one of us.

Today there is fear. He had not a national platform. Yet, his life was brutally ended, simply for doing what he was elected to do. One must describe this killing in simple terms as "an irreparable loss". It's the kind of loss that never can be filled-up under any settings.

Across the continents, liberation movements that fought against colonial rule in most cases proved unable to sustain. Backsliding liberation movements in Algeria, Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia and other countries have left in their wake the lost hopes and shattered dreams of millions, but under Tajuddin's able and dynamic statesmanship, the dream of millions of Bengalis came to reality and Bangladesh came into being in 1971.

We must study closely what was happening in Bangladesh from 1971 to 1975 and thereafter, because if we don't, we may find features in our situation pointing to a similar development in future.

The irony is that it is the leaders of former heroic liberation movements who left a very rich legacy in building a true political culture in the country based on good governance is not truly going on the right track. The dawn of a new era is eagerly waiting for us all and we should work hard tirelessly to catch it for building up a golden Bangladesh in the light of our forefather's thought.

Let's give the government a fighting chance. But all governments must be kept on their toes. The government has to work selflessly to establish a democratic culture and good governance in the country and there is no alternative to them.

Those facts alone have proved an irresistible magnet to a political commentator like me: The years, 1971-1972, in a larger landscape was "forever...stained with blood, blood, blood." We have deemed it our duty to lay before our readers every particle of authentic information we can obtain, respecting the horrible crime which has so shocked and alarmed us.

 The detailed confession has pointed to Pakistan's dreaded ISI, America's disdainful CIA in collusion with the local brutish mango-twigs as the principal perpetrator of the ghastly deed. In the words of pioneering journalist James Gordon Bennett, then a correspondent for the New York Courier: "The press is the living jury of the Nation!" and that is relevant here to find out the real culprits who acted behind the screen to eliminate our great leaders.

 A special enquiry committee shall have to be established at the government's initiative to expose in public the faces of those foreign and local people who masterminded the black chapter of our history. The terrible power of the brutal murder games and their main interest lie in the winding chain of evidence, link by link, coil by coil, round the murderers and their accomplices must be brought to light to the public in general.   

We hear the sound of Tajuddin Ahmad from his grave: Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.

 Play, smile, think of me, and pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was.

There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this murder? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. It's the case that just never goes away.

The writer is a political commentator
who writes on politics, political and
human-centred figures, current
and international affairs

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