Not as fleeting as a meteor, nor like a comet that vanishes as suddenly as it appears, Bangabandhu is as constant as the North Star in the political horizon of the Bengal. It was none other than Bangabandhu who sowed the seed of independent Bangladesh and then took great pain in nurturing it so that the seed takes root across the length and breadth of the country and bears the much-desired golden fruit.
That's why prominent poet Annada Shankar Ray aptly said: "As long as the Padma, Meghna, Gouri, Jamuna flow, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, your accomplishments will live on". Bangabandhu lives eternally in our awakening spirit of idependence, belief and identity, love and emotion as well as future inspiration . We pay our utmost tribute to this great man of many virtues. In today's world of constant conflict, stuggle, invisible war between life and entity it will be wise for us to follow the lessons learnt from this great person's life and works.
The life and work of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman exemplify the very best leadership qualities that human beings can exhibit - qualities that we as a society wish to see in our leading citizens. In him, we find perfect examples of patriotism, humanity, respect for political as well as academic gurus, deft leadership skills, tireless efforts, the art of oratory, admirable personality, integrity, honesty, and fearlessness, all of which made him the greatest Bengali of a thousand years. This great man Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born on 17 March 1920 in Tungipara under Gopalganj district. His father's name is Sheikh Lutfar Rahman and his mother's name is Begum Saira Khatun. As the eldest son, everyone in the family fondly loved him.
That's why he was given the nickname 'Khuka'. At the age of seven, he was enrolled at Gimadanga Primary School. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was multitalented and multidimensional. So if we are to really know our Father of the Nation, we have to learn a lot from history. There is a proverb that says 'Morning shows the day', that means going by the character traits of a child, we may have an idea about his/her future. This was all the more true with respect to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. If we take a look at the childhood of Bangabandhu, we can see he was talented in many ways. For example, he was a very good swimmer.
Besides, he could play football exceptionally well which helped him earn a firm place in the school football team. From a very early age, he exhibited his love for the deprived population. Young Mujib used to bring his friends at home and insist on his mother to give them food. Besides, he would invite disadvantaged children from his school and feed them. One of his poor school friends had no umbrella, so Bangabandhu gave his umbrella to that friend while he himself returned home getting drenched in rain. In another instance, he, while en route to school, noticed that an aged woman was shivering in cold sitting under a tree. Then he helped the woman by giving her his shawl. After witnessing such benevolent activities, his mother used to become amazed, kiss him on his forehead and bless him. (Momtaz Uddin Ahmed: 'Banglar Khoka' ; Hayat Mahmud, Daniul Haque, Masuduzzaman edited: Amar Bangla Boi Amar Bangla Boi, Class 4, NCTB, Dhaka, 2019, page: 15)
From his tender age, it was evident that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman possessed an extraordinary talent. Once he doled out paddy from the warehouse of his home among the poor. When his father Lutfur Rahman asked him about it, he replied, "This year all the crops of the sharecroppers have been washed away by flood. Farmers are facing severe hardship. Like us, they too feel hungry. They too want to live like us". (Dr. Mahbubul Haque and Dr. Ahmed Mowla: 'Jatir Jonok Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman'; Ziaul Hasan edited 'Compilation of Essays', class 9-10, NCTB, Dhaka 2014, page 127 ). His father was very pleased to see his son's honesty, courage, and benevolence. In this way, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has won the heart of the poor and destitute.
Bangabandhu used to believe that morality is a key ingredient of good leadership. From an early age, he was honest, truthful and courageous. Bangabandhu's historic 7th March speech will remain a source of inspiration for us to fight injustice unitedly for generations to come. His thunders voice aroused the Bangalies on that day, as he said, "This time the struggle is for our freedom. This time the struggle is for our independence. Joy Bangla" He announced a civil disobedience movement, calling for "every house to turn into a fortress. You must prepare yourselves now with what little you have for the struggle ahead. Since we have given blood, we will give more of it. But, Insha'Allah, we will free the people of this land!" (Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's 7th March 1971 speech: 'Ebarer songram swadhinotar songram'; Dr. Mahbubul Haque and et al edited Sahitto Konika, Class 8, NCTB, Dhaka, 2014, page: 34) .
Here, by saying "what little you have" he meant if one doesn't have arms and ammunition, one can fight the enemy with strong willpower and love for the country. This must be the best of all speeches delivered to liberate any country in world history. "Bangabandhu had a dream of building golden Bangladesh. But he did not think of golden Bengal in terms amassing a lot of wealth. He dreamt of building such a state where the people will have no need. Where there will be no animosity, conflict and disparity among the people." (Professor Dr. Mijanur Rahman, Muktijuddher Chetona o Unnayan Bhabna, Merit Fair Prokashona, Dhaka, 2018, page 26)
The vision that Bangabandhu had regarding our education system is relevant even today. He had envisioned the kind of education that would enlighten human beings and the society, and instill honesty, courage and vigor among youths to work for nation-building.
As a man of many talents, he used to be brimming with enthusiasm and glowing self-confidence. It is our great misfortune, and in fact, a collective sin that we could not protect our Father of the Nation from assassins' bullets. He along with most of his family members was assassinated on 15 August 1975, which was an unprecedented incident in the history of the world. We get reflection of all the virtues in Bangabandhu which make a person reach his/her fullest potential. And that's why we adore, admire and follow the ideals of this great leader. As long as the independent country will last, Bangabandhu's ideals will offer a guiding light to the nation and its people.
Following Bangabandhu's ideals, his daughter and the current honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, a dedicated soul for Bangladesh is steering the country forward. We hope, thanks to her relentless efforts, Bangladesh would emerge as a prosperous and happy nation in the world accomplishing the dreams of our Father of the Nation. I offer my deepest gratitude and sincere respect to our great leader Bangabandhu, a man of remarkable versatility on his birth centenary which is being celebrated as Mujib Barsho 2020.
The writer is a Director and Associate Professor, Institute of Modern Languages (IML) of Jagannath University, Dhaka.
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