Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib was married to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at her tender age. She contributed to all movements from the Language Movement to the independence of Bangladesh as the life partner of Bangabandhu. We liberated the country under the leadership of Bangabandhu, but it is very sad in his long struggle for the nation's independence, the leader had to spend much of his life in prison as a political leader.
Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib maintained the family of Bangabandhu and gave inspiration, courage and power to the great leader. She maintained link between Bangabandhu and AL, Students 'League and other organizations during the days of his imprisonment. And so, Bangabandhu could decide rightly in time, but few researches are made on her. In the article, let me discover her manifold contributions to the Independence of Bangladesh.
After the creation of Pakistan, Bangabandhu had to suffer imprisonment for language movement and other struggles for the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country. At that time, Begum Mujib maintained the family, nurtured the children, paid attention to the study of the children, took care of relatives and sent money for Bangabandhu from family property.
After the election of 1954, Bangabandhu joined the government as a minister but resigned after few days. Then his family was staying in Dhaka. In his autobiography, we find that he came home and shared the matter of his resignation and his wife Begum Mujib accepted the decision cordially and encouraged him to go forward in political activities.
In 1946, a disastrous riot was held in Kolkata, Bihar, Noakhali and then Begum Mujib was sick and hoped that her husband would be with her for few days, but for saving lives, Bangabandhu almost gave his life for the destitute. Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy took steps to rehabilitate a huge number of destitute riot affected people from Bihar to Bangla and requested Bangabandhu to go to Bihar.
When Mujib informed the matter to Begum Mujib by letter, she allowed Bangabandhu to go without any tension. It is Bangabandhu who dreamt of an independent Bangladesh and he emerged with 6 points for the rights and self-independence of people but later to kill Bangabandhu and his associates, the Pakistani oppressors initiated Agartala Conspiracy case against them. Due to inspiration of Begum Mujib, Bangabandhu continued six points movement and survived.
Begum Mujib inspired Bangabandhu and therefore it was possible for him to declare 6 points and continue movement and due to Begum Mujib's encouragement and support, Bangabandhu could move forward boldly for freedom. For Agartala case, the families of Bangabandhu and other were afraid of, but Begum Mujib gave courage and inspiration to the accused family.
During the trial, wives and family members of the accused used to come in the court premises. Begum always encouraged and consoled them in smiling face. This type of contribution is therefore rare in the history of world. In 1969, on the movement of mass upsurge, Ayub khan initiated a round table meeting and proposed to free Bangabandhu.
But Begum Mujib realized the desire of the people of the country and advised Bangabandhu not to be free on parole and assured him that people of the country will make him free and later because of mass upsurge, Bangabandhu got released.It is evident that Begum Mujib had the vision and farsightedness regarding people's movements. After that in 22 February, 1969 Pakistani Rulers have been forced to free Bangabandhu and others.
In the election of 1970, Bangabandhu got mandate of the people of the country but Yahia Khan, the oppressor of Pakistan closed the meeting of National Assembly scheduled to be held on the 1st march 1970. On 2 March, the national flag of independent Bangladesh was flown in Dhaka University by the student movement council. On 3 March, the manifesto of independence was declared in the presence of Bangabandhu by the council at PaltonMoidan.
On the 23 March, the flag of independence was flown and student -people handed over the national flag to Bangabandhu and he flew it in his residence Dhanmondhi 32.It may be remembered that 23 March was being observed as Pakistan day but on that day,flag Bangladesh had been flown across the country.
On 25 March, the Pakistani army attacked the people of Bangladesh and then on the first hour of 26 March, Bangabandhu declared the independence of Bangladesh and called upon the people to fight. The dream of freedom met reality.
On 7, 23 and 25 March, Begum Mujib told Sheikh Mujib to do whatever his mind and heart wants and also inspired him not to move back.It may be mentioned that in the historic 7th March speech, Bangabandhu said "Our struggle, this time, is a struggle for our emancipation. Our struggle, this time, is a struggle for our independence."
The inspiration of Begum Mujib made Bangabandhu stronger and he moved forward fearlessly. It should be mentionable that Begum Mujib inspired Sheikh Mujib to write his experiences in diaries which later was published as a book named "BangabandhurAtmajiboni" (autobiography).
During liberation war Begum Mujib and her family members were imprisoned in an old house of Dhanmondhi-18. Sheikh Kamal and Sheik Jamal left the house. Sheikh Kamal fought as an assistant of General MAG Osmaniafter getting training in India.
Sheikh Jamal joined BLF (MujibBahini).The junior leaders of BLF were trained in Haflong of Asam and the senior leaders of it were trained in Tandua. Regional commanders Sheikh FazlulHoque Moni, SirazulAlam Khan, AbdurRazzak, Tofail Ahmed and in total 83 total senior most leaders were trained in Kalshi of Deradun.
In that training Sheikh Jamal was with us.Other prominent leaders of the central command were Amir Hosen Amu, Elias Ahmed Chowdhury, KaziArif Ahmed, A S M Abdur Rob, ShahjahanSiraj, Abdul QuddosMakhon, Syed Ahmed, Abdul Mannan Chowdhury, Sheik Shohidul Islam, Monirul Islam, M A Bari etc.
I was also with them. It may be remembered that Bangabandhu visited London in the beginning of 1970 and talked to the concerned persons of India. After that this training centre at Deradun was established in March, 1970. The then Major General Sujon Singh Uban was in charge of the training.
The Pak army had at last surrendered to freedom fighters and friendship alliance on 16 December, 1971. The distinguished leaders, AbdurRazzak, Tofail Ahmed, and I myself entered into Dhaka on 18 December.AbdurRazzak and Tofail Ahmed were determined that they should meet the family members of Bangabandhu.
I accompanied them.
While visiting them Begum Mujb told us to take dinner with them. We took our dinner in the house altogether.It may be mentioned that in dining table only four persons could sit. In one side, Begum Mujib and Dr MA Wazed Miah and on other side AbdurRazzak and Tofail Ahmed sat on the table.
Then Begum Mujib told the concerned person to arrange a chair for me by her side. It shows her kindness and motherly attitude regarding workers, followers and freedom fighters. On the next day,AbdurRazzak and Tofail Ahmed went to other places and I was about to go towards Dhaka University Campus but due to desire of Begum Mujib I stayed there for two days (19 and 20 December).
Staying 36 hours there is the most memorable day in my life and it gave me a golden chance to realize the hardship endured by Bangabandhu's family. I will never forget the moments I passed. That time, Begum Mujib did not know that his husband was alive and he thought that he might not come back and that was her hardest time.
I could remember the people's leader Sheikh Hasina did not sit on the table even after request, because she was looking after us. I had met the leader -Sheikh Hasina many times; I have found her meritorious, prudent and dynamic. I will never forget the cordiality, affection and care I got from Bangabandhu family.
After coming back to Bangladesh, Bangabandhu, first, went to his beloved people and then to family. Begum Mujib co-operated his husband. One more thing is mentionable here that, she usually was not present in state functions but she was present in the airport to welcome Indira Gandhi to express gratitude.
All sections of people of India irrespective of all political parties under the leadership of the leadership of Sreemati Indira Gandhi had given all out support during the Liberation of Bangladesh and MitraBahini suffered and sacrificed in Liberation War.
In August 15, 1975, she along with Bangabandhu and family members lost life and it is as a darkened and most sorrowful mourning day in the history of Bangladesh. That's why, it is now observed as the national mourning day. Now the national mourning day is being observed under the leadership of Bangabandhu's daughter Prime Minister Sheik Hasina.
Trial of the killers had been completed and execution is going on and Bangladesh is moving forward facing obstacles even now Covid-19 and Flood and there are remarkable achievements in all sectors.
The legend Sheikh FazilatunnesaMujib is a great part of our history and her courageous and bold contribution during our glorious part of our history and the ways she faced the problems and hurdles that elevated her as the Iron Lady of the history as well as she is the mother of Bengal.
The writer, a freedom fighter, is a former University professor and ambassador
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