Sheikh Russel, the youngest child of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and younger brother of the present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Sheikh Russel was the youngest of five siblings. The baby Sheikh Russell was born on 18 October 1964 in the historical and memorial house of Bangabandhu at Dhanmondi, 32. This year his 58th birthday is being celebrated. When the baby Sheikh Russel was born in the historic house of Dhanmondi, the overall situation in the country was very worrying. Historical and political events were taking place all over East Pakistan at that time. Fatema Jinnah, the sister of President Ayub Khan and the joint opposition candidate Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, on the other hand, is in the hurly-burly situation of a presidential election. Just when the people of the region are dreaming of independence in the midst of severe uncertainty and darkness, a child named 'Sheikh Russel' was born by lighting the house of Mujib-Fazilatunnesa.
Reminiscing about that day, Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina wrote, 'The moments before Russel's birth were very anxious. Kamal, Jamal, Rehana, Khoka uncle and I at home. A doctor and a nurse also came. Time does not seem to pass. Jamal and Rehana slept for a while and woke up again. We are awake with sleepy eyes waiting to hear the message of the arrival of a new guest. Mejho Fupu came out of the house and informed us that we had a brother.
We were overjoyed to see him. Fupu said that he would call us. After a while the call came. Fupu put Russel in my lap. Thick black hair on the head and fluffy cheeks of him. Russel was quite big.'
Bangabandhu named his youngest child name 'Sheikh Russel'. Bangabandhu's favorite author was Bertrand Russell. He named the youngest member of the family, Sheikh Russell, after Bertrand Russel, the Nobel laureate in world-renowned British philosophical literature. Bertrand Russell was not only a philosopher but also a scientist. He is also a major world leader in the anti-nuclear war movement. And Bertrand Russell formed the 'Committee of Hundred' to maintain world peace. Bertrand Russel has worked to make human life beautiful and peaceful.
Child Russel spent most of his life without his father Bangabandhu Mujib. Because, father Mujib became a political prisoner and was in jail day after day. And not being able to see his father in front of his eyes, Russel started calling his mother Fazilatunnessa as 'Abba'. Just as baby Russel felt this pressure, so did Father Mujib. Bangabandhu wrote about Sheikh Russel in his book "Karagarer Rojnamcha", "On February 8, a 2-year-old boy came and said, 'Father, go home.' What answer will I give him?" I tried to fool him and he didn't understand that I was a prisoner. I told him, 'You go to your mother's home. I live in my house. Come see me again. 'What does he want to understand! How to take this little boy, free him from this stone wall with his weak hand! I'm sorry. Even if it is a hundred, I am a human being and its originator. Other boys and girls have learned to understand. But Russel has not yet learned to understand. So sometimes he wants to take me at home.'
The August 15, 1975 tragedy is a scandalous event in the history of the nation. The assassins not only killed Bangabandhu with whole family on August 15, 1975, but also killed the youngest child Russel in the most barbaric and ruthless way. Bangabandhu and other members of his family were killed once by a bullet. But the little boy Russel killed several times before he was shot. Eleven-year-old Russel cried out in terror, "I will go to my mother." The next time he saw his mother's dead body, he begged in a tearful voice, "My sister Hasu Apa is in Germany with brother-in-law. I fall at your feet, please send me to them in Germany." On that day, even the cries of Russel, the youngest son of Bangabandhu, could not shake the minds of the murderous.
There have been many political assassinations in the history of the world but such a brutal assassination has never happened anywhere else. The mother, father, two brothers, brother's wife, uncle also mentally killed Russel in front of each corpse while walking past the corpse. The assassins terrorized the baby Russel by taking him next to the blood-stained silent, frozen bodies of their loved ones, showing him scenes of heinous acts, killing him from the inside and finally the assassins killed Russel, promising to take him to his mother. Sheikh Russel was in class four at the University Laboratory School when he was killed. As a result, a potential life was lost prematurely. Bangabandhu's assassins not only killed the father of the nation, they also wanted to erase the traces of Bangabandhu's blood.
What did our little students know about how Russel was in his 11-year life, how he studied, how to ban a teacher if he didn't like, and how to call his favorite teacher? How have we presented or been able to present the life story of Russel among our child students? What have we significantly highlighted in the textbook for future generations about the life story of baby Russel? We have to work on these issues to spread the biography of Sheikh Russel among the generations.
Sheikh Russel's birthday is celebrated on 18 October every year. So many years after the brutal assassination of August 15, 1975, Sheikh Russel's birthday was recently recognized as 'National Day'. As a result, children and teenagers will be able to know about the history of the liberation war and will be inspired by the spirit of the liberation war. They will be able to know the tragic incident of 15th August, the biography of Sheikh Russel and will be inspired to dedicate themselves in the service of the country inspired by the spirit of liberation war. No other child like Sheikh Russel has ever been the victim of such cruelty. Not only in Bangladesh, but all over the world, children should be safe-- this is Sheikh Russel's birthday wish.
The assassin's bullet did not give Sheikh Russel a chance to implement his dreams, but the assassins could not destroy his dreams. Today, Sheikh Russel has become a role model for millions of children and young generations in the country.
Emran Emon is a researcher,
litterateur journalist, and columnist