Book Review: An Illustrated History of Bangabandu and Bangladesh

sheikh mujib

By Dr Abid Bahar

Bangabandu and Bangladesh are two interrelated names. Bangabandu was not an ordinary leader of Bangladesh. The present research findings points out that he was a Machiavellian leader. He played both positive and negative roles in the history of Bangladesh. It seems that AL in promoting him as a semi-god that he was not is causing disrespect to his many positive contributions. This work still in its draft form is an attempt to show the real Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as different from the AL’s hero-worshipping of him. This book was written and the illustrations were compiled together to help Bangladeshi people see through its difficult past and understand it to take the necessary measures to help reform the country for a multi party democracy so as to be able for Bangladesh to develop into a prosperous country.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, later Bangabandu was born in Tongipara of Faridpur district in Bangladesh in 1920 A.D. He was the third child among four daughters and two sons of Sheikh Lutfar Rahman and Siara Begum. The parents were very affectionate to him and called him Khoka. Due to eye problem in his left eye, the parents withdrew him from attending school for four years. During this time, the compulsive Mujib’s prolonged break of study must have created anger in him, for he had no home education either. What would he do but to play with one eye with children who skipped classes? When he returned back compared to his fellow students, he found himself way behind in education. He also found himself physically taller and liked to skipping classes and when attended classes would create trouble to other students. In 1938, at the age of only eighteen, the parents forced Mujib to get married to Begum Fazilatnnesa. In the following year in1939 “Bongobondhu’s political career was effectively inaugurated while he was a student at Gopalganj missionary school. He led a group of students to demand that the cracked roof of the school be repaired” this was when Suhwardhy came to visit the school. No one at the moment knew that Suhrwardhy just met a rebel who years later would be claimed by the successive AL governments as the father of Bangladesh nation.


Mujib the Muscleman from Faridpur’s Tongipara village.

Suhrawardhy the populist leader of his time originally recruited Mujib to counter his political rivals. Under Suhwardhy, Mujib began his career as a muscleman student leader. Mujib remained loyal to him until his death in 1962. In the Calcutta riot Mujib was with his mentor Suhwardhy who was behind the Hindu-Muslim Calcutta riot in the Jinnah called Direct Action Day that claimed many innocent lives for which the Congress Party leadership continue to blame Suhwardhy. Mujib’s dress and mannerism and his association with Suhwardhy show the sign of Mujib’s role at the time. See below the picture with his mannerism and his nonverbal expressions especially his shirt’s collar. He was hardly a student. Despite his busy time, it seems that he managed to complete his education.In Calcutta, one Mazharul Islam from Kutubdia of Chittagong was known to have written his BA examination. Back in Dhaka he again became a student of law at the Dhaka University; known to have recommended by Suhrwardhy to make him prepare for a capable statesman. But he was seen to be sitting in the backbench with a group of his friends causing trouble to his professor in the law faculty classroom. Despite his disinterest in education, he was out and out a political person and unfortunately never finished his law degree from Dhaka University.


Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with Suhrawardy in Rajshai, 1954.

Who was Sheikh Mujibur Rahman?
Mujib’s upbringing made him more of a populist leader politician than a statesman. But he was no ordinary and a naïve leader as many people wish to believe. He was a complex figure in politics; a Machiavellian and as a very powerful rebel rouser ready to take risks but almost always knew how to save himself. Personally he showed pride and confidence in his work and in his accomplishments he would show mockery to the opposition. It was his early sign of intolerance to the opposition. During his entire career; we see almost always before a serious threat to his life he prepared the necessary grounds to be arrested and be in jail. During the time of language movement as expected he was in jail. This reminds us of a story in a film where a person the authority just released to cause the extra burden but he insisted that they keep him in jail where he will be safe. Not surprisingly, once, was just released from jail and hearing the report of an imminent trouble, he did something violent in front of the jail premise causing the death of a child(1) His critics claimed that after his 7th March Speech in 1971 at the critical juncture of the national life instead of leading the nation he repeated his similar behavior and for his and his family’s safety surrendered himself to the Pakistan army. 

Mujib the traitor


Realizing trouble the ambitious AL top leaders (who wanted to be the Pakistani Ministers of a confederate Pakistan), escapes to India, Mujib surrenders and Mujib’s entire family remains safe during the liberation war receiving monthly allowance from the Pakistani government while the Generals planned out and executed a genocide against ordinary people.

The Mujibnagar government leaders

Fearing any challenge to his leadership. Mujib, the absentee leader and autocrat never cared to know about the liberation war from these officials.

CHAPTER 3: ‘There I Come and there I Go’
Mujib’s well-known characteristics in the pre liberation period were: Anti establishment agitation, Anti constitution, anti institution and Anti bureaucracy. After the liberation, logically he considered himself as the source of all power. In this situation, the constitution was considered as subordinate to Mujib’s power.

Bangabandu, the 25 year Indo-Bangladesh Treaty maker.

FOUNDER OF THE BKSAL (Dolio Koron Rajniti and Bhai Culture)



1975: Civil servants and intellectuals were asked to show support to Mujib’s one party government.Mujib’s Fourth Amendment: Mujib from a Democracy preacher into a lover of Dictatorship
“The Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act 1975 was passed on 25 January 1975. Major changes were brought into the Constitution by this amendment. The presidential form of government was introduced in place of the parliamentary system; a one-party system in place of a multi-party system was introduced; the powers of the Parliament were curtailed; the Judiciary lost much of its independence; the Supreme Court was deprived of its jurisdiction over the protection and enforcement of fundamental rights.”


Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the parliament, 1973
Mujib’s style: Mockery of the opposition and self pride.
His three blunders:
1. Standing in the parliament Mujib said “Sheraj Sikder Tumi Akhon Khotai”
2. “Jatir Pita hoichee bole noito Lal Ghora Dabaiea Ditham”
3. “Tribals, Tumra Bangali hoye Jao, triggering unrest in Chittagong Hill Tracts.” 

Over the precipice: fate of the fascists


Dead body of Mujib



Bangabandu’s Killers
It says, All’s well that ends well. True, Jalal Uddin Khan says:“No assassination can ever be supported (it is always a heinous crime) but the rejoicing at the death of Sheikh Mujib, even by the elements of his own party, was indeed a fact. He was a great leader but his rule was highly compromised and controversial with people suffering from famine, anarchy, lack of security, Rakkhi-Bahini torture and the dictatorial operation of his government.(1)

“Mujib’s sycophants think that only Mujib and family blood is the most worthy, pure and valued. And that of all other people are Dholai Khaler dirty water. That’s their problem.”
Mujib’s killers are his own people. His opportunism in 1971 led his surrender to the Pakistan army and a genocide of the ordinary people in Bangladesh. While Pakistan army spared him but Mustaque’s diplomatic success with Kissenger to save Bangladesh from becoming Red led Kissenger’s initiatives to release Mujib from Pakistani jail, but realizing him as a traitor and a cunning politician his own people and the foreign connection it is alledged led by Mostaque got him killed.



The AL Minister Mostaque Ahamed
“Bhutto who remained apologetic and on the defensive ever since March 1 was thus compelled to further expose his ambition in Karachi on March 14. Here he introduced West Pakistan for the first time to the concept of the Two Nation theory and demanded that power be handed to the two majority parties of Pakistan, namely the Awami League in Bangla Desh and People’s Party in West Pakistan.”CHAPTER 5: A DEBATE


Fifth Amendment of President Ziaur Rahman
The Fourth Amendment was made by Bangabandu and the Fifth Amendment was by Ziaur Rahman
“The Constitution (Fifth Amendment) Act was passed by the Jatiya Sangsad on 6 April 1979. This Act amended the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution by adding a new Paragraph 18. The expression ‘BISMILLAH-AR RAHMAN-AR-RAHIM’ was added before the Preamble of the Constitution. The expression ‘historic struggle for national liberation’ in the Preamble was replaced by the expression ‘a historic war for national independence.’ One party system was replaced by multiparty system. Fundamental principles of state policy were made as ‘absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah, nationalism [Bangladeshi nationalism], democracy and socialism meaning economic and social justice.’ President Ziaur Rahman established the multi party democracy and allowed Hasina to enter in politics.”

Dialogue between Hasina and Pronok
Hasina: Dada, I am afraid that people will find out Zia the General was actually the one who allowed multiparty democracy and gave newspaper freedom.
Pronok: Don’t worry we have the Daily Star to lie daily about Zia as the betrayer; and as the military dictator. We also have Prothom Alo to help you. Your father didn’t have that help.
Hasina: I am also afraid that some intellectuals call themselves as the independent-minded Bangladeshis. They opposed Pakistan and now opposes India. What am I going to do about them?
Pronok: Call them Jamat!
Hasina: But they were freedom fighters.
Pronok: Look, if could turn Zia from a freedom fighter into a Jamati, why not these brainless intellectuals. It’s propaganda that matters for perception but not the reality. It’s called manufacturing consent.
Hasina: Due to the killing of Bangladeshi border guards and the fence dividing Bengal, I am afraid that one day most of my countrymen are going to abandon our ethnic identity Bengali for the territorial nationalism, Bangladeshi. Bangladeshi nationalism has an advantage that it includes all the Bangladeshis well being.
Pronok: True, your opposition has many advantages but they don’t have the support of your country’s cultural groups. Your country’s cultural groups are connected to the West Bengali and Indian groups. Only if they can create strong media support and pro-Bangladeshi cultural group in drama, cinema, music, you will be really in trouble. Tarek was taking such dangerous moves. He is your #1 enemy. Now that you have our full support at least for now you don’t have any thing to worry.

Conclusion: The “Bangabandu” Story
AL’s declared “Father of the Nation”
It says, an abusive biological father’s role shouldn’t be glorified. In today’s Bangladesh, questions are asked, why to honor an “absentee,” “authoritarian” and “partisan” leader, and the founder of BAKSAL as the symbolic “father of the nation” of an emerging democracy.

Each time, the AL comes to power Bangabandu is brought to the forefront as the father of the nation. And it seems to open the Pandora’s box because by doing that it opens the debate on an absentee and authoritarian leader to be recognized as the symbolic “father of the nation” of a democratic country. It is more so because Mujib was accused of killing the infant democracy in Bangladesh setting the stage for the bloodbath and subsequent anarchy in Bangladesh. Now, asking him to be recognized as the “father” it seems is as if in the democratic Russia, Stalinists asking to recognize the Fascist dictator Stalin to be the “father of the nation.” It is true, Mujib missed his chances and now doesn’t deserve to be the father of the nation for the following reasons:

(1) Mujib was not the biological father of the nation, (it is not possible) nor an ideal fatherly political figure of Bangladesh requiring to be recognized as the “father of the nation.” An abusive biological father is not generally glorified. In a symbolic form, why to glorify Mujib who loved only his people; the ALs and was abusive to other anti BAKSAlite democratic Bangladeshis? He is the one who led Bangladesh from democracy to BAKSAL dictatorship. He even put Bhasani under house arrest.

It is a known fact that Mujib’s Rakhi bhani, Lal bahini and the other Bahinis, killed thousands of activists who opposed him. He didn’t tolerate opposition. He didn’t tolerate the Tribal’s demand for Bangladeshi nationalism. Mujib said, “Forget your ethnicity, be Bengali.” Now some people (former BAKSAL leader/ supporters) out of personal devotion and favour/ love received from Mujib want to elevate him to the status of an ideal father. But was he an ideal father? History tells us that he wasn’t.

On record Mujib, established BAKSAL dictatorship of one party system, banned newspapers, demanded intellectuals to visit him to their show of allegiance, and in the process divided the nation. The legacy of that divide still continues. By accepting Mujib as the “father of the nation” the military backed CG is clearly taking side of the AL / BAKSAL and giving symbolic weight to Mujib style “anarchy” and Hasina’s violent politics of strike, blockade and legitimizes a system that ruined the economy and brought the international recognition for Bangladesh as a failed state, the “bottomless basket case.”

It appears that this ever diminishing idea of “father of the nation” now revived by the present army chef (possibly was a devoted former Mujibbadi) will divide the nation further demanding perhaps another future coup to defeat the anarchist Hasina’s BAKSAL forces. If that happens, it will be a tragedy for Bangladesh.

(2) Mujib shouldn’t be considered as the father of the nation also because he surrendered to the Pakistani enemy. He was an elected leader, instead of staying in his house until the last moment he was supposed to be with his people to lead them. (See Zahirul Quaium’s interview, Quaium was the senior vice president of the AL, Mujib waited unti March 25 afternoon for a fresh negotiation to begin on the 28th of March). Before his death, Mujib shied away from explaining to reporters why he surrendered to the advancing army when each and every top member of the AL leadership could escape to Calcutta. Kamal Hossain who was with Mujib never clarified the issue either. They must be hiding something and now the army chief even asking for Mujib to be recognized as the “father of the nation.”

(3)Mujib was clearly not a statesman but a demagogue and shows he believed in Pakistan until the last moment. He wanted autonomy not independence. He even sent Rao Farman Ali to peruse Yahya Khan to save Pakistan. (See Farman Ali’s book Bhutto, Mujib and Bangladesh.) He even said to him that time was running out. For not being a statesman he continued his foolish negotiation of the 6 points with the pretender Yahya Khan until the 24th of March.

Like most other leaders, even Bashani could escape hiding as a refugees, when the Pakistani army went to Tangail to hunt down “the Kafir” Bhasani, but why not Mujib? It was not definitely his courage to surrender as somr ALs claim, nor his love to save people as most neo-BAKSalites claim. It appears that at the last moment, he didn’t have much of a choice but to save himself and his family. Alas, such an opportunist person (Hasina’s father) who had left his people to such a helpless situation in 1971, just to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan (power hungry politics) at last in 1975 could neither save himself nor his family!

But again killing was not the solution; especially his family was innocent. But nature takes its own course, his family suffered for his failures.

The point is if you know that Pakistani military rulers will not accept the 6 points, and you will not sacrifice a bit of the 6 points, why to negiotiate until March 24 when Yahya left Dhaka after finishing all the preparation? If it was not his foolish love for Pakistan, what was it? Negiotion means to come to a common ground.

How can a Paki lover be the father of Bangladesh?

Bhasani reminded Mujib again and again, Pakistanis will not accept his 6 points. Bhasani declared independence in December. Why Mujib didn’t is a question repeatedly asked? BAKSAlite explanation, “This great patriot, wanted to save lives,” Could he save them?” Then why he had to be a coward not a revolutionary?

Bhasani used to call Mujib lacking in enough intelligence in the upper chamber. The truth is as a very powerful agitator he was dealing with big and small political issues he couldn’t handle.

Some Als even believe that the Paki army feared to kill him. It will be foolish to forget, the notorious Pakistani army didn’t fear to hang Bhutto! the Prime Minister of Pakistan. But why Mujib was saved and his family even received protection and allowance in Dhaka? Was there a secret deal at the last moment? If there was one does he deserve to be a father? These are some unanswered questions. That is the untold “Bangabandu story” of Bangladesh.

If Mujib had some love for Pakistan, or most love for his family at the expense of the millions of people facing the organized Pakistani military, what does he deserve? Not glorify him as the father of the nation. Under the circumstances, if historians consider him as a pretender, an absentee political leader at times of national distress, while in power only proved himself a dictator, no govt. should open the controversial issue to further lower his credibility. In opening the issue we are only dividing the nation and doing a disservice to it because to many, Mujib’s BAKSAL was similar to Sadam’s Bath party, or like any other African Fascist dictatorships.

In conclusion, will glorifying this man as the “father” likely to create consensus in Bangladesh? I don’t think so! To me they are only opening the Pandora ’s Box which will be a recipe for further chaos.

If we desire for a developed Bangladesh for the common masses, but not help benefit Hasina’s, or Khalidas, or the hero-worshippers, the wisest measure to take would be either to ignore the issue altogether or recognize this controversial partisan BAKSAL founder/figure/ absentee politician as only one of the founding fathers of Bangladesh (for his role in the pre liberation period (leading up to March 7, 1971.)

Bhasani, the spiritual leader of Bangladesh, the founder of AL, and the Ittifaq, the leader of 1969 movement that ousted Ayub and saved Mujib, and was the chairman of the government in exile in India and declared independence, was a fatherly figure to Mujib also deserve to be one of the founding fathers.

Then it was Zia who declared independence and brought order after Mujib’s BAKSAL and its subsequent anarchy. It seems that until the nation recognizes Bhasani, Mujib and Zia as the founding fathers of Bangladesh, there will not be any political consensus. Seen in the favorable light, Bhasani, Mujib and Zia could be seen as our Gandhi, Nehru and Patel of Bangladesh. But the question will continue to be asked to the thinking Bangladeshis if the followers of the rebel rouser Bangabandu and their India backers will accept something positive about the contributions of the other national leaders in order to save the nation from the shadow of fascism “my way or no way’ politics that was first installed by Bangabandu.

End notes and References:
Jalal Uddin Khan, Sonar Bangladesh, BAL & Amar Desh

Support AWAMI LEAGUE(NOWKA) for a Revolutionary democratic Change.’dan Fotoğraflar facebook; Hasina’s Logi Boitha Viloence youtube video link com/watch? v=hjWhLD1- JLk&feature= player_embedded;

Abid Bahar, Bangabandu Vs. Mussolini of Italy: Striking Similarities; BCL men go for ‘change’Dec 2, 2009, Daily Star;

Shahidul Alam, Sheikh Mujib: A people’s dictator , Notun Bangladesh, August 14, 2008. Farman Ali, Bhutto, Sheikh Mujib and Bangladesh, Published by Altaf Hossain: Translated by and published in Bengali by Mostofa Harun, 1978,

Abul Monsur Ahamed, Amer Dhaker Rajnatir Ponchas Botchas, Dhaka:Khroz Kitab Mohal, 1984.; Azizul Karim, From Awami League to BAKSAL, http://newsfrombang view.php? hidRecord= 42362;

Abid Bahar, The 1/11 Hijacking of Bangladesh,

Abu Rushd edited “Secret Affidavit of Yahya Khan,” Published by: Bangladesh Defence Journal, February 2009

M A S Molla, Tajuddin’s prophecy, Daily Star, November 03, 2006


Syed Muhammad Hussain, “A book, a coup, some thoughts”;

Awami League and its role betwen 1971 and 1975, Jamshed Chowdhury, Bangladesh:

Failed Years: 1972-75, based on his thesis dissertation for his PhD from Heidelberg
University; Amartya Sen, Poverty and Famines (Famine in Bangladesh, p. 131), New
York: Oxford University Press, 1981; Abid Bahar, Bangabandu Mujib and

Benito Mussolini: Striking Similarities, News from Bangladesh,

Submissions – Khan Saifur Rahman (Senior Advocate)

Case of Mutiny leading to Murder or a Case of Murder Simpliciter? Defence arguments presented on behalf of Col. Syed Farook Rahman and Col Mohiuddin Syed Muhammad Hussain, “A book, a coup, some thoughts”;

MUJIB MURDER CASE Court rules on reading of 3rd verdict today, New Age Front Page.; Mujibès Killers

Kamruddin Ahamed, Banglar Ak Modhubetter Atho Kahini (Bengali), Dhaka, p. 1-4, 15, 1979; also quoted in Syed Abul Maksud, Bhasani, First edition, 1986, 122, 126-127, p. 146-147.

Toffozal Hossain Manik Mia, Pakistani Rajnitir Bish Botshor, pp. 68-69, 86-87, 90-91 talks about Mujib’s widespread use of blackmailing intimidation and force to push through his agenda. Also see in Syed Abul Maksud, Bhasani, First edition, 1986, pp.146-147.

The director in charge of the Radio station recorded that Mujib personally warned him for giving Bhasani a grand coverage as a hero as at Bhasani’s return from India. But openly he showed great respect for Bhasani.

Kamruddin Ahamed, Banglar Ak Modhubetter Atho Kahini (Bengali), Dhaka, p. 1-4, 15, 1979;
Henrik Ibsen, The Enemy of the People, “An Enemy of the People addresses the irrational tendencies of the masses, and the hypocritical and corrupt nature of the political system that they support. It is the story of one brave man’s struggle to do the right thing and speak the truth in the face of extreme social intolerance; see for Properties stocked in Mujib’s house Ittifaq, 30th October 1975/ (Among the illegal weapons recovered were one heavy machine gun, two light machinre guns, 3 SMGs, 8 Stan guns, 10 rifles, 60 grenades and ammunitions.)

Logi Boitha Viloence youtube video link com/watch? v=hjWhLD1- JLk&feature= player_embedded

Sheikh Hasina
http://sajeeb. blogspot. com/2007/ 04/charges- against-sheikh- hasina.html;
BDR MASSACRE; Part 1:, part 2:


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