Anwar A Khan:
“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts.
It is about one life influencing another” — John C Maxwell
Ninety-nine years back, a shepherd king was born on 17 March 1920 in a remote hamlet of Gopalganj District, Bangladesh as Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He showed the potential of leadership since his school life. From a very young age, Mujib strived to work for issues that mattered to him, hankering one cause after another.
He showed the first sign of being a revolutionary leader when he distributed rice from his father’s own stockpile, giving it to famine-stricken people in his area, much to his father’s dismay. His flames are not for the sake of smoke- they are the catalyst for the politicians and patriots to rise like a phoenix years after years. He brought more joy than anyone could have ever projected. No one can take that away.
Patriotism is a thing difficult to put into words. It is neither precisely an emotion nor an opinion, nor a mandate, but a state of mind — a reflection of our own personal sense of worth, and respect for our roots. Love of the country plays a part, but it is not just love. Neither is it pride, although pride too is one of the ingredients. Patriotism is a commitment to what is best inside us all.
And it is recognition of that wondrous common essence in our greater surroundings — our school, team, city, state, our immediate society — often ultimately delineated by our roots and borders… Indeed, these border lines are so fluid… and we do not pay allegiance as much as we resonate with a shared spirit. We all feel an undeniable bond with the land where we are born.
And yet, if we leave it for another, we grow to feel a similar bond, often of a more complex nature. Both are forms of patriotism — the first, involuntary, by birth, the second by choice. Neither is less worthy than the other. “But one is earned” as said by Vera Nazarian and Mujib has earned it through his selfless services to the nation.
Bill Kristol has written, “Patriotism is an indispensable weapon in the defense of civilization against barbarism” and Mujib always stood in the defense of civilization against barbarism. He was the most influential statesman of his time and is highly respected and well-liked throughout the world. Because he brought intelligent, honest and straightforward approaches to everything he did. He was crowned with the title of “Bangabandhu” and remembered as a dedicated man of the people.
The very word Mujib is synonymous with the country, Bangladesh. During our glorious Liberation War, being a very young college student, I witnessed how our people dared to sacrifice their valued lives with deep patriotism in the name of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman chanting “Joy Bangla” and “Joy Bangabandhu” slogans at gun points of Pakistan’s army and their ruthless local collaborators to achieve Bangladesh. He is the most celebrated politician of the Bangladesh’s Revolution in 1971 for his crucial role in wrestling the eastern theater from the Pakistani regime and securing a revolutionary patriotic victory.
He shall be remembered for his indomitable will, his unwillingness to consider anything else when the slightest hope of victory still burnt. We thank Bangabandhu for making our state, our country. As we remember him on his 99th birthday, we strive to cultivate his selfless servant leadership within ourselves. We need more like him. “A good citizen should take his stand where the public authority marshals him” was correctly pronounced by Thomas Jefferson.
Mujib became politically active in British India, the Bengali Language Movement, the founding of the Awami League, the Six Points Movement, the Anti Ayub movement, the 1970 Elections and Civil disobedience movement in 1971, establishment of Bangladesh, governing Bangladesh, struggle for national reconstruction…. He is credited as the central figure in Bangladesh’s liberation movement and is considered the founding father of Bangladesh. The life of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the saga of a great leader, turning people’s power into an armed struggle that liberated a nation and created Bangladesh which was the triumph of his faith in the destiny of his people.
Sheikh Mujib, endearingly called “Bangabandhu” or Friend of Bengal, rose from the people, molded their hopes and aspirations into a dream and staked his life in the long battle for making it real. Chaim Potok has said, “Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a ‘universal’ without patriotism, without home, who has found his people everywhere” and he is the man who stood on this core spirit.
Bangabandhu was a charismatic leader who organized dissent and rebellion against the British in India, led the Bengalis of former East Pakistan in their resistance to the unjust actions of the post-colonial Pakistani government, and finally helped found the independent nation.
He epitomized anti-colonial leadership in the Third World and organized dissent and rebellion against the British and rose against the injustice and exploitation by the power-wielders in West Pakistan against the Bengali population of the-then East Pakistan. For him, the battle for freedom from exploitation was never-ending. Even after winning independence for Bangladesh from Pakistan, an exploitation-free Bengali society eluded him.
When he seemed to be having some success in tiding over the most difficult period of post-liberation history, he was assassinated and his family massacred in a fluke coup staged by a handful of junior officers of the fledgling Bangladesh army. He is easily the most archetypal story in Bangladesh’s history. “A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle” wrote by George William Curtis and Mujib was always loyal his principles and patriotism.
He was a strong voice for the people of this part of the land. He shook up the world in 1971….. His brutal murder is of the biggest and saddest events in the world history. Famed poet Kamal Chowdhury has aptly written, “Tumar mrittur kotha mone holey, tumar jonnmer kachey rhini hoye jai (If we think about your death, we become indebted to your birth).”
In myth he becomes what they want him to have been, and anyone who belittles this transformation has an imperfect understanding of truth. Youth, beauty, apparent vigor and even the most arguable personal virtues were silenced by a sudden and violent death. And the fact that such a man paradoxically took on godhead for a while is proof that we continue to see death not just as an end, but as a doorway to transcendence.
The iconoclastic, revolutionary politician would have been 99 on 17th March of this year and, while he has been dead for about 44 years ago, but his voice is as loud as ever. He had a thing that you can’t just buy. You can’t just rent a politician who can do that. He had something there that was like intuitive. He believed in a certain philosophy and way of life. They were a unit.
He was laid to rest at Tungipara, Bangladesh. He was one of the most iconic politicians and statesman of all time…We may enshrine him in words from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:
“When he shall die
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That the entire world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
Though the river was full of ice, he did not think about it twice, but started across in the dead of night and the enemy waiting to open the fight.Likely feeling pretty blue, being human, same as you, but he was brave amid despair. And Bangabandhu Mujib crossed the deep ocean. So, when we are with trouble beset and our spirits are soaking wet, when all the sky with clouds is black, we should not lie down upon our back.
And look at him. Just do the thing. Though you are choked, still try to sing. If times are dark, believe them fair and thinking about him, we will also cross the troubled. So, if through Bangabandhu’s window there is a new day breaking, promise, though mind and soul be aching, if with harvest over there is grain enough for gleaning- there is a new tomorrow and life still has meaning. Warren Bennis wrote, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” And he proved it. His imprint is lasting, and his presence in our lives will surely be missed.
Bring your cameras and capture it all. He was always well-governed, and this made him uniquely qualified to govern others, even when compared with the intellectual luminaries of that intellectually luminous generation. So with that in mind, and in honor of our Founding Father, we shall remember him on this day for his smart, passionate, visionary, wise advise, incredibly generous spirit and above all, principled leadership.
Source: The Daily Asian Age