Today is April 10. On this day in 1971, the first independent government of Bangladesh was formed and it was sworn in on 17 April at Amrakan in Baidyanathtala, Meherpur district. At present this place is named as ‘Mujibnagar’. For those who are aware of the process of formation of Mujibnagar government, this writing is not so important, but the history of that day is undoubtedly important for the new generation of people. Every Bengali should know how and in what context the first government of independent Bangladesh was formed. Although Mujibnagar government was 51 years old at the time, I still think of the events of that day. Although the memory of 51 years is a bit gray, that memory will never get dirty. Bangabandhu’s close associates played a leading role in the formation of this government as per the previous plan of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through a very dangerous situation. April 10 will forever be written in golden letters in the history of the Bengali nation.
Bangladesh is an independent country today. The people of Bangladesh are now citizens of an independent country. Until 16 December 1971, Bangladesh was under its control. It did not have its own map, it did not have its flag, it did not have its constitution or constitution. All these are now in Bangladesh. The impenetrable resistance of the people of Bengal against an authoritarian military force in the Great Liberation War of 1971 – that resistance later appeared before us in the form of victory. The events of the great liberation war of Bangladesh have surprised the world. The Bengalis have probably set a unique example in the world that only a small territory can be liberated by the strength of the unity of the people.
When the Mujibnagar government was formed on 10 April 1971, new life was breathed into the Bengalis. The cabinet was sworn in on April 17. This oath was not just a swearing-in ceremony of a provisional government – it contained the impetus to liberate the subjugated East Bengal with the last drop of blood. I have no hesitation in saying that the formation of the Mujibnagar government and their swearing in ceremony strengthened the public opinion in favor of the Bengalis at home and abroad. At that time, all the peace and freedom-loving people of the world, except the anti-Bangladesh clique, gave their unwavering support to Bangladesh. All but one or two of the honorable members of the Mujibnagar government were convinced of the existence of Bangladesh. They have shed their blood to build an independent and self-reliant Bangladesh. Except for one or two who were the lifeblood of the then Mujibnagar government, they were all patriots. He was the faithful companion of the father of the greatest Bengali nation of all time. After the assassination of Sheikh Mujib in 1975, many of them were also brutally killed in dark prisons. Although the Mujibnagar government was formed very carefully within the geographical boundaries of Bangladesh, their activities were conducted from Indian soil. The office of this government was set up at the house at 6 Theater Road, Kolkata. The dazzling activities of the Mujibnagar government were conducted from there.
I also fought in the great liberation war of 1971. I have seen the activities of Mujibnagar government very closely. The Mujibnagar government considered every incident of the war of liberation seriously. From training the freedom fighters to strengthening diplomatic relations with the outside world, there is nothing they have not done. The Mujibnagar government even divided the war-torn Bangladesh into 11 sectors and determined the strategy for conducting the war. Many of us today have forgotten the unique contribution of Mujibnagar government for the country and its people. Some have even conspired to forget that history. I think that conspiracy is still going on.
I would like to give an example of how the Mujibnagar government, which was plagued with various problems despite facing an unequal war situation, inspired the liberation war. When the war of liberation was going on, I was a NAP worker (NAP Mozaffar). At that time, when the journey of NAP office started in Calcutta, I took over the responsibility of NAP office as the office secretary of the party. Many people used to come to our office then. Various measures were then taken to increase the confidence of the freedom fighters. One such issue was publication. One day I asked Patua Kamrul Hasan to draw a cover of a book called ‘Strategy to win the liberation war’ with a scene of the freedom fighters jumping on the enemies with grenades in their hands. Kamrul Hasan was accompanied by Shawkat Osman, a well-known novelist. He did not agree with my proposal but got excited and said to me- ‘Idiot, was Kamrul born to draw grenades? You can find pictures of grenades in any army book, so draw the cover of the book. ‘ Saying this, he sighed and left. The next day – ‘They’re killing people, let’s kill the animals’ I was very happy to see this poster and told him to go to Prime Minister Tajuddin Bhai. The then Prime Minister of Mujibnagar government Tajuddin Ahmed was also very happy to see the poster and rewarded Patua Kamrul Hasan financially. This poster was later published by the Mujibnagar government and caused a great stir all over the world.
I say this because when a government is sitting on the ground in exile and fighting hard to liberate its country from the enemy, even with a small poster, it is clear how passionate that government was. The Mujibnagar government has not taken any steps to accelerate the victory of the Bengalis which they have not taken. In this context, it is necessary to mention the eight-member Cabinet Consulting Committee. The committee consisted of Tajuddin Ahmed, AHM Kamaruzzaman, Capt. M. Mansur Ali, Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani, Professor Mozaffar Ahmed, Comrade Moni Singh, Manoranjan Dhar and others. Due to the foresight of this Cabinet Calling Committee, Russia vetoed the ceasefire proposal at the United Nations and the Seventh Fleet was forced to withdraw when Russia announced the deployment of the 20th Fleet against the 7th Fleet of the United States. Extensive public opinion was formed in favor of Bengalis abroad. During the war of liberation America, China, most of the countries of the Middle East were against Bangladesh. Even the treacherous Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed, a member of the Cabinet Consultative Committee, conspired against the Mujibnagar government. Despite their opposition, the Mujibnagar government snatched the independence of Bangladesh. The history of defeating a big power like Pakistan with the small power of Bengalis was written by the Mujibnagar government. For this we have to pay our respects to the Mujibnagar government forever.
When it comes to the Mujibnagar government, one has to remember with gratitude the then Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi and her government. Apart from this, the role of DP Dhar, PN Haksar and Beznev, Padgorni and Kosygin of the Soviet Union should also be remembered humbly. If these great people of Bengal and Bangladesh had not stood by our side in that unfavorable environment of that day, the war would have been prolonged and the loss of Bengalis would have increased. Today’s new Bangladesh is moving forward by facing the challenges of the 21st century under the leadership of Bangabandhu daughter Sheikh Hasina. This new Bangladesh was once called the ‘bottomless basket’ but now it is considered as a role model of development in the eyes of the world. In order to continue this trend of development in Bangladesh, all Bengalis need to participate shoulder to shoulder like in 1971.
Monaim Sarkar: Columnist, Director General; Bangladesh Foundation for Development Research.
Source: Bhorer Kagoj by www.bhorerkagoj.com.
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