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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The aureole of 10th January: The politico who made a new nation

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January 10 of 1972 was a historic day for people in Bangladesh, it will remain in its place with honor, and dignity till the civilization exists. On this gracious day of 47 years back, Bangladesh's Founding Father Banganandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman returned to his free, independent and sovereign homeland from his immurement from Pakistan like a great hero or a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength to lead his newly brought into existence nation. The worst thing for him would be to live in jail with death warrant on his head in Pakistan.

He could not look at the clouds in that wretched country and it was hard to believe it was the same sun, the same clouds as people were seeing in Bangladesh. He couldn't help thinking that that cloud he was looking at might come down in the occupied land of Bangladesh by the devilish Pakistani military junta. He was a man who was separated from his people, family and his children for long nine months. He was a majuscule politician who felt heavy infliction. But on 10th January, 1972, he celebrated the joy of being home again and being with those he loved so much.

His Homecoming Day highlights a thrilling victory by Bangladesh's people over a demonic Pakistani regime. The crowd shuddered with sky-scrapping "Joy Bangla (Victory for Bangladesh)" slogan to welcome him. The bright sun went up. The crowd overfilled the stage, where their hero lingered, and gazed up at him in wonder, as if his very bright face was a sign from the gods.

On arrival he was all smiles, but towards the end you could see his eyes started to glisten. The Bangladesh War is a textbook material for students in history. History - all those events - has passed us. But the entire trauma still lives inside us. It's great for a great hero to be home. He received a hero's welcome; and a great hero's welcome in his own homeland on 10 January 1972.

Journalist Fox Butterfield of The New York Times, who witnessed Bangabandhu's homecoming, wrote a special report for his Daily titled "Sheikh Mujib Home; 500, 000 Give Him Rousing Welcome". Narrating Bangabandhu's return to home, he wrote, "Sheikh Mujibur Rahman received a tumultuous, triumphant welcome today on January 10, 1972 from a crowd of half a million Bengalis as he returned to his native land for the first time since he was arrested nine months ago by the Pakistani authorities."

The exultant crowd showered Sheikh Mujib with flowers and chanted "Joi Bangla" ("Victory of Bangla") as their leader stepped from the British Air Force jet that had brought him to his newly born country," the report said. Saying about the dream of the supreme commander of the country's Liberation War, he also wrote, "Sheikh Mujib though looking tired but elated by his reception, later said at an enormous rally at the Dhaka Race Course, "My life's goal has been fulfilled. My Bengal is independent." His voice then broke with emotions. He delivered his coup de grace: "He is a poet of politics, and a fighter for just causes!"

His ability to summarize the range of human emotions in simple yet eloquent words and phrases has led to his enduring popularity and power and the standard to which others do not hold. Eleanor Roosevelt's words can be echoed here, "One thing I believe profoundly: We make our own history. The course of history is directed by the choices we make and our choices grow out of the ideas, the beliefs, the values, the dreams of the people.

It is not so much the powerful leaders that determine our destiny as the much more powerful influence of the combined voices of the people themselves" and Mujib brought in the combined voices of his people together and made history. There is that great proverb - "that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter." We have our own historians. We ask Bangladesh's people and our historians to dim their lights in remembrance of him.

We honor the legacy of our founder Father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, by leveraging the gifts of knowledge, compassion and creativity, to care for all - every day. We witnessed an extraordinary bravery and patriotism in him. It doesn't just tell time. It tells history. He was truly an outstanding political figure who served as a role model for his people, as well as the oppressed people of the Third World, with his love, patriotism, spirit, and dedication. His energy and enthusiasm permeates the political arena, and his dedication to the oppressed is unmatched.

An almost sky-touching figure, he would not revisit this land but his supreme sacrifice, love, patriotism and courage to stand up against the unjust causes will remain immortal as inspiration in our collective memories. We bow our heads to commemorate him; and it is somethingfor us to do, generation after generation. People have placed Mujib at this position, place, and time in our history. In teary eyes, we remember those memories in order that those last a lifetime.

When we bring back knowledge from memory on this great son of this land, we wish to emotionally remember him in the language of Abraham Lincoln, "Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem."

Today, we must read him to a great extent and tell our people as history. Before I go, I better clear up one thing…"Let Mujibbe! And all is light." Joy Bangla. Joy Bangabandhu. My Golden Bangladesh, we love you.Bangladesh, for us, has been the pursuit and catching of happiness. May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country! And we proud to be Bangladesh's people, where at least we know we are free. And we won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to us.

The writer is a political  commentator

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