This story is being republished on account of National Mourning Day
“It was 10.30pm on August 14, 1975. Everyone had left and I came to Dhanmondi 32. Bangabandhu was dining with his family members. He beckoned me to his side and said, tomorrow morning, you will come to my house. You will go to your favourite university campus with me.” Those were the last words of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to his then political secretary.
“But I could not go to my favourite campus with my favourite leader.”
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed reminisces to Dhaka Tribune talking about his long journey with the architect of Bangladesh. He speaks about Sheikh Mujib's love for the people and how the visionary leader could not have imagined Bengalis turning against him.
What was Bangabandhu's political philosophy?
Bangabandhu had two dreams - one was to make Bangladesh independent, which he accomplished. The second one was to make this independent nation economically prosperous and bring smiles to the faces of the people. This he could not achieve. Some disgruntled army officers killed Bangabandhu along with most of his family members except Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana.
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But, I am very happy to say that the perfect successor of the Father of the Nation is running the country in right direction to materialise her father's dreams.
What do you think Bangladesh could have become if Bangabandhu were alive?
Bangladesh could have outperformed Singapore and Malaysia in terms of economic development, if we still had him. From 1975 to 1990, Bangladesh was trampled by military rule. The BNP-led government did not work on basis of the spirit of Independence. What the Awami League government has achieved today and is going to attain in terms of development was seeded by Bangabandhu.
What was the reason behind the killing of Bangabandhu?
To take revenge for the defeat in the Liberation War, the defeated forces along with the Bangladeshi cohorts carried out this killing. Conspirators from home and abroad could not tolerate the victory of Bengalis and they took revenge on August 15, 1975.
The killers and their aides thought that through that killing they would be able to destroy the ideology of Bangabandhu and Awami League, but they failed.
Now, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the perfect successor of the great leader is taking the country in right direction. They also wanted to eradicate the successor of Bangabandhu and that is why they killed the young boy Sheikh Rasel.
How Bangabandhu was grateful to the people who fought for the country responding to call from the great leader?
On February 23, 1969, Sheikh Mujibur Rahan was given the title Bangabandhu at a mass reception at Suhrawardy Udyan after being released from the jail in the Agartala Conspiracy Case. In his speech, Bangabandhu said those who freed me from imprisonment with their lives and blood, I will pay you one day. Bangabandhu gave back to the Bengali nation not only with his life but also his whole family's.
What was the vision of Bangabandhu?
Bangabandhu was a far-sighted political leader. He first set aims and then followed through with it. He never deviated from his goals.
Bangabandhu had great foresight. After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the unchallenged leader of Bengal said: “I can feel with my heart that this state is not for the Bengali people. Bengali people have to be the architect of their own fate.”
Tell the readers about the determination of Bangabandhu's character?
After declaring the historic six point demands, the great leader told us: “I made the bridge, we will achieve independence through it.” The historic six-point demand was the original charter of freedom, which shook the Ayub regime. Sensing the impact of the demands, Ayub Khan, the then Pakistani dictator, implicated Bangabandhu in the Agartala Conspiracy Case.
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Bangabandhu stood fast and went to jail. The bold man, touching a handful of soil to his forehead, said: Oh my soil, I know they will hang me but I want to lay on you forever. That was the boldness of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Tell us about Bangabandhu's philosophy on people?
Bangabandhu loved the people very much. It was beyond his imagination that his people would kill him. He began his speeches with 'Bhaiera amar' (my brothers), a call that filled everyone's hearts with passion and they became loyal to him.
But the traitors failed to feel Bangabandhu's passion for his countrymen. Being driven by greed and international conspirators, who were against the Independence, on August 15, 1975, they killed him.
What is the present status of trial of Bangabandhu killers?
We have ensured justice for Bangabandhu's blood by hanging five killers and the government is trying heart and soul to bring the fugitives bak from several countries to execute their death sentences.