From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Sheikh Mujib and his legacy
Mains level : NA
March 17 is the birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920-1975), the founding leader of Bangladesh and the country’s first Prime Minister.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
- Before joining politics, Rahman studied law and political science in Kolkata and Dhaka and agitated for Indian independence.
- He is referred to as Sheikh Mujib or simply Mujib, the title ‘Bangabandhu’ meaning ‘friend of Bengal’.
- In 1949, he joined the Awami League, a political party which advocated greater autonomy for East Pakistan.
- A popular leader in East Pakistan, Rahman played an important role in the six-point movement and the Anti-Ayub movement.
Role in Bangladesh liberation
- In 1970, his party secured an absolute majority in the Pakistani general elections; the country’s first, winning more seats than all parties in West Pakistan, including Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party.
- The election results were not honoured; leading to a bloody civil war, and Sheikh Mujib declared Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan on March 26, 1971.
- The declaration coincided with a ruthless show of strength by the Pakistani military, in which tanks rolled out on the streets of Dhaka and several students and intellectuals were killed.
- India under then PM Indira Gandhi provided full support to Rahman and Bangladesh’s independence movement, resulting in the creation of a sovereign government at Dhaka in January 1971.
- Rahman, who had been arrested and taken to West Pakistan, returned to Bangladesh after being freed in January 1972.
- For the next three years, Rahman held the new country’s prime ministerial post, and became a celebrated icon in India as well, admired for his moving speeches and charismatic personality.
- On 15 August 1975, Rahman was killed in a military coup along with his wife and three sons, including 10-year-old Sheikh Russel.
- His daughters, the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana, survived as they were abroad at the time.