National, Front Page

A heroic return

Published : 09 Jan 2023 09:58 PM | Updated : 09 Jan 2023 09:58 PM

It is a heroic return of a great man who had created the sovereign and independent Bangladesh by dint of his charismatic leadership and long struggle.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was arrested after he had made a clarion call to the nation to fight against the Pakistan army until the last drop of blood. And the people were so attached to him that they took his words as the Bible and fought a tremendous battle against the Pakistan army and defeated them only in nine months of War of Liberation in 1971.

On the 16th of December 1971, the Pakistan army suffered an ignoble surrender to the freedom fighters of Bangladesh. Bangladesh emerged as an independent state but the Bangabandhu was in jail in Pakistan. To the people of Bangladesh, independence was not complete without the presence of the Bangabandhu.

After a long wait, the Bengali nation getting back their savior alive was a great gift for them.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation, returned to the soil where he was born and brought up, and ultimately grew as the greatest politician of his time. And without the presence of the Bangabandhu, the people of Bangladesh could not accept that the independence was complete.

The sovereignty and independence of Bangladesh meant nothing to its people without having Bangabandhu near them. According to them, the war was not over and freedom was not completed without the presence of the state’s founder.

With the surrender of the Pakistani army to the Joint Command of the Indian army and Bangladesh freedom fighters on the 16th of December in 1971, the auspicious moment of the glorious victory came after the nine-month-long bloody War of Liberation, and the long-cherished sovereign independent Bangladesh came into being.

The people of Bangladesh, who had long suffered disparity and wide-ranging oppression, were ecstatic with newly earned independence, but when they found that their beloved leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was in captivity in Pakistan, independence could not make them absolutely happy.

The freedom fighters, who fought a tremendous battle against the Pakistani army, vowed to bring back Bangabandhu from the Pakistani jail and declared a new war against Pakistan on another front.

The international community along with Bangladesh was exerting pressure on Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi started a diplomatic war against Pakistan with a view to bringing back Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib.

Finally, the people of Bangladesh and the Indian Prime Minister became successful. Pakistani military Junta was bound to release Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib. They (the Pakistani Junta) sent Bangabandhu to London where then British Prime Minister Edward Heath received the Bangabandhu. The following day, a British Royal Air Force’s jet carrying the Bangabandhu started for Dhaka via Delhi, where Indian President VV Giri accorded a rousing reception to Bangabandhu.

Finally, on the 10th of January in 1972, the British Royal Air Force jet appeared in the western sky of Dhaka Airport. The people were excited and joyous to have their beloved leader Bangabandhu with them. The freedom fighters, who had just returned from the war, brandishing their weapons, fired hundreds of thousands of bullets in the sky in celebration of the homecoming of the supreme leader -- Bangabandhu.

Straight away from the airport, Bangabandhu went to the Racecourse Maidan from where he had made the clarion call on Bengalis on 7 March the previous year to fight the enemy until the last drop of their blood. From the same spot, he started to address the nation that had been waiting for him for the last 11 months.

During his speech, the tearful Bangabandhu was choked with emotion. He praised his people who had fought a tremendous war and snatched the independence of Bangladesh. It was really a moment of unbound emotion for the whole nation to see for themselves their liberator in their midst. In his speech, at one stage the Bangabandhu recited from Poet Tagore’s famous poem, “Sath koti santanere hey mughdha jananee rekhechho Bangalee kore, manush koroni.” Bangabandhu with utmost pride pronounced, “Kobiguru, amar Banglaee aj Manush,” meaning Bengalis can achieve anything.

Bangabandhu returned home on January 10, 1972 and the historic Homecoming Day of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is observed on this day every year. Bangabandhu inspired the Bengali nation. He was the inspiration for the peace-loving people of the entire world too.

Sharif Shahab Uddin is Editor-in-Chief, Bangladesh Post.