August is the month of mourning in Bangladesh. Forty-six years ago in this month, on August 15 of 1975 to be exact, a young group of military personnel of newly independent Bangladesh brutally killed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation, and all but two members of his family. They also killed his close relatives. The brutal killing makes August 15 a most discreditable as well as a tragic day. As a result, the country went on journey of retrogression, reversing the spirit of the independence achieved in 1971 through a bloody war against the ruthless Pakistani occupation.
In the years to follow, several efforts had been there to wipe out Bangabandhu from the history of Bangladesh. A dishonest bunch was formed and patronised to distort the image of Bangabandhu and his undeniable leading role in the emancipation of millions of Bangalee people who lived in the eastern part of Bengal. Nevertheless, no effort was successful in erasing the memory and love and respect for Bangabandhu from the minds of the country's ordinary people except a very few. Instead, struggle and fight over the decades led by Sheikh Hasina, elder daughter of Bangabandhu and now the prime minister of Bangladesh, finally bring back the Awami League in power. With the party's hold on state power, the life and works of Bangabandhu also started to return. His ideology and spirit have been publicised widely, especially in the last decade, thanks to many research works, books, publications coupled with programmes in electronic media and public events across the country on different occasions. The publication of Bangabandhu's The Unfinished Memoirs and Prison Diaries is a great job, no doubt. These books are must-reads for all to have broad glimpses of his struggle and work for the countrymen.
Of course, the observance of August 15 has become more extensive over the years. Gone are the days when it was quite challenging to observe the day solemnly due to unofficial or undeclared restrictions imposed by the state machinery. Now, solemn observance of the day nationally by various political, social, cultural, and religious organisations point to the fact that Bangabandhu remains an eternal source of inspiration to Bangalee people.
Nevertheless, it is now time to demonstrate the life, struggles and works of Bangabandhu in a more sophisticated way in the country and the world. His struggle was not only for the Bangalees but also for all the oppressed and deprived people of the world. He set a vivid example of rightful protest against injustice and oppression. The emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country in 1971 is the outcome of the protest. Under the charismatic leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the people of Bangladesh struggled very hard to attain their legitimate rights.
The series of protests and movements finally led to the bloody war of independence. The nine months' war claimed the lives of three million Bengali while two hundred thousand women were dishonoured. Finally, on December 16, 1971, the people of Bangladesh achieved the desired victory over the Pakistani occupation force.
Fifty years later, Bangladesh is one of the vibrant countries in the world. In many social and economic indicators, the country has outstripped Pakistan and even India. Nevertheless, Bangladesh has to go a long way to its dream destination -- a society without discrimination and injustice. It is painful to see that discrimination and disparity are on the rise in various forms. On establishing a solid foundation of economic development and capacity to grow with own resources, it is time to put intense efforts to contain all kinds of discriminations and reverse the course. It would be the best tribute to Bangabandhu.