Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman was born on March 22, 1922, at Faridpur, now in Bangladesh. He was an active member of the Muslim League in pre-Independence India. After Independence, Mujib-ur-Rahman remained active in politics. As a law student in March 1948, he was arrested for leading a black-flag demonstration against Jinnah on the issue of making Urdu as the State language. Along with H. S. Suhrawardy, he organized the Awami League in 1949. The same year he was elected as a member of the Provincial Assembly and later as a member of the National Parliament. Twice he became a Minister in the East Pakistan Government. He also led a parliamentary delegation to the Peoples Republic of China. He was arrested on October 12, 1958, and imprisoned for a year and a half, and later again in 1962 on the eve of the proclamation of the Constitution, and imprisoned for six months.
After the death of Suhrawardy, Mujib-ur-Rahman revived the Awami League as a political party in January 1965. This time to contest the presidential elections as a component of the Combined Opposition Party, which nominated Miss Fatima Jinnah as the opposition candidate for the presidential post against the candidature of Ayub Khan.
During the 1965 War he condemned the Indian aggression; he and his party gave full support to the Government’s war efforts. It was in 1966, at an all-party national meeting convention in Lahore, that he presented his Six-Points Program as the constitutional solution of East Pakistan’s problems in relation to West Pakistan. He was arrested a number of times in 1966 and was kept under detention for 21 months. He was tried in the Agartala Conspiracy case on June 18, 1968.
After the end of Martial Law by Yahya Khan, elections were held on December 7, 1970, to transfer power to elected representatives. Two major regional parties emerged on the scene, the Awami League and the Pakistan Peoples Party. Awami League contested the elections on the Six-Points Program. This Program meant that both the Wings of Pakistan would be united in a loose federation. As time went by, the speeches of the Awami League leaders became more and more anti-West Pakistan.
Awami League returned with a clear majority in East Pakistan, winning 160 out of the total of 300 seats in the National Assembly. In East Bengal, the Awami League won all but two seats, taking 160 out of the 162 seats contested. In West Pakistan, Pakistan’s Peoples Party secured the majority of seats. Differences arose between the Government and the Awami League on transfer of power on the basis of the Six-Points Program. Both Bhutto and Mujib disagreed on this Program concerning taxation and foreign trade. There was a political deadlock that led to the postponement of the first session of the National Assembly. A military operation was launched and Mujib-ur-Rahman announced a parallel government on March 7, 1971. With the help of Indian intervention, a new country named Bangladesh was born out of Indo-Pak war on December 17, 1971.
The newborn country’s initial Government was formed in January 1972, under the leadership of Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman, who became the Prime Minister. In early 1975, Mujib-ur-Rahman became the President under a remodeled Constitution that virtually granted him dictatorial powers. He was, however, unable to stabilize the political situation, and was assassinated in a military coup on August 15, 1975, at his residence. Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmad was made the new President of Bangladesh.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003