Bangabandhu was a man of his word, says eminent economist Prof Rehman Sobhan in reminiscences
In the rather brief span of his governance of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman displayed his keen interest in creating a society based on the principles of socialism and equality through his activities, participants at a discussion have said.
They were speaking at an online event,"Bangabandhu Ke Kachhe Theke Dekha: Remembrances by His Contemporaries,'' organized by Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
Speakers who were close to the Father of the Nation, through their political or professional activities, reminisced on how simple the great leader was in his behaviour and how wisdom was reflected in his policies.
Eminent economist Prof Rehman Sobhan, who was a member of the Planning Commission (1972-74), said Bangabandhu had privately communicated to him and others that he believed in creating an exploitation-free socialist society based on egalitarian principles.
He also added that Bangabandhu, before announcing his Six-Point program in 1966, met with his advisors to ensure that the demand would be a feasible proposition for the future.
Prof Rehman Sobhan said: “Bangabandhu as a leader and as a policymaker had very unique qualities which we don’t find in most leaders. He was actually a man of his word. When he said something in public, he actually meant what he said and then tried to implement it.”
BIDS Director General Binayak Sen pointed out five aspects of Bangabandhu’s politics to ensure equal facilities to all.
Elaborating, he said Bangabandhu was against feudalism, was against extreme capitalism, wanted to ensure fundamental rights for all, wanted equal distribution of properties, and a halt to economic and non-economic exploitation.
Dr Kamal Hossain, who served as law minister and then as foreign minister in Bangabandhu’s government, said Bangabandhu remained an inspiration to everyone in the country.
However, he added that the dream of the Father of the Nation of establishing an equal society was yet to be achieved and all should work to achieve it.
M Syeduzzaman, secretary of the Planning Commission (1973-75), said that even though Bangabandhu had a huge security presence at his workplace, he did not have any at his residence.
Binayak Sen remarked that perhaps Bangabandhu was the most unprotected president ever in the subcontinent.
Mujahidul Islam Selim, president of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), recalled that Bangabandhu during a procession asked him to chant “Joy Bangla” as this slogan was the symbol of protest against all forms of extremism.
“Bangabandhu may be part of history but, again, he is the creator of history as well,” he said.
Baksal was Bangabandhu’s final step toward bringing the whole nation under one umbrella through igniting nationalism among the masses, Mujahidul Islam Selim added.
However, people did not understand it, according to the veteran politician Tofail Ahmed.
He noted that many had said Bangabandhu had forgiven every war criminal. “But the truth is that according to the law, all but rapists, associates of rapists, murderers and arsonists would come under the purview of mass forgiveness.”
The chief guest at the program, Planning Minister MA Mannan, said: “I did not work with him directly but am now working with his daughter, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. I can tell you the prime minister is acting like her father from what I have learned of Bangabandhu from his contemporaries and people close to him.”
He said Bangabandhu would always be the inspiration to go forward and “Joy Bangla” would be the antidote against all manner of extremism.