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Baksal: Bangabandhu’s second revolution

  • Published at 02:18 pm August 8th, 2021
Bangabandhu 15
File photo of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Rafiqur Rahman

The idea of a united Bangladesh dissolved with the great leader’s death

On this day in 1975, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman met with top leaders of Bangladesh Krishak Sramik League (Baksal) for the last time as he was assassinated on August 15.

Baksal General secretary Zillur Rahman and central leaders of the highly discussed Baksal held the meeting with then president Bangabandhu around 6pm, according to the Bangabandhu Obhidhan of Sheikh Sadi.

Baksal was a political front comprising Bangladesh Awami League, the Communist Party of Bangladesh, National Awami Party (Muzaffar) and Jatiya League.

Following the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of Bangladesh, enacted on January 25, 1975, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman formed Baksal on February 24.

With the presidential order and formation of Baksal, all other political parties were outlawed, including Awami League.

Bangabandhu himself called Baksal the “second revolution” that would turn Bangladesh into a strong and peaceful country.  

President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, also Baksal chairman, formed a 15-member executive committee, a 120-member central committee, as well as five front organisations, namely Jatiya Krishak League, Jatiya Sramik League, Jatiya Mahila League, Jatiya Juba League and Jatiya Chhatra League.

All members of the executive committee and central committee were equivalent to the status of ministers.

Baksal was designed to overhaul the administrative system of the country and make it pro-people.

Some critics claimed Baksal was an autocratic idea because Bangabandhu closed all but four newspapers in Bangladesh during the period.  

In the opening speech at Baksal’s first central committee’s meeting, Bangabandhu himself narrated why he had formed Baksal.

“If the old ideology and path cannot give emancipation, people have the right to change those. With a new revolution we want to make a new concept of the nation. Today, the system we are observing is a system imposed by the British colony. It cannot bring welfare to our country,” Bangabandhu said.

He also said: “Our revolution is to change the administrative system which the British introduced here. This is not the only reason behind forming one party. I want to abolish this old, rotten ruling system,”

In principle, through Baksal, Bangabandhu wanted to form 60 districts by September and every district was supposed to have been run by the district governor.

Baksal was a detailed and integrated program.

Regarding BAKSAL, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the parliament on November 15, 2020, that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had formed Baksal to unite the nation, but this idea was misinterpreted.

“He had taken an excellent initiative to bring change to the fate of the people, including the poor. It was spoiled, which was very unfortunate," Sheikh Hasina said.

Noting that Bangabandhu's only goal behind Baksal was to bring smiles to the faces of the people, the prime minister said it was just a five-year programme.

"I believe that if he could have done it in the next five years, Bangladesh would now be established as a developed country in the world. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to do so," she said.

Baksal was dissolved after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975.

With the end of Baksal, all the political parties who had merged with Baksal, including the Awami League, again became independent political parties.

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