In an emotional voice, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wondered why the August 15, 1975 carnage was carried out in a cold blood and what the crimes of her father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, mother Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, and brothers were. The cruel assassins even did not spare Bangabandhu’s youngest son, Sheikh Russel, who was just 11 years old.
Sheikh Russel was almost my age – three months older than me. He was born on October 18, 1964. Though I did not have the opportunity of meeting him, he always has a place in my heart. In my entire journalistic career of more than 32 years now, I have never heard of any monstrous assassin taking the life of a child.
In an emotion-choked voice, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, mother Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, and her brothers sacrificed their lives for peace and happiness and the independence and economic freedom of the nation. “But that Bangalees killed him, murdered him, why?”, asked Sheikh Hasina.
The Prime Minister said, Bangamata always believed that every woman should receive education and attain financial solvency. “She thought that only shouting for rights wouldn’t bring anything for the womenfolk. For attaining the rights, all women should take education and get economic emancipation to stand on their own feet .. she felt that very well”, Sheikh Hasina added.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib ignored her personal desires and demands in many ways to create a scope for Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to devotedly work for the country. Bangamata had no personal demand”.
Indeed, Bangamata remained a key source of encouragement, strength, and courage for Bangabandhu throughout his life and endless hardship
Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, who was like a mentor to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in 1946 warned the young leader not to neglect his wife as “she was a precious gift from God”.
Bangamata and Bangabandhu would become the happy parents of two daughters – Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana – and three sons – Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal, and Sheikh Russel.
The couple started their life together as children and tragically died on the same day, assassinated with other members of their family on August 15, 1975.
Regarding their early married life, Bangabandhu in “The Unfinished Memoirs” wrote: “When I got married, I must have been around thirteen years old. After Renu’s father died, her grandfather called my father and said, ‘You will have to marry off your elder son to one of my granddaughters. This is because I intend to bequeath all my property to my two granddaughters.’
“Renu’s grandfather was my father’s uncle and I had to marry her because of my father’s command. Renu herself was three years old then; she was raised with my siblings,” he added.
Bangamata remained a key source of encouragement, strength and courage for Bangabandhu throughout his life and endless hardship. She was not only a witness to the major events of Bangabandhu’s life but also his closest confidante.
Bangabandhu spent a major part of his life behind bars for his political activism. During such difficulties, Fazilatunnesa Mujib took care of the family single-handedly and acted as a bridge between the Awami League and the incarcerated Bangabandhu.
“Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib is a pride of the Bangalee nation and a source of inspiration for womenfolk. She became Bangamata because of her sacrifice, compassion, cooperation and prudence,” said President Abdul Hamid in his message.
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangamata played a unique role in bringing motivation, strength, and courage for Bangabandhu to guide the struggle of independence and Liberation War towards its right direction side by side carrying out family responsibilities.
August 8 was the 91st Birth Anniversary of Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, wife of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The theme of this auspicious day is, ‘Bangamata is a fearless companion in the crisis and struggle’. Born on August 8 in 1930 at Tungipara village in Gopalganj district in Bangladesh, Bangamata was brutally assassinated by the cruel assassins of Father of the Nation on August 15 in 1975.
To every Bangalee in Bangladesh and elsewhere as well as to pro-democracy forces around the world, August is the month of mourning as on this month Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was brutally assassinated along with members of his family, including Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib. To me, as someone who has witnessed our great War of Independence, the August tragedy is something that will continue to bleed my heart forever. No patriotic Bangalee can accept the tragic assassination of Bangabandhu and members of his family.
On August 8, I spent hours on the internet looking for articles on the birth anniversary of Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa. To my utter dismay, I did not find any, save those written by me and published by several international newspapers and news outlets. This has tremendously shocked me. Awami League has been in power for more than a decade now, and it is really saddening that such an important occasion gets so little attention, which makes us question the efficiency, commitment, and integrity of those who are occupying cozy chairs in important places.
Can someone please address my questions?
The views and opinions expressed in this opinion article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Eastern Herald.