The day I met Shaheed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib
Syed Wasif İslam
I don’t remember the exact date, it was summer of 1972. We were immersed in the euphoria of the recently earned freedom. Basking in the glory of a free country, Bangladesh.
My cousin the late Moinul Islam, whom Bangabandhu had hand picked and appointed as Secretary Works ministry, soon after liberation, told me one day that Bangabandhu wants to see me. I was thunderstruck, the Great leader wants to see me? A piece of nothing. I looked at my cousin enquiringly. Yes ,he continued. We were talking about Faruq mama (my late father) and Sheikh saheb enquired about our family, how my mother was pulling on,? what about the children ?, our well-being etc.
My father, the late Syed Faruqul ?slam was a close associate of Sheikh Saheb and an ardent Awami League supporter. I remember in my younger days often there would be meetings at our house in road 4 Dhanmandi attended by such stalwarts as Hussain Shaheed Sharawardy, M. Bhashani saheb, Ataur Rahman Khan saheb and of course Bangabandhu himself. He wants to see you because I told him you were a mukti joddha. I was overwhelmed , the great leader actually had the time and willingness to see me. “When “ where ? I asked falteringly. “Tomorrow morning at Rd 32, I’ll come around 10, you be ready “ said Khusru bhai briskly and left me. My thoughts wandering wildly, I kept on repeating “ Bangabandhu wants to see me, Bangabandhu wants to see me.....”
I told my mother, “ yes , you should definitely see him. “Your Abbu knew him from their days in Calcutta, before partition.”
Next morning Khusra bhai along with Zahurul ?slam saheb came and took me to Rd32. We climbed the stairs to the 1st floor and there was the Great leader, Bangabandhu, our pride and our dream. He was having breakfast and turned around to receive us. “Mamma “ as Khusru bhai was known in Awami league circles introduced me. I was awestruck just to be in so close proximity of the great Shiekh. All the hairs in my body stood up. I can never forget that moment, which I cherish all my life. He looked at me affectionately raised his hand ruffled the hairs on my head. “ Bhalo acho ‘ he said , I felt 10 feet tall. That was it, we returned home thereafter.
Sheikh Kamal was a close friend from our days in Shaheen school. He was in class 8, I was in 10. We played basketball together swam in the Dhanmandi lake etc. After liberation he often dropped in. He loved my mother’s cooking and often praised it. At times he would come and walk straight to our kitchen and help himself to whatever was in the pot. The other day I asked my mother who is now 92, whether Bangabandhu’s wife also came to our house, she said she did and so did Sheikh Hasina.
August 15, 1975 was the blackest day in the history of Bengladesh. Bangabandhu fell as a shaheed, he came down the stairs of his house unafraid. Showing his immense belief in the Bangladeshis he loved. But Bengal is also famous for its Mir Jafars.....
Sheikh Kamal and Jamal also fell as martyrs defending their father and mother and little Russel and their wives. What valiant warriors what brave sons of a brave father. We cried helplessly that day, when we could do nothing to save our father of nation, when the young Bangladesh had so quickly become yateem.
How the years have gone by. Bangladesh stands on the blood if it’s martyrs, yet today we see people who have no idea of the sacrifices made for this nation, are blindly involved in looting, plundering, its wealth. With due respect , Sheikh Hasina is a great leader but it seems apart from a few , her aides and ministers are failing her. Today on the anniversary of the death of shaheed bongobondho , let us all resolve to shun corruption and falsehood and try to build that Bangladesh which was the dream of Bangabandhu. A “Sonar Bangla”.
Writer: Ahle sura of Bangladesh Tablig Jamat.