2019-02-23 12:38:41 BdST
5 decades of Bangabandhu title 164
February 23, a red-letter day for Banglaee nation as five decades ago in 1969, the people of Bangladesh bestowed ‘Bangabandhu’ title on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who later led the nation to attain freedom through supreme sacrifices made by Bangalees in the Liberation War in 1971.
The then Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (DUCSU) Vice-President
and Sarbadaliya Chhatra Sangram Parishad Convenor Tofail Ahmed announced the
title on behalf of the people at a mass rally after Sheikh Mujib,
subsequently the father of the nation, was freed from jail in the Agartala
conspiracy case on February 22.
“On the basis of historic 11-point movement, we freed Bangabandhu from
Pakistan jail on February 22 through a mass-upsurge. As a mode of
gratefulness, the Chhatra Sangram Parishad, on behalf of the nation,
conferred Bangabandhu title on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on February 23,” Tofail,
who was DUCSU VP in 1968-69 term, told BSS in an interview.
Recalling the event, a veteran Awami League leader Tofail said: “I chaired
the function as the DUCSU VP and I addressed before Bangabandhu. I had said
we are conferring Bangabandhu title on the leader who spent his youth in
Pakistani jail and who wanted to embrace death on the stage of gallows in
Since then, the greatest Bangali of all time has been known by that title
which, in Bangla, means the friend of the people.
Tofail, a seasoned politician and parliamentarian, said on January 17,
1969, the movement (mass-upsurge) “We had initiated from the Dhaka University
Kala Bhaban (Arts Faculty Bhaban), in which Asad, Matiur, Makbul Rustom and
Sargent Zahurul Haque in cantonment and Rajshahi University Proctor Professor
Shamsuzzoha embraced martyrdom through which we were able to free Bangabandhu
“Under the leadership of Bangabandhu, we won the 1970 general election and
subsequently he had led the Liberation War to attain the independence for the
country in 1971,” he said.
The former minister said Bangabandhu had spent most of his youthful days,
13 years, in the jail of Pakistan for the emancipation of people. No other
leader made such sacrifices for the people.
“I felt proud of saying that we could implement both of our two slogans–
freeing Bangabandhu and freeing our mother land Bangladesh. On February 22,
we freed our loving leader Bangabandhu who subsequently became father of the
nation and on December 16, we liberated the country under the leadership of
Bangabandhu” he said.
Bangabandhu, who was arrested on May 8, 1966, was put on trial as the main
accused in the Agartala conspiracy case in 1968 which subsequently triggered
the 1969 mass upsurge, actually the rehearsal of the Liberation War.
On January 4, 1969, Tofail said, Sarbadaliya Chhatra Sangram Parishad was
formed comprising 10 student leaders including DUCSU VP Tofail himself and
general secretary (GS) Najim Qamran Chowdhury, Chhatra League president Abdur
Rouf, GS Khaled Mohammed Ali, Chhatra Union (Matia) president Saifuddin Ahmed
Manik, GS Shamsuddoha, Chhatra Union (Menon) Mustafa Jaman Haider, GS
Mahbubullah, Chhatra Federation president Ibrahim Khalil and GS Nurul Islam
The movement initiated on January 17 while the Parishad called a meeting
on that day despite the Police placing section 144 during the autocratic rule
of Ayub Khan, the president of Pakistan.
“During the movement, Asad was killed on January 20, On January 24,
Motiur, Makbul, Rustam and Alamgir embraced martyrdom,” he said.
Tofail said they took an oath holding a public rally at Paltan on February
9, 1969. “We had taken oath saying we will free Bangabandhu and we will free
our mother land Bangladesh,” he added.
On February 15, Sergeant Zahrul Huq, an under-trial prisoner in the
Agartala Conspiracy Case, died of bullet injury in the Dhaka Cantonment and
on February 18 Prof Samsuzzoha was killed.
On February 21, 1969 the Parishad gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the then
Pakistan government to free Sheikh Mujib unconditionally and he was
eventually released on February 22.
“Around a million people raised their hands in unison at a grand public
rally at Suhrawardy Udyan (the then Race Course Maidan) on February 23, 1969,
and conferred the title of Bangabandhu on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” Tofail
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