Thinking Citizen Blog — Pakistan II: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, “Father of the Nation”
Thinking Citizen Blog — Monday is Foreign Policy Day
Today’s Topic: Pakistan II: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920–1975) “Father of the Nation”
Last time, the story of the birth of Bangladesh in a war that led to Pakistan building a huge and still rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal to prevent a repetition of the humiliating defeat — an expansion which threatens the entire world and may be the greatest single threat to world peace on this planet of ours because of the very close ties between the ISI in Pakistan and Islamic extremists — most specifically the Taliban who have recently taken possession of neighboring Afghanistan. Today, a continuation of a projected series on Bangladesh with some notes on the Founding Father of Bangladesh — notably on his assassination, his daughter and longest serving Prime Minister of Pakistan, Sheikh Hassina, and on some unusual facts about his personal and family background. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
FIRST PRESIDENT AND PRIME MINISTER OF BANGLADESH (1971–1975)
1. He is considered the “Father of the Nation.” In Bengali the terms are “Jair Pitak” or “Jair Janak.” Another honorific is “Bangabandu” friend of Bengal.”
2. He was assassinated in 1975 along with most of his family, including his wife, his younger brother, and three of his sons. His two daughters were traveling in Germany at the time. In total, 20 household members were killed.
3. As the War of 1971 is probably the most consequential war in modern history that almost no one knows anything about, this assassination is probably the bloodiest in modern history that no one knows anything about.
NB: August 15th is a national day of mourning that commemorates the assassination and is a public holiday. In 2004 Mujibur Rahman was rated the “Greatest Bengali of All Time” winning twice the votes of the #2 — the poet Rabindranath Tagore, the first Nobel Prize winner from Asia and composer of the national anthems of both India and Pakistan. Randomly, let me note that #14 on the list was Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998, and member of the Adams House Senior Common Room!!!!!
UNUSUAL PERSONAL BACKGROUND ON SHEIKH MUJIBUR
1. At age 13, married his 3 year old paternal cousin.
2. The marriage was consummated when he was 22 and she was 13.
3. They had three sons and two daughters. His presumed heir was Sheikh Kamal who had been a guerrilla leader during the war for independence in 1971, but all three sons were killed in 1975.
NB: Four of his nephews are members of the Bangladesh Parliament. Seven of his grandnephews are Bangladeshi politicians. A grandniece, Diipu Moni (above), has served as both Foreign Minister (2009–2013) and Minister of Education (2019 to present).
SHEIKH HASSINA IS HIS DAUGHTER AND IS THE LONGEST SERVING PRIME MINISTER IN BANGLADESHI HISTORY
1. Sheikh Hassina has led her father’s party (the Awami League) since 1981, served as opposition leader from 1986 to 1990 and again from 1991 to 1995, before being Prime Ministser from 1996 to 2000.
2. She was re-elected in a landslide in 2009 and has held the office ever since.
3. “Reporters Without Borders in 2021 characterized Sheikh Hasina as a predator for curbing press freedom in Bangladesh since 2014.”
NB: The four principles of the Awami League are democracy, socialism, secularism, and nationalism. Anyone out there with more detailed, specialized knowledge on this score?
COMING UP: More on the Awami League and the policies of Sheikh Mujibur and Sheikh Hassina.
Here is a link to the last three years of posts organized by theme:
Please share the coolest or most important thing you learned in the last week, month, or year related to foreign policy. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in our life related to foreign policy.
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And to consolidate in your memory something important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is the key to depth of thought. The prospect of imminent publication, like hanging and final exams, concentrates the mind. A useful life long habit.