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19 April, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the charismatic leader

Bangabandhu was a true leader of the masses who had his roots deep in the soil of his country and in his people
Basir Ulllah
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the charismatic leader

History has always been shaped by the forces of extraordinary leadership, and in this sense Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation Bangladesh, was a leader who had made the history of our country. The most important quality of leadership, the one quality for which you want to be known, is extraordinary performance with the goal of achieving extraordinary results—results that then serve as an inspiration to others to perform at equally exceptional levels.

For Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he started his political career in 1938, the year that a young school boy from Gopalganj first met Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, who later became his political 'Guru' (master). Later on in 1955, the year that Mujib took up the helm of the Awami League (AL) as its General Secretary. This was the party that eventually led us to the independence movement in 1971 under the very leadership of no other than Sheikh Mujib. When leaders like Sheikh Mujibur Rahman set clear goals and become determined and purposeful, backing those goals with unshakable self-confidence, they develop charisma. He was enthusiastic and excited about what he was doing. He was totally committed to achieving something worthwhile. He radiated charisma.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was someone who provided direction, instructions and guidance to the people of our country. In the autobiography, 'Osomapto AttoJiboni' (The Unfinished Memoirs) he himself wrote: "As a man, what concerns mankind concerns me. As a Bengalee, I am deeply involved in all that concerns Bengalees. This abiding involvement is born of and nourished by love, enduring love, which gives meaning to my politics and to my very being". He had unconsciously imbibed the values and ideals of the British humanist liberal tradition, because the formative years of his political career were spent in active association with liberal democratic leaders. His resilient mind imbibed the very spirit of the British liberal humanist tradition. It included gradualism, adaptability, adjustability, peaceful progress, resilience and eclecticism, supremacy of reason and rational norms. He was a leader of the masses and he enjoyed their unbounded love. He not only loved to mix with them, but drew inspiration from them. He was dedicated and had indomitable courage that was the hallmark of a true leader.

He was a true mass leader who had his roots deep in the soil of his country and in his people. In this regard it was aptly observed: Mujib provided a rabble rousing charismatic leadership. He excelled as a public speaker and a good orator. He was called a poet of politics. He was fluent, captivating and impressive in his speeches. He would carefully choose phrases and symbols likely to create lasting impression in their minds. His ability to charm audiences while fracturing both the Bengali and English languages is often recalled with amusement and nostalgia.

Bangabandhu was the first Bengali Muslim politician to come into national prominence from a middle-class background. His father was a government employee at the local court. Bangabandhu was sent to Kolkata for his education and got the first taste of politics there. Sheikh Mujib worked actively for the Muslim League’s cause of Pakistan and in 1946 he became general secretary of his alma mater Islamia College’s Students Union. After the partition of India his phenomenal rise in the political arena in East Bengal, later East Pakistan, is quite astonishing. He was a founding member of the Awami League and still in his 30s became a provincial minister. He gave up that lucrative post, an action which was rare then as it is now, to organise Awami League at the grassroots level in his capacity as the party’s general secretary. The fruits of his endeavour are still being enjoyed by Awami League, which has a presence in almost every village of the country. It was his mentor Husayn Shahid Surawardi who was the last political leader to have a support base in both wings of Pakistan. In his memoirs Suhrawardi has written about his Lieutenant Sheikh Mujib’s growing disillusionment with West Pakistani misrule and his determination to do something about it. The genesis of his historic Six-Points Programme in 1966 lies there. He called for a federal state structure for Pakistan and full autonomy for Bangladesh with a parliamentary democratic system. The Six-Points became so popular in a short while that it turned into the Charter of Freedom for the Bengalis or their Magna Carta.

His great strength and success lay in an elemental ability to fathom the full measure of his people emotions. He was also a talented organizer. Through hard work, organizing skill and winsome manners, he built up an excellent political image as a leader. For example, Mujib had an excellent memory to remember names. He boasted that in spite of his enormous political activities he could remember the name of every party worker or person he met. He was a shrewd observer of human nature.

However, Sheikh Mujib’s leadership traits made him fully capable of fulfilling his essential objectives of acquiring national independence from the clutches of Pakistani internal colonialism, establishment of democracy and socio-economic progress of his much pronounced “Sonar Bangla” (Golden Bengal).

The writer is a freelancer

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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