Syed Badrul Ahsanis a celebrated journalist and columnist in the domain of English journalism in Bangladesh. He is currently the Consulting Editor of Dhaka Tribune, a leading national English Daily of Bangladesh. He is also is the Chief Editorial Adviser of The Confluence. He previously served as the press minister at the High Commission of Bangladesh, London and authored a biography on the Founder of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman entitled ‘From Rebel to Founding Father: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.’ He is a pioneer in the field of political-personality profiling. His present book, “Bangladesh – Political Odyssey of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”, is a fine work of his scholarship.
The pages of the book are set up to where you have to keep going to remember the man like Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his birth…his politics, his patriotism, his statesmanship, his political knowledge, his vision and mission… You have to keep reading. The story is wonderful and I suggest the readers to read it because of the story setup. This is a book worth reading.
SBA’s book may be regarded as an independent work on his own. It demonstrates that strong leaders can possess and sustain integrity, and that one citizen can honestly enter in and make a difference.
In 140 pages, Badrul Ahsan presents wonderful events which centres round Bangabandhu, interweaving the details of his personal life with descriptions of his political leadership, roughly in the order they are written and briefly described hereunder:
It presents a good picture of Bangabandhu’s Six-Point Programme, and Agartala Conspiracy case against him.
It is a vivid description of how Mujib became his people’s real spokesperson; all Pakistan based National Election of 1970 from which the Sheikh emerged not only as the single and foremost leader of the Bengalis but also the majority party leader of Pakistan to become its prime minister because of his decisive victory in the said election.
It delineates Mujib’s historic 7th March speech; his declaration of independence of Bangladesh from the Pakistani rule; his arrest by Yahya Khan Junta; formation of Mujibnagar Government in exile headed by another golden son of Bengal—Tajuddin Ahamad; trial of Mujib in Pakistan; Bengalis freedom struggle and achievement of Bangladesh.
It says about Bangabandhu’s ascendency to power in Bangladesh; formulation of constitution of the country; and shaping its foreign policy.
It is a narrative of gaining membership of UN for Bangladesh and losing his most trusted lieutenant Tajuddin Ahamad; formation of BAKSAL, a one-party rule; his brutal murder in August, 1975 and the events that followed by the military leaders to push Bangladesh to walk against the spirits and values obtained through our glorious Liberation War in 1971.
In the book, an engaging narrative describes Bangabandhu’s family background, courage, patriotism, involvement in politics, experience of jail, and isolation from his fellow interments. This is interwoven with outline summaries of all of Bangabandhu’s major political contributions, discussing their connections to his personal situation and intellectual development.
Bangabandhu was the key player in shaping Bangladesh’s independence. From 1973 to till his brutal assassination his regime was more difficult because people of all classes did not behave decently. So, there was discontent everywhere. But from early 1969, he enjoyed undisputed ascendancy over Bangladesh’s history of politics, and took a growing interest in his status as an international leader. In any event, understanding Bangladesh’s struggle for independence still involves understanding him and for those who want to do that, Badrul’s book will be an essential reading.
An epilogue of the book
Bangladesh was ‘pushed into a zone of darkness’ for 21 years under military dictatorship under Zia, Ershad… their regimes in our country were enemies of our core glorious spirit that we established in Bangladesh at the bay of blood in 1971. They were not in agreement with or according to democratic doctrine or practice or ideals and institutional failure to good governance and rule of law were writ large in the country during their regimes.
Appendix-A part deals with “Mujib At A Glance” and SBA has beautifully described about Bangabandhu Mujib’s birth, short life sketch, defining moments in his political life and his tragic downfall from 121 to 128 pages. Appendix-B section under “In Bangabandhu’s Words…” covers Bangabandhu’s significant quotes in pages 129-135. And “Bibliography” part of the book is well-documented in 137-140 pages.
‘Bangladesh – Political Odyssey of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’ is an extraordinarily good book in English. In fact, SBA writes through multiple lenses — journalist, columnist, literary critic, author of books and observer. We can express our gratitude to Badrul Ahsan for finding a powerful way to describe Bangabandhu’s life briefly in his book, which is a very interesting political analysis.