Political Activities of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as a Charismatic Leader
Manjurul Hossain Reza ____________________________________________
Present independent Bangladesh is the result of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s patriotism, lifelong contribution measurable courage unbreakable determination, charismatic, and sacrificing leadership. The people of Bangladesh had dreamt of an independent nation and that dream was finally implemented in really on 16th December 1971 under the leadership of a true Patriot Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Sheikh Mujib has extraordinary leadership abilities that recognized him as a leader of democracy for the people. His leadership traits and sacrifice made him the father of the nation. Sheikh Mujib was stimulated people by his charismatic leadership capability and huge political knowledge. He united the common people to struggle about their fundamental rights and freedom as well as the independent country. His discourse of 7th March, today considered as the most influential and patriotic discourse whole over the world among all leaders. Sheikh Mujib, charmingly called ‘Bangobondhu’ or friend of Bangladesh, shaped their hopes and desires into a dream and betted his life in the lifelong battle to make it real. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the leadership qualities and the political activities of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This study was carried out by descriptive analysis through the literature review of existing papers.
Keywords: sheikh mujibur rahman; leadership; charismatic; independence; patriotism.
Author: Manjurul Hossain Reza, Center for Postgraduate Studies Limkokwing University of Creative Technology 1/1, Innovasi, Jalan Teknokrat, Cyberjaya, Malaysia.
Freedom is the person’s most desirable basic need and people always looking for freedom. But before 1971 in Bangladesh there is no independence for people, they had been discriminately ruled by Pakistani (west Pakistan) autocratic and corrupted leaders. Many men had dreamt and talked about independent Bangladesh through signs and Gestures, the man Sheikh Mujib had completed the task like an architect and founded the sovereign Bangladesh (Mamun, n.d.). Right from the beginning Sheikh Mujib’s had a propensity for politics and he had a very strong political talent and was an exceptional speechmaker who could mesmerize all categories of people with his glowing discourses. He raised his strong voice against the oppression of Pakistan. Every leader in the world has obviously got minor support as a leader of a community but Mujib had never a single opponent against him (Trisha, Alom, Zaman, & Munna, 2017). The advocacy of the liberation movement leading towards the breakup of Pakistan and independent Bangladesh, that really happened and Sheikh Mujib was given credit for this. The resolution of people’s problem in the year of 1971, it must have been the visualization of the separate state for Bangladeshi people (Kokab, n.d.).
He is a simple, dedicated, and trusted mass leader and the symbol of freedom and defense of peoples’ right. Sheikh Mujib was a leader with massive charismatic power and able to highly motivate and stimulus the individuals (Pandey, 2004). He was a committed leader, an affectionate father, and a dedicated comrade (Rahman et al., 2014). The core objective of this article is to discover the charismatic leadership characteristics of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which characteristics brought the independence of Bangladesh.
- CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP TRAITS OF SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN
Charismatic leadership has emphasized primarily the personality and behavior of leaders and their effects on followers, organizations, and society (García-morales, Jiménez-barrionuevo, & Gutiérrez-gutiérrez, 2012). Charismatic leadership is focused on a number of defining variables including charismatic leader behavior, characteristics of the followers and charismatic leader-follower relationship, contextual influences and liabilities of leadership (Bass, 1999; Conger, 2015; T & Gardner, 2005). In below here depicted some charismatic leadership traits of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which are as follows:
Clear vision is the strong leadership traits of great leader Sheikh Mujib. His vision was independent Bangladesh and he knew that Bangladesh will have independent, that is not a long way. From the beginning of 1960, Sheikh Mujib had two objectives, one of those was vision about independent Bangladesh and another one was to build up the Awami League, blowout the organization throughout the country and establish a civil society by going to power on Awami League platform against the West Pakistani rulers (Mamun, n.d.). When leaders Sheikh Mujibur Rahman set clear vision and goals and become determined, backing those goals with unshakable self-confidence, they develop charisma (Ulllah, 2018). Official Manifesto of the historical six points which was declared on the 7th June 1966 by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which is the result of the visionary thinking of Sheikh Mujib for the sovereignty of Bangladesh as well as the East Pakistan (Chowdhury, n.d.). He was seeing the independence of Bangladesh, on December 5, 1969, Mujib declared at a public meeting held to observe the death anniversary of Suhrawardy that henceforth East Pakistan would be called "Bangladesh (Bhatnagar, 1971). This is the sign of his visionary leadership.
2.2 Influential Voice and Speeches
Sheikh Mujib’s had a capability to attract people with his voice and discourse in both Bengali and English languages which often evoked with enjoyment and melancholy (Solaiman & Solaiman, 2013). According to British Journalist Sir Mark Tully, he had a magnificent voice that could mesmerize the crowd and his voice was redolent of thunder. He motivated and inspired people by his mesmerizing and enthusiastic speeches. Sheikh Mujib’s historic speech with a powerful voice at the Racecourse Ground in Dhaka on March 7, 1971, was the declaration of independence of Bangladesh. The voice of Sheikh Mujib had a strong power that destroyed the anarchy of Pakistan and today his voice considered as the most powerful and influential all over the world (Trisha et al., 2017). By his flaming oratory convinced the poverty-stricken people that they had been broken evil policy of West Pakistan (Kokab, n.d.).
2.3 Rock-Solid Personality
Sheikh Mujib was the man of rock-solid and pleasing personality (Solaiman & Solaiman, 2013). About to say his personality Ved Marwah, the former governor of Manipur and Jharkhand, India stated that, I have met many charismatic personalities during my service career, including Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and many world leaders, but I must say that among them Sheikh Mujib was the most charismatic personality I had ever met. Cuba's supreme leader Fidel Castro expressed that, "I have not seen the Himalayas. But I have seen Sheikh Mujib. In personality and in courage, this man is the Himalayas. I have thus had the experience of witnessing the Himalayas." Many renowned personalities spoke out words of praises beyond limit about Sheikh Mujib, his charismatic leadership, sky-high personality, indomitable courage and unconditional respect and commitment for the nation (Center, 2016).
2.4 Talented Organizer
But Sheikh Mujib’s organizational capacity was unique. He had the two qualities of tolerance and flexibility, which were needed for making the Awami League bigger (Mamun, n.d.). He was also a brilliant coordinator. Through his unbreakable mentality, uniting talent and pleasant behaviors, he constructed up an exceptional political figure as a charismatic leader. He has surprising talent that he could remember the name of every political worker or non-political person he met (Shahnawaz, 2015; Solaiman & Solaiman, 2013). We all know that to conjugate the common people is very difficult for any leader. No leader can conjugate the whole people except Sheikh Mujib (Reza & Yasmin, 2019). In 1971 Mujib convinced the whole population to fight against West Pakistan (Trisha et al., 2017). Because of his talented organizing capacity, the whole people of this country reunited in 1971 against West Pakistan for the liberation of Bangladesh.
2.5 Confidence and Courage
He also had incredible self-confidence and courage. The prospering of the party had also raised his confidence in himself as well as the people. That was why he could transform the 6-points into a 1-point. And this was his vision or dream, an independent Bangladesh (Mamun, n.d.). Another example of Sheikh Mujib’s courage is On December 5, 1969, he declared at a public meeting that East Pakistan would be called "Bangladesh and his declaration heightened tensions across the country, especially amongst West Pakistani politicians and the military, who began to see him as an openly separatist leader (Bhatnagar, 1971; Foundation, n.d.). Sheikh Mujib never gave up any of his mission to make the country independent from an impossible environment of torture, discrimination, punishment, and detention by the Pakistani government (Mahabub Alam, 2016).
2.6 Caring for Common People
Sheikh Mujib adored everyone with his soul especially the deprived, the needy, and the helpless people . He aided everybody with the whole thing even beyond his capability to relieve the griefs of the common individuals (Mahabub Alam, 2016). Sheikh Mujib has shaped his political association along with his philosophy directed to the mitigation of unhappiness of commonplace human beings (Reza, 2019). He in no way forgot that his starting place came from rural regions and he constantly thrived to helped rurally and deprived humans even when his very own existence became at risks (Mahabub Alam, 2016; Solaiman & Solaiman, 2013). His power of motivation is unique and his magical inspirational motivating power inspired publics who have forgone their millions valuable life dedicated during the liberation movement and the battle of freedom in 1971 (Mahabub Alam, 2016; Shahnawaz, 2015).
- YOUNG AGE LEADERSHIP ACTIVITIES OF SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN
Sheikh Mujib showed the potential of leadership since his school life. In 1940 he entered student politics and joined the All India Muslim Students Federation. Later in 1943 he joined the Muslim League and became a close aid of Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy (Solaiman & Solaiman, 2013). Sheikh Mujib was elected General Secretary of Islamia College Students Union in 1946. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Islamia College under Calcutta University (1947). In 1948 Sheikh Mujib was one of the first among the student language movement captives on 11 March 1948 (Trisha et al., 2017). Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy the populist leader of his time originally recruited Mujib to counter his political rivals and under Shaheed Suhrawardy, Sheikh Mujib began his career as a muscleman student leader and Mujib remained loyal to him until his death in 1962 (Shahnawaz, 2015).
Sheikh Mujib’s political activities successfully started out with the encouragement of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and Sher-e-Bangka A K Fazlul Huq and with the benison of those distinguished leaders he steps by step have become the ‘Political Hero’ of former East Pakistan (Mahabub Alam, 2016). His mounting attractiveness among the people became the most important risk to the dominant Pakistani administration and Pakistani armed forces consequently made several hopeless efforts to destroy his image (Chowdhury, n.d.; Khan, 1997; Mahabub Alam, 2016). Sheikh Mujib was born in a middle-class Bengali family in a backward village of Gopalganj and he grew up under the discriminative and storm-tossed politics of the sub-continent and the Second World War.
He witnessed the devastation of war and the blunt realities of the 1943 famine which occurred in Bengal where about five million people lost their lives. The miserable dilemma of the people under the colonial rule turned him into a rebel politician against discrimination (Shahnawaz, 2015). When communal riots broke out in the wake of the partition of India and the birth of Pakistan, Bangobondhu played a pioneering role in protecting Muslims and trying to contain the violence (Bhatnagar, 1971). As a student political leader, Sheikh Mujib rose in East Bengali politics and within the ranks of the Awami League as a charismatic and forceful speaker. As a promoter of socialism, Mujib became popular for his leadership against the ethnic, social and institutional discrimination. (Rahman et al., 2014).
- FULL FLEDGE LEADERSHIP ACTIVITIES OF SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN
In 1950, when Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan of Pakistan announced ‘Urdu’ will have the state language of both Pakistans, the whole Bangladesh was against it and Sheikh Mujib was at its front position (Chowdhury, n.d.). He played a frontier and significant role in the movement for ‘Bengali’ as the state language and he was at prison in 21st February,1952 by arrested without charge under the Public Service Act to protest Mujib’s indefinite hunger strike movement in the perspective of mother language (Center, n.d.; Foundation, n.d.). On 9 July 1953 he was elected General Secretary of the East Pakistan Awami Muslim League. In 1954 Sheikh Mujib won the election for the Gopalganj constituency by defeating the powerful Muslim League leader Wahiduzzaman and joined A K Fazlul Huq’s United Front government as the youngest minister for agriculture and forest in the new provincial government. The central government illogically dismissed the United Front ministry on 29 May 1954 and Sheikh Mujib was once again thrown into prison (Bhatnagar, 1971; Chowdhury, n.d.; Foundation, n.d.).
In 1955, Sheikh Mujib was elected a member of the Constituent Assembly of west Pakistan and Awami Muslim League dropped the word ‘Muslim’ from its name in a council meeting to make the party a truly patriotic and secular one. Mujib was re-elected general secretary of the newly formed party- Awami league (Center, n.d.; Chowdhury, n.d.; Foundation, n.d.). In 1957 Mujib resigned from the cabinet for working full-time to strengthen and organized newly formed party the Awami League. In 1958 Sheikh Mujib was arrested, jailed, and continuously harassed in false cases for organized a movement against the military government and he was released after 14 months in prison (Chowdhury, n.d.; Shahnawaz, 2015). In 1961 he set up an underground organization called ‘Swadheen Bangla Biplobi Parishad’ in English Revolutionary Council for Independent Bengal, conceding leading student leaders in order to work for the independence of Bangladesh, in addition he started to covert political activities against the military dictator Ayub Khan (Center, n.d.; Foundation, n.d.).
In 1962 Mujib joined other national leaders to protest the unlawful measures introduced by general Ayub Khan. He made a public rally at Paltan Maidan and courageously and vigorously criticized Ayub Khan in his influential speech (Foundation, n.d.). In 1964 Mujib led a committee to defuse riots and after the riots he launched a forceful anti-Ayub movement on behalf of his party (Bhatnagar, 1971). On behalf of Awami league in 1966, Mujib presented his six-points which is actually a demands of autonomy in the perspective of East Pakistan as well as Bangladesh. In this year Mujib was elected as the president of the Awami League and he launched a campaign, travelled around the country to obtain support for the six-points (Chowdhury, n.d.; Foundation, n.d.; Kokab, n.d.). Sheikh Mujib’s move raised howls of protest all over East Pakistan. The civil, military, bureaucrats, and politicians spanning both government and opposition circles were quick to dub the Six Points as a departure plan to dissected Pakistan (Center, n.d.; Mamun, n.d.).
In 1968, Sheikh Mujib charged with conspiracy to break up Pakistan. Thirty-five Bangalees, headed by Sheikh Mujib, accused of conspiracy to break up Pakistan through declaring its eastern province as an independent state. The case, which known as the ‘Agartala Conspiracy Case’, which withdrawn under the terrific movement of people of Bangladesh on February 22, 1969. After that day, millions of crowd roared its approval when Tofail Ahmed, then a leading student leader, proposed Sheikh Mujib as the title of ‘Bangobondhu’, friend of Bengal (Ahsan, 1969; Chowdhury, n.d.; Paul, n.d.). On December 5, 1969, Sheikh Mujib declared at a public meeting held to observe the death anniversary of Suhrawardy that from today East Pakistan would be called "Bangladesh” (Foundation, n.d.). In 1970 Mujib was re-elected president of the Awami League and in the general election the Awami League won the election with an absolute majority, but in 1971, Yahiya Khan illegally postponed the National Assembly. On 7 March 1971 in his historical speech Sheikh Mujib in a sense he declared the independence and given the direction (Chowdhury, n.d.; Foundation, n.d.).
At the deadliest night of 25th March, the Pakistani army suddenly attacked and killed the innocent unarmed Bangalees. Mujib declared independence at 12:30 a.m. of 26th March and his declaration was transmitted by wireless as a message immediately throughout the country under special arrangements in English and Bengali (Center, n.d.; Chowdhury, n.d.; Foundation, n.d.). He briefed all his followers a way to act in his absence because he knew that he would possibly arrested at any time and therefore not have an effect on the momentum to steer and keep the war of liberation. With his preprogrammed supervision and declaration of independence trailed by the followers subsequently accelerated the independence and provided his inhabitants an free state in his absence (Mahabub Alam, 2016; Shahnawaz, 2015). Out of 24 years of Pakistani regime before independence he consumed about 12 years in prison. In fact, he spent the best part of his youth behind the prison bars and he turned into almost hanged twice but he by no means gave up his mission to redeem the inhabitants from the domination (Center, n.d.; Chowdhury, n.d.; Mahabub Alam, 2016).
V. EVER LIVING 7TH MARCH
A speech can have changed the status of a nation from dependent to independent, can inspired and motivated the country’s whole people, can be united for freedom, can a simple person transformed into a rebel for motherland- the 7th March speech of Sheikh Mujib is that such kind of speech, the other name of this speech is the declaration of independence for the motherland. He delivered this speech in uprising tension situation between East Pakistan and the powerful political and military establishment of West Pakistan. The Bengali people were inspired to prepare for a potential war of independence, where a piece of news widespread that West Pakistan mobilization and gathered their arms and ammunitions (Center, n.d.; Foundation, n.d.).
On that day over a million people assembled at the Ramna Race Course Maidan, later renamed Suhrawardy Uddyan, on that day to hear their leader’s command for the battle for liberation and turning the area into a human sea. Sheikh Mujib spoke in a thundering and powerful voice but in a talented well-calculated restrained language with judiciousness and charisma. His historic declaration in the meeting was: "Our struggle this time is for freedom. Our struggle this time is for independence (Chowdhury, n.d.; Foundation, n.d.). The speech was spontaneous and there was no written script. It is the open massage for the masses from their leader Sheikh Mujib to declare the independence of East Pakistan as well as Bangladesh (Center, n.d.). This speech concluded the long history of the struggle of Bangladeshi people for democratic rights, economic justice and cultural self-determination with constitutional argument and direct them to prepare for a war of independence.
History has always been written by the powers of extraordinary and charismatic leadership, and the great personality Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a leader who had created the history of Bangladesh and transformed Bangladesh into an independent country from the dependent country. It was not that, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman became ‘Bangobondhu’ and ‘Father of the Nation’ in overnight or in a quick way. It took him three decades, 12 years in prison, torture of ruler, love of millions, sacrifice all comforts, to become a Father of the Nation. Only he is the leader in the world who can conjugates seven crore people united in a body psychologically and physiologically. A lot of researchers has stated that charismatic leadership is unique and it's varied from leader to leader, which uniqueness made him/her as a charismatic leader. Sheikh Mujib’s charismatic leadership is the merging of so many traits as the immensity of his heart, humanity, patience, liberalism, discourse, personality; all of these had confirmed his purpose to uphold the eternal and emotional bond with enormous inhabitants.
Sheikh Mujib is an idol for the youth society. His discourse, commitment, honesty, patriotism, leadership style, and empathy to poor people should be followed by the youth of Bangladesh. He dedicated his whole life for the independence and welfare of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, no other leader achieved such huge support and popularity by the common people as Sheikh Mujib. In this paper here to depicted the leadership of Sheikh Mujib which is not only difficult but also impossible because he is not a simple man, a great personality, an institution, above all he is another name of independent Bangladesh. In a further paper, the author will try to analyze and discuss the Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's political views and activities after achieving independence.
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