Reflections and recollection of 15 August 1975
August 15th, 2020 at 6:22 pm
Reflections and recollection of 15 August 1975

by Omer Selim Sher;

It was shocking news to hear on Bangladesh Betar at dawn around 4:45 am.  It is also hard to believe that who would dare to kill Bangabandhu. Major Dalim and later Sarkar Kabir Uddin were making sporadic announcements on the radio.

All walks of people are gathering in front of the radio in all neighborhoods. The people were stunned and became dumbfounded. Even the soldiers voice was broken and a fear in their voice were felt   during this announcement. Major Dalim sometimes announcing about curfew, sometimes he is asking the people to remain calm. During the day as time went on one by one, they came on the radio and announced their loyalty to the new coup d’é·tat government.  Major General Shafiullah, Air Vice Marshal AK Khandaker and Rear Admiral Mosharraf Hossain khan was instructing the people to remain calm on behalf of the new government. All three chiefs declared allegiance to the new government around 12:300 pm on Bangladesh Betar.

On the road, only military vehicles are speeding here and there with pointing rifles with bayonets.  Tanks have taken up positions at various points in the Dacca city. Even then, rumors are circulating, but people have heard the name of Major Dalim more on that day. Rumours came that Rakhi Bahini outing a fight with Army.

Radio is still being announced under the name of Bangladesh Betar. A few hours later in late afternoon, the name of Bangladesh Betar was changed to Radio Bangladesh.

Although Mushtaq spoke of a change of government, he did not mention Bangabandhu’s name even once. The killer Mushtaq did not say what happened.  Mushtaq referred to those who killed him as patriotic soldiers. Mushtaq praised the killers for the brave performance of the army in the national cause. Repeatedly sought recognition from the world. If anyone dared to fence that day, these murderers would flee the country.

Only person who came out that at the call Bangabandhu was Colonel Jamil Uddin Ahmad, the new Chief of Military Intelligence. When Jamil arrived and ordered the troops back to the barracks, he was gunned down at the gate of the residence. The leaders of Awami League or at that time BKSAL failed miserably to rise up on the occasion to protest the killing of the Father of The Nation. They all remain silent. Now, those leaders who are shouting for sacrifice for the party in words, if they shouted on August 15, 1975, history would have been written in a different way. Those who shot Bangabandhu have implemented the plan, but the real culprits behind the conspiracy to kill him are still alive.

Bangladesh politics, liberation
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered his inspirational speech on March 7, 1971 ahead of Bangladesh’s liberation war against Pakistan

After 45 years, I am surprised to hear many people say, the question arises why they remained silent that day? Kader Siddiqui was the only one who revolted on that day. But he did not get support from the mainstream Awami League leaders. He was in exile for 18 years and could not return to the country. Four national leaders were brutally killed in jail on November 3, but this time no one also came out to protest. Some leaders at that time were fighting to get Ministers position in Mostaq’a cabinet e.g. Foni Mazumder and others. Some of these leaders are crying foul today and showing extra love for Bangabandhu but they are still doing conspiracy. Those mastermind conspirators are scattered all over Bangladesh and working to remove Sheikh Hasina. But they should remember this is not 1975, this is 2020.

It’s been 45 years the assassins killed Bangabandhu. After 1975, we have seen various games in the country. Everyday I have seen the game of change of party due to immoral politics and greed for power. The intoxication of power by killing is still on, time they remind us indicating that the killers are not dead. But we are fighting among us and the killers are all united. Arrogant killers boasted proudly on foreign TV interviews judge and punish if you can.  The generals caressed and flattered the killers with the title of hero. The murderers have ruled the country, politics has been in the army headquarters. The enemies of liberation war have become leaders, the warriors have become criminals.  Anti-liberation forces and razakars, became Ministers, Prime Ministers, Presidents. By deleting the name of the father of the nation, the traitors have become public leaders. The new generation could not know who was Sheikh Mujib, what was the history of liberation war? All the marks from the archive have been stolen and buried.

The arrogant general made politics difficult and democracy sank in the army headquarters. We had to struggle anew, we had to give our lives again to restore democracy. One thing remains unknown even today, who killed the father of the nation. Killers were few,  but who were the architect  of  original plan? The killers have been tried, a few have been executed, but the conspirators have not yet been caught.

On that day of 15th August, there was no activity of any other political party except JSD. Everything in the country belonged to the Awami League. The military did not go everywhere that night, why no one came out and shouted? Sitting in London, one said “Pharaoh is dead”, another took a job at the university, and another went on to become a minister at a meeting of murderers. The rest all remained silent.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujobur Rahman

When the killers left, the Japanese (next door) went and took a picture of the superhero behind the stairs. The leaders went into hiding. Kader Siddiqui’s called went unheeded and he slipped into India. Even within the team, political players have played a game of disintegration, the rest have fought to become leaders. What would have happened if Sheikh Hasina had not returned?

Bangladesh learned a good lesson from the sad events of 1975. Politics has also seen the catastrophe of independence. Democracy crushed under the boots, generals in power. The mistake that can easily get your claim denied is to fail.

Politics is not easy; it is easy to go to power by killing. Now politics is moving in an easy way. Who is that Mujib lover cannot be understood? On the anniversary of the martyrdom of the father of the nation, this crisis seems to be in full swing. Even though Bangabandhu’s daughter has brought unimaginable success to the country, there is no end to the grievances in the country. Corona epidemics and floods have not stopped the frustrated leaders. I wish that Sheikh Hasina would take the country to its desired goal and dream of Bangabandhu ignoring all condemnations and hurdles.

Omer Sher is a retired Professor of Economics at Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada and a researcher on politics in South Asia.