Akbar Ali Khan described emergence of Bangladesh ‘as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’14 September 2022
– Mainul Hosein :
I know how ordinary I am. Even then I cannot help not to express as an ordinary man when I see somewhere misunderstanding is created to distort the truth about creation of Bangladesh of which facts and contradictions are too glaring to be known to too many people. I do this because of my unshakeable belief that falsehood makes people's miseries more acute and wrong people do more wrongs.
It was a great moment when I had the opportunity to met Dr Akbar Ali Khan about a month before his death. I must admit I was very impressed by his presence and the short discussion we had together. I found him a decent man with no vanity for his fame. I was aware how small I was before him as a knowledgeable person.
Still I was anxious to understand his views about his hopes about our future in this uncertain times. He was not looking old or fatigued. I did not want to be too insistent thinking that there would be opportunities to have more discussions. Sadly he died so suddenly.
He was moving to his own apartment in Gulshan. So I withdrew my presence as shortly as decency permitted. If I remember correctly he admitted frankly that politics was not his subject. Even though I knew it was his humility.
He saw enough of our politics as regards the birth of Bangladesh. He went to India to take part in our struggle against Pakistan army's brutalities of the last nine months.
He quoted in his book Discovery of Bangladesh Winston Churchill to describe in historical and evolutionary sense that Bangladeshis as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. He found Bangladesh as the result of a revolution. He compared it with French and Chinese revolutions to say that "Obviously twenty five years is too shot a span of time to assess the significance of Bangladesh revolution". He said this twenty five years is ago. So let us now after more than fifty years assess achievements of what he described as revolution in Bangladesh.
I think nobody will disagree that we have three claims about the birth of Bangladesh:
A) Bangladesh was obtained as the Bangabandhu's first revolution and his second revolution was BAKSAL one party rule.
B) The freedom fighters who received military training in India with Indian weapons assert that they freed the country.
C) The Indian army won the war against Pakistan to free Bangladesh.
My intention is to know what revolution means. My understanding of revolution is that it has to be achieved by the popular uprising with or without outside help but must be ours. The question how much our people's own desire and preparations contributed to attain Bangladesh? I saw the men who did not leave the country died in those days most helplessly without resistance coming from anywhere. The whole world was stunned by the genocide committed by Pakistan army without preparation for armed resistance on our side and any leaders within our sight.
Most of our leaders left for India for safety. Bangabandhu got arrested without resistance. We had no preparation for armed struggle. So how can we say that we rose in revolution and won Bangladesh for ourselves. I do not want to enter into any controversy over that. I shall, however, tried to what revolution is.
No country gives another country independence as a gift. I do not know also if there can be a revolution without intellectual or physical leadership. Street slogans of the few with no power of their own cannot be leadership. Even then popular uprising may occur when oppression on the people is too much to bear. That is unguided mass chaos and violence and is not based on any clear idea how to improve the situation or who to be trusted for guidance. That is an angry mobocracy, not revolution.
Neither our people nor our leaders were ready for revolution. This is the proven truth. It is also true that when the military operation began on 25th March both the leaders and the people were baffled and dumbfounded. The six-point agreement was foiled by raising seven-point at the last moment.
Those who misguided Bangabandhu to assure in front of Mr Tajuddin Ahmad, Dr Kamal Hossain, and Barrister Amirul Islam 'at this very moment Bangladesh is an independent country' and to be arrested willingly included his trusted young men also. Dr Akbar Ali Khan described creation of Bangladesh as revolution and quoted Winston Churchill as a riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma. Revolution or not I agree with Dr Akbar Ali Khan rightly quoted Churchill.
Birth of Bangladesh is not the result of any strait path but involved many complicated deceitfulness. We must untangle the lies and face the truth about our mistakes in claiming wrong what is right showing no feelings incrimination.
Our leaders were sincere but victims of heartless intrigues and calm calculations. Their dependence on street power of the young ones when mature judgement was too much in need was a catastrophe for leadership. Our refusal to learn from mistakes has made dreams of peaceful Bangladesh free from state atrocities has been shattered by us. That is our greatest shame.
Let me conclude as Dr Akbar Ali Khan described Bangladesh as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. To me our enigma is our educated people's subservient role.
Call it a revolution if you like but where after a span of fifty years have passed still we are fighting for voting right to have the government of our own.
Our Bangladesh has become a country where others to say we must have the press freedom or the human rights must be respected. The United Nations is insisting an investigation into secret killings and forced disappearances as if we are an uneducated nation not knowing how to make the country safe for all.
I agree we have found a revolutionary change in Bangladesh. The people's democracy has been replaced by bureaucracy. The election robbery has been institutionalised as a function of government officials.
In other words, the revolution others have thrust upon us has ruined politics for politicians as a devotion to public service. The politics now is the business of who has made how many millions and how soon.
This 'revolution' of plundering the country is to be undone so that one does not join politics to learn how to grab public wealth.
We do not have to fight corruption if election robbery is stopped for attracting selfless politicians.