Treasured Memories

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Treasured Memories

Memories are the wings of history and facts are its heart. Without wings and heart a nation cannot move on. When a nation forgets to treasure its people whose works illuminate our past, present and future, then certainly death creeps in. This is a different kind of death which eats away at our very conscience and kills our hopes and dreams. Our future becomes dark and desolate because we have closed all the doors through which light could enter. This very light, which is the soul of a nation, will only enter when we as people begin to honor our heroes and heroines, by remembering their  contributions and sacrifices; by being transformed their ideals, values and principles which serve as a Guiding Light for a truly free and prosperous nation.

Our children have the right to know about their glorious past. And we have the duty to share with our children the stories of our great national ancestors so they feel proud of their heritage and learn to move forward with hopes and dreams. Hopefully in the near future, our people,individually and collectively, will shed light on the life and works of all our great men and women who have contributed toward the birthing of Bangladesh.

This website is a humble initiative in honoring and celebrating one of the great heroes of our nation, Tajuddin Ahmad, whose life deserves to be an inspiration and model for all truth and peace seekers of the world.

The following is a *Glimpse of Tajuddin’s life, *the evolution of an extraordinary man and leader.

Beginning in his childhood years, Tajuddin was a very righteous, responsible and compassionate person. He spoke little, listened more and maintained moderation in his speech and action throughout his life.

The prizes Tajuddin received, for the first time in his life, were a nine paisa (local coins) pen and one and a half paisa ink pot for standing first in his class from grade one to grade two at Bhuleswar Primary School.

In the promotion exam from grade two to grade three, Tajuddin stood first,as expected. As first prize he received books of “Ninety Nine Attributes of Allah”(God) and “Ali Baba and Forty Thieves” from the Arabian Nights.

One day, when he returned from school, he found a bouquet of red roses placed on his bed. It was a gift from the revolutionary patriots who took notice of his talent. Since then red roses bore special significance and were among his favorite flowers.

As a child, his favorite foods were rice with cream and molasses.

His favorite song “Dhono Dhanno Pushpo Bhora Amaderi bashundhara…”(Lyric :
Dijendralal Roy) sings praise for his dear motherland Bangladesh.

He enjoyed tending the cattle and loved to take care of plants.

His love for animals was so much so that when the baby birds were born he would place baskets filled with soft cottons under the nests to protect them from injury from falling to the ground.

His love for animals persisted throughout his adult life. When a Bulbul (Nightingale) which made a nest in an outdoor hanging plant died in a storm he wept and grieved.  He would shelter  stray dogs from the street and join
his daughters to play with them.

When cholera broke out in the village nearby, young Tajuddin would readily go  there to serve the sick and the afflicted.

He was a teetotaler throughout his life and in his teen years started a movement against the harmful effects of smoking. He was indeed much ahead of
his time and age for such an initiative!!!

Barely a middle school student, he walked as far as four to five miles to listen to the speech of prominent political leader such as Sher-e-Bangla(honorary title which means the Tiger of Bengal) A.K. Fazlul Haque.

As a Hafez (one who has memorized the entire Qur’an) in the Holy Qur’an he would occasionally lead during the Jumma (Friday prayer at midday) prayer at the Mosque. He would highlight in his sermons the importance of serving the
poor, needy and orphans. The sign of a truly devout person, he believed, is one’s unconditional service to humanity.

Tajuddin shunned all forms of self glorifications. He never gave any importance to his day of birth and refrained from celebrating his birthdays.

Tajuddin and Zohra were married with flowers. At Zohra’s request Tajuddin bought ornaments for her wedding made of fresh jasmine flowers. Gold jewelry
as was customary for the bride to wear during her wedding were abandoned in favor of a higher valued floral jewelry. Finally, Tajuddin found an ideal life partner in Zohra.

In early 1966, Pakistan’s People’s Party chairman (later president of
Pakistan) Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto challenged Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to a debate in which he intended to prove the futility of the Six Points Program that Mujib’s party proposed to implement for the emancipation of the Bengalees,in East Pakistan. Bhutto came to Dhaka with his big entourage to debate Mujib in an open public meeting.Tajuddin,who was one of the main architects of the Six points Program,prepared all the facts. The day before the debate Tajuddin went on behalf of Mujib and met with Bhutto. They discussed the debate issues related to the Six Points Program. Bhutto was thoroughly impressed by Tajuddin’s depth of knowledge, later relayed by senior Muslim League political party members. Next day, shortly before the debate would
start, news spread throughout Dhaka city of sudden departure of Bhutto to Pakistan. He just took off without giving prior notice. Bhutto never challenged Mujib to another debate.

On 25th March.1971, the Pakistan Military began the merciless killings of the Bengalees. Tajuddin narrowly escaped from getting caught by the military and went underground. Zohra, whose ready wit saved her life from getting killed by the military, went in hiding with her young children.On 27th March, a message written on a small piece of paper was delivered to her by a trusted compatriot.
The message was from Tajuddin. It read ” Forgive me for not being able to say good bye. With children, become a part of seventy
five million people. I do not know when I will see you again———After
Liberation.” He put dash marks in between. Tajuddin was certain that his beloved country would be
liberated one day.

Pakistan’s military began a smear campaign against the Bangladesh Government and the freedom loving people of Bangladesh. They spread false propaganda that the Government of Bangladesh and the freedom fighters were against
Islam.

In reality and according to all the documentary evidence ,Pakistan military had killed millions of Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist , and Christian civilians of Bangladesh, violated hundreds of thousands of girls and  women and plundered
Bangladesh in the name of protecting Islam. While they claimed to be Muslims, they were killing the innocent people of Bangladesh ,majority of whom were Muslims. Their inhumane and brutal  actions were against the principles of Islam and every religion of the world. Their false propaganda held no ground in face of these realities.

Tajuddin who was well versed in the Qur’an and knew Islam’s core principles to be fairness, justice and compassion, resisted these false attacks through foresight and intelligence. As Prime Minister, who was also in charge of
Broadcasting and through his helpmates, he launched a radio program to define, in the light of Islam, the people’s right to justice, liberty and human dignity.

Tajuddin conceived the future framework of a free Bangladesh as one in which the adherents of all religions would be able to practice their faiths freely and co-exist in harmony and peace with each other. His vision is reflected
in the Swadhin Bangla Betar (Free Bengal Radio Center) Kendra’s daily presentations and recitations of the holy scriptures from the Bible, Qur’an, Gita and Tripitaka, from Chrisitian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist faiths groups.

Tajuddin’s foresight is reflected in the agreement between the Government of India and the Government of Bangladesh in 1971. According to the conditions
of the agreement, India will enter Bangladesh as a supporting force along with our freedom fighters to battle the invading Pakistan military. Indian troops will enter the sovereign land as a friendly force, only after it has accorded due recognition to Bangladesh. India will withdraw its troops within three months from Bangladesh. Indian Government agreed to the conditions laid out by Bangladesh. These agreements, drawn out in the most crisis-ridden period, are deemed as the most honorable agreements ever made in the history of Bangladesh. Tajuddin was a man of honor who did all his works to enhance the honor and dignity of his country.

Tajuddin lead the war of liberation on behalf of Mujib, who was imprisoned in Pakistan and isolated from all information. When Bangladesh attained
victory on December 16, 1971, he was surrounded by journalists who asked him about his reaction. Tajuddin broke into tears and said that he had performed his duty merely as a midwife and that he felt sad for not being able to deliver the news of the child’s birth to its father (Mujib). Tajuddin never took any credit for himself and shunned self promotion.

Father of the Nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was released from the prison of Pakistan, primarily due to Tajuddin’s relentless efforts, on national and international levels, to ensure his safety and release. Tajuddin knew that a liberated Bangladesh would pave the path toward his release and ensure his
return to the soil of an independent nation.

Mujib returned to an Independent Bangladesh on January 10, 1972. Tajuddin officially handed over the Prime Minister’s position to Mujib on January 12,1972. When asked about his reaction, he was all smile and told the journalists, “It is the happiest day of my life.”

 

Text: Sharmin Ahmad.April17,2008.

Sources:Author of this text interviewed the following persons:

Interview with Tajuddin’s

wife Zohra Tajuddin. November 10,1992.

Primary school teacher Mafizuddin Master.July 11,1987.

Eldest sister Sufia Khatun.July 10.1987.

   colleague Abdul Momen(Former Publicity Secretary of Awami Leage and Minister of Food).July 8,1987.

For further information please refer to  the Resources page.

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