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'Bangabandhu' Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

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Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (March 17, 1920 – August 15, 1975) was a Bengali politician and the founding leader of Bangladesh, considered the father of the nation. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its Prime Minister. He is popularly referred to as Sheikh Mujib, and with the honorary title of Bangabandhu (বঙ্গবন্ধু Bôngobondhu, "Friend of Bengal"). His eldest daughter Sheikh Hasina Wajed is the present leader of the Awami League and a former prime minister of Bangladesh.

A student political leader, Mujib rose in East Pakistani politics and within the ranks of the Awami League as a charismatic and forceful orator. An advocate of socialism, Mujib became popular for his leadership against the ethnic and institutional discrimination of Bengalis. He demanded increased provincial autonomy, and became a fierce opponent of the military rule of Ayub Khan. At the heightening of sectional tensions, Mujib outlined a 6-point autonomy plan, which was seen as separatism in West Pakistan. He was tried in 1968 for allegedly conspiring with the Indian government but was not found guilty. Despite leading his party to a major victory in the 1970 elections, Mujib was not invited to form the government.

After talks broke down with President Yahya Khan and West Pakistani politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mujib was arrested and a guerrilla war erupted between government forces and Bengali nationalists aided by India. An all out war between the Pakistan Army and Bangladesh-India Joint Forces led to the establishment of Bangladesh, and after his release Mujib assumed office as a provisional president, and later prime minister. Even as a constitution was adopted, proclaiming socialism and a secular democracy, Mujib struggled to address the challenges of intense poverty and unemployment, coupled with rampant corruption. Amidst rising popular agitation, he banned other political parties and declared himself president for life in 1975. After only...


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