Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Politician) – Overview, Biography

Name:Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Occupation: Politician
Birth Day: March 17,
Death Date:Aug 15, 1975 (age 55)
Age: Aged 55
Country: Bangladesh
Zodiac Sign:Pisces

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born on March 17, 1920 in Bangladesh (55 years old). Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is a Politician, zodiac sign: Pisces. Nationality: Bangladesh. Approx. Net Worth: Undisclosed.


The coup that killed him and several members of his family was planned by disgruntled Awami League colleagues and military officers but many believe the CIA instigated it.

Net Worth 2020

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Does Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman died on Aug 15, 1975 (age 55).


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Before Fame

He joined the Awami League in 1949 after first becoming politically active when he joined the All India Muslim Students Federation in 1940.


Biography Timeline


In 1929, Mujib entered into class three at Gopalganj Public School, and two years later, class four at Madaripur Islamia High School. From very early age Mujib showed a potential of leadership. His parents noted in an interview that at a young age, he organized a student protest in his school for the removal of an inept principal. Mujib withdrew from school in 1934 to undergo eye surgery, and returned to school only after four years, owing to the severity of the surgery and slow recovery.


Mujib became politically active when he joined the All India Muslim Students Federation in 1940.


Later, he passed his Matriculation from Gopalganj Missionary School in 1942, Intermediate of Arts from Islamia College (now Maulana Azad College) in 1944 and BA from the same college in 1947. After the partition of India, he got himself admitted into the University of Dhaka to study law but could not complete it due to his expulsion from the University in early 1949 on the charge of ‘inciting the fourth-class employees’ in their agitation against the University authority’s indifference towards their legitimate demands. After 61 years, in 2010, the expulsion has been withdrawn terming the expulsion as unjust and undemocratic.

Mujibur was 13 years old when he married his paternal cousin Fazilatunnesa who was only three and had just lost her parents, so her (and Mujibur’s) grandfather, Sheikh Abdul Hamid, had commanded his son Sheikh Lutfar Rahman to marry his son Mujibur to her. It was 9 years later, in 1942, when Mujibur was 22 years old and Begum Fazilatunnesa was 12 years old that the marriage was consummated. Together they had two daughters—Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana—and three sons—Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal, and Sheikh Rasel. Kamal was an organizer of the Mukti Bahini guerrilla struggle in 1971 and received a wartime commission in the Bangladesh Army during the Liberation War. He was perceived to be the successor to Mujibur. Jamal was trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Great Britain and later joined the Bangladesh Army as a Commissioned Officer. The Sheikh family was under house arrest during the Bangladesh Liberation War until 17 December, Sheikh Kamal and Jamal found the means to escape and cross over to a liberated zone, where they joined the struggle to free the country. Almost the entire Sheikh family was assassinated on 15 August 1975 during a military coup d’état. Only Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, who were visiting West Germany, escaped. Mujibur is the maternal grandfather of Tulip Siddiq, British-born Labour politician, and member of parliament for Hampstead and Kilburn since the 2015 UK general election. His nephews Sheikh Helal, Sheikh Selim, Sheikh Jewel, and Abul Hasanat Abdullah are members of parliament in Bangladesh. His grandnephews Sheikh Taposh, Nixon Chowdhury, Liton Chowdhury, Andaleeve Rahman Partho, Sheikh Tonmoy, Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah, and Sheikh Parash are all Bangladeshi politicians. His grandniece, Dipu Moni, is the former Foreign Minister of Bangladesh.


He joined the Bengal Muslim League in 1943. During this period, Mujib worked actively for the League’s cause of a separate Muslim state of Pakistan, and in 1946 he went on to become general secretary of the Islamia College Students Union. M. Bhaskaran Nair describes that Mujib “emerged as the most powerful man in the party” because of his proximity to Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy.


After obtaining his BA degree in 1947, Mujib was one of the Muslim politicians working under Suhrawardy during the communal violence that broke out in Calcutta, in 1946, just before the partition of India.


Following the declaration of Muhammad Ali Jinnah on 21 March 1948, that the people of East Bengal would have to adopt Urdu as the state language, protests broke out amongst the population. Mujib immediately decided to start a movement against this former planned decision of the Muslim League. In the same year on 2 March a conference was held at Dhaka University’s Fazlul Haq Muslim Hall, with leaders of different political parties. In this conference, discussions about the movement against the Muslim League were discussed. From here on, the decision of the constitution of the All-party Parliamentary Council was decided. The strike was celebrated in Dhaka on 11 March 1948, at the direction of this council. During the strike, some other political activists, including Mujibur, were arrested in front of the secretariat building. But due to pressure from the student protest, Mujib and other student leaders were released on 15 March. On the occasion of their release the Rastrabhasa Sangram Parishad (National Language Action Committee) arranged a rally which took place at Dhaka University. The police blocked this rally. In protesting police activities Mujib immediately announced a nationwide student strike on 17 March 1948. On 19 March, he organized a movement aimed at securing the rights of the fourth class employees of Dhaka University. On 11 September 1948 he was again arrested


On 21 January 1949, Mujib was released from prison. Out of jail, he again became involved in the demand for the demand of the fourth class employees, for which he was fired from the university. But he refrained from acquiring these fines as illegal. In continuation of this, on 26 April, Muslim League-backed candidate Shamsul Haq won a by-election in Tangail. Mujib hunger striked in front of Vice Chancellor’s residence for the success of his movement, for which he was again arrested. At that time he was expelled from Dhaka University. He was accused of leading the movement of the fourth-class workers’ rights in the university. On 23 June Suhrawardy and Maulana Bhasani East Pakistan Awami Muslim League. After the formation, Mujib left the Muslim League and joined this new team. He was elected joint general secretary of party East Pakistan. He got out of prison in late June. After release he joined the movement against the food crisis. In September of that year he was temporarily detained for violating Section 144 but was released immediately.

Mujib left the Muslim League to join Maulana Bhashani and Yar Mohammad Khan in the formation of the Awami Muslim League, the predecessor of the Awami League. Maulana Bhashani was elected as president while Yar Mohammad Khan was the treasurer. He was elected joint secretary of its East Bengal unit in 1949. While Suhrawardy worked to build a larger coalition of East Bengali and socialist parties, Mujib focused on expanding the grass-roots organization. In 1953, he was made the party’s general secretary, and elected to the East Bengal Legislative Assembly on a United Front coalition ticket in 1954. Serving briefly as the minister for agriculture during A. K. Fazlul Huq’s government, Mujib was briefly arrested for organizing a protest of the central government’s decision to dismiss the United Front ministry.


In early January 1950, the Awami Muslim League held an anti-famine procession in Dhaka on the occasion of the arrival of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to East Pakistan. Mujib was arrested this time because of his leadership. He was imprisoned for two years. On 26 January 1952, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Khwaja Nazimuddin announced that Urdu would be the only state language of Pakistan. In spite of being kept in jail after this announcement, Mujib played a special role in organizing protests. He played the role of guiding the state Bengali language movement by issuing instructions from jail. After this it was decided to observe 21 February as the day of recognition for state language. At the same time Mujib decided to observe the fast on 14 February from jail. His fasting lasted 13 days. On 26 February, he was released from jail.


He was elected to the second Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and served from 1955 to 1958. The government proposed to dissolve the provinces in favour of an amalgamation of the western provinces of the Dominion of Pakistan in a plan called One Unit; at the same time the central government would be strengthened. Under One Unit, the western provinces were merged as West Pakistan during the creation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1956. That year East Bengal was renamed as East Pakistan as part of One Unit at the same time. Mujib demanded that the Bengali people’s ethnic identity be respected and that a popular verdict should decide the question of naming and of official language:

In 1956, Mujib entered a second coalition government as minister of industries, commerce, labour, anti-corruption and village aid. He resigned in 1957 to work full-time for the party organisation.


In 1958 General Ayub Khan suspended the constitution and imposed martial law. Mujib was arrested for organizing resistance and imprisoned till 1961. After his release Mujib started organising an underground political body called the Swadhin Bangal Biplobi Parishad (Free Bangla Revolutionary Council), comprising student leaders, to oppose the regime of Ayub Khan. They worked for increased political power for Bengalis and the independence of East Pakistan. He was briefly arrested again in 1962 for organizing protests.


Following Suhrawardy’s death in 1963, Mujib came to head the Awami League, which became one of the largest political parties in Pakistan. The party had dropped the word “Muslim” from its name in a shift towards secularism and a broader appeal to non-Muslim communities. Mujib was one of the key leaders to rally opposition to President Ayub Khan’s Basic Democracies plan, the imposition of martial law and the one-unit scheme, which centralized power and merged the provinces. Working with other political parties, he supported opposition candidate Fatima Jinnah against Ayub Khan in the 1964 election. Mujib was arrested two weeks before the election, charged with sedition and jailed for a year. In these years, there was rising discontent in East Pakistan over the atrocities committed by the Pakistani Armed Forces against Bengalis, and the neglect of the issues and needs of East Pakistan by the ruling regime. Despite forming a majority of the population, Bengalis were poorly represented in Pakistan’s civil services, police and military. There were also conflicts between the allocation of revenues and taxation. The 1965 war between India and Pakistan also revealed the markable vulnerability of East Pakistan compared to West Pakistan.


Unrest over continuing denial of democracy spread across Pakistan and Mujib intensified his opposition to the disbandment of provinces. In 1966, Mujib proclaimed a 6-point plan titled Our Charter of Survival at a national conference of opposition political parties at Lahore, in which he demanded self-government and considerable political, economic and defence autonomy for East Pakistan in a Pakistani federation with a weak central government. According to his plan:


Mujib was arrested by the Pakistan Army and after two years in jail, an official sedition trial in a military court opened. Widely known as the Agartala Conspiracy Case, Mujib and 34 Bengali military officers were accused by the government of colluding with Indian government agents in a scheme to divide Pakistan and threaten its unity, order and national security. The plot was alleged to have been planned in the city of Agartala, in the Indian state of Tripura. The outcry and unrest over Mujib’s arrest and the charge of sedition against him destabilised East Pakistan amidst large protests and strikes. Various Bengali political and student groups added demands to address the issues of students, workers and the poor, forming a larger “11-point plan.” The government caved to the mounting pressure, dropped the charges on 22 February 1969 and unconditionally released Mujib the following day. He returned to East Pakistan as a public hero. He was given a mass reception on 23 February, at Racecourse ground and conferred with the title Bangabandhu, meaning Friend of the Bengal in Bengali.

Joining an all-parties conference convened by Ayub Khan, President of Pakistan, in 1969, Mujib demanded the acceptance of his six points and the demands of other political parties and walked out following its rejection. On 5 December 1969 Mujib made a declaration at a public meeting, held to observe the death anniversary of Suhrawardy, that henceforth East Pakistan would be called “Bangladesh”:


On 12 November 1970 a major coastal cyclone the, 1970 Bhola cyclone, struck East Pakistan leaving hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced. Bengalis were outraged, and unrest began because of what was considered the weak and ineffective response of the central government to the disaster. Public opinion and political parties in East Pakistan blamed the governing authorities as intentionally negligent. The West Pakistani politicians attacked the Awami League for allegedly using the crisis for political gain. The dissatisfaction led to divisions within the civil services, police and Pakistani Armed Forces.

In the Pakistani general elections held on 7 December 1970, the Awami League under Mujib’s leadership won a massive majority in the provincial legislature, and all but two of East Pakistan’s quota of seats in the new National Assembly of Pakistan, thus forming a clear majority.

The politicians elected in 1970 formed the provisional Jatiyo Sangshad (parliament) of the new state. The Mukti Bahini and other militias amalgamated to form a new Bangladesh Army to which Indian forces transferred control on 17 March. Mujib described the fallout of the war as the “biggest human disaster in the world,” claiming the deaths of as many as 3 million people and the rape of more than 200,000 women.


Following political deadlock, Yahya Khan delayed the convening of the assembly – a move seen by Bengalis as a plan to deny Mujib’s party, which formed a majority, from taking charge. It was on 7 March 1971 that Mujib called for independence and asked the people to launch a major campaign of civil disobedience and organized armed resistance at a mass gathering of people held at the Race Course Ground in Dhaka.

The Mujib government faced serious challenges, which including the rehabilitation of millions of people displaced in 1971, organising the supply of food, health aids and other necessities. The effects of the 1970 cyclone had not worn off, and the economy of Bangladesh had been immensely deteriorated by the conflict. Economically, Mujib embarked on a huge nationalization program. By the end of the year, thousands of Bengalis arrived from Pakistan, and thousands of non-Bengalis migrated to Pakistan; and yet many thousand remained in refugee camps. Major efforts were launched to rehabilitate an estimated 10 million refugees. The economy began recovering and a famine was prevented. A five-year plan released in 1973 focused state investments into agriculture, rural infrastructure and cottage industries. But a famine occurred in 1974 when the price of rice rose sharply. In that month there was “widespread starvation started in Rangpur district. Government mismanagement had been blamed for that.” During the Mujib regime the country witnessed, industrial decline, growing Indian control over Bangladesh’s industries, and counterfeit money scandals.


Upon assuming the presidency after Yahya Khan’s resignation, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto responded to international pressure and released Mujib on 8 January 1972. After release from prison, Bhutto and Mujib met in Rawalpindi. In that meeting, Bhutto proposed some links between Pakistan and Bangladesh. However Mujib said he could not commit to anything until he visited Bangladesh and talked to his colleagues. He was then flown to London where he met with British Prime Minister Edward Heath and addressed the international media at Claridge’s Hotel. Mujib then flew to New Delhi on a Royal Air Force (RAF) jet aircraft provided by the British government to take him back to Dhaka. In New Delhi, he was received by Indian President Varahagiri Venkata Giri and Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi as well as the entire Indian cabinet and chiefs of armed forces. Delhi was given a festive look as Mujib and Gandhi addressed a huge crowd where he publicly expressed his gratitude to Gandhi and “the best friends of my people, the people of India”. “From New Delhi, Sheikh Mujib flew back to Dhaka on the RAF jet where he was received by a massive and emotional sea of people at Tejgaon Airport.”

A new country, Bangladesh, begins with a lot of “rampage and rape of Bangladesh economy” by the Pakistani occupation force. In January 1972 Time magazine reported:

Although the state was committed to secularism, Mujib soon began moving closer to political Islam through state policies as well as personal conduct. He revived the Islamic Academy (which had been banned in 1972 for suspected collusion with Pakistani forces) and banned the production and sale of alcohol and banned the practice of gambling, which had been one of the major demands of Islamic groups. In his public appearances and speeches, Mujib made increased usage of Islamic greetings, slogans, and references to Islamic ideologies. In his final years, Mujib largely abandoned his trademark “Joy Bangla” salutation for ‘Khuda Hafez’ preferred by religious Muslims. He also declared a common amnesty to the suspected war criminals, on some conditions, to get the support of far right groups as the communists were not happy with Mujib’s regime. He declared, “I believe that the brokers, who assisted the Pakistanis during the liberation war has realized their faults. I hope they will involve themselves in the development of the country forgetting all their misdeeds. Those who were arrested and jailed in the Collaborator act should be freed before the 16 December 1974”. He charged the provisional parliament in order to write a new constitution, and proclaimed the four fundamental principles of “nationalism, secularism, democracy, and socialism,” which would come to be known as “Mujibism”. Mujib nationalised hundreds of industries and companies as well as abandoned land and capital and initiated land reform aimed at helping millions of poor farmers. A constitution was proclaimed in 1973 and elections were held, which resulted in Mujib and his party gaining power with an absolute majority. He further outlined state programs to expand primary education in Bangladesh, sanitation, food, healthcare, water and electric supply across the country.

The government responded by forming an elite para-military force, the Jatiya Rakkhi Bahini, on 8 February 1972, initially formed to curb the insurgency and maintain law and order. The force began a campaign of brutal human rights abuses against the general populace, including becoming involved in numerous charges of human rights abuse including political killings, shootings by death squads, and rape. Members of the Jatiya Rakkhi Bahini were granted immunity from prosecution and other legal proceedings. The force swore an oath of loyalty to Mujibur.


Mujibur sought Bangladesh’s membership in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Commonwealth of Nations and the Islamic Development Bank. He made a significant trip to Lahore in 1974 to attend the OIC summit, which helped improve relations with Pakistan.

The 1974 famine further intensified the food crisis, and devastated agriculture – the mainstay of the economy. The famine had personally shocked Mujib and profoundly affected his views on governance, while political unrest gave rise to increasing violence. During the famine, between 70,000 and 1.5 million people died (Note: Reports vary).

In response, he began increasing his powers. In 1974, Mujib declared a state of emergency. On 25 January 1975, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of Bangladesh was passed, replacing the parliamentary system with a presidential system, reducing the power of the National Parliament and Supreme Court, and codifying a One-party state into law.

During Mujibur’s tenure as the premier leader, Muslim religious leaders and some politicians intensely criticized Mujibur’s adoption of state secularism. He alienated some nationalist segments, and those in the military who feared Bangladesh would become too dependent on India. They worried about becoming a satellite state by taking extensive aid from the Indian government and allying with that country on many foreign and regional affairs. Mujibur’s imposition of one-party rule, suppression of political opposition with censorship and abuse of the judiciary, also alienated large segments of the population. Historians and political scientists think that it derailed Bangladesh’s development as a democratic state, contributing to its subsequent political instability and violence. The economy also collapsed due to widespread corruption in the same period. Lawrence Lifschultz wrote in the magazine, Far Eastern Economic Review, in 1974 that Bangladeshis considered “the corruption and malpractices and plunder of national wealth” “unprecedented”.


On 24 February 1975, Mujib formed a new party, On 7 June 1975, Mujib’s political supporters in his party and a few others amalgamated to form the only legal political party, the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League, commonly known by its initials—BaKSAL. All MPs were required to join BaKSAL. The party identified itself with the rural masses, farmers, and labourers and took control of all mechanisms of government. It also launched major socialist programs. Under this new system, Sheikh Mujib assumed the presidency and was given extraordinary powers. According to Time magazine:

On 15 August 1975, a group of junior army officers invaded the presidential residence with tanks and killed Mujib, his family and personal staff. Only his daughters Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, who were visiting West Germany at the time, escaped. They were banned from returning to Bangladesh. The coup was planned by disgruntled Awami League colleagues and military officers, which included Mujib’s colleague and former confidanté Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad, who became his immediate successor. There was intense speculation in the media accusing the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency of having instigated the plot. Lawrence Lifschultz has alleged that the CIA was involved in the coup and assassination, basing his assumption on statements by the then-U.S. ambassador in Dhaka, Eugene Booster.


Mujib’s death plunged the nation into a political turmoil. The coup leaders were soon overthrown and a series of counter-coups and political assassinations paralyzed the country. Order was largely restored after a coup in 1976 that gave control to the army chief Ziaur Rahman. Declaring himself President in 1978, Ziaur Rahman signed the Indemnity Ordinance, giving immunity from prosecution to the men who plotted Mujib’s assassination and overthrow.


Following his assassination, succeeding governments offered low-key commemorations of Mujibur. Restoration of his public image awaited the election of an Awami League government in 1996, which was led by his eldest daughter, Sheikh Hasina, the leader of the party. 15 August has since been commemorated as “National Mourning Day”. The country keeps it flags lowered to half-mast in this day as a sign of mourning. In 2016, the Awami League government passed a law that criminalized any criticism of Mujibur Rahman.


Sheikh Hasina had returned and herself became Prime Minister. She overturned the immunity decree and in 1998 a dozen army officers, including Abdul Majed, were sentenced to death. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh upheld the verdict and five of them were hanged. On 12 April 2020, the former army officer, Abdul Majed, was found in hiding and also executed for the assassination of Mujibur Rahman.


Despite controversy and disagreement among politicians, Mujibur remains a popular figure in Bangladesh. In a 2004 BBC Bengali opinion poll, Mujibur was voted as the “Greatest Bengali of All Time”. The style of waistcoat that Mujibur wore during his political campaign is called a Mujib Coat (Bangla: মুজিব কোট) in Bangladesh.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is 101 years, 7 months and 0 days old. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will celebrate 102nd birthday on a Thursday 17th of March 2022.

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