Mon, 03 October 2022
The Daily Ittefaq

Bangabandhu's student life: A study of relevant books

Update : 21 Aug 2022, 11:45

Bangabandhu appears as the main subject in many books written in the last 50 years, but many of them are not considered quality books that will sustain for a hundred years with noteworthy recognition. Through a public domain website that was updated a few years back, there are said to have at least 1400 books written on him. Therefore, following that outgrowth, I guess around 1500 books altogether so far have been written about this great man. However, all these books are not apparently authentic; some are inscribed from emotional and exaggerative panoramas. But, a book I recently read on Bangabandhu's student life seems very much exceptional to me. Therefore, I have read it both as a reader and critic.

‘Bangabandhur Chatrajibon’, written by Rifat Amin, is a book that can help anyone to explore Bangabandhu's student life with complete confidence. The book written in the Bangla language appears as a complete history, including the entire story of Bangabandhu's college and   university life—starting from his school life, has been presented in a very easy-going and time- consisting manner with reliable sources. Bangabandhu has been fluently portrayed not only as a student leader but also as a child of parents, student of teachers, and friend of classmates.

I found that the writer Rifat Amin has used 37 books as the reference, where I have seen some books that might be less reliable as those writers could not include the histories with proper references. For example, ‘Bangabandhur Kishorjibon’ (Anindra Shuvra), ‘Bangabandhur Kishorjiboni’ (Abdul Kader Palas), ‘Bangabandhur Chelebelar Golpo’ (Kaleq Bin Joyenuddin), ‘Kishor Upojogi Bangabandhur Jibon Kotha’ (Shams Sayed) are some of the books where information is stored without proper citations.

Today’s Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has mentioned in her book  ‘Sheikh Mujib   Amar Pita' that their Middle Eastern ancestors came to this land (Tungipara) around 200 years ago to preach religion (Page 25). On the contrary, Qazi Ahmed Kamal said in his book, ‘Sheikh ‘Mujibur Rahman o Bangladesher Jonmo’, that Bangabandhu admitted that he was completely unaware of his ancestral connection to the middle east (Page 25). I had a confusion about whether Sheikh Mujib tried to ignore that connection or not, but in Rifat Amin’s book, there is a satisfying answer to this incertitude: Sheikh Mujib did not try to ignore that connection; rather, he gave less importance to be proud of the glory of the Middle Eastern dynasty. On the contrary,     he preferred to think of the glory that his close ancestors had acquired as Bengali (Page 30).

Another point I have noticed is that the story of Bangabandhu involved in the relevant historical chapters of Dhaka University has probably so far been based on a hypothesis. There was always a discussion on the given information found so far, and the information was incomplete. As the writer, Rifat Amin has mentioned that he has collected the original papers from the records of Dhaka University where all stages of the syndicate decision starting from Bangabandhu’s registration to its cancellation have been noted with actual references; page  124 can be an example and this must be an exclusive inquiry.

In addition to this, the writer has collected the history of the language movement from different books, including Muntasir Mamun, and with the help of these books, some information of Badruddin Omar's book has been rebutted. He also mentioned times resembling various intelligence reports; moreover, Bangabandhu's memoirs, the ‘Unfinished Autobiography’, which Bangabandhu himself wrote in 1955, was another strong evidence as the history was smoothly written by the person who actually made those histories.

From a different perspective, the writer has accused that in the description based on Badruddin Umar's documents in the context of the language movement, the leadership of Bangabandhu at that time has been avoided, and all the credit for the language movement was given to the cultural organisation ‘Tamaddun Majlish’. But, all those who were involved in the language movement and had a role in making it successful were leaders and activists of the Chhatra League or the Chhatra Union at that time.

Even those who led the ‘Rashtrabhasha Sangram Parishad’ formed in 1948 and 1952 were mainly leaders and activists of Awami Muslim League, Chhatra League, and Chhatra Union. ‘Tamaddun Majlis’ Chief Professor Abul Qasim was only a member of that committee. Bangabandhu was in the leadership role in 1948 and 1952—the first time straight, the next time from jail.

Even Abul Barkat, the university student among the language martyrs of 1952, was himself a devoted activist of the `East Pakistan Muslim Chhatra League’, a close comrade-in-arms of Bangabandhu. Badruddin Umar had avoided these histories, and this has been a long-drawn lacking that Bangabandhu’s contribution to the language movement was always ignored throughout history. Therefore, reading the chapters related to the language movement in Rifat Amin’s book will bring these issues into a different level of discussion.

Moreover, the most interesting part to me is that the information of Bangabandhu's student life in Dhaka University is entirely new—the writer has included some exclusive documents from various magazines of that time, which might be inconsistent with existing books in the market. For example, the correct names of the twenty-seven students whose studies were cancelled must be an exclusive finding.

However, considering the demand for authenticity, ‘Bangabandhur Chatrajibon’, written by Rifat Amin, can be regarded as the dictionary of Bangabandhu’s student life resources. As the history of his student life was scattered, probably this is the first time that the whole history has been presented together. There is also another two tiny books written by Saifullah Mahmud Dulal and Shariful Hasan Shuvo, but the Shariful Hasan Shuvo’s book was named `Osomapto   Chatrojibon’. However, differently in Rifat Amin’s book, footnotes and references are mentioned  in each piece of information on each page; that is the most valuable addition to this study.

Rifat Amin attempted to consistently present the whole history and keep the reader's attention on the chronology without resorting to any self-analysis. Along with the political development of Bangabandhu, some notable people of his life have been brought to the fore, who were not   much discussed anywhere: Bangabandhu's father, friend, wife, sister Sheikh Asiya and others, especially Sheikh Lutfar Rahman. How family practice, environment and support can build a   child has been shown in the book. It’s therefore not only a book of history but also a book of ethical learning, a guideline for parents and inspiration for students to achieve their own dreams.

In the book ‘Sheikh Mujib Amar Pita’, Sheikh Hasina wrote about the kindness of her great grandfather and grandfather. It was the reason Sheikh Mujib inherited the quality and later became ‘Bangabandhu’, winning the heart of the people of Bangladesh. In Rifat Amin’s book, there is a wonderful presentation of his generosity, for example, the benevolence of parents and Bangabandhu's childhood (pages 35–37), adolescent generosity (59, 60-61, 65), in youth (86, 88, 90, 91-94, 96-97, 106-108, 147-156), and other examples (239-247, 248-258, 262-272, 278-281).

The way I have liked it as a reader, I also have observations as the critic of the book. For example, the book was casually big in size, and as the history of ‘Bangabandhu's Student Life’, I think the rest of the part that was written after his academic life could be less descriptive. Furthermore, there was an excessive collection of other sources, and the writer had little scope to make his own contribution.

And, references could be more organised as quoting many sources might destroy the flow of the readers’ attention. Some of the origins of provided information between the connections are sometimes confounded in the book. It might be difficult for the average reader to understand the sources of unidentified parts. Periodically the information has been repeated. For example, the writer mentioned several times that Bangabandhu used to learn different subjects. Including pages 37 and 39, I have found the same information mentioned on another page that I have lost.

However, except for these eluded points, I would definitely say that the book might be a    valuable resource for presenting information on Bangabandhu's student life. It can be an  essential and enjoyable book for people from all walks of life, including teenagers, students, and teachers. More importantly, readers will be satisfied because there will be less ambiguity regarding justifying the given information as the references have been proffered to the collecting sources on every page. I believe the greatness of Bangabandhu will sustain for years and years  if there are books written with references this way.

The writer is a freelance columnist who focuses on contemporary issues, education, and literature 

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