| by Swadesh Roy

( March 24, 2013, Dhaka, Sru Lanka Guardian) President of Bangladesh Mr. Zillur Rahman has passed away on 20 March, in Singapore at a hospital. He was 84. He is the last man of his generation in the politics of Bangladesh. His entire political colleagues have died earlier. He was the last man who had two prides; he was a freedom struggle organizer and an organizer of language movement. In Bangladesh, it is called that language movement is the genesis of the freedom struggle of Bangladesh. Bangladesh was once a part of India it was then an eastern part of Bengal; and the Bengal started freedom struggle against British at first in the British India. However, at the end of British rule in India the present Bangladesh became a part of Pakistan. British divided India in to two parts; one part is India another is Pakistan. The present Bangladesh became a part of Pakistan but originally it is a part of Bengal of India.

In his political career, he was a successful politician. He held the position of the general secretary for four times of Awami league, the historical political party of Bangladesh. Here it has to mention that Bangladesh became independent under the leadership of Awami league.
In British India Bengal was the more advanced area of the Indian sub continent and the Bengali language was very rich language since then. We know that, Rabindranath Tagore got Nobel in Bengali literature in 1913. It was the first Asian who got Nobel prize. However, when the eastern part of Bengal became the part of Pakistan in the name of Muslim religion then the Pakistani ruler or the father of the nation of Pakistan declared that Urdu would be the state language of Pakistan. Though the majority of eastern part of Pakistan was Muslim in religion but they did not accept Urdu as a state language by their heart, rather the youth of eastern part of Pakistan protest it vigorously. They started a movement against imposing Urdu. Their demand was that the Bengali would be the state language. It was the language movement of in this land. It started from 1948 but it went to the pick at 1952. Students had to sacrifice their lives at that time. Zillur Rahman was one of the important leaders of that 1952 movement. Through that language movement people of that land understood, they made a mistake. They realized that, their identity is first Bengali by nation then they are Hindu or Muslim. Therefore, from the language movement people of this land started to establish their real identity. At last, they established their identity to establish an independent country and a nation in the basis of language. So, the political scientist are called that, language movement is the genesis of the independent of Bangladesh. Mr. Zillur Rahman was the hero of language movement also a hero of independent struggle. He was the last politician in Bangladesh who had those two achievements.

In his political career, he was a successful politician. He held the position of the general secretary for four times of Awami league, the historical political party of Bangladesh. Here it has to mention that Bangladesh became independent under the leadership of Awami league. Besides that, he held the position of a minister of Bangladesh and he died as president of Bangladesh. In his political life, he did an enormous job in 2007 and 2008. He was then a septuagenarian. He could not move fast at that time. But he had to be a savior of the democracy of the country. In 11 January 2007,in the name of a caretaker government the army of Bangladesh took over the power of the country. They arrested all the main political leaders of the country including two former Prime Ministers. After the arrest of Sheikh Hasina, the then former Prime minister and the president of Bangladesh Awami league, she made Zillur Rahman as an acting president of Awami league. Though Zillur Rahman became the acting president of Awami league but within a short, he became the guardian of the then Bangladesh politics. It was the worst time for the Bangladesh politics; it was not only worst for the politics but also worst for the economy. In the name of the caretaker government, the army ruler of Bangladesh arrested entire main businesspersons of Bangladesh. In that darkest time, Zillur Rahman ran the politics of the country as a leader of wisdom, as a savior of a country. After his death, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that, for his wisdom and brave leadership the people of Bangladesh became successful to restore democracy.

Under the leadership of Zillur Rahman, Awami league and his ally face the military backed caretaker government with so much intelligence and the then government was bound to free Sheik Hasina and gave the general election. In that election, Awami League came out with a landslide victory and under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina formed the government and her parliament elected Zillur Rahman as a President of Bangladesh. As a President he achieved the respect of enter political party and the people of Bangladesh. So, after his death all the media said that people of Bangladesh lost their guardian. When he was died, he was 84 that is why as a politician it is a great achievement for him.

Now Bangladesh has to elect a new President. According to the constitution, the speaker of the parliament is running the president office as an acting President. But the constitution say that, “ in case of a vacancy in the office of President occurring by reason of the expiration of his term of office an election to fill the vacancy shall be held within the period of sixty to ninety days prior to the date of expiration of the term.” Here is an additional clause in the constitution that, which parliament was made him President, if that parliament does not exist, President Election will be held within 30 days after the next parliament. The parliament elected Zillur Rahman as a President that parliament is also existed so new President of Bangladesh will be elected within 60 or 90 days. Besides, the constitution of Bangladesh also say that, “ Subject to provisions of this Constitution, the President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office.” So after the next election, which party formed the government this newly elected President will run the office of the President.

It has another implication in Bangladesh politics that if the present opposition come to the power they have to run the government to take a President who does not belong to their party. It may be helpful to build-up a democratic culture in Bangladesh. On the other hand, people of Bangladesh is now worried that, if the opposition comes to the power their President will pardon the war criminals who are now convicted by the tribunal. But that will not be happened since President will not do it; he will belong to the side of pro- liberation. However, now it is reality that, the people of Bangladesh will not accept any anti liberation force in the power of Bangladesh.

Swadesh Roy, Executive Editor, The Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh he can be reached at swadeshroy@gmail.com