Tajuddin Ahmed

Tajuddin Ahmad
তাজউদ্দিন আহমেদ
File:Tajuddin Ahmed Bangla.jpg
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
In office
11 April 1971 – 12 January 1972
President Mujibur Rahman
Nazrul Islam (Acting)
Succeeded by Mujibur Rahman
Personal details
Born (1925-07-23)23 July 1925
Dardaria, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now Kapasia, Bangladesh)
Died 3 November 1975(1975-11-03) (aged 50)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Political party Awami League (1949–1975)
Other political
affiliations
All-India Muslim League (Before 1949)
Alma mater University of Dhaka
Religion Islam

Tajuddin Ahmad (Bengali: তাজউদ্দিন আহমেদ) (July 23, 1925 – November 3, 1975) was a Bangladeshi politician and statesman who served as the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh. He was a prominent leader of the Awami League party and served as its General Secretary during the critical period of the Bangladesh independence movement.

Ahmad was instrumental in forming the Provisional Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, popularly known as the Mujibnagar Government, during the Bangladesh Liberation War. After the independence of Bangladesh, Tajuddin served as Finance Minister until 1974. After the assassination of President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in August 1975, Tajuddin was arrested by the military government and executed by a group of renegade army officers in Dhaka Central Jail on 3 November 1975.[1]

Named as "one of the most influential political leaders in the history of Bangladesh",[2] he is highly regarded by Bangladeshis for his leadership of the Provisional Government of Bangladesh in 1971 and for being a staunch secular democrat.[1]

Early life[3]

Family

Tajuddin born in a middle class conservative Muslim family. His father was Moulavi Muhammad Yasin Khan and his mother Meherunnesa Khanam. There were ten brothers and sisters—four brothers and six sisters.

Education

His education began at the village maktab (religious school) founded by his father. Later on he was enrolled in Bhuleswar Primary School, two kilometers from the family house. When he was in class (grade) four he was enrolled in Kapasia Minor English School, a distance of five kilometers from Dardoria. His enrollment at this school was due to the encouragement of his mother. While a student at Kapasia M.E. School Tajuddin drew the attention of three senior revolutionary leaders who had dedicated their lives to liberating their country from the British rule. They were impressed by Tajuddin’s merit and planted the seed of patriotism in young Tajuddin’s heart. They recommended to his teachers that their student be sent on to a better school. Accordingly he was admitted into St. Nicholas Institution in Kalinganj. At this school, as well, he so distinguished himself that the headmaster advised that he be admitted into Muslim Boys’ School in Dhaka, and then he went on to St. Gregory’s High School. He passed his matriculation exam in first division while earning a twelfth position in merit list nationwide in 1944 from St. Gregory's High School in Kolkata Board. He earned fourth position in his Matriculation examinations in 1948 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Economics from Dhaka University in 1953. He also later obtained a law degree.[1] He studied the Quran and, becoming a Hafidh.

Political career

Ahmad organized protests and other activities during the Language Movement of 1952. He was arrested by police and imprisoned for several months. After his release, he was elected to the East Pakistan Provincial Assembly in 1954 but was arrested following the dismissal of the A. K. Fazlul Huq-led government. He would be arrested again following the imposition of martial law by Ayub Khan in 1958 after taking power in a military coup. Ahmed worked in the pro-democracy campaign led by the Awami League and other political parties in Pakistan. He organized protests against the arrest of Mujib in 1966 on charges of sedition. He participated at the round table conference in Rawalpindi convened by Ayub Khan to resolve the crisis between the government and the opposition parties. Following the restoration of democracy, he was elected member of the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1970.

Following the arrest of Mujib on March 25, 1971 by the Pakistan Army, which continued to kill civilians, Ahmad organized a government-in-exile popularly known as the Mujibnagar government to win his nation freedom. Ahmad named the capital Mujibnagar, after Shaikh Mujibur Rahman. The oath taking ceremony of the first government of Bangladesh took place on the soil of Bangladesh, in Meherpur, Kushtia on April 17, 1971. He presided over the significant Bangladesh Sector Commanders Conference 1971 that created and formed the entire Bangladesh Forces under the command of General M. A. G. Osmani. As the first Prime Minister he led efforts to organize a guerrilla insurgency of Bengali civilians and armed forces and win international support. During this period, Ahmad encountered vehement intra party strife led by Khandokar Mushataq Ahmad who conspired to harm the national struggle for independence through a failed attempt to form a confederacy with Pakistan. Among Ahmad's great diplomatic achievements were to win international support and recognition of Bangladesh as a sovereign nation by the government of India. After the independence of Bangladesh, Ahmad returned to Dhaka on 22 December 1971. In the subsequent cabinet formed under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Ahmad was given charge of the ministries of finance and planning. He was also appointed member of the committee in charge of writing the Constitution of Bangladesh. However, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was influenced to question the integrity of Tajuddin for the party and for himself by the parties within the Awami League who were proved redundant during the Liberation war. Tajuddin was widely publicized by them to be a stooge of the neighbouring Indian government probably because of the respect he commanded from Mrs Gandhi, the then prime minister of India and also for his declared gratefulness for the assistance that India gave during the war. The sycophants of Mujib also portrayed Tajuddin as aspiring to be the next Prime Minister of the country. Khondokar Mushtaque who was a pro-Pakistan conspirator during the war led the effort to malign Mr. Tajuddin. He had active support from the student leadership who also had contempt for Tajuddin as they too were restrained by him from taking advantage of the situation during the war. Till today Awami League failed to evaluate Tajuddin Ahmad's role.

Assassination

When Mujib assumed the title of President and banned other political parties in 1975, Ahmad opposed the forming of a one-party system known as BAKSAL. When Mujib was assassinated by a group of army officers on 15 August 1975, Ahmad was immediately placed under house arrest.[1] On August 22, he was arrested with other political leaders by the regime of the new president Khondaker Mostaq Ahmed and imprisoned at the Dhaka Central Jail. On November 3, in what became infamously known as the "Jail Killing Day",[4] Ahmad along with Syed Nazrul Islam, A. H. M. Qamaruzzaman and Muhammad Mansur Ali were killed at midnight by a group of army officers on the instruction of President Ahmed. [5]

The release on March 25, 2007 of a documentary, Tajuddin Ahmad: An Unsung Hero (directed by Tanvir Mokammel), reflects a growing interest in the life and works of Ahmad.

On January 6, 2009, Ahmad's son Tanzim Ahmed, was appointed Minister of State for Home Affairs, in the Awami League Administration.

See also

References

Other sources

  • Banglapedia biography
Political offices
New office Prime Minister of Bangladesh
1971–1972
Succeeded by
Mujibur Rahman

Template:Bangladesh liberation

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