After returning from her exile in 1981 Sheikh Hasina was handed over the family home on Number 677, Road No. 32, Dhanmondi, Dhaka, by the Ziaur Rahman-led BNP Government of Bangladesh.
The carnage of that dark night six years ago were still fresh in the house referred fondly to as "Bangabandhu Bhaban" (House of Bangabandhu) . The walls, floor, pillars of the house were drilled and stained by bullets and blood. Sheikh Hasina was determined to preserve these painful marks to keep Sheikh Mujib's memory alive.
With this in mind, she handed over the house to the Bangabandhu Trust for converting it into a museum. Thus in 1997 the "Bangabandhu Smriti Jadughar" (Bangabandhu Memorial Museum) was established. Now, this three storied house-cum-museum contains rare collection of personal artifacts and photographs of his lifetime.
The first room of the ground floor was used by Sheikh Mujib as a drawing room to conduct meeting with his colleagues and guest. This room now houses many paintings dedicated to Sheikh Mujib and his life. The other room on the ground floor was used as a study room. It was from here that Sheikh Mujib had sent the Declaration of Independence to the nation on 26 March 1971.
There are three rooms on the first floor. The first was used as a family bedroom whilst the remaining two were bedrooms of Sheikh Mujib and Sheikh Rehana respectively. The family bedroom now exhibits some family photographs and necessary goods used by the whole family. At the end of the corridor out of this room, there is the square of stair where the bullet-ridden dead body of Sheikh Mujib was lying chilled. Over time the blood flow has dried up and turned black. The place is now conserved by the glass box to commemorate Sheikh Mujib and keep the tragedy of that night alive.
Plans are underway to extend the house whilst still preserving the main base of the building to reflect Sheikh Mujib's memorials realistically.
Bangabandhu passed the most important moments of his political life at his 32 number house of Dhanmondi. Eventually, this house has become the symbol of the Bengal pride. On 1st October, 1962, Bangabandhu started to stay at this house en famille. He meditated the spring of Bangladesh from this historic house. This house leads and explores the seed of the independence.
This house and its dwellers were ingrained with each episode of liberation movement of the freedom-loving Bengalis. In the origin of Bangladesh, this house of Bangabandhu was always vibrated with ecstasy of Bengali's destiny, an enthusiastic rendezvous of politicians, intellectuals and pensive people from all corners of the country, where the synthesis of plans and programmes found the culmination.
This house occupies the special space of Bengali Nation since the very beginning of the movement against autocratic Ayub Government in 1962. This house gets attestation as cradle of 6-point movement in 1966, mass-movement of 1968-69 and general election of 1970. The Dhanmondi 32 number house introduces the set-up of Bengali nationalism through planning, preparation and activities.
The thought of liberating Bangladesh from the poisonous claw of Pakistan was ignited from this house. Later it got the fire by the historic speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 7 March 1971 at the Suhrawardy Udyan (the then Race Course Field). This house had been the nucleus of gathering and preparing people from all walks of life to envisage the avenue of independence. Many times, Bangabandhu delivered his valuable and leading speeches towards the people from balcony of this house. Until the massacre by Pakistan soldiers on 25 March, 1971, this house chalked out action plan among leaders, followers, government employees and general people. Bangabandhu performed his daily works at this house. From this house, Bangabandhu dictated all ideas and plans for the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971. The house had been a control room for liberation warship. At that very night of 25 March, 1971, by telephone message Bangabandhu stirred people up to move forward with weapons. At 1:30 am on the same night, Pakistan Government arrested Bangabandhu and brought him to Pakistan.
After the independence, instead of taking Government residence, Bangabandhu decided to stay at this house which eventually had been the centre of people's emotion and nation building. People from all corners, foreign delegates, journalist, poets and so forth were keeping spirited and passionate to see Bangabandhu at a glance.
...But, the Bengalis' good fate lasted for a while...The betrayers' bullet killed them in different rooms of Dhanmondi 32 house.
The house number 32 has been changed in the influence of housing cycle but the number 32 is still glittering, memorable and popular in the history Bangladesh's birth. This house has been a fountain of people's emotion, respect and memory. The house depicts Bangabandhu from his all aspects of life what a museum does for the commemoration of truth of the history. The house is a still conservation of Bangabandhu.
Bangabandhu's attachment with the country and its people was so deeply rooted that the whole nation was united. The Bangabandhu Memorial Museum is the hallmark of respecting the history of Bangladesh and at the same time, the house is the conservation of an iconic personality's dreams, philosophy and patriotism. The memorial museum has been a golden symbol of reminding viewers of the heroic saga of the founder of Bangladesh.
Mohammad Shahidul Islam, Tour Guide
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's family home in Tungipara, Gopalganj district, located 144 km west of Dhaka, has been upgraded into a complex containing the grave of the great leader. The graveyard of Sheikh Mujib and his parents has been converted into a mausoleum which is visited by large number of well-wishers from all over the country - and even internationally - throughout the year.
The complex is known as the 'Bangabandhu Shomadhi Shoudho Prangon' (Bangabandhu Mausoleum Complex) or colloquially as 'Bangabandhu Mazar' (Bangabandhu Graveyard). It was established on 15 June 2001 by the then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Entering from the Patgati Tungipara Road, the complex opens up to a large, open well-organised space containing, amongst other things, a museum which showcases both popular and rare photographs from Sheikh Mujib's life. There's also a small library in the museum. The complex also contains a small dukhan (shop) and a large cafeteria for hungry visitors. In a far corner, there's a small open stage which signifies the countless number of times Sheikh Mujib stood up and gave powerful, resonating speeches to his fellow Bengalis.
A 200 metre-long straight walkway connects the museum with the graveyard. There's a small pond and a park to the either side of the walkway. Carved out on the landscape of the park in Bengali is the title "Jathir Jonok Bangabandhu'r Shomadhi Shoudho Prangon".
Inside the large, almost circular, white mausoleum is the grave of Sheikh Mujib's parent Sheikh Lutfar Rahman and Sayera Khatun lying next to each other. Few metres away is the grave of their 'khoka' Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Next to the graveyard is the humble ancestral home of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. And opposite this is the grand three-storied white home which his father had built and where Sheikh Mujib was born.
In the early morning of 15 August 1975 the teachers and students of Dhaka University (DU) were waiting impatiently for the moment when they will give a hearty reception to their beloved leader and recently appointed university Chancellor Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The University was all set to present their Chancellor with a wooden-framed citation preparedby Vice-Chancellor Dr. Abdul Matin Chowdhury and small gift items of a citation casket, one silver-made crest and a crest with DU monogram at a convocation.
But euphoria turned to utter shock and disbelief when Dr. Matin Chowdhury received a phone telling him Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had been killed along with members of his family by bunch of disgruntled army officers.
Everything came to a halt in DU campus. The call had wrecked all arrangements and people were left speechless by the sudden and brutal assassination.
It was early in the morning. Dr. Matin was taking bed tea. I asked him why the people were not coming by that time. Suddenly the phone rang. Matin picked the receiver. He asked me to switch on the television. As I switched on the television, we heard 'I am Major Dalim speaking.' I was standing there, and then I just sat down. Matin was voiceless, perplexed. He uttered "What should I do now?".
We were cleaning our house for the last few days and decorating everything with utmost care. I made arrangements to entertain by offering food on a silver plate. But everything stopped.
Following President Khandaker Moshtaque Ahmed's clampdown on Sheikh Mujib loyalist, Dr. Abdul Matin Chowdhury was arrested and jailed for 17 months. Nevertheless, whilst other 'supporters' were switching allegiance to suit the political climate, Dr. Matin Chowdhury remained loyal to Sheikh Mujib and later founded the 'Bangabandhu Parishad' (Bangabandhu Union) and became its founding chairman.
Following the mayhem that prevailed after Sheikh Mujib's killing and Dr. Abdul Matin Chowdhury's arrest, the Dhaka University citation got lost in the process.
However, on 2 December 2009, a retired deputy registrar, Amir Hossain, discovered the citation at the registrar's building while he was searching for his personal documents. Amir found the wooden-framed citation in a pile of files inside a steel almirah (cabinet) of the adminstrative building and the crests and casket were found in a safe at the registrar's office. He handed it over to Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. AAMS Arefin two days later. Thus an opportunity came again to honour the deceased powerful leader.
On 17 August 2013, nearly four years after it was discovered, the Dhaka University authorities handed over the historic citation to PM Sheikh Hasina. DU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique handed over the citation along with the gift items to the Prime Minister at a simple but an emotion-filled ambience at Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi.
Prof Arefin Siddique delivered the welcome address and read out the citation finally which was supposed to be read out by Dr. Abdul Matin Chowdhury at the 15 August 1975 convocation. Many notable personalities from the university attended the ceremony. Missing from the guest list was Sheikh Rehana who was abroad at the time.
Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Hasina thanked DU for carefully preserving the citation and the gift items through adverse situations for the last 38 years. She informed them that the citation and items would be handed over to the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum so the people 'could know the real history of the country'.
I have no language to speak for the way the university authorities preserved carefully the citation for long 38 years.
The next generation will have to know the true history of emergence and independence of Bangladesh.
For over 21 years, the killing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the others was not investigated and no one was brought to trial for their involvement in the killings. However, that was all about to change in 1996 when Awami League under Sheikh Hasina came to power.
Five of the twelve majors accused of killing were arrested. After a lengthy court trial, which was temporarily halted for few years when the BNP came to power, finally in 2009 they were found guilty of the killing and received death sentences. Thus on 28 January 2010 Syed Farook Rahman, Sultan Shariar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda, A. K. M. Mohiuddin and Mohiuddin Ahmed were hanged in Dhaka Central Jail where ironically they were alleged to have killed the char netas (four MPs) of the Mujibnagar government.
Six of the seven wanted criminals, including Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Shariful Huq Dalim and Nur Chowdhury, are still absconding whilst the seventh, Abdul Aziz Pasha, is believed to have died of natural causes in Zimbabwe.
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