Background information of 4 national leaders

Mujibnagar Shorkar, first government of Bangladesh

The Mujibnagar Shorkar, also known as 'Probashi Shorkar' (Foreign Government), was the first Government of Bangladesh, formed on 10 April 1971 with the formal swearing ceremony taking place on 17 April 1971 in small border town of Baidyanathtala (Bhoborpara), Meherpur District, Kushtia in north-western Bangladesh.

The initial idea for an independent Bangladesh government is believed to have been conceptualised by Tajuddin Ahmad during 30 March 1971 while fleeing Bangladesh. It was Tajuddin who renamed Baidyanathtala to 'Mujibnagar' in honour of his closest colleague and leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The imprisoned Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was selected as President, Syed Nazrul Islam as Vice President (who was appointed Acting President in Sheikh Mujib's absence), Tajuddin Ahmad as Prime Minister, Khandaker Moshtaque Ahmed as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, Muhammad Mansur Ali as Finance Minister, AHM Kamruzzaman as Minister for Home Affairs, Relief and Rehabilitation, and retired Colonel (later General) Mohammad Ataul Ghani Osmani as Commander-in-Chief of Bangladesh Forces. Professor Yusuf Ali, teacher-turned-politician and Chief of the Department of Relief and Rehabilitation, was appointed as potentiary (someone similar to present day Chief Whip in Parliament) and administered the oath of office. Amirul Islam was appointed Chief of the Volunteer Corps, Abdul Mannan as Chief of Press, Information, Radio and Film, Matiur Rahman as Chief of Commerce, and Major Mohammad Abdur Rab as Chief of Staff.

With their charismatic and powerful leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman locked up in solitary confinement in the then West Pakistan, the Mujibnagar Shorkar and their freedom fighters spearheaded and oversaw the liberation movement.

Overseeing the Bangladesh government in exile were four men who became the protagonists of the Bengali liberation campaign: Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, Captain Mansur Ali, and A. H. M. Kamruzzaman.

These four would later famously become known as 'Char Neta', the Four Politician or Four Leaders.

Syed Nazrul Islam

Born in 1925 in Jamodal Dampara in Kishoreganj district, Syed Nazrul Islam completed his Masters in History (1947) and Law degree (1953) from Dhaka University. During his study he captained the cricket team and hockey team and participated in Pakistan movement and later in Bhasha Andolon (Language Movement). Syed Nazrul entered civil service in 1949 working as a Taxation officer. He resigned in 1951 to work at professor of history at Anandamohan College in Mymensingh while practising law simultaneously after obtaining his law degree. He joined the newly formed Awami Muslim League and was arrested by police during the 1952 Bhasha Andolon for campaigning for greater equality for people of East Pakistan. Syed Nazrul was elected President of Mymensingh Awami League and senior Vice President of Awami League Central Committee in 1964. He became a close associate of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and was one of many jailed during Awami League's Six Point Programme of mid-1960s. He acted as President of Awami League from 1966 - 1969 when Sheikh Mujib was in jail.

During the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, Syed Nazrul Islam escaped to India and formed the Mujibnagar Shorkar. He was selected Vice-President and acting president from 17 April 1971 till 12 January 1972, in the absence of Sheikh Mujib. Syed Nazrul was instrumental in coordinating Mukti Bahini and winning international support in favour of Bangladesh's independence.

In post-independent Bangladesh, Syed Nazrul Islam led the ministry of industry in the first cabinet of Sheikh Mujib and was also a member of the committee responsible for drafting the Constitution of Bangladesh. He later became Vice Chairman of BAKSAL, a one-party system introduced by the then premier Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Tajuddin Ahmad

One of the most important figures in the history of Bangladesh, Tajuddin Ahmad was born on 23 July 1925 in Kapasia thana of Gazipur district, approximately 20 miles (28 km) away from Dhaka. He was a brilliant academic student and a hafez (someone who memorised the whole Qur'an). Tajuddin obtained his Economics degree (1953) and Law degree from Dhaka University and campaigned for the creation of Pakistan and later greater authority of East Pakistan.

Starting with Bengal Muslim League, Tajuddin moved on to Awami League and was elected Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). He was arrested repeatedly during 1960s along with close companion Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for campaigning against military government of Ayub Khan and for greater equality of East Pakistanis or Bengalis.

Prior to the outbreak of Liberation War in 1971, Tajuddin was acting as General Secretary of East Pakistan Awami League. When war broke out, he escaped to India along with Barrister Amirul Islam and was selected first Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Many consider Tajuddin Ahmad to be the political mastermind behind the Liberation War. As the premier, he presided over the Bangladesh Sector Commanders Conference, forming the Bangladesh Armed Forces. It was under his leadership that Mujibnagar Shorkar performed all the wartime activities and ultimately succeeded in winning the civil war.

In post-liberation Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujib dissolved Tajuddin's 5-member cabinet and appointed Tajuddin Minister of Finance and Planning. But he opposed the forming of BAKSAL and later left politics upon Sheikh Mujib's request on 26 October 1974.

Captain Muhammad Mansur Ali

Muhammad Mansur Ali, more popularly known as Captain Mansur Ali, was born in 16 January 1919 in the village of Kuripara in Sirajganj district. He graduated from Calcutta Islamia College and obtained MA in Economics and a law degree (1944) from Aligarh Muslim University in India. He was widely known as 'Captain' Mansur Ali as he had joined Pakistan army as captain but later decided to practice law. Mansur Ali joined Awami Muslim League in 1951 and became very active in politics. He was arrested in Pabna during 1952 Bhasha Andolan (Language Movement). He served as minister of the Jukto Front (United Front) government and was involved in the Six Point Programme and elected as member of Provincial Assembly from Pabna in 1970. The following year he was appointed Finance, Trade and Commerce Minister of Mujibnagar Shokar.

After independence, Captain Mansur Ali was appointed minister for communication, and then the minister for home affairs and communication in Sheik Mujib's cabinet. In 1973 he was elected as member of the National Assembly and as member in the Awami League Parliamentary Party. Captain Mansur Ali replaced Sheikh Mujib as Prime Minister during BAKSAL government, after Sheikh Mujib had elevated himself to President in January 1975, and aided in the organisation of the Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini (JRB).

Abul Hasnat Muhammad (A. H. M.) Kamruzzaman

A. H. M. Kamruzzaman (also spelt Qamaruzzaman) was born on 26 June 1926 to a renowned political family in Rajshahi. He obtained a Master degree in economics from the University of Calcutta (1946), and a law degree 10 years later from the Rajshahi University (1956). A lawyer by profession, Kamruzzaman entered politics through Rajshahi Branch of Bengal Muslim Students League and later became a member of parliament twice in 1962 and 1966. Kamruzzaman never lost in any assembly or parliament election after 1962. He was General Secretary of All Pakistan Awami League in 1967 but resigned from parliament two years later in favour of 11-point movement of the students.

In the Mujibnagar provisional government, Kamruzzaman was given the portfolio of interior, relief and rehabilitation ministries, and had the daunting task of overseeing the management of 10 million Bengali refugees.

Following independence, Kamruzzaman retained his position as Home Minister in the cabinet led by Sheikh Mujib. On 18 January 1974 he resigned from the cabinet to serve as the President of Awami League. He was later selected as a member of the executive committee of BAKSAL in 1975 and appointed the minister of Industries.