Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani
The oppressed leader of the hungry people of the Indian subcontinent. Where there is injustice, there is a protesting voice, the name of an earthquake is Maulana Bhasani. Maulana Bhasani was born on 12 December 1880 in the village of Sayadhangara in Sirajganj district, the gateway to East Bengal. Maulana Bhasani’s father’s name was Haji Sharafat Ali Khan. Although born in Sirajganj, Bhasani is better known as a resident of Tangail as he got married and lived in Tangail for most of his life.
In the first half of his life, he was inspired by the anti-British leaders Maulana Mohammad Ali, Maulana Shawkat Ali, and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and got involved in the anti-British movement. In 1926, the first peasant-tenant movement was started in Assam. In 1929, the first farmers’ conference was held at Bhasan Char on the Brahmaputra river in Dhubri district of Assam. From here the word Bhasani is added at the end of the name. In 1931 at Santosh Kagmari, in 1932 at Kawrakhola in Sirajganj, and in 1933 at Gaibandha, a large peasant conference was held. He left the Congress in 1937 and joined the Muslim League. In the same year, he led the anti-custom movement in Assam when the ‘line system’ was introduced as a tool of Bengali oppression. In 1940, Sher-e-Bangla A.K. was Elected President of the Muslim League with Fazlul Huq and participated in the Pakistan movement.
He was the president of the 1944 Assam Provincial Muslim League. At this time he formed a fierce movement for the rights of the Bengali peasants inside and outside the party. Bhasani formed the first opposition party in Pakistan, the Awami Muslim League, in 1949 and became its president. His courageous role in the 1952 language movement has been brilliant. An all-party Rashtrabhasha Karma Parishad was formed at a meeting held at the Dhaka District Bar Library Hall on 30 January 1952 and one of its key members was appointed.
Arrested for collaborating in the State Language Movement (February 1952). 16 months of torture. Sher-e-Bangla AK, president of the Krishak-Sramik Party, was elected on December 3, 1953, with the aim of confronting the ruling Muslim League in the East Bengal Parishad elections. Fazlul Haque and his party formed a united front with Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy, the convener of the All Pakistan Awami Muslim League. Election (8-11 March 1954) – United Front’s landslide victory. United Front Parliamentary Party leader A.K. Formation of government in East Bengal by Fazlul Huq (4 April 1954). Bhasani went on a hunger strike in Dhaka on May 7, 1956, demanding Rs 50 crore from the central government to prevent a food-borne famine in East Bengal. The government broke the fast on 24 May 1956 if it accepted the demand. When the Awami League-Republican Party coalition government was formed at the center on September 12 this year under the leadership of Hosan Shaheed Suhrawardy, Maulana Bhasani opposed the government’s pro-US foreign policy. Put pressure on the government to follow a neutral foreign policy and grant autonomy to East Bengal. It was from this that Bhasani’s differences with the Suhrawardy-followers arose.
He convened the largest political and social conference in the history of Pakistan in 1957 at Kagmari in Tangail. Which is historically known as the Kagmari Conference. At the conference, he bade farewell to the Western ruling class, saying “Assalamu Alaikum.” The Kagmari Conference led to his split with Suhrawardy and Sheikh Mujib. Bhasani demanded cancellation of Pak-US military agreement. When Prime Minister Shahid Suhrawardy rejected that demand, Bhasani resigned from the Awami League on 18 March 1957.
In the same year, on 25 July 1957, the National Awami Party (NAP) was formed under his leadership at Roopmahalo Cinema Hall in Dhaka. He was elected president. Bhasani led the political process by opposing the 6-point program introduced by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1966. When the NAP split in November 1967, the pro-China NAP took the lead. He played a strong role in the anti-Ayub mass movement of January-March 1969. Expressing support for the 11-point program of the Student Struggle Council. When Yahya Khan announced the election after the fall of Ayub Khan, Bhasani demanded ‘I want rice before the vote’, ‘Islamic cultural revolution’ in the country, ‘Islamic socialism’ and so on. Shortly before the election, on 12 November 1970, a catastrophic cyclone struck the coast of East Pakistan, leaving relief work in the affected areas as a priority, and the Western government withdrew from the election if no action was taken. On 4 December 1970, while addressing a public meeting at Paltan Maidan in Dhaka, the President raised the demand for ‘Independent East Pakistan’. In the run-up to the War of Independence, Bhasani supported the Non-Cooperation Movement (3-25 March 1971) led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
In the 1971 War of Independence, he served as the Chief Adviser to the Government of Bangladesh. Returned to Bangladesh from India on 2 January 1972. ‘Haq Kotha’ was published on February 25 of the same year. Bhasani opposed the alliance agreement signed between Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib and Indira Gandhi in 1972. However, he supported the 1972 constitution and the government’s policy of nationalization of bank insurance and industry. After independence, on 16 May 1976, Indira Gandhi marched to the border with the Farakka procession to put pressure on the government to stop the flow of the Padma River and remove the Farakka dam built on the Ganges. On October 1, 1976, the Khodai Khidmatgar organization was formed under his leadership.
He was a militant leader in the anti-feudal, imperialist, and anti-capitalist movements. He was a legend in the movement for the establishment of a socialist, economic system and the development of Bengali nationalism. He has been called the ‘crownless emperor of the oppressed people of Afro-Asia’.
Books published by Bhasani:
- Country Problem Solving (1962).
- In Mao Zedong’s Country (1976).
Maulana Bhasani, the oppressed public leader, died on November 17, 1976.