We are saddened by the demise of President Zillur Rahman. His sterling qualities are worth emulating. He had been involved in all the turning-points in our history. He was one of the eleven Dhaka University students who broke Section 144 on February 21, 1952 and since then at every critical juncture of this nation’s annals we saw him rising to the occasion. It is interesting to note that here was a man who never lost a parliamentary election in his life as a politician. Mr. Rahman’s political career, one that spanned some six decades, was an epitome of consistency, commitment and forbearance.
But it was not all glory and fame for him. Trials and tribulations had a part in molding the man that was Zillur Rahman. Following the assassination of Bangabandhu and the four national leaders in ’75, he spent four years languishing in jail in the military rule that followed. On a more personal note, the fact that his wife, Ivy Rahman, a politician in her own right, was murdered on August 21, 2004, shocked him intensely. Yet, the man never lost sight of what was important. In 2007, the Awami League faced its most serious challenge since 1975, when the present prime minister was incarcerated and the mantle of party leadership fell on his shoulders, he steered it deftly from falling apart.
President Rahman will surely be remembered for his interaction with the opposition. Any invitation by him to the opposition was never spurned by Khaleda Zia. That he commanded respect in the opposition camp is indicative of the sort of man he was, the quintessential politician with vast experience. It is with true fortitude that he acquitted himself and contributed to national politics. and his presence will be sorely missed.