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They emerged as heroes


Throughout history if any location or highhanded action made singular heroes out of individuals in their respective countries, so much so that they each emerged as founding fathers, it is that four-letter premises called J-A-I-L.

In countless situations ruling powers made mistake after mistake, and tried to off-load their failure to govern, or imprisoned the leaders in their lust to continue in office without a proper public mandate; those whom they handcuffed were in fact voicing the pulse of the people.

Here follows three case studies by seniority of age:


“Mohandas Karamchand (1869-1948), Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, was born in Porbandar in the present state of Gujarat on October 2, 1869, and educated in law at University College, London. In 1891, after having been admitted to the British bar, Gandhi returned to India and attempted to establish a law practice in Bombay (now Mumbai), with little success. Two years later an Indian firm with interests in South Africa retained him as legal adviser in its office in Durban. Arriving in Durban, Gandhi found himself treated as a member of an inferior race. He was appalled at the widespread denial of civil liberties and political rights to Indian immigrants to South Africa. He threw himself into the struggle for elementary rights for Indians. Gandhi remained in South Africa for 20 years, suffering imprisonment many times. In 1896, after being attacked and beaten by white South Africans, Gandhi began to teach a policy of passive resistance to, and non-cooperation with, the South African authorities. The British government again seized and imprisoned him in 1922 for two years. In 1930 the Mahatma proclaimed a new campaign of civil disobedience, calling upon the Indian population to refuse to pay taxes, particularly the tax on salt. The campaign was a march to the sea, in which thousands of Indians followed Gandhi from Ahmadabad to the Arabian Sea, where they made salt by evaporating sea water. Once more the Indian leader was arrested, but he was released in 1931, halting the campaign after the British made concessions to his demands. In the same year Gandhi represented the Indian National Congress at a conference in London. In September 1932, while in jail, Gandhi undertook a 'fast unto death' to improve the status of the Hindu Untouchables. He was interned in 1942 but was released two years later because of failing health.” (Encarta Reference Library 2005) The rest is also history.


“Nelson (Rolihlahla) Mandela (1918- ), South African activist, winner of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, and the first black president of South Africa (1994-1999), helped to establish the ANC's (African National Congress) military wing in December 1961. He was named its commander-in-chief and went to Algeria for military training. Back in South Africa, he was arrested in August 1962 and sentenced to five years in prison for incitement and for leaving the country illegally. While Mandela was in prison, ANC colleagues who had been operating in hiding were arrested at Rivonia, outside of Johannesburg. Mandela was put on trial with them for sabotage, treason, and violent conspiracy. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment in June 1964. For the next 18 years he was imprisoned on Robben Island and held under harsh conditions with other political prisoners. Despite the maximum security of the Robben Island prison, Mandela and other leaders were able to keep in contact with the antiapartheid movement covertly. Mandela wrote much of his autobiography secretly in prison. The manuscript was smuggled out and was eventually completed and published in 1994 as 'Long Walk to Freedom'. Later, Mandela was moved to the maximum-security Pollsmoor Prison near Cape Town. Mandela became an international symbol of resistance to apartheid during his long years of imprisonment, and world leaders continued to demand his release. In response to both international and domestic pressure, the South African government, under the leadership of President F. W. de Klerk, lifted the ban against the ANC and released Mandela in February 1990.” (Patrick O'Meara & N. Brian Winchester) The rest is also history.


“Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, (1920-1975), founding father of Bangladesh and its first prime minister (1972-1975) was born in Tungipara, Gopalganj, and was educated at Islamia College, Calcutta (now Kolkata), and at the University of Dhaka. He was unable to complete law at Dhaka University because he was expelled from the University in early 1949 on charge of 'inciting the fourth-class employees' in their agitation against the University's indifference towards their legitimate demands. Active in politics at an early age, he became a founding member of the Awami League in 1949 to fight for the autonomy of East Bengal within Pakistan. Frequently arrested for his activities, he became immensely popular and eventually emerged as the undisputed Bengali leader. In 1963 Mujib became the leader of the Awami League, which won a majority in Pakistan's National Assembly in 1970. He spent most of his life fighting against the injustice bestowed upon Bangalees, first by the British, and then by the Pakistani Punjabi military/civil junta. After the mass uprising of 1969, he was given the title 'Bangabandhu', means 'Friend of Bengal. History of Bangladesh is largely interconnected with the life of Bangabandhu. He was a young political activist during the British rule. He was active in every political event of then East Bengal/East Pakistan: the Language Movement of 1952, Jukta Front election of 1954, Student Movement of 1962, 6-Point Demand of 1966, Mass Uprising of 1969, and finally Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 against the Pakistanis. He was imprisoned for more than ten years during the 24-years of Pakistani rule.” (Websites) The rest is also history.

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