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|Volume 10 |Issue 39 | October 14, 2011 ||
Life and Times of Shaheed Moyezuddin
September 27, 2011 marks the 27th death anniversary of Moyezuddin, an influential political leader and a former member of the parliament, who played one of the most active roles to run the 'Agartala Conspiracy Case' as the convener of 'Mujib Tahabil'. A leading organiser of the Liberation War and a close aide of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Moyezuddin was killed on September 27, 1984 during the military regime of HM Ershad.
Born in March 17, 1930 in a middle-class Bengali Muslim family in the village of Barahak under Kaligonj upazilla of Gazipur district, Moyezuddin became involved in politics and social welfare from a early age. After completing his Masters degree from Dhaka University 1955, he declined to engage in a governmental job even though he successfully passed CSS examination of 1956. Later he began practicing law after passing LLB from Dhaka University and explored himself as a reputed lawyer within the shortest time.
In 1952 when Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and others began organising protests and rallies against the declaration of Urdu as the sole official language of Pakistan, Moyezuddin actively participated with them. He came close to Mujib during the turmoil and soon became his loyal associate. He was actively associated with the politics of Awami League since its formation.
In 1966, Mujib proclaimed his famous six-point programme, calling it 'Our [Bengalis'] Charter of Survival', which aimed at self-rule for East Pakistan. Consequently, Mujib was arrested by the army and after two years in jail, an official sedition trial in a military court opened. Widely known as the Agartala Conspiracy Case, Mujib and 34 other Bengalis were accused by the government of colluding with Indian government agents in a scheme to divide Pakistan and threaten its unity, order and national security.
Moyezuddin then campaigned all over the country in favour of the 6-point programme as well as against the Agartala Conspiracy Case. Then Moyezuddin was selected as the convener of “Mujib Tahabil” (Mujub Fund) to run the Agartala Conspiracy Case.
“Moyezuddin along with Begum Fazilatunnessa Mujib (wife of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) worked heart and soul to collect the money for that fund. The collected money was urgent as that was spent to run the case especially to provide logistic and legal support for the accused. Without that it was impossible to do so,” says Bilkis Begum, Moyezuddin’s wife.
Advisory council member of Bangladesh Awami League Tofayel Ahmed in a post- editorial published on September 27, 2007 in The Daily Prothom Alo wrote, “When Bangabanbhu announced the 6-point programme, the charter of Bengalis emancipation, I was the vice-president of Dhaka University Central Students' Union (DUCSU), Bangabandhu was sent to Kurmitolla Cantonment from Dhaka Central Jail as an accused of the so called Agartala Conspiracy Case. Moyezuddin Bhai was ahead in the demonstration arranged by us protesting it.”
Like his political mentor Mujib, Moyezuddin also underscored the importance of party organisation and management. Eventually, he started organising the party when he was elected as the basic democracy chairman of Kamalapur Union Parishad under Dhaka Municipality for 1962-63 years.
In the provincial elections of 1970, Moyezuddin was elected as a member in the East Pakistan Assembly. After the Liberation War, Moyezuddin was elected as a member of the parliament from Kaligonj constituency of Gazipur district in the First National Parliamentary Elections of 1973.
After Sheikh Mujib's assassination, Moyezuddin boldly protested the brutal killing in the first assembly of parliament members called by Khandaker Mostaq after August 15. All those who were present there became astonished by Moyezuddin's revolutionary and brave role. He, for the first time organised the students against the assassination arranging the meeting with them at his residence in Dhaka.
For a notable period of time, he was the general secretary and later president of Dhaka District Awami League. After the tragic assassination of Sheikh Mujib, he played a very important role in reorganising, reviving and bolstering Awami League.
Former General Secretary of Kaligonj Thana Teachers Association Sudendhu Kumer Das, who had very close ties with Moyezuddin, remembers him as- “Moyezuddin had all the qualities of a perfect politician. Loving the people was his religion. He was secular, sober, thoughtful and courageous. He was very learned, very amiable and simple. His patriotism and his superior administrative skills were incomparable. He was honest and just, never encouraged sycophants and never betrayed his country or people.”
Even as a parent he instilled in his children the importance of education, hard work and social and cultural values. “Moyezuddin heartedly made our children learn music and be involved in other cultural activities as he strongly believed that art can make a secular, progressive society free from fundamentalism,” says Bilkis.
“When we lived in Kamalapur area, a neighbouring medical student's education came to a stop as his father died suddenly. But Moyezuddin extended his helping hand to help complete his study. Now that student is a reputed neuro surgeon in the United States of America,” recounts his wife Bilkis Begum mentioning many examples of Moyezuddin's benevolence.
“My father would be very upset whenever he heard from me that one of my classmates could not pay their school fess. He would always pay their fees,” says his daughter Meher Afroze Chumki, parliamentary member of Kaligonj constituency of Gazipur District, recalling her childhood memories.
Besides as a politician, Moyezuddin earned international reputation as a social welfare activist. He was the elected vice-chairman of Bangladesh Red Cross Society (now Bangladesh Red Crescent Society) from 1977 till his death. He was the General Secretary of 'Family Planning Association of Bangladesh' (FPAB). He was the member of International Plan Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and IOR. He performed his duty as the president of RESCO. At a time he was elected as the chairman of Samabay Bank (Co-operative Bank).
Moyezuudin also founded many educational and religious institutions, hospitals, child and mother care centres. As a social welfare activist, Moyezuddin travelled many countries to attend seminar, symposium and conference. “My father is one of the pioneering personalities in Bangladesh who played a significant role in controlling population growth through his family planning activities after independence,” says Chumki.
On March 24, 1982, the army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, seized control of the government in a military coup. He proclaimed martial law and made himself chief martial law administrator amid public protest all over the country. As a close aide of Sheikh Hasina, Moyezuddin played a significant role with great bravery in that movement. With Sheikh Hasina's direction, he went to observe hartal on September 27, 1984 in his constituency in Kaligonj thana of Gazipur District. While observing the programme, he was brutally killed by terrorists loyal to autocratic government near Kaligonj thana in broad day light.
“In the morning of September 26, 1984, we took breakfast together. Later we were gossiping for few moments. He called a rickshaw passing beside our house. He looked at me gloomily and told me to take care myself after boarding the rickshaw. I cannot forget that moment of his departure,” says Bilkis Begum sorrowfully. However, she optimistically mentions her daughter Meher Afroze Chumki's success as a MP, who has all the noble ideology of her father and fulfilling the dreams of her father perfectly. And this is the only light of hope for my living, adds Bilkis delightfully.
His martyrdom sparked the anti-autocratic movement that turn into a strong anti-Ershad movement at one stage. Consequently, Ershad was finally forced to resign on December 4, 1990. Moyezuddin became the living legend of Kaligonj because of his foresight, uncompromising ideology for justice and honesty and close orientation with the common people. Nepotism, greed and corruption could never touch him.
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