Historical 6 point demand was the charter of freedom



Tofael Ahmed
ছবি: সংগৃহীত

ছবি: সংগৃহীত

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Every year June 6, the 'Six Point Day', returns to our national life and we observe the day with due dignity. This time the 'Coronavirus' has spread worldwide in the form of a pandemic to protect public health. State and party ceremonies on the occasion of Mujibborsho, Independence day, victory day, Sheikh Hasina’s home coming day have been observed in limited ways. Hopefully, through proper coordination under the direction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government and the people at all levels of the country will be able to overcome this terrible disaster by showing responsible behavior.

In the history of our national liberation struggle, the importance of June 6 is immense in realizing the six-point demand. Later, at the beginning of the mass movement of '69, we gained independence in exchange for a sea of blood with the mandate of the people in the historic election of '70 under the leadership of Bangabandhu. Bangabandhu was a prudent leader. Flowing deep in his heart was the independence of Bangladesh. He had no other thoughts outside of freedom. He has led the way in liberating Bangladesh from the shackles of subjugation by enduring imprisonment, oppression and torture.

The people of Bengal went on a general strike on June 6 against the ruling party of Pakistan led by Awami League demanding independence and release of all political prisoners including Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib. The dictator Ayub Khan wanted to enslave the Bengali nation. Against this, Bangabandhu proposed to include in the agenda of the Convention of the Opposition Parties held in Lahore on 5 February 1966, raising the famous 'Six Points', the 'Charter of Liberation of Bengalis'. Chowdhury Mohammad Ali, the chairman of the meeting, refused to discuss the 'six points'. Bangabandhu returned to the erstwhile East Pakistan on 11 February and gave details at a press conference at Dhaka Airport. At the meeting of the Awami League's working committee on February 20, 'Six Points' was adopted as a party program. Addressing the people of Chattogram he said, 'One day, ignoring the coercive rule of the British government in the whole of Pak-India, the heroic sons of Bir Chattala flew the flag of independence on the Jalalabad hill in Chittagong. I want the people of Chattogram to fly the flag of struggle for the deprived people of East Pakistan in Chattogram for the first time. '

After the public meeting in Chattogram, he held a public meetings one after another to present the rationale of 'Six Points' before the forthcoming council of the party. The council sessions of the Awami League were held on March 18, 19 and 20, 1968. The booklet was distributed at the council meeting. The inaugural session of the conference began with singing of Rabindranath Tagore's song 'Amar Sonar Bangla Ami Tomay Bhalobasi' under the chairmanship of Syed Nazrul Islam, senior vice-president of the party. The 1443 councilors present at the council meeting elected Bangabandhu as party president, Tajuddin Ahmed as general secretary and Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury as organizational secretary. The revised party constitution was approved on the basis of 'six points'. The 'six-point program' caused a stir among the party leaders and workers. Later, 'Six Points' became so popular that this booklet was carefully preserved in every house in Bengal. Bangabandhu used to tell us about the 'Six Points', 'I gave the bridge to move from freedom to independence.' In the unfavorable weather on the last day of the council, Bangabandhu appealed to the leaders, workers and the people at the public meeting of the paltan to carry forward the message of 6 point demand.

He informed every person in the remote province of East Pakistan that for the sake of the country, for the sake of ten, for the sake of future generations, the leaders and workers of Awami League are coming forward for a six-point movement in a systematic way. There is no compromise on the question of points. There is no short cut in politics. The Awami League is no longer confident even in the unity of the leaders. The Awami League believes in the unity of the specific ideology and the dedicated workers for the implementation of that ideal. The Awami League leader's party is not an organization of workers. These six points need to be realized through peaceful and democratic movement. No threat can stop the six-point movement. The six points are the charter of liberation of Bengalis. 'In his natural voice, the poet sang,' If no one comes to hear your call, then let's go alone ', quoting,' If we have to walk alone in the streets in this movement, we will go. Future history will prove that this is the right path for the liberation of Bengalis. 'This council of the Awami League was a turning point in the history of Bengalis which set the stage for the great mass uprising of '69, the historic elections of '70 and the great liberation war of '71.

After the successful conclusion of the Awami League Council, Bangabandhu addressed a total of 32 public meetings across the country in 35 days. Public opinion in favor of the 'Six Points' became stronger in the speeches given in the public meetings. As a result, brutal arrests and tortures fell on Bangabandhu and other Awami League leaders. The process of arresting Bangabandhu continues with warrants issued from every district. During the 'Six Points' campaign, Bangabandhu was arrested a total of 8 times in just two and a half months. Bangabandhu returned home at 1 pm on May 6 after addressing a workers' rally in Narayanganj to commemorate the latest 'May Day'. The dictator Ayub termed the giving of 'six points' as a crime, termed Bangabandhu as a 'separatist' and arrested and tortured the Awami League under the National Defense Act. In protest, Awami League called for a 'Protest Day' on May 13 in the entire province. The public support for the 'Six Points' was expressed in the public meeting on the day of protest. When the party's newly-elected general secretary Tajuddin Ahmed was arrested, organizing secretary Mizan Chowdhury took over as acting general secretary. A meeting of the Awami League working committee on May 20 called for a general strike on June 7 to protest the arrest and torture of the leaders. During the strike on 7 June, the agitated people of East Bengal raised their voices demanding independence and release of all political prisoners including Bangabandhu.

I was then a student of Dhaka University, a full-time activist of Chhatra League, Iqbal Hall (now Shaheed Sergeant Zahurul Haque Hall) elected VP of Chhatra Sangsad. Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni, Sirajul Alam Khan, Syed Mazharul Haque Baki, Abdur Razzak, Amir Hossain Amu, Abdur Rauf, Khaled Mohammad Ali, Noor Alam Siddiqui and many others - we make all preparations to observe the hartal program on that day. Police fired indiscriminately on the orders of the government to disperse the students during the strike. Manu Mia, a laborer in Tejgaon, Mujibullah and 11 others were martyred in the police firing and about 700 people were arrested. Chhatra League leaders and activists observed a successful strike in Tejgaon industrial area. From the great language movement of 1952 to the 'education movement' of '62; ‘Six-Point Movement’ of ‘66; 'Mass movement-mass uprising' of '69; Issuing a 24-hour ultimatum on February 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 after continuous struggle demanding withdrawal of Agartala case and unconditional release of all political prisoners including Bangabandhu. After the release of all political prisoners on 22 February, Bangabandhu was released and on 23 February, at the historic Racecourse Maidan (now Suhrawardy Udyan) in the presence of more than 10 lakh people, the title of 'free man Sheikh Mujib' was given to Bangabandhu and demand of dictator Ayub Khan’s resignation  Chhatra League has led the movement for the national liberation struggle of Bengalis since the fifties. Through these glorious struggles, Chhatra League achieved constitutional behavior and democratic culture, won the hearts of the people of Bengal, and created history. Under the direction of Bangabandhu, the Awami League-Chhatra League leadership successfully carried out the program on June 7 and set a unique example on the path to independence. That is why Bangabandhu said, ‘The history of Chhatra League is the history of Bengalis.’ And the hardworking people of Bengal, in the immense glory of self-sacrifice, informed the whole world including the ruling class that the ‘six points’ given by Bangabandhu is the only way of national liberation of Bengalis. In fact, June 7 was the starting point for complete independence from subjugation. The foundation of our freedom consciousness was laid on this day.

In the context of realizing the six-point demand, Bangabandhu wrote in his book 'Karagarer Rojnamcha' on June 5, 'Awami League workers have suffered a lot. Only when they made a six-point demand to the country was it ready that they would have to suffer. It is not a struggle for power, it is a struggle to save the people from exploitation. 'He added,' I believe the selfless workers of Awami League and Chhatra League are with them. A number of labor leaders who truly campaigned for workers will certainly give active support. Even after making so many arrests, they could not be suppressed. They have been holding street rallies and processions for the June 7 strike. Even though the posters have been torn down, new posters are being put up and pamphlets are being taken out. I really could not have hoped so much. Expressing immense confidence in the people of Bengal, he wrote on June 7, ‘I know the people of East Bengal, they will go on strike. They want the release of political prisoners. Six points will support.’‘ Abandonment will not go in vain, it will never go away. We may not be able to enjoy ourselves, we may not be able to see, but future generations will be able to enjoy freedom. The stone wall of the prison made me stoned too.

The blessings of millions and millions of mothers and sisters of this country are upon us. We will win. The ideal is won only through sacrifice. In response to the successful strike on June 7, he wrote,' After 12 o'clock the news was confirmed that the strike had taken place. The people went on strike spontaneously. They supported 6 points and wanted my release. They want to live, they want to eat, they want individual freedom, they want the just demands of the workers, the fair demands of the peasants, the demands of the peasants for their survival, the proof of this has already happened in this strike. 'Abandonment will not be in vain. When the people of this country have learned to give their lives for the realization of their just rights, victory will come, only time will tell. The workers have come out of the factory. Farmers have stopped work. Merchants have closed their shops. The students have left schools and colleges. Has there ever been such a big protest in Pakistan? The six-point demand for the lives of the people of East Bengal - the exploiters of West Pakistan, the puppets of Western colonialism and imperialism - will no longer be able to exploit the oppressed poor people of East Bengal.

Especially in the June 7 protest that the people in the villages of Bengal have spontaneously erupted, no ruler's eyes will be able to suppress them. For the good of Pakistan, the ruling class should accept the six points. The blood that came out of the chests of my brothers of my country today and made the black roads of Dhaka red, cannot be wasted.  No, I will continue the struggle. Whatever is in fortune will be so. People paid the price of abandonment. The demands of the people have to be realized through sacrifice.

The ruling party of Pakistan has hatched many conspiracies to thwart the 'six points'. Bangabandhu was thrown in jail. One case after another has been filed against him. Even then, when the 'six points' movement could not be stopped, the dictator Ayub Khan filed a 'State vs. Sheikh Mujib and Others' or Agartala case to carry out the heinous conspiracy to hang Bangabandhu and silent him forever. On that day, in order to realize the 'six points' demand and to get Bangabandhu released from prison, we students formed an all-party Student Struggle Council consisting of 4 student organizations on January 4, 1969 on the founding anniversary of Chhatra League. Spread to the factory. The result was a mass tide in favor of the six-point, eleven-point movement. A revolutionary situation arose in the country. The ruling class portrayed us as 'separatists' to thwart the mass movement. In response to their mischievous attempt, I raised the slogan in the crowd on the oath-taking day of the All-Party Student Struggle Parishad at Paltan Maidan on February 9, 1969, 'I swear I will release Mujib, I swear I will release you, I will release you. We have implemented the first part of the slogan by releasing the prisoners and the second part of the slogan by freeing the country from the enemy on December 16 by waging armed struggle on March 26, 1971 at the behest of the Father of the Nation.

The dictator Ayub Khan was terrified by the successful strike on 7 June. News papers were forced to prohibits the publication of reports on six points. Angered by the role of Daily Ittefaq in creating public opinion in favor of 'six points', Editor Tafazzal Hossain Manik Mia was arrested on June 16, 1966 and confiscated The New Nation Printing Press. The mass uprising of '69 forced the dictator to return the daily Ittefaq. On June 7, many memories floated in my mind. Especially the memory of Bangabandhu is deeply felt. My life is blessed with the affection of Bangabandhu. This conscious day of June 7 has become immortal in the national life. Today, I remember with utmost respect all the martyred brothers who paved the way for the liberation of the people of Bengal with fresh blood. In the tradition of struggle for their immortal lives, an independent and sovereign Bangladesh has been established in exchange for a sea of blood. Today, a new horizon of development has begun under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu, on the basis of Mujib Ideals, climbing the blood ladder of martyrs. I think it is our duty to pay homage to the martyrs on this historic day, the 7th of June, the day of our consciousness and freedom.

Author: Awami League leader; Member of Parliament; Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Commerce.

Who will lead France for the next five years?



Dr Mahfuz Parvez
Macron and Le Pen Prepare for Showdown

Macron and Le Pen Prepare for Showdown

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France on Saturday (April 23) prepared to choose between centrist President Emmanuel Macron and far-right challenger Marine Le Pen to rule the country for the next five years after a bitterly contested and polarising election campaign. By Sunday (April 24) evening, the world will know whether France has elected its first female leader, or the first two-term president since Jacques Chirac.

Considering the election processes, It’s looking like Emmanuel Macron is headed for victory; he holds a ten-point average lead in polls over his challenger, the far-right Marine Le Pen. That she is still within range of Macron, who trounced her by 30 percentage points in 2017, has Western capitals nervous that the French could swap an ardent EU supporter for one closer to Moscow than Brussels.

However, Undecided voters are one concern, with as many as 11 percent still yet to make up their minds. The supporters of the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon are another wildcard. The worry for Macron is not so much that they would go over to Le Pen, but that they simply won’t vote at all. Just under half of his first round voters don’t intend to cast a ballot on Sunday, but two-thirds of those who plan to vote say they’ll back Macron.

Michele Barbero, in a Paris dispatch for Foreign Policy Journal, spoke with one Mélenchon supporter who isn’t sure whether to vote on Sunday. “I feel disillusioned, desperate, and I have less and less confidence in politics to bring about more social justice,” she said.

As the election of Joe Biden in 2020 showed, a victory for a centrist candidate doesn’t magically de-polarize an electorate. So even a loss may not spell the end for Le Pen, who will be just 58 when the 2027 elections come around—and would no longer have to face Macron, who would be barred from serving a third consecutive term.

With Le Pen within arm’s reach of Macron, some world leaders have gotten off the fence. In a rare foray into French politics, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made the case for Macron in a Le Monde op-ed on Thursday. Sharing a byline with his left-leaning counterparts Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, the three men presented a choice between “a democratic candidate, who believes that France grows in a powerful EU. And a far-right candidate, who openly sides with those attacking our freedom and democracy.”

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former Brazilian President has also stated his support for Macron, describing the election as one where “the future of democracy” is at stake.

Although U.S. President Joe Biden has not publicly expressed his preference, his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama still might. The former president would be leaving it late; he already had backed Macron by this time in the 2017 election cycle.

Perhaps doing Le Pen a favor, given the distance she has tried to put between herself and the Russian leader during her campaign, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stayed silent. Her ideological allies in Hungary and Poland have too.

Imprisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny has also stumped for Macron—while skewering his opponent, saying on Twitter that any so-called conservative who is sympathetic to Putin “is actually just a hypocrite with no conscience.”

Barring a too-close-to-call election, exit polls should predict the winner by the time voting ends at 8 p.m. Paris time on Sunday.

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Political Science, University of Chittagong and Associate Editor, barta24.com

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Let’s talk about the elephant in the room



Tazlina Zamila Khan
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room

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Our nation has reached a point where just walking down the street is the most risky and courageous undertaking that one can perform. Once you go out into the street, there is no assurance that you will be able to return to your loved ones. No matter what mode of transportation you choose, such as a bus or a car, you are not protected. I was taken aback when I received some news about one of my students. He and his mother were driving home from school like they often did when their car collided with a rickshaw, killing one of the passengers. The chauffeur was able to flee the scene very quickly, but my student's mother was gravely injured. It was a traumatic experience for such a young boy like him to see such an occurrence unfold in front of his own eyes. The person who died could have been anybody, and it might have been someone you know. Every day, the number of accidents increases, and the worth of human life decreases.

Sometimes it does remind me of one of the dialogues of Spiderman II --‘Uncle Ben was killed that night for being the only one who did the right thing’. Bangladeshi street scenes are similar to this in terms of situation. Even if you are driving safely and, in your lane, you may be involved in an accident due to the negligence of another driver. Thousands of Uncle Ben is Somebody else's careless behavior resulted in these people's death. To make a safer road, how much blood must be shed?

According to a news report of The Daily Star which stated the road accident rates increased by 30%. In addition to reckless driving, a lack of skilled drivers, mental and physical illness in drivers, insufficient benefits for drivers, slow vehicular movement on highways and youths riding carelessly on motorbikes, an ineffective traffic management system, and a lack of awareness among the general public are all factors contributing to traffic fatalities and injuries.

If the management is tight, however, all of these issues will not be addressed for some time. What annoys me the most is that in our nation, there is no consequence for individuals who are guilty for their actions on the road. The vast majority of the time, drivers escape after murdering someone. Every attempt is made to bring justice to the victim's family, but all of it is in vain.

With each victim who escapes, it sends a message to the whole society that "it is alright to murder someone since no one else will come to haunt you." This is very hazardous, and sadly, this is the reality of the situation in the country. As a result, accidents are happening on the other hand culprits are moving freely without being punished.

Despite the government's stated goal of reducing road accidents by 20-25 percent by 2024 and 50 percent by 2030, the number of accidents in the nation has continued to rise over the last few years.

When it comes to following the rules of the road, motorcycles have a particularly difficult time. They indicate that time is more important than human lives by rushing to the destination with the passengers. Every member of the family is affected by even a little accident. No matter how sympathetic or empathic you are to the victim's family, you will never be able to replace the gap left by the death of a spouse, a daughter, or a son. It's impossible to fathom the anguish and misery endured by the families affected by such tragedies.

Despite this, traffic accidents are still being referred to as the elephant in the room. As a matter of fact, it should have been dealt with and resolved much sooner had it been given more priority. In reality, though, it is steadily increasing. Why has it been put off for so long?

Road accidents are still a severe problem, despite the fact that our communication system has undergone a major shift. Adequate driving instruction is essential, and law enforcement authorities should be harsher with those who breach the rules. To illustrate that no one is above the law, the perpetrators of these crimes should be punished.

The writer is a faculty member of a private school

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Japan, China and Asian Peace



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez
Japan, China and Asian Peace

Japan, China and Asian Peace

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Japan and China, two important countries in Asia, are also influential in regional and international politics. These two countries can play a leading role in peace and development in Asia. Although their pasts are conflicting, their peaceful alliance is essential to world reality. Especially for Asia-Pacific peace, it is essential that the two countries come together.

Considering the important position of two countries, researchers have worked on the positive aspects of the friendly role of Japan and China. As they look to the past and the present, some researchers have raised hopes for the future. Ezra Feivel Vogel was an one of them.

Ezra Feivel Vogel, (Born: July 11, 1930, Delaware, Ohio, United States, Died: December 20, 2020, Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States) was an American sociologist who wrote prolifically on modern Japan, China, and Korea, and worked both in academia and the public sphere. He was Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and the author of a masterpiece titled China and Japan: Facing History, published in 2019 just before his death.

According to Ezra Feivel Voge, China and Japan have cultural and political connections that stretch back fifteen hundred years. But today their relationship is strained. China’s military buildup deeply worries Japan, while Japan’s brutal occupation of China in World War II remains an open wound. In recent years less than ten percent of each population had positive feelings toward the other, and both countries insist that the other side must deal openly with its history before relations can improve.

From the sixth century, when the Japanese adopted core elements of Chinese civilization, to the late twentieth century, when China looked to Japan for a path to capitalism, Ezra Vogel’s book examined key turning points in Sino–Japanese history. Throughout much of their past, the two countries maintained deep cultural ties, but China, with its great civilization and resources, had the upper hand. Japan’s success in modernizing in the nineteenth century and its victory in the 1895 Sino–Japanese War changed the dynamic, putting Japan in the dominant position. The bitter legacy of World War II has made cooperation difficult, despite efforts to promote trade and, more recently, tourism.

Vogel underscored the need for Japan to offer a thorough apology for the war, but he also urged China to recognize Japan as a potential vital partner in the region. He argued that for the sake of a stable world order, these two Asian giants must reset their relationship, starting with their common interests in environmental protection, disaster relief, global economic development, and scientific research.

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh and Associate Editor, www.barta24.com.
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Our victory: our pride



Syed Iftekhar
photo: Barta24.com

photo: Barta24.com

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In the 21st century, technology is a crucial factor for economic development. Bangladesh is not left behind, the current time the region is part of the global community. The country embarked on a long way since the declaration of independence in 1971.

Nowadays, Bangladesh turns 50 years. Digital Bangladesh is developing swiftly with this momentum that will lead the territory into achieving its future goals. Meanwhile, the region has commenced the journey towards Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's 'Sonar Bangla' through this massive triumph.

Here and now, Bangladesh is making an impressive leap on the Earth as our situation has dramatically improved. The world leaders have even noticed our successful transformation. Consequently, Bangladesh has ranked the fastest-growing economies in the world. From 1971 to 2021, Bangladesh ameliorated enormously; our food safety has significantly improved, poverty is also declining.

On the other hand, the private sector has expanded at an astonishing rate. Although there are still some sectors Bangladesh needs to address. We need to do major works more efficiently at present to secure an ample future. In this case, the present government is striving. As conscious citizens of this country, we have individual responsibility too.

However, as a firm citizen, I also have a gigantic dream. A dream for a better life, prosperous life. It is not just a conception. This would happen soon. I am immensely hopeful because without hope this country could not be created. Further, we could not overcome several obstacles as well as challenges. Nonetheless, the rigorous reality is hopes are not well enough. We must make a noteworthy endeavor to turn them into reality, thus, we can go far.

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