THE SIX-POINT MOVEMENT AND THE FREEDOM OF BANGLAESH

Dr. M. Shahinoor Rahman

Today is Six-Point Day, which falls on June 7. In 1966, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman issued the “Six Points Demand” in protest of all undemocratic decisions, such as Ayub Khan’s martial law rule and the education policy of 1962. Each of these six points was addressed by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as he toured Bengal. At all levels of society, the Bengali people accepted this ‘Charter of Freedom’ for the people and the country, knowing these six- points. An intense mass movement erupted in Bangladesh in support of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s 6-point demand for the Charter of Liberation of Bengali Nation. One of Bangladesh’s most significant days occurred on June 7, 1966, when thousands of Bengali patriots were killed in a bloodbath over the country’s historic 6-point Program. 6 Point Program Day is marked on June 7 as a tribute to Bangladesh’s people’s sacrifices. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had previously announced this Program in February 1966 in Lahore, Pakistan. Bengalis’ long-dormant thirst for independence has been reawakened by the 6-point plan, which is more than a symbolic declaration of Bengali independence. Bangabandhu’s Six Points first paved the way for Bangladesh’s freedom movement. A historically accurate judgment by Bangabandhu was made at a pivotal time in the Bengali nation’s history.

According to the demands in the statement of direction, the federal government should only be responsible for two areas: defense and foreign affairs, and introduce two separate freely convertible currencies for East and West Pakistan. According to the Lahore resolution, the federal units should also be given control over taxation and revenue collection, which was the basis for creating the Federation of Pakistan. Looking at the requests summarized above, one can’t help but observe a solid desire to emphasize the distinct and autonomous identity of Bengalis residing in East Pakistan. As a result, the importance of the Six-Point demand in Bengali nationalism’s ascent to prominence is evident and apparent.
       
During the 18 years spanning 1947 to 1965, it served as a memorial to the struggle of Bengalis in West Pakistan for political, administrative, economic, and defense rights. Despite their overwhelming majority, Bengalis were denied political equality, and not one Bengali was appointed to any position in the government. Despite East Pakistan accounting for almost 60% of global trade, practically all of that money was spent on goods destined for the West. West Pakistan possessed the country’s foreign exchange reserves, whereas East Pakistan was saddled with the country’s international debt. Many ludicrous justifications were given for why the Bengalis were not enlisted in the army. These historical facts, which formed the foundation of the Six-Point Plan, were crucial in garnering broad public support for the plan.

From May 8 to February 22, 1969, Bangabandhu was imprisoned for 33 months because of his 6-Point Program, which the Pakistani dictatorship was frightened by arrogant arrogance. Bangabandhu’s 14-year incarceration was the longest sentence he had ever served. The Six-Point Programme was his last resort since he was confident that it was the only path to the liberation of Bengalis as a country, notwithstanding the impossible odds against him. Bangabandhu’s steadfast belief in the movement allowed him to withstand the hardships and deprivations of jail life. The movement’s progress and end concerned him even when he was not physically there in the scene. He sought to enlist the help of his fellow citizens by sending messages and letters to encourage them to become involved and help the movement grow. 

He was so enamored with the Six-Point Movement that he couldn’t imagine abandoning it. As a result, he could state unequivocally, “My companion will accompany me on my journeys if necessary. In a way, the liberation of Bengalis will be proven by history.” Angered by the Six-Point demand, then-Pakistani military ruler Ayub Khan pledged to respond to it with the language of weapons. They were steadfast in their belief that they would be freed from decades of oppression and deprivation by the Six-Point Movement led by Bangabandhu. Pakistani authorities could not control the Six-Point movement through propaganda, misleading information, and intimidation. Atrocity tactics were employed to rein in the movement. On June 7, 1966, police and the paramilitary EPR shot and killed eleven people in Dhaka and Narayangonj during a hartal calling for the release of Bangabandhu and other leaders arrested for founding the Six-Point Movement. Instead of extinguishing the movement, the horrors committed by the authoritarian regime fanned its flames, causing it to spread across the country. Bengalis who were from different corners banded together in 1969 to form a massive uprising that defied all odds and freed their leader from prison. 

Thanks to the Six-Point movement’s influence, there has been steady progress towards solidarity. The movement’s founder, Bangabandhu, was awarded the title and an uncontested mandate in the 1970 general election. On March 3, 1971, Bangabandhu was rewarded by the people for his declaration of non-cooperation and subsequent order of the popular movement’s ultimate single-point goal of freedom and liberation at the Race Course ground.

The six-Point movement largely awoke the sense of self-consciousness and independence among Bengalis, which functioned as a binding force to unite as a nation and, in the end, demand national freedom among the Bengali people; that is why every year, the Six-Point Movement Day is held. It was to reawaken the sense of unity and remind those in power how far Bangabandhu has taken his commitment to serve the people’s well-being. Bangladeshis are pleased to see that
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s daughter, honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, follows in her Father’s footsteps and shows the same dedication to serving current citizens.
Sheikh Hasina is a rare combination of visionary, workaholic, and honest. Bangladesh’s people are fortunate to have her as their leader. Without first witnessing Sheikh Hasina’s dynamic leadership, no one could believe that a great leader Sheikh Hasina could played the role of the helmsman in a developing country.

In Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Vietnam, the United States and the United Kingdom have collaborated to kill hundreds of people. When it comes to combating the coronavirus, those mighty ones are sucking it up. Corona infected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson necessitated the use of ventilation in the ICU of the hospital. Fortunately, he was able to pull through again. According to reports in the media, Ecuadorian authorities have left many dead bodies lying around the country. For days, the cremation centers in China have been ablaze, devoted solely to cremating the deceased.  

Sheikh Hasina’s Bangladesh, a country of some 161 million people, is no stranger to crises,” Forbes reports. The World Economic Forum called her response “admirable” when she stood up to this one. An article praises Sheikh Hasina for taking the necessary steps to bring home.

Bangladeshis stranded in China because the corona struck the country’s longest-serving prime minister. A coronavirus infection was discovered in early March, and he ordered all educational institutions and non-emergency business operations to cease all online activity. As a final precaution, she set up screening devices at the international airports to see if anyone had the covid-19 symptoms. Thirty-seven thousand people got immediately quarantined out of 650,000 people who tasted screened. According to the article cited, the UK has not yet implemented these ideas.

The leadership of the Father of the Nation during the liberation war and the Mujibnagar government led by him is parallel to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her administration’s response to the coronavirus. People in this country are grateful to her for her bravery in confronting the Covid pandemic since she knows that fear does not suit her. On the contrary, the honourable prime minister Jononetree Sheikh Hasina rightly initiated measures in advance to ensure that the corona pandemic will not disrupt the progress she had made in the economy and the people’s lives. Until the complete departure of COVID-19, she will remain by the poor’s side, providing them with the necessary support, as she has already offered 50 million Taka in cash to different classes of needy people before Eid. She has supplied electricity to the homes of those who got shot because they were demanding it. The withdrawal of World Bank funding did not stop her from making the Padma Bridge happen. She has demonstrated that Bangladesh can be just as capable as any other country. In Sheikh Hasina’s case, it is not just her honesty or sincerity that makes her so powerful. She can do it; she has such confidence. That is her leadership which is the hope for Bengalis. “No victorious nation can bow down and lose” is Sheikh Hasina’s most frequently repeated line. This is Sheikh Hasina’s magic. As a result of living by this motto, she has emerged as one of the most influential figures in the twenty-first century.
Like thosands of people, I have firm faith that Sheikh Hasina will continue to set the bar high for global success.

This patriotic spirit, embodied by the Six-Point movement, is one that we hope will live on in all of us for the foreseeable future.

The Author is a Columnist, Writer, Folklorist, Academic, Professor of English and the former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Islamic University, Kushtia, Bangladesh

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