The March 25 carnage had left Bangalis of the then East Pakistan in a state of shock. Bright blue flames had engulfed Dhaka and the sky blackened with fume. Screams of the innocent filled the air.
The ruthless killings by the Pakistani soldiers shook everyone to their core.
Following Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's arrest, politicians and workers began to flee Dhaka.
Bangabandhu's closest allies, includingTajuddin Ahmed, crossed the border to India. Barrister Amir-ul Islam, then a young politician, accompanied him.They had to leave Dhaka risking everything they had –their lives, their families – to establish contact with Delhi.
As the top leaders gathered in India they realised the urgency of an organised response to the atrocities of the Pakistan military. Bangabandhu had declared independence but Bangladesh needed the world's recognition and the world needed a government to deal with. Everything had to be brought under the umbrella of a legally formed government.
After days of relentless organisation and planning, a provisional government was formed on April 17, 1971 with Tajuddin Ahmed as the Prime Minister to provide confidence to the people of East Pakistan that the government in exile had control over the war and they represented the will of the entire population of Bangalis.
In his war memoir titled MuktijuddherSmriti, in clean, captivating lines, Barrister Amir-ul Islam shared excerpts of his perilous journey to India, how he drafted the proclamation of independence, the formation of the Provisional Government and many more tales during those nine months.
The eminent politician was also a member of the drafting committee of the Bangladesh Constitution in 1972 and served as the Minister of Food during 1973-74.
Tajuddin, Amirul and DrKamal Hossain were among the last few people to meet Bangabandhu at his house in Dhanmondi 32 before his arrest on the night of March 25. They saw he was downstairs and eating.
Bangabandhu told his close confidantes Dr Kamal Hossain and Amir-ul Islam, "Kamal, Amir-ul, I have never ordered you to do anything. But I order you to immediately leave my house and fulfill your duties."
TajuddinAhmed and Amir-ul Islam left their homes that very night and after a perilous journey reached the Indian border a few days later. On April 1, 1971, they left for Delhi along on a military cargo plane.
When Tajuddin Ahmed met Indira Gandhi, her first question was, "How is Sheikh Mujib, is he alright?" She was informed that although they had lost all contact with him after March 25, undoubtedly he was still leading them.
The imminent need for a government for the newly declared country became apparent to all involved, especially India, who needed to speak to official representatives of Bangalis to move ahead with things.
When Amir-ul Islam requested Tajuddin Ahmed to take upon the responsibility of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh,the latter was resistant.
In the absence of Bangabandhu and other senior leaders of the Awami League, Tajuddin worried how others might react to him becoming the Prime Minister and whether this decision would create internal conflicts.
"When Tajuddin Bhai asked me who was going to be the Prime Minister, without a doubt I said he who has been leading since March 25 would become the Prime Minister," wrote Amir-ul Islam.
Amir-ul Islam then drafted the proclamation of independence without the aid of any book or reference.
Although he had read the American Independence Bill, it was a long time ago and he barely remembered the language or form.
But he just reminded himself which perspectives the proclamation should be built around, which were equality, human dignity, and social justice.
The draft was reviewed by Subrata Roy Chowdhury, a lawyer at the Calcutta High Court.
Amir-ul Islam claimed in his book that he proposed the name 'People's Republic of Bangladesh', and designed the monogram which is still being used for official purposes –a golden map on a red circular shape.
While drafting the speech for Tajuddin Ahmed, the prime minister of the Provisional Government of Bangladesh, Amir-ul Islam became emotional.
He wrote, "The blood and sweat of our brave freedom fighters is giving birth to a new Bangladesh." At this point, the draft paper was soaked in his tears. He wiped off his tears and continued writing.
On April 10, on a small plane flying at a low altitude, Tajuddin Ahmed, Amir-ul Islam and others went on a search for leaders scattered around the borders.
The same day at night, Tajuddin Ahmed's speech as the prime minister of Bangladesh was announced on the radio. The world learned of Bangladesh and its struggle.
Despite some resistance from within the party, Amir-ul Islam kept emphasising on the importance of a government. He believed a delay in forming a government would worsen the situation.
The oath taking ceremony was first planned to be held on April 14 in Chuadanga. But the plan had to be changed because on April 13, the Pakistani soldiers took control of Chuadanga.
The oath taking ceremony took place on 17 April 1971, at a village called Baidyanathtala in Kushtia district. "Thousands of people from nearby areas joined the Awami League workers, all of them chanting Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu, Bir Bangali ostro dhoro, Bangladesh shadhin koro etc.
It was a surreal moment.