Tajuddin Ahmad, the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh was one of the prominent organisers and leaders of the great liberation war of Bangladesh. He has also given the first written budget as well as the first five-year plan. Today, July 23, marks the 95th birthday of the unsung hero of our history. On this day in 1925, he was born in the village of Dardariya under Kapasia upazila in Gazipur district.
If we shed light on his life, we find that he had been involved in political activities since his student life. After the partition of the country from British regime, he was active in every democratic movement, including the language movement, six-point movement, the movement for economic freedom and the anti-communal movement, and kept the signature of his ideas and actions.
He worked tirelessly in the mass uprising of 1969 and 1970 election. And that is why, after the formation of Mujibnagar government, he was the Prime Minister of Bangladesh unanimously. The logical, visionary and uncompromising leader took the helm of the country at the juncture of the nation. In a short time, he organised the military, political and diplomatic issues of liberation from all sides through extreme opposition and infiltration.
There is no denying that his successful leadership led to the emergence of independent Bangladesh in just nine months. He will always be remembered for his boundless sacrifice, devotion, skills and sense of belonging in pre-independence activities, liberation war and post-independence Bangladesh.
As political as the great liberation war of 1971 was, no less was the economic context that clearly reflected in the six-point programme and the party's commitment to economic development. The first five-year financial plan was formulated on July 1, 1973, to lead the long way to economic freedom for the people of Bangladesh and eliminating the discrimination that was created by Pakistan. The aim was to build a self-reliant and non-exploitative socio-economic system by ensuring a fair share for the majority of the nation. Its scope was everywhere from villages to cities and from agriculture to industry. Radical changes were made in the land tenure system; rent of agricultural land was waived. A self-reliant economy is considered to be a key factor where the military spending will be minimum, and the economy wouldn't be donor-dependent as well.
In the three budgets Tajuddin Ahmad formulated for the nation, he showed his efforts for a balanced regional development by having district-wise allocations. His budget documents remained well-written, well-presented, and well-balanced that have become historical documents of balanced development. He has managed to match the daily life of the mass people with his acquired theoretical knowledge through continuous practice. And therefore, it was possible to build the foundation of the economy of Bangladesh in the midst of almost all the unfavourable conditions.
He thought good governance as an adjunct to development without which development would be meaningless. He believed in freedom of expression so that knowing the inconsistencies and inner weaknesses, he could prevent a sudden and surprising fall. The leader has admitted his failure without denying it with false assurance, which is essential to make the development process sustainable. If his influence in Bangladesh had remained intact for some more time after the independence of the country and the Bangabandhu-Tajuddin cooperation had lasted for a long time, where would Bangladesh stand today? I am asking the question to the wise readers.
No nation can be great or victorious by simply holding slogans, flattery or talks on social media, rather an ideological sense of unity and relentless work for the betterment of the motherland are needed.
Tajuddin Ahmed used to say, "We will work in such a way … so that everyone can find this country when they write the history of the country…but they will lose us." This should be the motto of patriotism.
On his 95th birth anniversary, we remember the unsung leader and regard his boundless contribution to nation building.
Note:This is an abridged and translated version of articles originally published in BangaTaj in 2010 and 2011 by Tajuddin Ahmed Pathchakra, JKKNIU.
The author is an Adjunct Faculty, Youth Activist and Economic Analyst. His details can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/altap/