The Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela are known as the voices of the oppressed people and iconic heroes in the stage of global politics. Their inherent leadership is derived from their love for the land and its people and the authentic realisation of benevolence.
While the episodic leadership of Bangabandhu was crafted through clay, water and the fertile land of Bengal, the destitute people of South Africa, their extreme poverty and the racial discrimination they faced moulded the exemplary leadership of Nelson Mandela.
Bangabandhu fought for his people's rights, emancipation and liberation. He fought all his life for Bangla language, culture, economy, politics, democracy, justice, good governance, human rights and for a state free from hunger, poverty and discrimination. On the other hand, Nelson Mandela fought for his people who were inflicted by racism. He was imprisoned in the darkest isolated island and later became the saviour of his people.
Non-violence of Mahatma Gandhi: Bangabandhu and Mandela
The non-violence movement of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (The Father of the Indian Nation) influenced most political figures of the world. After achieving a degree in law from the United Kingdom, Mahatma went to South Africa in 1893. He also visited Noakhali in November 1946 to eliminate communal riots.
Bangbandhu and Nelson Mandela eliminated the acts of violence from their lands and fought against fangs of race, religion, colour, caste, creed, cults and discrimination. Bangabandhu became an active worker and worked against the communal riots in the subcontinent in 1947, raised awareness among the people and finally crafted secular Bangladesh.
From the other fence, Nelson Mandela fought against racism and discrimination after getting the lesson of Mahatma's non-violence policy. So, it can be fully understood that both of these leaders were influenced by the non-violence movement and the anti-communal policy of Mahatma Gandhi.
The nations' voices: Bangabandhu and Mandela
Bangabandhu and Nelson Mandela became the legendary voices of the two respective nations. The historic speeches of Bangabandhu paved the way of our independence. 'The struggle this time is the struggle of our emancipation, the struggle this time is the struggle of our independence' - through this speech, the Bengali people found their saviour who freed the nation from the Pakistani army.
Besides, Nelson Mandela united his oppressed people through his hypnotising declaration. He declared, "I hate white domination, I also hate black domination." Bangabandhu and Mandela heralded the two respective Nations to reach their destination, through their historic speeches.
Imprisoned life: Bangabandhu and Mandela
Youth is the most vital period of human life. The greater period of the young lives of these two leaders was passed in the darkness of the prison. Bangabandhu had to spend fourteen years approximately in prison. During our independence, he did not compromise with the oppressors even after the capital punishment was declared.
Nelson Mandela had to suffer twenty-seven years in banishment in Roben Island. He served in jail for so long but he did not compromise with racism, discrimination injustice and oppression on his people. These two uncompromised leaders passed their significant periods of lives in the prison.
Imperialism-colonialism and two iconic heroes:
These two political icons participated and fought actively against the British imperialism and colonialism. Bangabandhu participated strongly in the movement against British rule. During their departure, the British injected the Two Nations Theory in the subcontinent.
Bangabandhu fought against two colonial rules - the British and the Pakistani. From the Pakistani colonial rule, he emancipated the people and reconstructed the free and sovereign Bangladesh. On the other hand, Nelson Mandela created a mass wave against the British colonialism and imperialism. He successfully crafted an egalitarian state by eliminating racial dominance and discrimination.
The Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela struggled all their lives for establishing peace and stability in their respective states. Bangabandhu received the "Julio Curie Medal for Peace" on 23 May in 1973 for his outstanding leadership in constructing an anti-communal state and for his continuous endeavour to eliminate hunger, illiteracy and poverty.
On the other hand, Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Prize in Peace in1993 for his lofty and pioneering contribution to wipe out racial conflicts and disputes by establishing peace and stability in South Africa. The achievement of these two leaders receiving these awards magnifies the essence of humanitarian ideals in the global sphere.
Brutal assassination and natural death:
The deaths of Bangabandhu and Nelson Mandela have created two new alternative impressions in our analytical thinking. Bangabandhu always strived to construct the infrastructure, render the stability in the war-affected terrain, identify the war criminals, enhance the bilateral and multilateral relations with other countries and rehabilitate the homeless people in the neonatal state.
But he was assassinated brutally along with most of the members of his family within the three years and six months after taking the responsibility of the state. Anti-liberation forces, inter-party rivals and their international allies conjoined to frame the plot to oust him.
On the contrary, Nelson Mandela died naturally and got sufficient time to render stability and peaceful atmosphere in his state. Finally, he retired himself from politics when he was alive. To interpret the nature of the two deaths, it can fully comprehend, the untimely death (assassination) of Bangabandhu engraved an unfortunate omen in the fate of Bengali nation.
His assassination derelict the grounding foundation of Bangladesh. Stamping the ideal and ideology of our Liberation War, the country was rendered to the previous Pakistani communal ideology. The difference of Nelson Mandela was that South Africa was governed for a longterm period with his unruinable ideology and philosophy. As a result, the ground of South Africa was erected on a steady foundation.
From a simple narrative point of view to evaluate the lives of Bangabandhu and Mandela, it can be comprehended that their dreams, political philosophy and objectives of emancipatory struggles are similar but the lands of their dreams, the spheres of their aesthetic politics and the independence-thirsty people are different.
Bangabandhu and Nelson Mandela have become the iconic figures who are inspiring the oppressed and exploited people in the world. They, as the lighthouse of leadership, and followed by the current world leaders.
In the concluding utterances, our Liberation War was the mass-war of the Bengali people who believed in emancipation. This war was the war of our political emancipation, economic emancipation, cultural emancipation and the war of constructing a secular and hunger-poverty-discrimination free state.
Today the everlasting ideology of our Liberation War, the unendurable sufferings and sacrifices of the freedom fighters and the ideals of Bangabandhu have not been yet perpetuated eternally in this divine land and the mind of our people.
The steady promise of the birth centenary anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, must be that we have to contain this blood coloured soil in our profound minds. We have to keep in our mind that this piece of land is the fossil of our ancestors and we have to pay our homage to it. We have to teach the next generation that we owe to our ancestors and this piece of land. We should never forget the sacrifice of the legendary leader, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Mohammad Emamul Islam is a lecturer at the Department of English in Global University of Bangladesh.