Sunday, 17 May 2020

The Unfinished Memoirs - Book Review

Bangabandhu's unfinished autobiography is one of the most-read books published in Bengali. Apart from Bengali, the book has been translated into many languages including English, Urdu, Spanish, German, Chinese and Japanese. Initiatives have also been taken to translate into many more languages. 
The Unfinished Memoirs Book Review

Book Review of the Unfinished Memoirs
Bangabandhu started writing this book in 1967 (while in prison). This book is basically written about the events from his birth (1920) to 1954. The Father of the Nation in Bangladesh is not a hero in his autobiography. The hero is Hossain Shaheed Suhrawardy. Throughout the book, Bangabandhu wants to talk about his political mentor and guru. The extent of Suhrawardy's influence in his political life will become clear as soon as you read the book. 

The author has explained his different personal, political and economic events and struggle in 'The Unfinished Memoir' from his practical experience. These include the introduction of his family (birth, genealogy, childhood, marriage), school and college education as well as social and political activities, Bengal famine of 1943, riots in Bihar and Calcutta, partition, politics of Muslim League, politics of East Bengal from partition to 1954, oppression of Muslim League government, language movement, the establishment of Awami League, the formation of the United Front & its election-winning, Adamjee riots, discriminatory rule of the central government of Pakistan. 

Bangabandhu used to play good football in his school life and he was the captain of the team. As a student, he was also talented and attentive. Sheikh Mujib was incredibly popular in student politics. He gained this popularity from his childhood. He had a deep respect for poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. He was an honest politician and when he needed money, he simply asked his father, the sister, and even from his wife Renu. The account of his travels to China, India and West Pakistan has given the book a special dimension. Bangabandhu's parents, children and above all his enduring wife stood by him in all difficult times as a supporting force in his political life and imprisonment. 

Suhrawardy, Sher-e-Bangla, Bhasani and many more! 
This book introduces us to the role of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Abul Kasem Fazlul Huq (popularly known as Sher-e-Bangla), Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani (Maulana Bhashani) and some other leaders and individuals. Moreover, the outstanding contributions of many heroes like Manik Mia and Shamsul Haque who are still underestimated have been revealed. 

The most talked-about person in this book is Suhrawardy. Throughout the book, the author has addressed him as Shaheed Sahib. Suhrawardy was simultaneously the author's inspiration to enter politics, a political advisor and a man of absolute respect. The review of this book can be completed only by writing about him! 

In the book, the author addresses Abul Kasem Fazlul Huq as Haq Saheb. The popularity of Sher-e-Bangla was so high at that time. One day, Bongobondhu’s parents told him not to make any personal attack against Sher-e-Bangla A.K. Fazlul Haque. He did not become 'Sher-e-Bangla' without reasons and the soil of Bengal fell in love with him. Mr Haque was friends of the poor. 

Some quotes from Bangabandhu
‘There is no need to work together with incompetent leadership, unprincipled leaders and cowardly politicians in the country. In that, the destruction of the country and the people is more than that of the service.’ (P. 273) 

‘If you love people, people love you too, if you accept a little sacrifice, people can give their lives for you.’ (P. 257) 

‘If leaders make the mistake in leading, the people have to pay the price. We voluntarily gave up the Calcutta that was built with the money of East Bengal.' (P. 79) 

Bangabandhu wrote in his autobiography (page 48), “Jealousy and betrayal are in our blood. Probably no other language in the world has this word, ‘Parashrikatarata’ (maybe - envy). ‘Parashrikatarata’ - one brother is not happy to see the improvement of his brother. That is why the Bengali nation, in spite of all its virtues, has had to endure the oppression of others all its life. The country is filled with so many resources and there are very few such fertile lands in the world. Yet they are poor for ages because they have been exploited on their own fault. They do not know themselves, and they will not be released until they know and understand themselves.” People go blind for the sake of self-interest. 

Summary of the Unfinished Memoirs (Oshomapto Attojiboni) - An autobiography by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

The period of Bangabandhu's autobiography described in the book can be divided into three sections. First Episode (1920-1942), starting from his birth to passing Matriculation examination from Gopalganj Mission School in 1942. The second episode (1942-1947), from admission to Calcutta Islamia College at Intermediate level and stayed at Baker Hostel to leaving Kalkata and returning to Dhaka after the partition of India in 1947. Part III (1947-1954), from after the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the arrival of Bangabandhu at Dhaka in September 1947 towards the end of the year 1954, Suhrawardy joined as the law minister at the "Cabinet of Talents" formed under the leadership of Mohammad Ali of Bogra and a motion of no confidence was raised against Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haque as the leader of the United Front. 

Due to the political conspiracies against Bangabandhu (by the then Pakistani government), he was so separated from his family and it makes him unknown to his own children. What could be more painful for a father than this! In that pain, he said, ‘Even your own son forgets if he doesn’t see you for a long time! Who knows what a heinous act it would be to imprison a person without trial for political reasons and to keep his children and relatives away? Sheikh Mujibur Rahman sacrificed himself for the country, for the people of the country and for an independent country. He didn't think about his life, he didn't think about his family, he didn't think about his relatives. He thought of this country, thought of the soil and the people of this country. I didn't know how much a person could sacrifice for politics until I read the book. 

This book (the life of Bangabandhu's political activists) can be considered a must-read for students of all political parties in the country. There are examples of what an ideal student leader should be like. The notes at the end of the book, (1955-1975) enrich the book with an introduction to the author's political life, biographical notes on the persons mentioned in the text. 

After reading it, it seemed if there was a way to know more events in his writing, how much better it would be! So dissatisfaction remains at the end of reading! It would be the objective history of the birth of Bangladesh.


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