Sheikh Mujib was a pragmatic politician. In the Pakistan state, he appeared as the undaunted advocate of the Bengali interests from the start. He was among the first language prisoners. However, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman grew in political eminence in the early 1960s. Through his organising ability Mujib was able to salvage the Awami League from a series of defections and exit of various factions from the mainstream party. He reorganised the Awami League and put it on a firm foundation. In 1966, he announced his famous six-point programme, calling it ‘Our [Bengalis’] Charter of Survival’, which aimed at self-rule for East Pakistan. Struck sharp at the roots of West Pakistani dominance, the six-point programme at once drew the attention of the nation. Though conservative elements of all political parties looked at it with consternation, it instantaneously stirred the younger generation, particularly the students, youth and working classes.
Disturbed by the political views of Sheikh Mujib, the Ayub regime put him behind bars. A sedition case, known as Agartala Conspiracy Case, was brought against him. It may be noted that during most of the period of the Ayub regime, he was in jail, first from 1958 to 1961 and then from 1966 to early 1969. During the second term in jail, his charisma grew so much that a mass uprising took place in his favour in early 1969 and Ayub administration was compelled to release him on 22 February 1969 unconditionally.
On the following day of his release, the Sarbadaliya Chhatra Sangram Parishad (All Parties Students Action Committee) organised a mass reception to him at Ramna Racecourse (now, Suhrawardy Uddyan) and accorded him the title ‘Bangabandhu’ (Friend of the Bengalis). In him they saw a true leader who suffered jail terms for about twelve years during the 23 years of Pakistani rule. Twelve years in jail and ten years under close surveillance, Pakistan, to Sheikh Mujib, indeed proved to be more a prison than a free homeland.
The general elections of December 1970 made Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman the sole spokesman of East Pakistan. The people gave him the absolute mandate in favour of his six-point doctrine. Now it was his turn to implement it. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was so serious about the six-point that on 3 January 1971, he held a solemn ceremony at Ramna Race Course with all the East Pakistan representatives and took an oath never to deviate from the six-point idea when framing the constitution for Pakistan. (Source-online)
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