Mujib Bahini

Mujib Bahini an armed force formed during the war of liberation of Bangladesh. It was mainly composed of the activists drawn from the awami league and its student front Chhatra League. It had enlisted about 5000 members who were posted out to four sectors with a 19-member central command. Initially, the sector commanders operated from Barrackpur, Shiliguri, Agartala and Meghalaya of India. Tofail Ahmed, Sirajul Alam Khan, Abdur Razzak and Sheikh fazlul haq mani were the central commanders of the force with Sheikh Mani acting as the commander-in-chief. This force was trained under the direct supervision of Major General Uban of India at Dehra Dun hills.

The mujibnagar government is not said to have been informed about the formation and training programmes of Mujib Bahini. Besides, the Bahini never made formal declaration of allegiance to the Mujibnagar government. So, controversies were created within and outside the Bangladesh government-in-exile regarding the formation of Mujib Bahini. For resolving this dispute, some senior civil and military officials of India like DP Dhar and General Manek Shaw mediated between the Bangladesh government and the Mujib Bahini leaders. The government of India provided the Bahini with one C-4, one N-12 and an old Dakota plane along with trucks and jeeps.

It is postulated by some that Mujib Bahini was formed to meet the emergence of any alternative leadership in the event the liberation war was prolonged. Others think that the leaders of Mujib Bahini created this force because they were not satisfied with the working of Mujibnagar government and were suspicious about the activities of the rightist faction of the Awami League.

In the battlefield, the Mujib Bahini fought in cohesion with other freedom fighters. It carried out daring raids into the Pakistani occupation army's positions in the south, the south-west zone and in some areas around Dhaka. It was especially trained in guerrilla warfare and was equipped with comparatively better weapons.

The concept of Mujib Bahini appears to have been developed in the middle of the 1960s. It remained as an academic theme for a long time within the confines of Dhaka University and among some nationalist intellectuals. It is the core members of the Mujib Bahini who forged the Sarbadaliya Chhatra Sangram Parishad and who enunciated eleven-point programme in 1969. They also led the mass upsurge of 1969. It is this group which led the nationalist struggle for independence from 1 March 1971, declared independence on 3 March at Paltan Maidan and organised subsequent preparations for an eventual War of Liberation. [Helal Uddin Ahmed]