'Mujibnagar' the headquarters or administrative centre of the first government or the government in exile of the People';s Republic of Bangladesh. At the initial stage of the War of Liberation, the village Baidyanathtala under Meherpur sub-division of greater Kushtia district was named as Mujibnagar after the name of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. On 10 April 1971 the first government of Bangladesh was formed, and it was resolved that the newly formed government would take its oath on 14 April in the liberated area of Chuadanga. In spite of its top secrecy the decision was leaked out through some international news media including the Kolkata radio, Akashbani. In the changed circumstances, Baidyanathtala in Meherpur sub-division was selected as the venue for oath taking ceremony to be solemnized on 17 April. The geographical location of Baidyanathtala was so advantageous that it was difficult on the part of the Pak army to make an attack on this place by land or by air. In the same way it was easy to resort to safety in the face of apprehended attack by the Pak army. The local Sangram Committee was given instruction on this point with top most secrecy through the Indian BSF. The local people, Bangali civil and army officials of Meherpur and Chuadanga and Indian BSF played important role in the management of oath taking ceremony. The responsibility of carrying the inland and foreign journalists to this programme was vested upon Abdul Mannan MNA and Barrister Amirul Islam. They went to the Kolkata Press Club on 16 April and informed all concerned that important message would be communicated on behalf of the Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmad on 17 April. At the early hours of 17 April the MNAs, MPAs and other leaders of Awami League were sent for Baidyanathtala. The convoy of the journalists started for Baidyanathtala at dawn. The moment the Acting President, ministers and other concerned reached Baidyanathtala around 11 am the formalities for oath taking started.
The oath taking ceremony was conducted by Abdul Mannan Mna. Professor Mohammad Yusuf Ali read out the proclamation of independence. The Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam conducted the oath taking of the members of the cabinet. The Acting President was given guard of honour led by Mahbubuddin Ahmad, DSP. The Acting President hoisted the national flag with the national anthem sung by Shahbuddin Ahmad Sentu, Pintu Biswas, Mansur Uddin Molla and Asadul Huq.
At the closing of the programme, the Acting President and the Prime Minister delivered speeches addressing the nation. In their speeches they made a clarion call to the world people at large and especially to the big powers to come forward for the help of the freedom loving people of Bangladesh. [Mohammad Faiquzzaman] [Faiquzzaman, Mohammad Professor of Islamic History and Culture, Rajshahi University]