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Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

(1920—1975) president of Bangladesh


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(b. 1920, d. 14 Aug. 1975);

Prime Minister of Bangladesh 1972–5; President 1975Born in East Bengal as the son of a landowner, he studied law at the Universities of Calcutta and Dacca. An active member of the Muslim Students' Federation since 1940, he became a founding member of the Awami League in 1949. Owing to his skills as party organizer he became the League's chairperson for East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1963, and led it to an overwhelming victory there in 1970, on a platform of greater autonomy from (West) Pakistan. The scale of the victory came to legitimize demands for independence, whereupon the Pakistani army intervened and he was imprisoned. Released by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1972, he became Prime Minister of Bangladesh. He nationalized a number of key industries, while promoting a political structure modelled on the British parliament. He had poor administrative skills, however, which he sought to compensate for by assuming presidential powers. He dissolved the Awami League and formed the Baksal movement as the only legal political organization, though he was assassinated soon after by a group of discontented army officers.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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