Scion of a respectable family of Gabtali, District Bogra, Bangladesh, Tarique Rahman was born in a family which is well known for education and cultural heritage. People around the area used to go to his ancestors for local reconciliation and arbitration knowing the family to be pious, God fearing and truthful. The century old building standing on the ancestral homestead bears the relic and lustre of feudal aristocracy for the posterior generation to remember, in retrospect, the tradition of love and affection of the family towards the people and vice versa. With such background, it is not a surprise that Tarique Rahman has proved himself to possess the qualities of a leader that is demanded for bearing the high responsibilities for conducting affairs of his party and the people.
His father President Ziaur Rahman chose his career in the Military service as being enthused by patriotism from his boyhood. Thus, while in Military service, Ziaur Rahman was wedded to Begum Khaleda, daughter of Ms Tayeba Begum and Toyabur Rahman, a descendent of famous ‘T’ family of Boda Police Station within the greater district of Dinajpur Prior to the partition of India in 1947. Boda, Debiganj, Panchagarh and Tetulia police stations were part of rich district of Jalpaiguri of undivided Bengal. ‘T’ family of which the origin was Munshi Tariqullah, a landlord otherwise known as famous jotdar who used to employ revenue collector for collection of rents from the tenants and cultivators to cultivate vast chunk of lands of his own possession. Besides, Munshi Tariqullah was shareholder of tea garden and a businessman during the World War I and earned huge amount of money. The family came in touch with the British Administration through the Deputy Commissioner of Non-Regulating district of Jalpaiguri which was the richest district for tea garden and tea industry in the then united Bengal. As long as Munshi Tariqullah was alive, he lived with fame, honour, dignity and power of a respectable landlord. ‘T’ originated from Tariqullah; his descendants were named with ‘T’ being the first letter of the name such as Taskinuddin, Taslimuddin, Toyabur Rahman, Tayeba and so on.
Incidentally the family of Ziaur Rahman was related to the ‘T’ family. Khaleda was the youngest daughter of Eskender Majumder and Tayeba Majumder. Majumder came also of a landed aristocracy holding Mouza of land at Fulgazi in the greater district of Noakhali. Majumder was tall and handsome and chose his occupation as businessman in addition to his Mouza land and gracefully retired as the chairman of Dinajpur Chamber of Commerce.
Of the three sisters, Khaleda was the most beautiful. There was an ongoing household talk in the greater district of Dinajpur that the matchmaker proposed to Ziaur Rahman that he had seen a bride for him. Had he agreed to marry her, he would not need a lamp or electricity in his house as the dazzling beauty of the bride would clear out all the darkness. Ziaur Rahman smiled and agreed to marry. So they were happily married.
Out of this happy wedlock, Tarique Rahman was born as the eldest son of the family. Ziaur Rahman was widely recognised as a respectable, dignified, dutiful and truthful professional soldier. Tarique was brought up in an unostentatious and peaceful atmosphere. Both Ziaur Rahman and Begum Khaleda Zia disliked the idea of giving or offering more than the son Tarique needed. Tarique was grooming up under the affectionate care and custody of his beloved mother Begum Khaleda Zia who was a popular and loveable housewife liked by all the members of the family, including the near and distant relatives. When Tarique grew up to go to school, he was admitted to a reputed school named Shaheen High School and College, primarily meant for the children of the Army personnel.
The political struggle for the right of self determination of nation was at the peak and well spread all over the country. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the then leader, was taken to custody by General Yahya Khan’s military Junta. There was none to lead the disappointed and frustrated Nation. And at that crucial moment, Major Ziaur Rahman declared the war of independence of Bangladesh from Kalurghat Radio station, Chittagong. Thus, the war of independence was started by Major Ziaur Rahman and other heroic Sector Commanders.
The Legacy of Tarique Rahman’s Family
After a severe fight of war of independence for about nine months from 26th March to 16th December 1971, against Pakistani forces of about 93 to 99 thousands, Bangladesh became independent. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was released from Pakistani jail and became the President of Bangladesh. A Constitution was passed in the National Constituent Assembly on 16th December 1972. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman ruled mercilessly with the Rakshi Bahini, Mujib Bahini and Lal Bahini, all of which were his own creatures. Motivated by communist and extreme leftist like his nephew Sheikh Fazlul Hauq Moni, Sheikh Mujubur Rahman amended the Constitution for One Party Rule naming the Party as Bangladesh Krishak, Sramik Awami League i.e., BAKSAL. That was the turning point from democracy to dictatorship which was abhorred by and unacceptable to the people.
Subsequently, with the passage of time, One Party Rule of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman came to an end by a coup-de-tat led by Colonel Faruq Rahman, Colonel Shahriar and some other democracy loving army personnel. And Khandakar Moshtaq Ahmed, a close political colleague of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was made the President. Moshtaq Ahmed appointed Ziaur Rahman as the Chief of Army Staff, as he was the senior most Major General at that time. Moshtaq Ahmed ran the administration for about ninety days.
Suddenly, Major General Khaled Mosharaff and Colonel Shafaet Jamil attempted a coup-de-tat against President Moshtaq Ahmed and asked him to hand over the power to Major General Khaled Mosharaff, which Moshtaque Ahmed refused. And the attempted coup failed with a compromise that Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Abu Sadat Md Sayem, would become the President of Bangladesh. Major General Ziaur Rahman was arrested and kept in custody by Major General Khaled Mosharaff.
Soon after, the anti-Indian common soldiers staged a mid-night coup overthrowing Major General Khaled Mosharaff. They freed Major General Ziaur Rahman from the custody and restored him to his position of the Chief of Army Staff under the Chief Justice as well as the President Abu Sadat Md Sayem. Thereafter, Chief Justice Sayem, not being a good administrator, resigned of his own free will and nominated Ziaur Rahman as the President of Bangladesh. Shortly afterward, in the General election held in 1978, Ziaur Rahman was directly elected by the people as the President defeating his rival candidate General AG Osmany, nominated by the Awami League. Having passed the SSC and HSC examinations, Tarique entered the
University of Dhaka as a student of International Relations, a subject of his choice. While in the University, he read political thoughts of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Roussou, Voltaire, Karl Marx and other exceptional thinkers. He concentrated more on socio-economic and political subjects including, the in-depth study of gradual development of democracy, especially in the British India. He also read social science subjects to know the condition of the people, such as Economics for the solution of economic problem of the people, and Political Science to embrace the concept of welfare state for providing food, clothing, shelter, medicine and education to the people. He learnt a great deal about statehood comprising of territory, population and an effective government elected by the people through a free, fair and impartial election.
Tarique Rahman’s entry into politics dates back to 1990s. In the 1991 national elections, he watched the politics and thought of devising the ways and means as to how to win the mind of the voters. In the 1996 elections, he put in his disc of three hundred constituencies of Bangladesh, with the names of leaders and vital active political workers of districts, upazilas, pourashavas, union presishads, and other administrative units of his party, i.e., the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). He strengthened the student front, youth front and other allied organisations of the BNP. It is here, his success lies. If there is any problem anywhere, he can sort it out easily because he knows who are creating the problems and what for. It was a fruitful lesson from his mother ‘Deshnetri ’ Begum Khaleda Zia who was elected Prime Minister three times and developed the country enormously, changing the fate of the suffering people for the better.
As a son of a President and a Prime Minister, Tarique was never given or granted any extra benefit or privilege. Tarique lives a modest life, having no attraction towards money or money making. Tarique married Zubaida Rahman, a beautiful daughter of Late Rear Admiral Mahabub Ali Khan whose family background is also well known and famous in the greater District of Sylhet. Some of her ancestors had been educated in England during the British regime. A physician by profession, Zubaida had been an intelligent student with well-educated pedigree having human approach towards life. Their only daughter Zaima, good looking, intelligent and well-mannered, has been pursuing her school education successfully for an easy access to any of the best universities of the world.
Tarique’s father President Ziaur Rahman was a great commoner. He used to consult proper persons and experts in complicated problems and then
The Legacy of Tarique Rahman’s Family
used to give his decision. In ninety per cent cases, his decisions were right. He had no vengeance against anybody who disagreed with him. He was a hard working person. He could keep the citizens busy with works such as canal digging, planting fruit bearing trees, increasing number of hatcheries and fisheries, and encouraging people to grow more food. He travelled from villages to villages, police stations to police stations, districts to districts, enthusing people to do something to change their fate. A great democrat, a believer in the rule of law, Ziaur Rahman stabilised law and order, democracy and the sovereignty of the country. With all the achievements, he became an outstanding leader in the national as well as international politics as the thinker and planner of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Vice President of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), member of the Al-Quds Committee, and an Arbitrator in the Iran–Iraq war. From the ignominy of bottomless basket as remarked by the US Foreign Secretary Henry Kissinger, President Zia raised Bangladesh as a member of the Security Council.
Tarique possesses all the qualities of his father. Besides, Tarique’s thoughts for promotion of international peace, security and solidarity, respect for national sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, peaceful settlement of international disputes, respect for principles enunciated in the United Nations Charter, renunciation of the use of force in international relations, are well known.
Tarique is eloquent to support the oppressed people throughout the world waging a just struggle against imperialism, colonialism or racialism and to consolidate, preserve and strengthen friendship to all and malice to none. He is a great upholder of human rights and empowerment of the women. Tarique can contribute a lot in the politics for the BNP, Bangladeshi nationalism and the people.
His rivals are jealous and afraid of him, for, he had been a political activist leading successfully the active BNP politics shoulder to shoulder with the people as Senior Joint Secretary General. He is now the Senior Vice Chairman of the BNP with utmost commitment to democracy, rule of law and sovereignty of the country, and with an emphasis on the peace and prosperity of the people. He keeps in view the Islamic values of life as more than 90% citizens of Bangladesh are Muslims. He hates communalism and terrorism of any manner. He is thorough about the election processes and machineries to hold a free, fair and impartial election. He can implement his father’s much acclaimed 19-point programmes for the people to solve their social, political and economic problems. He knows the new generation, as well as their problems and demands thoroughly, so as to easily win them on his side.
Well conversant with world politics, Tarique Rahman can successfully participate in any important table talks, round table conferences, seminars and symposiums, as well as national and international conferences. While delivering speech either in a private or a public meeting, Tarique speaks lucidly point-wise, bringing home his point to the listeners who grasp it quickly. He has a well established network of men and materials throughout the country to win the general elections, if held, under the non-party caretaker government.
- ‘Deshnetri’ means leader of the country in Bengali.
I have intentionally avoided calling him the architect as some does with my view that normally architect commences work upon getting instructions from someone.
Barrister Muhammad Jamiruddin Sircar Member
Politician, Former Acting President of Bangladesh