Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family were assassinated on 15 August 1975, four years after the independence of Bangladesh. 10 years old Sheikh Russel, the youngest son of Bangabandhu, was amongst the victims who died in that terrible attack.
58 years ago, on this day (October 18, 1964), Russel was born. Even on the eve of the 50th anniversary of independence, the death of Russel reminds the nation to strengthen the determination of protecting the country’s sovereignty ever after. Today’s remembrance feature is aimed at Sheikh Russel.
Childhood days of Sheikh Russel
When Bangamata Fazilatunnesa gave birth to her youngest child Sheikh Russel, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was in Chittagong on a mission to protest against the dictator Ayub Khan. Russel was born at House No. 677, Road No. 32, Dhanmondi in Dhaka.
When Bangabandhu was arrested on May 8, 1966, Russel was barely one and a half years old. With his mother, the baby Russel used to visit Bangabandhu at the central prison and cried for bringing his father along with him. At one point he was told that that prison was his father’s house. After a year, Russel began to call his mother “Father” and did not cry anymore for his father when he returned from prison. This is what Bangabandhu wrote about his youngest son Russel in his prison diary.
When Sheikh Mujibur Rahman received the title of Bangabandhu on 23 February 1969 at Sohrawardy Udyan, Russel was four and a half years old.
Russel began his captive life with his mother and two older sisters at a house on Road No. 16 in Dhanmondi on the eve of Bangabandhu’s arrest and imprisonment in West Pakistan in 1971. He was released from captivity on December 17, 1971.
Sheikh Russel: An innocent victim of vindictive killings
During Sheikh Russel’s childhood, Bangladesh’s political sphere was passing through a tumultuous period. In those years, the Bengali nation experienced several political events and milestones including Bangabandhu’s six-point demands, a mass uprising of 1969, the liberation war of 1971, and then the independence of the country in 1971.
Russel cherished the dream of becoming an army officer who will be dedicated to the motherland. But that dream of Sheikh Russel, a fourth-grader at the University Laboratory School, was nipped in the bud on August 15, 1975. The terrible incident occurred just two months before the child’s 11th birthday. The ruthless hearts of those savage killers did not tremble while tearing down Russel’s small chest with bullets.
Eternal Sheikh Russel in unfaded memory
In 1995, Sheikh Russel Sports Club was established to preserve the memory of child Russel.
On February 20, 1989, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina established an organization called the National Council for Children and Adolescents which was named after the child Russel. The main goal of the organization is to take the country forward by contributing to the cultural and social field with the spirit of the ideals of Bangabandhu and the memory of Sheikh Russel.
The killing of child Sheikh Russel and other family members of Bangabandhu changed the fate of the nation. This pathetic incident can be compared to an undesirable rhythmic fall in the victory music of the newly independent Bangladesh. This black chapter warns to defend the acquired independence. Still today, the innocent gazes of millions of children in Bangladesh silently demand the right to grow up in a nonviolent entity under peaceful light and air. And in that light, October 18 with the slogan of “Bright victorious joy, indomitable confidence” is being celebrated as National Day from this year.
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