A glowing tribute to Sheikh Kamal on his 71st birth anniversary

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Habibur Rahman

Today is the 71st birthday of Sheikh Kamal, the eldest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Sheikh Kamal was a prominent figure in sports and cultural arena of Bangladesh. Dhaka Abahani Limited, formerly known as Abahani Krira Chakra, was founded in 1972 by Sheikh Kamal.

On this day, August 5, 1949, this bright star of the nation was born. The Ministry of Youth and Sports has decided to officially celebrate his birthday for the first time. I would like to thank Ministry of Youth and Sports for taking such an initiative.

Sheikh Kamal, the brilliant young man, was born and martyred in the same month. Sheikh Kamal, along with other members of his family, was assassinated on August 15, 1975, only a month after he embraced married life.

Habildar Sohrab Ali, the 7th witness in the Bangabandhu murder case, told the court that Major Bazlul Huda with some other officers and soldiers entered Bangabandhu’s residence and shot Sheikh Kamal. Sheikh Kamal screamed and fell down in front of the door of the reception room. Major Bazlul Huda shot him again to confirm his death. An extraordinary short life of 26 years came to an end in a cruel way.

At the tender age of 22, on the fateful night of March 25, 1971, Sheikh Kamal immediately jumped into the war of liberation to save the country after the Pakistani government arrested the Father of the Nation and took him to West Pakistan. He played a heroic role in liberating the country as the ADC to Ataul Gani Osmani, the Commander-in-Chief of the Mukti Bahini.

Being a keen sports fan, Sheikh Kamal used to play cricket, football and basketball regularly for the school XI. After the independence of the country, Sheikh Kamal made his debut not only as a player but also as a sports organiser.

Not just sports, his presence was so vibrant in every arena — music, debates, oration etc. Sheikh Kamal had a good grasp of music. As a singer, he was pretty good. He created a new genre of Bengali music by establishing ‘Spondon Shilpi Gosthi’. Popular pop musicians like Feroz Shai and Ferdous Wahid were part of this organisation. In the meantime, when the Pakistani government decided to ban Rabindra Sangeet in 1969, Sheikh Kamal protested the decision vehemently.

We do not know whether any other young Bengali has done so much in such a short span of life as that of Sheikh Kamal. Spreading false propaganda, the killers had tried to hide their crime and defame Sheikh Kamal after his assassination. The killers of BNP and Jamaat have had the tendency to tarnish the image of the nation’s heroes.

Sheikh Kamal identified himself as a freedom fighter and lived a very simple life. If he had survived, we would have got Test status in cricket long ago. If he were alive today, we would not have seen this predicament in football. Sheikh Kamal would have never allowed our football to be in this dilapidated state. Not only in the field of sports, but in every aspect of culture, we could have represented our country at the international level. Young people could learn from him how to be simple and open-hearted.

If Sheikh Kamal’s contribution to country is revealed to the present generation through deciphering the correct history, he might have become the ‘symbolic leader’ of the youths, following whom the youths could move forward and contribute to the country. Coming generations will definitely remember his outstanding achievements with respect, love and sincerity.

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