Malek Ukil: An uncompromising leader
Nearly 15 years back, my father Advocate Lutfor Rahman in a Jummah (Friday) morning suddenly insisted on me to go Maijadee Court mosque (Noakhali) premises where Jatiya Sangsad former Speaker, Abdul Malek Ukil was lying in tranquility. After performing Jummah prayer, we conducted Ziyarat, offered Fatiha and DOA to the soul of the departed.
Malek Ukil was senior to my father as lawyer.
Several years back, popular television show 'Ittadi's famous Hanif Sanket revealed names of the golden sons of the soil at a Noakhali programme, among them Bir Sreshtho Mohammad Ruhul Amin, Martyred Intellectual Munier Choudhury and national politician Abul Malek Ukil's names were in his lips.
A great Liberation War organizer Malek Ukil never compromised with any military turned civilian governments. Though in his region, a number of opportunists including a late Barrister sold their ideology over the share of political left over for their bread and butter, Malek Ukil never came up with such unethical activities. No temptation could cajole him, nor could any parochial interest take upper hand over his ideology.
His family sources said, in his life time he got many lucrative offers of being minister or gaining financial advantage but he never accepted that. He never deviated from Bangabandhu's ideology; he always upheld the secular and democratic spirit which elevated him to a different height. In defiance of blood shot eyes of the then military rulers, he used to wage the political movement being Bangladesh Awami League chief.
While handing over charge as the chief to Bangabandhu's daughter in 1981, Malek Ukil a veritable leader in a grateful language said, ' my feelings is excellent at this moment as I today handed over the party charge to my leader Bangabandhu's inheritor Sheikh Hasina'.
Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, who also hails from the region Malek Ukil was born, tributed recollecting in the program, "I feel proud that he was the son of Noakhali, and me too. I am learning many things in Jatiya Sangsad proceedings from the first speaker of independent Bangladesh, Malek Ukil",
Once pre liberation war time vibrant student leader Tofayel Ahmed said in his tribute language, the name of Malek Ukil would go by the history of Bangladesh as an example of political forrunner.
Present ruling party Secretary General Obaidul Quader who hailed from Noakhali in his remembrance event said, it is a miraculous and interesting matter that I was elected President of Chhatra League from jail at the same time Malek Bhai was elected party president in1978 from same district.
Irrespective of party and ideological differences, he is called the leader of the soil and people of Noakhali. His war time colleagues Mahmudur Rahman Belayet, Advocate Momin Ullah(late) , Professor Mohammad Hanif (a student leader of Mass Upsurge in 1969), Nurul Haque Miah and AHM Khairul Anam Chowdhury Selim evaluated Malak Ukil is a leader worth soil and people.
While he was the Minister of Health and Family Welfare in 1972, he went to visit my ailing maternal grandfather Shamsul Haque master at Sallaghataiya village under Sadar Upazila. Late Shamsul Haque Master was a veteran teacher of Bangabiddalaya School in Maijdee court. After few days of his visit, my maternal grandfather, Shamsul Haque master left the mundane word. In this way he used to inquire about peoples life and their condition of his constituency in secluded period like our second caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab. In my childhood I saw hundreds of people gathering at his Maijdee residence to meet with the popular leader and sharing their personal problems for immediate remedy.
His contribution in Language Movement, Independence Movement, Anti military and autocrat movements is beyond known words of praise. I cannot but check the temptation of mentioning a few of those.
He was an executive member of East Pakistan Chhatra League executive body. He had languished in jail in language movement with Bangabandhu. He was elected thrice to the East Pakistan Provincial Assembly member in 1956, 1962 and 1965. He was a member of the committee which drafted the Constitution of Bangladesh in 1972.
In 1966 he presided over a conference of the opposition parties which was held in Lahore. He was arrested during the Six-Point Movement.
He was elected Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad. He became the deputy leader of the opposition in1986.
This leader breathed his last at the age of 63 at the Suhrawardy Hospital in Dhaka. A pall of gloom descended upon the political arena of the country at the demise of great leader. While returning from this unparallel leader's graveyard, my father told me, "Deepak, I had three guardians in the mundane world, one is my father, second is my father-in-law Shamsul Haque Master, and last one is my senior Malek Ukil. My three guardians left world." His eyes became moist with tears.
Today is his 34th death anniversary.
Noted American politician and president John F. Kennedy once said to his countrymen "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Does not Malek Ukil's works truly reflect that glorifying saying?
Deepak Eojbalia is with
the Daily Observer