Most of our superheroes wander around the world of imagination and fiction. With most of them, when you peel off the colorful costume, mask and cape, what you find underneath is that the hero hardly resembles the realm of reality, and soon you get disillusioned of him. But few make the exception.
Think about our biggest superhero – Bangabandhu – the architect of our independence. The way a boy with an ordinary upbringing ended up being the father of a nation was portrayed artistically in 'Mujib' – an autobiography based graphic novel, which is the first of its kind ever made in the graphic arena in the country.
Launched this February, the second episode of the series brings forth a young Mujib with a firm and grim look and depicts the turn of momentous events having appeared during his school and college life. It is a story of perseverance, doggedness and unwavering stance for humanity.
Let's see an example, which like many others illustrates how a young Mujib tied up with his political mentor Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. As a ripple effect of the Second World War, an epidemic of famine broke out in our land. A death spree charged across the land. Hysteric cries of hunger pervaded the streets and homes day and night. Due to starvation, people were dying every now and then. Corpses lay sprawled on the streets only to be fed upon by vultures. Newborns were found crying on the lifeless laps of mothers. Hunger forced man and dog to vie for leftovers thrown away into dustbins.
Back then, Mujib was in his early college days in Kolkata. Driven by his strong philanthropic instincts, he could not take it anymore. Unlike all his friends, the visionary stood up, motivated and tied his friends into the cause of public welfare and met the then Civil Supply Minister Suhrawardy to place before him his appeal for something to be done to lessen the plight of the people. His relentless efforts saw the formation of a civil supply department overnight. Sacrificing academic life for the welfare of people, Mujib took up a daunting task. A free feeding programme was introduced. United, the team was sturdy enough to run the free feeding scheme and to rescue lives.
In search of relief collection, Mujib came back to his village home in Gopalganj. The outbreak had also turned his village into a set of any post-apocalyptic movie. A determined and vigorous Mujib decided to stand by the people and help them through rescue efforts.
The book also features some twisting moments of his life. For example, Mujib, a passionate footballer, played against his father, and lost the game. In the aftermath, he said, "Being defeated by father is not humiliating. Rather, it is encouraging."
That's what our heroes do!
"Bangabandhu could never be so fascinating and interesting, had he not taken up this initiative. Now I adore Bangabandhu as my superhero," according to ten year-old Rafin, who was deeply transfixed by the book.
Let's not forget that our Mujib came from absolutely nothing – no connections and no money – and through the power of his sheer intellect and determination he liberated us from the Pakistani occupation forces and founded a sovereign nation. It's the life of an ordinary boy who ended up being the liberator of a country.
Referring to the initiative, one of the publishers, Radwan Mujib Siddiq, a grandson of Bangabadhu, said, "Through the Mujib graphic novel series, we hope to bring to a new generation the remarkable story of Bangabandhu's life. The entire 'The Unfinished Memoirs' of Bangabandhu, during his incarceration, will be presented in 12 episodes."
To dig out and dive into the decisive moments of the student life of our liberator, collect your copy in no time. While browsing the book fair, you can find the book at the stall of the Centre for Research and Information (number 100/ja) inside the Bangla Academy compound.