Muhammad Ataul Ghani (M. A. G.) Osmani

  • Born: 1 September 1918 at village of Dayamir, Balaganj, Sunamganj district, Sylhet
  • Died: 16 February 1984, London but buried in Sylhet (aged 66)
  • Profession: Army General
  • Recognition: 'Bangabir' (Brave Bengali) General M.A.G. Osmani. Known as 'Papa Tiger' in Pakistani Army
  • National contribution: Supreme Commander of Bangladesh Forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War 1971
  • Hasani? Didn't know that! A life long bachelor who died of cancer in London. Has yet to receive state recognition for gallant contribution during 1971 Muktijuddho

Timeline of few major events in Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmani's life:

  • 1923 - Begin formal education under house tutor and mother. Learn English and Farsi
  • 1934 - Pass matriculation with 1st division marks from Sylhet Government Pilot School under Calcutta University. Awarded "Pretoria Award" for securing highest marks in English
  • 1938 - Graduated in Arts from Aligarh Muslim University, India, and registered for M. A. in Geography following year. But left in 1940 to fight in Second World War (WWII)
  • 1941 - 1945 - Various post in British Army, including commander at Burma sector
  • 23 February 1942 - 23-year-old Osmani promoted to Major, making him the youngest Major in the British Indian Army for some time
  • 1947 - Selected for Long Term Staff Course at Quetta Staff College. Served alongside Major Yahya Khan, Major Tikka Khan, and Major A. A. K. Niazi, whom he'd fight against during 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War
  • 7 October 1947 - Opts to join newly formed Pakistan Army. Promoted to rank of Lieutenant Colonel (Lt. Col) next day
  • 1950s - 'Papa Tiger'/'Chacha Osmani' encourage Bengalis within Pakistan Army. Renames East Bengal Regiment (EBR) as "Bengal Tigers", communicates to Bengali officers in Bangla, introduce Bangla regimental songs (e.g. Chol chol chol, Gram chara oi rangamatir path, etc.), and selects bratachari folk dance for Bangla troops
  • 1956 - Deputy Director of the General Staff and later Deputy Director Military Operations (DDMO) under Major-General Yahya Khan
  • 1961 - Promoted to Colonel
  • 16 February 1967 - Retire from Pakistan Armed Forces after 30 years in the army
  • 7 July 1970 - Join Sheikh Mujib-led Awami League. Elected MNA (Member of the National Assembly) after winning Biswanath-Balaganj-Golopganj-Fenchuganj (in Sylhet) constituency in General Election in December 1970
  • 25 March 1971 - Went underground after Pakistan Army launched attack on Bengali population. Hid for few nights, shaved off famous moustache, and finally reached India via Comilla district on 2 April 1971
  • 17 April 1971 - 52-year-old Osmani appointed Commander-in-Chief of newly formed Bangladesh Armed Forces and led them successfully against Pakistan Army genocide for next eight months
  • 16 December 1971 - Controversially absent from Pakistan Army's official surrender in Dhaka after helicopter attacked by hostile fire while descending into Sylhet
  • 26 December 1971 - Promoted to Four Star General - first and only General in Bangladesh's history - by Government of Bangladesh. Promotion backdated to be effective from 16 December 1971
  • 7 April 1972 - Retires from Bangladesh armed forces
  • May 1974 - Resigns from cabinet after representing Awami League as elected member. Resigns from Jatiya Sangsad (National Parliament) and leave Awami League party in 1975 in protest of Sheikh Mujib's introduction of one-party BAKSAL system
  • 29 August 1975 - Appointed honorary Adviser to the President in charge of Defence Affairs by Khandaker Moshtaque Ahmed, two weeks after Sheikh Mujib and family assassinated. But resigns few weeks later after the killing of char netas (four leaders) of Mujibnagar Shorkar on 3 November 1971
  • May 1976 - Create 'The Jubeida Khatun-Khan Bahahdur Mofizur Rahman Trust' in honour of parents. Donate parental home in Sylhet, 'Nur Manzi', to trust. Today Nur Manzil houses Osmani Jadughar (Museum)
  • 5 September 1976 - Launch new political party 'Jatiyo Janata Party'(National People's Party)
  • 1978 - Contest Presidential election as nominee of the Ganotantrik Oikiyo Jote (People's Democratic United Front or People's Democratic Alliance), formed by five opposition parties including General Osmani's Jatiya Janata Party and Awami League. But lose out to Ziaur Rahman, the BNP founder who worked under him as sector commander during 1971 Sangram (War)
  • 1981 - Contest Presidential election again after Ziaur Rahman's assassination. Represented Jatiya Nagarik Committee (National Citizens Committee). But lost again to another BNP candidate, Justice Abdus Sattar
  • 15 August 1977 - Established 'The Osmany Memorial Trust' for children of freedom fighters and solidiers, and kids of greater Sylhet district
  • 1983 - Diagnosed with Cancer at Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Dhaka. Flown to London's St Bartholomew's Hospital for treatment where they diagnosed he was given wrong type of blood at CMH and this now infected
  • 16 February 1984 - 66-year-old die in St Bartholomew's Hospital. Flown back to Bangladesh and buried on 20 February in Shahjalal Darga Sharif, Sylhet, with full military honour, next to mother's grave as per his last wish

Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmani's (Bangabir) biography

  1. Early life of 'Ata', 1st class student, family life
  2. Youngest Major in British Indian army
  3. "Non-martial" Bengali stereotype continues from British era to newly found Pakistan, Osmani & co fight against the "Non-Martial Bengali" stereotype
  4. Proud Bengali
  5. Join Awami League and campaign for greater autonomy in East Pakistan, Commander-in-Chief during 1971 Muktijuddho
  6. Post-Liberation: first and only General of Bangladesh, controversial membership under Khandaker Moshtaque Ahmed leadership, founder and president of Jatiyo Janata Party
  7. Death from cancer
  8. Legacy I: No honorary state recognition yet, MAG Osmani Antorjatik Biman Bondhor (International Airport, Sylhet), Sylhet Osmani Medical College & Hospital, Sylhet Osmani Stadium
  9. Legacy II: Osmani Jadughar, Osmani Centre & Osmani Trust (UK), Osmani Primary School (London UK)
  10. Legacy III: Documentary film by Iqbal Bahar Choudhury, "O General My General" book
  11. Legacy IV: What others say about Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmani (Bangabir)...
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