Quest for Freedom and Justice
This book covers in detail the political developments that led to the emergence of an independent Bangladesh. The post-independence challenges described here are a valuable source of information on different aspects of state building. Kamal Hossain gives a vivid eyewitness account of his own involvement in the different phases of the political struggles, from personal associations, as legal defence for freedom of the media and victims of repression in the sixties and, in particular, the Agartala Conspiracy case. His later association with the Awami League’s team at Ayub’s Round Table Conference and with Yahya Khan in 1971 provides valuable historical insights into the events leading to the war of independence.
After independence, as Minister of Law, Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee (1972) and later Minister of Foreign Affairs, and of Petroleum and Minerals (1973–1975), Kamal Hossain focuses on the challenges of state building and political transformation. He offers thoughtful analyses of how a country, ravaged by war and deprived of resources, gave itself a secular, democratic constitution, won the respect of the world, gained membership of the United Nations and actively pursued peace and stability in the region.
Bangladesh’s pursuit of democracy was short-lived as representative governance and secular democratic politics were stifled by military rule. This book offers critical insights into the processes of state formation in the initial years of Bangladesh’s independence.
Kamal Hossain started his legal career after completing his BCL degree from Oxford University and the Bar in 1959. During military rule, he defended the freedom of the media, political freedoms and civil liberties in the courts, and was one of the counsels for Bangabandhu (‘Friend of Bengal’, title of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) in the Agartala Conspiracy case. He accompanied the Awami League team to advise and work on constitutional matters in the Round Table Conference called by Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan in 1969. Soon after that he joined the Awami League and participated in the negotiations held with General Yahya Khan and his generals in 1971. He was elected to the Parliament in 1970 and after independence, he was appointed as Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs (1972–73), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1973–75) and Minister of Petroleum and Minerals (1974–75). He was also the Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee (1972).
Kamal Hossain is a senior advocate in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.