Bangladesh’s former military ruler Hossain Mohammad Ershad died on July 14, 2019 [File: Reuters]

General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, the military dictator of Bangladesh for most of the 1980s, died on July 14 in Dhaka. He was 89 years old. Ershad’s peaceful death due to old age marked an unexpectedly mundane end to one of the most controversial but also consequential political careers in Bangladesh, especially given that some of his peers ended up assassinated or jailed for life. 

In Bangladeshi political vernacular, only Ershad is referred to as “the dictator”, even though the country has been governed by leaders with varying degrees of dictatorial aspirations since the 1950s.

Older Bangladeshis often blame General Ershad’s proclamation of martial law in 1982 for destroying the country’s nascent but pluralistic

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