Hiren Pandit: On June 23, 1949, a new political party ‘East Pakistan Awami Muslim League’ was born at Rose Garden Palace, KM Das Lane Road, Tikatuli, Old Dhaka. Who knew that this organization would become the main political party in history to establish an independent state and that the independent Bangladesh state would be formed by organizing a liberation war under the leadership of the party? The 74-year-old party is leading the continuous struggle to establish a non-communal state through various ups and downs after independence.
The name of this glorious political party is Bangladesh Awami League. On January 4, 1948, Sheikh Mujib was made a member of the convening committee in a meeting held at Dhaka University Fazlul Haque Hall auditorium and the ‘Nikhil Banga Muslim Chhatra League’ organization was reconstituted as ‘East Pakistan Muslim Chhatra League’. In 1949, the polarization of politics began to be organized against Pakistan’s autocratic behavior in various parts of the country, including Dhaka University. In the language movement of 1952, the formation of the United Front of 1954, the 1958 anti-military movement, the education movement of 1962, the mass uprising of 1969, and the independence movement of 1971, the Awami League has a glorious role.
Then in 1968, a sedition case was filed against Sheikh Mujib as the number one accused in the Agartala conspiracy case. By the end of 1968, political and student unity was formed against this case. As a result, in 1969, there was a popular uprising, because of which the government was forced to withdraw the case and release the royal prisoners. Through this, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was awarded the title of Bangabandhu. In Pakistani politics, Sheikh Mujib and East Bengal then transformed into a controlling force exerting influence against the conspiracies of the West Pakistanis. In the 1970 elections, Awami League won an absolute victory. But from the conspiracy of not handing over power, Bangabandhu’s historic speech on March 7 and Operation Searchlight on March 25 against Bangabandhu’s declaration of independence on March 26 and the beginning of the liberation war. Bangladesh emerged as an independent state on 16 December 1971.
Bangabandhu was successfully leading the reconstruction of an independent country. But domestic and international conspiratorial groups tried to take the country back to Pakistani style through the August 15 assassination, the seizure of power, the killing of four national leaders in jail and the establishment of a total military dictatorship. In 1981, Sheikh Hasina was elected as the president of the party conference. She returned to the country after 6 years and took charge of Awami League. At that time, when the military ruler Ziaur Rahman was killed in a coup, a chaotic situation was created in the country’s politics. After that, Chief of Army Staff Ershad took power and military rule was again imposed in the country.
In 1990, Awami League played a leading role in bringing the country back to the path of elections by ending military rule. In 1996, the Awami League under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina got the responsibility of running the state by forming the government. Awami League also has to deal with various conspiracies.
Awami League won the last elections held in 2008 with huge votes. Sheikh Hasina started to form the government and implement the framework of the socio-economic transformation of Bangladesh. During this time, the country achieved self-sufficiency in electricity and got the opportunity to go digital, the war criminals of 1971 were prosecuted, and poverty alleviation and social security projects were implemented. Bangladesh enters a middle-income country. Bangladesh celebrated its golden jubilee of independence in 2021. The country became independent under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh became a developing and self-respecting state under the leadership of his daughter Sheikh Hasina. Standing for 74 years, Awami League as a political party has been able to give Bangladesh a lot of freedom, development, self-esteem, and glorious pride.
But now many people complain that even though they have been working with Awami League for a long time, they did not get a taste of party power, just as many people suddenly came and sat together and enjoyed sixteen years of power. Now many people complain or complain that former bureaucrats, businessmen and hybrids are winners. Complaints are still found that when the party comes to power, the party does not take care of the sad workers during the great calamity. Ministers and MPs don’t know them anymore. Do not want to crowd to common people. Stay away from any party benefits, they do not even have a political evaluation. Thousands of leaders and workers in Awami League politics are full of pride.
Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has not only entered Bangladesh as a developing country, but has become a role model in the world in terms of economic development. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been working towards establishing Bengali nationalism in the spirit of the liberation war, nurturing democratic culture, building a society free from exploitation and building a developed, prosperous, modern, progressive state system. Bangladesh is progressing in many ways. And it goes without saying that a country prospers only through progress. If other countries of the world recognize and appreciate Bangladesh’s progress, it is very positive and inspiring.
The Awami League government has made infrastructure development and civic services at the doorsteps of the people, made it easy and it must be accepted that there are strict instructions from the head of government. Without seeing the communication system and road structure in the villages and remote areas, one cannot believe how easily the people of these areas have been able to accept life and livelihood, and have become accustomed to it. Sheikh Hasina’s dream is to take the country forward in the spirit of the liberation war, and to give the people of the country a taste of development. The main goal was to write the history of the liberation war, to place Bangabandhu’s existence in the history of the liberation war, and place him in a proper place of dignity.
The promise of the great freedom struggle of Bangladesh was to fulfill the basic rights of the countrymen such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and education. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is walking on the path of development, progress, and prosperity by facing various domestic and foreign challenges. She is making relentless efforts to build a progressive, democratic, and non-communal Bangladesh free from hunger and poverty. So far, more than 350,000 land and houses have been distributed among the homeless families. The Awami League government is working to successfully implement four foundations to build a smart Bangladesh. These are Smart Citizens, Smart Economy, Smart Government, and Smart Society. Apart from this, the plan of how the delta will be in the year 2100 has been undertaken. All work in Smart Bangladesh will be done through technology. Where every citizen will be proficient in using technology. Smart Bangladesh of 2041 will be a cost-effective, sustainable, intellectual, knowledge-based and innovative Bangladesh. Smart healthcare, smart transportation, smart utilities, urban administration, public safety, agriculture, internet connectivity and disaster management will be ensured for the implementation of smart cities and smart villages. The way Sheikh Hasina has been leading the country for more than 14 years as the Prime Minister and one of the reasons why Bangladesh has not fallen into any major economic crisis like other countries in the current global economic crisis is that she has been able to take the economic base of the country in a strong position during this time. Otherwise, it would have been very difficult to save the country of 17 crore people from disaster even during this crisis.
Awami League President Sheikh Hasina mentioned that “hurts will come, conspiracies will happen, but Awami League leaders and workers will definitely move forward unitedly to face those conspiracies.” Awami League has established the right to vote and rice for the people of Bangladesh. Awami League established Digital Bangladesh, and will also establish Smart Bangladesh in the coming days. Bangladesh will not go backward, Bangladesh will move forward, and the dream of the father of the nation will be realized.
Awami League stands by the people in any calamity. This is Awami League and this is the teaching of Awami League. The history of Awami League is like the history of struggle, and at the same time, Awami League can improve or move a country forward, as Bangladesh is moving forward now. No matter how evil forces conspire against Bangladesh, no one can stand in the way of Bengali progress.
The people of Bangladesh will never bow down to any foreign pressure. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina mentioned that no matter how much domestic and foreign pressure comes, Bengalis will never bow down to that pressure. We must always remember; this country is ours. We will not let anyone play with the fate of the people of this country. Due to the support of the people, the country’s progress has been made possible by the relentless efforts of the government and Bangladesh has become a role model for development. Bangladesh will move forward as a role model. When the country is moving forward with the relentless efforts of the Awami League government, the allies of the defeated forces of the liberation war are trying to create instability and anarchy. Awami League believes in communal harmony. No evil force will be allowed to flourish in this country. Free textbooks are being distributed to students up to Madhyamik. The literacy rate has risen to 75 percent.
Two crore people are receiving various allowances under the social safety net and 12 crore are indirectly benefiting from the social safety net. Hundreds of people in the country are getting electricity. Healthcare is at people’s doorsteps. Poor people are getting 30 types of medicines free from community clinics. The average life expectancy of people has increased to 73 years. Digital Bangladesh has been established. Extensive infrastructural development programs including roads, highways, bridges, flyovers, subways, elevated expressways, railways, waterways, and communications have been implemented and are still ongoing across the country. Metrorail was launched last December after its construction. The self-funded Padma Bridge was started in June last year.
In 1996, Bangladesh Awami League came back to power after a long struggle to establish democracy and the right to vote. Awami League ruled the state very successfully from 1996 to 2001. Bangladesh turned around on the path of development and progress. The Awami League government turned the country of food shortage Bangladesh into a country of food surplus.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working tirelessly to make Bangladesh a middle-income country, keeping Awami League’s huge campaign ahead. Education, communication infrastructure, gas, electricity, women’s education, 100% increase in salaries and allowances for employees, health care, distribution of free books, achieving self-sufficiency in food production, disadvantaged communities under social programs, helpless, elderly, widows, persons with disabilities, abused women, People are benefiting from autism, providing assistance to poor freedom fighters, shelter schemes, one house one farm scheme, women empowerment and overall development of various sectors. It was possible to achieve that prosperity only under the leadership of the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina mentioned, ‘We have achieved victory in the great liberation war. We are a winning nation. As a victorious nation, we can stand tall in the court of the world. We will not bow down to anyone, we will not walk by bowing down to anyone. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu repeatedly said that by using that wealth, we will be proud of our own glory in the World Assembly, we will build ourselves and we will walk with our heads high to the whole world. This will be the most important step for the people of this country. This is how our beloved motherland Bangladesh built by Bangabandhu will move forward.
In response to the fourth industrial revolution, the information technology sector of Bangladesh has emphasized various infrastructural developments including the development of skilled human resources. Bangladesh is striving to be among the top 50 countries in the United Nations e-Governance Development Index in the next five years. 5,500 Unions have been brought under the Internet at an affordable price through the One Country One Rate program. 8600 digital centers have been launched across the country. 5G has been launched on an experimental basis but will be commercially operational by the end of this year.
With the help of information technology, young people are building small and big IT firms, e-commerce sites, app-based services and other organizations. Besides, some major achievements including Bangladesh’s first satellite in space have taken Bangladesh to a unique height in the eyes of the world. Bangabandhu’s Golden Bengal is no longer a dream but now a visible reality. Only Awami League takes this country forward and Bangladesh will move forward under the leadership of Awami League.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and researcher