Bangabandhu’s Vision for Youth Development and Today’s Smart Bangladesh

Hiren Pandit: About 30 percent of the total population of Bangladesh is youth. According to the current population, there are more than four and a half crore young men and women in the country. Bangabandhu had many thoughts about the youth society. He imagined a lot about young people. He thought that the youth should be developed as ideal people. The youth will become an ideal force. By this ideal man, he means a person who will possess advanced human qualities and will be followed by others. That is, everything that is socially good, best, decent, and beneficial will be in the youth.

To be an ideal human being, the youth must be honest, devoted, hardworking, kind, compassionate, empathetic, unselfish, and courageous. Bangabandhu himself was an idealistic man and an idealistic and exemplary leader. The liberation of the exploited, oppressed, and downtrodden people of Bengal was the main goal and ideal of his life. He has struggled all his life to achieve that goal. He has been repeatedly imprisoned and tortured while talking about the rights of the people of Bengal. Prison torture became a regular chapter in his life. Bangabandhu’s personal life had nothing to say.

Bangabandhu’s thoughts, views, dreams, and deeds were all for the welfare of the people of this country, for the welfare of the people, for the liberation of the motherland. Bangabandhu’s ideal in politics was to sacrifice for the people not to lead a happy life. Bangabandhu used to give the highest place to principles and ideals in politics. The aim of his politics was not merely to go to power, it was to achieve the rights of the Bengalis or to achieve national liberation. He believed that the youth should be strong in this power.

The main philosophy of Bangabandhu’s politics was to achieve economic and political liberation of Bengalis. He chose democracy, socialism, and secularism as his political ideology. He also turned this ideology into a state ideology. Bangabandhu thought that Bangladesh would be an ideal state and that the basis of the state would be democracy, socialism, and secularism. In this light, the 1972 constitution adopted nationalism, socialism, democracy, and secularism as the four basic principles of the state.

In the national youth policy of Bangladesh, 18 to 35-year-olds have been termed as ‘youth’. Youth is the pillar of a nation, the craftsman of civilization, culture, and development. The youth are physically and mentally strong, possess advanced knowledge, and are pioneers of change and struggle in the state-society. A large part of those who sacrificed their lives in the great liberation war was the youth. The school of the young Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was Bangladesh, the national identity was Bengali, and the country was Bangladesh.

He assimilated the thousand-year-old hopes, aspirations, pains, and traditions of the Bengalis in his consciousness. The youth of Bengal was in his heart and part and parcel of his life. He drew the design of success by relying on the youth. He wished that the youth of this country could build themselves efficiently, be career-oriented, be aware of their responsibilities, and build a golden Bengal.

Bangabandhu has given importance to education to build the youth properly. Bangabandhu wanted a people-oriented, science-based, and technical education system. He urged the youth to study as well as perform various duties. Addressing the youth on August 19, 1973, he said, “Fathers’ (the students and youths) continue your study attentively and learn something from your study.” No matter how much you chant slogans (Jindabad and Murdabad), there is no benefit if you are not learning your lessons properly and not reading books attentively.

The rest of the time help your parents after your study. Don’t be ashamed to take the helm with your father in agriculture and other works because you are learning to wear pants (modern dress). Look at the world. In the villages, plant some eggplant saplings next to the houses, plant some capsicum saplings, plant some gourd saplings, and plant some coconut saplings. Help your parents a little. There is no benefit in just passing Bachelor of Arts (BA), or Master of Arts (MA). We have to work for the welfare of the people of the country”.

Bangabandhu loved the youth. He tried to instill that dream in the youth. He used to give advice and instructions to inspire the youth with the idea of patriotism. In his speech on the founding anniversary of the Chhatra League in 1971, he said, “The people of Bengal, especially the young community, need to know our history.” A boy in Bengal who does not know the traditions of his past descendants cannot be a true Bengali.’

The great chapter of the political life of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was his youth. Deep in his youthful thoughts is the philosophy of Bengal, Bengali, the ultimate liberation of Bangladesh and the leadership of Bengalis in the world with their heads held high. Bangabandhu wanted the youth of Bengal to become ‘Golden Boys’ and build ‘Golden Bengal’. He called upon the youth to choose the path of honesty and patriotism by awakening self-criticism, self-control, and self-purification.

After independence, Bangabandhu took various plans in this regard. The importance of the technical and vocational education that Bangabandhu spoke of is even greater today. Bangabandhu’s youthful thoughts and ideas are also relevant in building a skilled youth force suitable for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. What is needed now for the current Fourth Industrial Revolution is to build a new generation and skilled youth who know technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, and IoT. However, in this case, more awareness is needed so that the generation of artificial consciousness and artificial attitude does not develop. Bangabandhu’s thoughts are genuine, efficient, honest, and patriotic youth inspired by the Bengali spirit is our resource, skilled craftsmen to build a Golden Bengal.

The glorious role of the freedom fighters in our war of independence will be written in golden letters in the history of Bangladesh. On that day, at the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, our youth jumped into the war of liberation without any delay. Some of them were students, some were farmers, and some were workers. And more than 95 percent of these freedom fighters were young men and women.

On the other hand, many young men among the Bengali members of the regular army-navy, air-EPR, police-Ansar, etc. took part in the liberation war. Those fearless youths of Bengali mothers were not afraid to accept death with a smile for the independence of Bangladesh. Our war of independence is proof of the strength and dedication of the youth of Bangladesh.

Keeping Bangabandhu’s dream in mind, the Awami League government under the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister is making continuous efforts for the development of the youth and working for a Smart Bangladesh. The last election manifesto of the Awami League has given enough importance to this issue. First of all, in the last ten years, they have given a full idea of their achievements during the management of the country. To implement, they have divided their goals and plans into five parts, such as a. Administrative, b. Education, training, and employment, c. Self-employment and the creation of young entrepreneurs, d. Opportunities for recreation and physical development and e. Citizen and political empowerment.

Among the pledges made in the election, the manifesto is the effective implementation of the National Youth Policy formulated in 2017, the formation of separate youth departments and a research center under the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the increase of the ministry’s budget allocation. In addition to providing the necessary technical education and training for youth employment, there are plans to expand the scope of the ongoing national service program.

These election promises are undoubtedly very interesting, attractive, and encouraging. Properly covered, it will withstand many adverse conditions. If the Ministry of Youth and Sports monitors the progress of implementation of every aspect of the Awami League’s election promises, it is good. The government has to be committed to implementing the plan. Employment is an important issue for young people. But they have to be made workable. However, our country lacks such a plan. The literacy rate in Bangladesh has indeed risen to a commendable level, although this achievement has not significantly reduced the country’s unemployment rate. The main reason for this is that our education system has not developed according to the needs of the country.

There should be a national plan so that a student can find a job at the end of their studies. Career education plans will help young people to arrange the necessary training and action. Our youth must hold and protect the spirit of the liberation war. This country was born in 1971 with the blood of our youth and there is no compromise with that consciousness. For many reasons, youth is an infinite force for our country. That power is for the development of the country, to move the country forward in the right direction. Above all, they will build Bangladesh as a prosperous country. Under the leadership of our youth too, Bangladesh will one day take its place in the ranks of the developed world and the Golden Bengal of Bangabandhu’s dream will be materialized.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina mentioned that the country’s young generation will be the key force in building Smart Bangladesh.”Our young generation will be the most skilled manpower in each field in building Smart Bangladesh,” Mentioning that Bangladesh will be a smart country by 2041, she said the young generation is meritorious and they can implement their innovationsReferring to her government’s different initiatives to develop skilled Human Resources to face the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), she said they are setting up vocational and technical educational institutions in each upazila and arranging training facilities for the future.”To meet the challenges of 4IR, skilled human resources have to be created in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, blockchain, robotics, big data, medical scribes, and cybersecurity,” We’ve transformed the country into Digital Bangladesh.

But we had to face severe criticism, insults, and ridiculous comments initially. Even, whenever there was any technical problem or fault, the quarter ridiculed us, saying it was the result of Digital Bangladesh,”.Sheikh Hasina mentioned that the Awami League included the “Digital Bangladesh” scheme when it declared its election manifesto in 2008.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina showed the master plan of Smart Bangladesh on December 12, 2022, with the ecosystem grounded on four key pillars: Smart Citizen, Smart Government,” Smart Society, and SmartEconomy. The government is actively engaging in extensive discussions with relevant stakeholders to implement these initiatives.The Smart Citizen Pillar includes four key initiatives focusing on Universal Digital ID, Citizen up-skilling, Digital Collaboration Platforms, and the Smart Bangladesh Campaign.

These programs empower each citizen to bring about positive changes and actively contribute to nation-building.Smart governance involves several components such as smart education, a sophisticated healthcare system,efficient land management, advanced agriculture practices, e-marketplaces, streamlined revenue management, and enhanced employability, all operating under the umbrella of e-governance.

The Smart Society initiative focuses on building an inclusive and collaborative society that leads a sustainable lifestyle in a Green Bangladesh, where equality is fundamental. The Smart Economy aims to establish a circular economy driven by industry modernization, growth in theICT sector, the development of a startup ecosystem, and supported by a robust technological infrastructure. The youths are the main force behind the implementation of Smart Bangladesh under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to materialize the dream of the Father of the Nation’s Golden Bengal.

Hiren Pandit is an essayist, columnist and a researcher.

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