Hiren Pandit: Bangabandhu’s eldest child, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was born on September 28, 1947, in Tungipara, Gopalganj. September 28 is a lunar moment for the people of this country. Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and World Leader Sheikh Hasina is the source of inspiration for the Bengali nation.
Now the Awami League under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu, has been in power for almost 15 years and she is working for the welfare of the people. Sheikh Hasina has walked the path of history, no one is seen like this in contemporary history. An heir of Bangabandhu’s blood can save Awami League It became essential to keep Awami League united after the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu. It was necessary to sustain the existence of the Awami League. Everyone knows that Sheikh Hasina did BCL politics during her student life. She was the VP of Eden Girls’ College. She was on the streets during the six-point movement. Therefore, in the special council of the Awami League held in February 1981, Sheikh Hasina, who lived in exile in the capital of India, was made the president of the party.
Sheikh Hasina is moving forward on the path of fulfilling the incomplete dream as Father of the Nation Bangabandhu took forward a war-torn country. Under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s dynamic leadership and long-term planning, achieving MDGs, implementing SDGs, launching Padma Bridge and Metrorail, education, health, gender equality, agriculture, reducing poverty line, increasing life expectancy, export-oriented industrialization, 100 special economic zones, garment industry, pharmaceutical industry, export earnings various economic indicators have increased with growth. During the tenure of this government, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has done various development activities for the country in the last 15 years. After the assassination of Bangabandhu at the hands of anti-independence domestic and foreign gangs, black darkness engulfed Bangladesh, she was the first to light the torch of light to chase away that darkness. That torch, after the initial crisis limitation continues to shine, begins to turn for liberation. Just as the Bengali is united in the morning to remove all the garbage, she is rich in promise, so the wind of auspicious promise is seen blowing from the day of her return to the country on May 17, 1981.
Like her father, Sheikh Hasina is a firm believer in democracy. She was at the forefront of the movement to establish voting rights in this country. She also feels the pain of the poor people of the country most deeply. She is also focused on managing the country’s economy.
The leaders and workers of Awami League spread across the country amid adversity and became strong at one time; became strong with the determination to build a new country. Then, in the absence of Sheikh Hasina, the leaders and activists elected her as the president of the Bangladesh Awami League through the council. In 1996, under her leadership, the Awami League came to power after winning the parliamentary elections. Sheikh Hasina took over as Prime Minister for the first time. Then she became the Prime Minister for the second time in 2008, third in 2014, and fourth time in the 2018 elections. Sheikh Hasina led the Awami League as a symbol of party unity in the most difficult times.
She always fought in the struggle for democracy. She has repeatedly returned from death’s door. She brought the Awami League to power as a popular party in 1996 after 21 years and has been working tirelessly to institutionalize democracy in Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina made possible the impossible by forming the government in 1996 to bring Bangabandhu’s killers to justice and later to bring war criminals to justice in 2010 and that opportunity came to carry forward the ideals of the Bengali nation.
Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina started working as a pioneer for the overall welfare, development, and liberation of the people of Bangladesh. She has proved that she has no alternative to developing democracy in Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina’s integrity, devotion, rational mindset, strong morale, wisdom, and extraordinary leadership have established Bangladesh at a different height in the world arena and she is known as a world-renowned leader. Awami League has always played and continues to play a politically vocal, defensive role against all forms of exploitation, deprivation, injustice, and oppression. Since its inception, it has worked for the economic, social, political, and cultural emancipation of the people. When this party is in power, the fortunes of the people improve. The history of 74 years since the foundation of this party bears witness to that fact.
Awami League has been in power for 15 years under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the brave daughter of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu, and she is working dedicatedly for the welfare of the people. The world is amazed by Sheikh Hasina’s indomitable strength, courage, morale, and strong leadership. Bangladesh will become the 29th largest economy in the world by 2030 and the 20th largest by 2040. Meanwhile, Bangladesh has been declared a ‘middle-income country’ since 2026 and will debut as a ‘developed country’ in 2041. The big proof that Bangladesh is moving forward is that the per capita income of the country’s people has increased in the last few years. The current per capita income is 2,765. Bangladesh is one of the top countries in the world today in terms of economic progress.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given 4 milestones. The first one is Digital Bangladesh which has already been implemented at one stage. The second is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, the third is to build a developed Bangladesh by 2041 and the fourth is to implement the Delta Plan by 2100. Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the Prime Minister’s ICT Advisor, and Architect of Digital Bangladesh, continues to contribute immensely to the implementation of this plan.
Facing the challenge of maintaining political stability in Bangladesh during the global crisis and managing the country well. The elevated expressway is under construction and partially inaugurated recently. Bangabandhu Tunnel under the Karnaphuli River in Chattogram is awaiting its inauguration. Bangladesh has announced its position in space as well. Bangabandhu’s satellite launch added a new dimension to our science and technology. Inauguration of Metrorail and Padma Bridge are both development milestones. The people of the country have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at a cost of more than 20 thousand crore taka and it has been possible to achieve the 5th position in the world for the first time in South Asia by successfully dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
She has been serving as the president of the Awami League for forty years. This is a unique achievement not only that she has been the president of Awami League for 40 years, but her popularity is unquestionable and not a single party leader thinks that Sheikh Hasina has any alternative. This is a remarkable achievement for a political leader. And that is why they think that Sheikh Hasina is the only alternative to Sheikh Hasina.
A major aspect of the Awami League president’s success is economic development. She shaped Bangladesh as a less developed country. Bangladesh has surprised the world in various indicators starting from per capita income, and average life expectancy. Bangladesh is considered a role model of development it has been possible under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. Padma Bridge with self-respect and own money. Sheikh Hasina has not only established Bangladesh as a state of advanced and unstoppable progress but has taken Bangladesh to a self-respecting status. When the World Bank complained about the Padma Bridge in Bangladesh, the Prime Minister rejected the complaint and announced the construction of the Padma Bridge with her own money. It was inaugurated on June 25 last year. Not only the Padma Bridge, the Metrorail launched last December, but various visible developments including the Karnaphuli Tunnel have now taken Bangladesh to a unique place of self-esteem that has been made possible by Sheikh Hasina’s leadership.
When the crisis in Bangladesh is intense, when everything revolves around uncertainty, dark clouds accumulate in the sky of Bengal, then Sheikh Hasina stands as our last hope. A man removes the dark cloud of fear with indomitable determination and dogged devotion, and the people of the country see the light of hope. Whenever it seems that everything is coming to an end, we face a bad time, only one savior who efficiently removes the bad nightmare is our honorable Prime Minister. Her identity is more than a prime minister or a political leader, she is an indomitable brave man. She is a warrior and a guardian. She has bravely tackled the COVID-19 pandemic, yet, is now the world’s best example and world leaders have praised her initiative to manage the global crisis.
The poverty rate dropped from 40 to 18. Raising the literacy rate to 75.6 percent, delivering free new books to students on the first day of the year, mainstreaming and recognizing madrasa education, establishing medical universities, and modernizing the medical system. 14,500 community clinics are providing healthcare at people’s doorsteps, providing 31 types of medicines free of charge. Bangladesh has been praised in many ways at home and abroad through the development of healthcare. This development work should be presented to the people.
The 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.
In these four decades, he fought for democracy, human rights, and economic self-reliance. This course of struggle was unfavorable. Sheikh Hasina, who miraculously survived the 2004 grenade attack. Under his leadership, Bangladesh received the final recommendation of the United Nations to move from the list of least developed countries to developing countries. We can take a look at our economy and overall development. The gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008-09 was only US$ 103.5 billion. It increased to USD 330.2 billion in 2019-20. Export earnings in 2008-09 were $15.56 billion and in 2018-19, it increased to $40.54 billion. Foreign exchange reserves have increased from $8.46 billion in FY 2008-09 to $44.03 billion today. In 2001, the poverty rate in the country was 47.9 percent and the extreme poverty rate was 34.3 percent. In 2020, the poverty rate fell to 20.5 percent and the extreme poverty rate to 10.5 percent.
Bangladesh is being called an Emerging Tiger by various development partners, especially the World Bank, IMF, ADB, JICA, Goldman Sachs, Wall Street Journal, HSBC, Citibank NA, and others. This is why it is ahead of many countries in the world including neighboring countries in terms of consistently high GDP growth, poverty alleviation, education, infrastructural development, reserves, remittances or remittance income, exports, per capita income, income, social security, and other key indicators of the economy. Bangladesh is now a surprise to development partners.
According to the data, the Post-Independence Annual Development Program or ADP size of just taka 501 crore has reached taka 2.25 trillion in the current financial year. Then the per capita income was 129 taka and now it has exceeded 2765 dollars. While GDP growth was below 3 percent, it has now reached 8 percent. In the year after independence, exports of goods from just US$ 348.4 million increased 111 times in five decades to US$ 3.85 billion. Expatriate income, which was nominal 50 years ago, has reached 25 billion a year.
Bangladesh is the third largest producer of rice in the world and is self-sufficient in fish, meat, eggs, and vegetables. Bangladesh ranks second in terms of the growth rate of inland open-water fish production and ranks first among 11 hilsa-producing countries. Today the benefits of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ have spread from cities to villages.
The eighth Five Year Plan has been adopted. Several mega projects including Metrorail, Elevated Expressway, Karnaphuli Tunnel, Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, and Maheshkhali-Matarbari Integrated Development Project are being implemented. 100 Special Economic Zones, 39 Hi-Tech Parks, and IT Villages have been built.
Agriculture, industry, trade, modern technology, new plans, and ideas have to be made to make a wonderful combination of everything. Bangladesh is changing radically; this country has set a shining example of sustainable development. The economy of Bangladesh has reached a strong position from a weak, underdeveloped, shaky state. The modern transformation of conventional infrastructure is opening up new aspects of possibilities every day. There is a renaissance in sectors or businesses that were previously languishing in neglect. Her handiwork is making the people of this country motivated and interested. Those potential sectors that have been neglected and nurtured are gradually waking up. The concerned government departments, offices, and ministries are performing more important duties from time to time. As a result, new sectors of potential are developing. Promising new sectors are playing a very strong role in achieving the prosperity of Bangladesh, in the irresistible progress. The people of Bangladesh are not in any way incapable, weak, or untalented. They can work hard. Men and women of various classes and professions who had previously imprisoned themselves in the net of unemployment, poverty, and helplessness, are now using their talent, intelligence, strength, courage, and hard work to set new paradigms of possibilities. Making her debut as an entrepreneur, she is building her fortune anew. In this way, the image of different areas and townships is changing with the collective initiative of all. Bright flashes of potential are spreading across the country. Economists say that Bangladesh’s achievements in 52 years are incredible. Bangladesh is currently ranked 35th in the world economy.
After the brutal killings of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members on August 15, 1975, they (Sheikh Hasin and Sheikh Rehana) could not return to the country for 6 years after losing their entire family due to the conspiracy of assassins and insecurity.
Improvement in education, communication infrastructure, women’s education, health care, distribution of free books to students, providing social safety net support for socially disadvantaged, helpless, elderly, widows, persons with disabilities, support for widowed women, autism, Prime Minister’s Government’s major initiatives are important for the development of Bangladesh and played a major role. Giving status to freedom fighters as national heroes, 27 lakh 13 thousand people out of 5 lakh 55 thousand 617 families have been sheltered through the shelter project. Amar Bari Amar Khamar project, women empowerment, and overall development of various sectors are the contributions of her government.
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.
Continuity is necessary in any country for the development of the country. It is also very important to choose the right leadership of the countrymen so that the progress of development does not stop. If the economic and political stability of a country is maintained, the progress of the country is maintained.
If the next parliamentary election is participatory, fair, peaceful, free at any cost. All arrangements should be made to conduct it impartially. The whole world is watching this election. It is also important to take a credibly tough stance against corruption and money laundering. Awami League, which has come to power for the fourth time after being in power for three terms, has to face the upcoming challenges. The twelfth parliamentary election will be held as per the schedule announced by the Election Commission.
We must always remember; that 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.
We have won. 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 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 crucial step for the people of this country. This is how our beloved motherland Bangladesh built by Bangabandhu will move forward.
We have to build a modern Bangladesh in the spirit of a secular, democratic, and liberation war. This is the expectation of the present new generation. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is the last hope and shelter of the people of this country.
The writer is a columnist and researcher.