Bangabandhu was characteristically a strong leader. From a very young age, he was a follower of truth and determined to fight lies. When he was in school at a young age, he once confronted the district education officer and argued about the students' interests. We witnessed his protesting character at different times in his long political career. Under his strong leadership, the people of Bangladesh started the struggle for independence. Despite the Awami League's landslide victory in the 1970 elections, the people of East Bengal became somewhat bewildered when the West Pakistani military junta refused to hand over power. But Bangabandhu knew it very well that he had to take part in the war to save the land and people of Bengal from these invading forces.
That is why he delivered an epic speech on March 7, 1971 at the Racecourse Ground. The way he composed the scenario of the war of independence through an unwritten address is rare in history. If Bangabandhu had directly declared independence on that day, the Pakistani junta would have thwarted the progress of the freedom struggle of the people of Bengal by arresting him as a separatist leader. However, even though the Pakistani rulers knew Bangabandhu very well, they could not read his personality well. That is why Bangabandhu chose to declare independence in a diplomatic language instead of directly declaring Bangladesh's independence. He encouraged the people to take part in the war against Pakistan. It was such an emotional speech that millions of young, old, and women of East Bengal were inspired to get engaged in the freedom struggle. As a result of the united movement, East Pakistan emerged on the world map as an independent "Bangladesh" after being liberated from the clutches of the Pakistani aggressors in just nine months of the war. This is a rare event in the history of the world because there are very few examples in the world where a country has become independent in just nine months.
After going through many ups and downs, Bangabandhu's daughter and incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took charge of the Bangladesh Awami League, organized the party, and brought it to power. Sheikh Hasina has been ruling the country for the last 12 years, and her father's political qualities are reflected through her leadership. There is no room for argument on this issue. As Bangabandhu had immense love for the people of Bangladesh, she has a genuine love for the people of Bangladesh. Just as Bangabandhu never compromised with this policy, Sheikh Hasina is also continuing the movement for the freedom of the people of Bangladesh without compromising with the policy.
Bangladesh has already emerged as an emerging economy on the world map. We will join the lists of developing countries in 2024 and hope to join the lists of the developed countries in 2041. Development has not happened by chance in the last decade. The tireless work and foresight of the Hon'ble Prime Minister have been the contributing factor. She has tried to make decisions at all levels of development so that there is a big jump in the overall development index. Just as we have become the Asian tiger in the economic field, our growth in the social index over the past decade has been recognized worldwide. We have already achieved the Millennium Development Goals long ago and are in a much better position than other countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Following this, the Hon'ble Prime Minister has been awarded the "SDG Progress Award" by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals between 2015 and 2020 at the 76th General Assembly of the United Nations.
Following the footsteps of Bangabandhu, the Prime Minister has proved her worth as a political leader by addressing the UN General Assembly in Bengali for the last 12 years. This is a bold decision. The parents' ideal is usually reflected in the children - this is a normal process. As part of that process, it is natural that the characteristics of Bangabandhu will be reflected through Sheikh Hasina. But this has not always been the case in the political families of Bangladesh. We have seen how children from state power have been involved in various corruption and immoral activities. Of course, some may question that parents may have failed to nurture their children. But at the same time, it should be remembered that when someone is in the highest power of the state, he/she should control his/her children to protect his/her dignity. But we have seen in most cases that many have not been able to control their children on the one hand and their immoral activities on the other.
Judging from that position, it goes without saying that although it is normal for the characteristics of Bangabandhu to be reflected through the character of Sheikh Hasina, the exception is in the context of Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina has not only nurtured her father's ideals but has also been working relentlessly to establish her father's unfulfilled dream of establishing Sonar Bangla. As a result of her efforts, Bangladesh must be transformed into a Golden Bengal. But, at the same time, Sheikh Hasina has been the victim of conspiracies at different times, just like Bangabandhu was the victim of palace conspiracies. She has faced several state-sponsored and fundamentalist attacks. By the infinite grace of God, she could manage to stay alive.
Bangladesh's progress under her leadership has stunned the world. Now everyone considers Bangladesh as a country of an emerging economy. As a result of 12 years of hard work, Sheikh Hasina has transformed from a regional leader to a world leader. Political leaders of developed countries often want to know from Sheikh Hasina the key to the unprecedented development of Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina has repeatedly said that it is natural for the government to develop if it loves the people, thinks about them and runs the country honestly. And this is why she is focusing on development and trying to establish Bangladesh as a developed country in the world arena. Following her father's footsteps, her struggle to establish a Golden Bengal continues. This is also true that some evil forces are always trying to obstruct the development process, and many of them are from her won party.
The writer is a Professor of Public Administration at the University of Rajshahi