“I noticed broad highways and substantial flyovers on the route to Gulshan from the airport. I am overjoyed to watch Bangladesh's progress. The nation is charmingly progressing in every manner.” Sourav Ganguly, a former captain of the Indian cricket team and former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), made this statement about Bangladesh during a short trip to Dhaka on Thursday to launch the second season of the Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor's Cup tournament by revealing the tournament's logo and trophy.
We have some evocative inherent complications as Bengalis. Sometimes we even question our own eyesight for the argument to support our own ideologies and beliefs. Still, we pay close attention to what people from other countries say about our country.
Without a doubt, the Awami League laid the groundwork for Bengali nationalism, democratic culture, and hopes for an egalitarian society free of exploitation, and the political-economic-socio-cultural philosophy of building a developed, wealthy, modern, progressive society and state system.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the architect and father of the Bengali nation, was the best Bengali ever. His daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, whose blood, politics, and values are all the same is the last and the best hope of the nation. Hasina represents unwavering faith in adversity and is a savior in disaster.
However, the course of today's events was not straightforward. It was pretty prickly. After Bangabandhu was killed violently, Sheikh Hasina took over as leader of the Awami League as a sign of solidarity during hard times. She has come a long way in the fight for democracy and has survived death several times. The Awami League had been a well-liked party for 21 years before she brought it to power. She has always been outspoken about politics, fighting against all kinds of exploitation, deprivation, injustice, and oppression in Bangladesh's fight for democracy and the people’s economic, social, political, and cultural freedom.
The Sheikh Hasina administration may be clearly and conspicuously recognized in several phases. Two of these are bringing back the glory of the National Liberation War and eliminating military and paramilitary control. The nation's founder's killers, assassins of the liberation war, war criminals, and those charged with crimes against humanity have been brought to justice to advance Bangladesh's forward.
It makes sense that Bangladesh is progressing. According to statistics, the national per capita income is currently USD 2846. Both the opening of the Metrorail and the Padma Bridge represent significant advancements of the country. Education, communication infrastructure, gas, electricity, women's education, a 100% increase in employee salaries and benefits, health care, food self-sufficiency, participation in social safety net programs, and helping poor communities, the elderly, widows, disabled people, and divorced women are all carefully covered. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government has made significant changes in several areas, such as autism, helping poor freedom fighters, the shelter program, the one house one farm initiative, women's empowerment, and the general growth of many sectors.
Bangladesh now is different from what Bangladesh was 14 years ago. Bangladesh today is a confident nation. To create a top-notch communication system, several massive initiatives have been launched. During the Awami League regime, the communication infrastructure sector saw revolutionary transformations. The inauguration of the Padma Bridge took place in June last year after several challenges. This bridge directly connects 19 districts in the southern region to Dhaka, the nation's capital, and other areas by road. In 25 different parts of the country, 100 bridges were opened to traffic last November. The nation's roadways have several four-lane or more-lane upgrades. Several others are ongoing. Soon, people can drive on a stretch of the Airport-Qutubkhali Expressway and through the tunnel under the Karnaphuli River in Chittagong.
Delta Plan 2100 was created to save future generations from the effects of climate change and create a better world. A nuclear power plant has been built, satellite Bangabandhu-1 has been launched, and presently construction of satellite Bangabandhu-2 is in progress.
Bangladesh has also achieved food self-sufficiency. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also a big reason the country has succeeded. Bangladesh now produces enough food grains on its own. The percentage of people living in poverty has decreased from 40% to 20%. The percentage of adults who are literate has climbed from 45% to 75%. The rates of maternal and newborn mortality have fallen.
The country has over 13 crore internet users and over 186 million mobile connections. The entire globe is surprised when it stares at Bangladesh. Now, more than 16,000 entrepreneurs, including 50% women entrepreneurs, operate in around 8,800 digital centers nationwide to offer services to customers' doorsteps. This has eliminated the inequality between men and women, the affluent and the poor, and the discrepancy between rural and urban regions. The way ordinary people think has changed, and their way of life has become more straightforward. Credit goes to the Digital Center.
The nation has seen a new stage of socioeconomic growth during the past 14 years. The Awami League has always been in charge of the government, making all of these possible. They are working to transform Bangladesh into a developed, intelligent nation by 2041. The execution of the vision plan for 2041 has already begun.
Sheikh Hasina, Bangabandhu's daughter, has shown the courage that she has no choice but to push for democracy in Bangladesh. Hasina is a world-famous leader because of her honesty, commitment, integrity, rational mind, high morale, and great leadership, which have brought Bangladesh to a new level in the international community.
Ganguly's story will come to a close when he tells it to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Kolkata in 2019. That's the year the prime minister accepted the BCCI chief's invitation to go to the first-ever pink-ball Test match between India and Bangladesh. Recalling that point, Ganguly admits Sheikh Hasina taught him something that no other international leaders could have taught him. The Bangladeshi prime minister was termed ‘the wonderful lady for growth’ by Ganguly.
The writer is former Chairman of the Department of Folklore Studies, Islamic University, Kushtia and Vice-President of the International Consortium for Social Development (ICSD).
Email: [email protected]
Source: Sun Editorial