Sunday, 19 September, 2021

Bangladesh on the Threshold of Bangabandhu's ‘Golden Bengal’

Dr. A. H. M Mahbubur Rahman and Dr. Matiur Rahman

Bangladesh on the Threshold of Bangabandhu's ‘Golden Bengal’

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From the primitive age to the present day, human life and social systems have evolved, changed and transformed many times. Human being has adapted to nature and society for their needs and survival. Symbols, languages, clans, groups, nations, leaders, totem and taboos have been created for human needs. People have occupied the land to mark their boundaries, formed society, organization and state. A distinct way of life has developed. These people have re-created many things in the evolution of time and need. People are divided into tribes, groups, societies, cultures, organizations, states and territories. Through endless struggle, in need of existence - this is how the triumph of human being continues. Human being has become the controller of everything.

Today's ‘Bangladesh’ is also a golden delta of such creation and re-creation, inhabited by the Bengali nation and whose father is a golden son of this soil, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the best Bengali of all time. ‘Bangabandhu’ is the title of love received from the heart of the Bengali nation. In 1971, under the leadership of him the heroic Bengalis freed this country from aggression through the great Liberation War. Independent sovereign Bangladesh was born. The heroic Bengali recognized him as the ‘Father of the Nation’. He dreamed of building a ‘golden Bengal’ of his beloved Bangladesh, to put a smile on the face of his beloved poor, miserable people. He started massive development activities together with people of all corners of the society after independence to fulfil his dream. But on August 15, 1975, the ruthless bullets of ungrateful assassins stopped him from fulfilling that dream. Attempts were made to tear apart father's beloved Bangladesh and to tear apart the glorious history and traditions of the Liberation War. But they could not. They have been defeated by the poor, miserable people of this country. The love of their beloved ‘Bangabandhu’ is in the heart of the poor, miserable people. Those poor, distressed people have rejected those notorious criminals. They have been thrown into the dustbin of history. It is very important to know for us how Bangladesh is like today bathed in the blood of the Father of the Nation on August 15, 1975.

After August 15, 1975, anti-liberation forces were in a distorted joy of destroying the history, politics, economy, society and culture of Bangladesh. By spreading propaganda and confusion, they tried to erase contribution and image of the Father of the Nation and Bangladesh Awami League from the minds of the common people. But their efforts failed on June 12, 1996 with the election of the 7th National election under the caretaker government. Bangladesh Awami League won in the election under the leadership of Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina with huge support of the general people. After 21 years Bangladesh Awami League formed the government. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formulated the development plan to change the destiny of the people. She prepared the Fifth Five-Year Plan (1996-2002) and expressed her determination to make the country self-reliant. She started to work for development with priority in sectors like power generation, telecommunications, transportation and reducing unemployment. In 1996, the Bangabandhu Bridge was built over the mighty river Jamuna to improve the communication system of Dhaka with North Bengal. After 21 years repealing of the infamous ‘Indemnity Bill’ in the National Parliament, the door of trial for the assassination of Bangabandhu was opened up.

On December 2, 1997, a ‘peace treaty’ was signed in the long-troubled Chittagong Hill Tracts. Harmony between the Hilly and Bengali people returned. In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared February 21 as the ‘International Mother Language Day’. Since 2000, people all over the world have been observing the Day with due dignity. In 2017, Bangabandhu's historic speech on March 7 has been recognized as an authentic document of world heritage. Extensive development was achieved in the economic and social sectors.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has come up with a modern vision to rebuild Bangladesh by changing the trend of underdevelopment of the last 21 years (1975-1996). She initiated massive improvements in employment, growth of per capita income, ensuring social security, and unprecedented success in food production through agricultural subsidies, reduction of child and maternal mortality, shelter for low-income people, house building project for the homeless, community clinics' projects and communication systems. The success of the Awami League government from 1996 to 2001 was enviable.

With Bangabandhu's firm oath to build a golden Bengal, Bangladesh began to move forward. But then there came the great misfortune for the Bengali nation. The defeated forces of '71 and '75 came back to power by disrespecting the mandate of our people in the October 1, 2001 election through election engineering. The backward movement of the economy began again. In five years, they turned Bangabandhu's golden Bengal into a crematorium. Finally, in 2006, they were forced to hand over power to the caretaker government.

In the 2008 parliamentary election, the grand alliance led by Sheikh Hasina came back to power after winning a landslide victory. When the Awami League came to power in 1996, it established the people’s right to vote and started the process of development. After coming to power in 2008, Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina reiterated her commitment to change the destiny of the people and build Bangabandhu's ‘Golden Bengal’ free from hunger and poverty. Since then, she has been working tirelessly to implement the pledge. Ignoring hundreds of adversities and barbaric attempts to kill her; she is working tirelessly to put a smile on the face of the miserable people of this country.

Since coming to power with the support of people more than a decade, she has achieved unprecedented development in various sectors of Bangladesh. On the basis of the election manifesto made in 2008, the development plan has been implemented on the basis of 'Vision 2021', 'Vision 2041', 'Delta Plan', various five-year plans. The "Millennium Development Goals" announced by the United Nations have been successfully achieved. Bangladesh is ahead of others in various indicators of "Sustainable Development Goals". The path of economic prosperity of the country has been paved by taking various mega projects in hand. The main force of development has set a record in power generation. The basic needs of the citizens recognized by the Constitution of Bangladesh, such as food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care and entertainment have also improved. According to the estimation of different international organizations, Bangladesh has also advanced in various socio-economic indicators. Improvement of human rights and the justice system have also been established. The trial of war criminals is going on. Bangladesh has also made a lot of progress in the human development index.  Self-sufficiency has been achieved in food and sustainable agriculture. A revolution has taken place especially in the agricultural sector. Extensive progress has been made in the development of fisheries and livestock resources. Rural infrastructure (roads, bridges, culverts, Union Parishad complex buildings, hat-bazaars, mosques, temples, churches, pagodas, etc.) have been developed, including national highways. Economic growth and national income have increased, and the poverty rate has decreased significantly. Bangladesh has also succeeded in increasing exports and achieving remittances.

Through ensuring increasing access to social security for vulnerable people, increasing state honorarium for heroic freedom fighters, tackling climate change-related disasters, curbing terrorism and militancy, building a digital Bangladesh, empowering women, providing shelter to Rohingya refugee, providing shelter to the homeless through shelter projects, construction of flat in and outside Dhaka for slum dwellers, the relentless efforts to deal with the Corona pandemic― Bangabandhu's daughter has become now the centre of hope for the poor and miserable people of Bangladesh. In all sectors, Bangladesh’s development process continues. With the unwavering support of the people of this country, Bangabandhu's beloved Bangladesh has turned into a ‘Role Model of Development’ by removing the stigma of ‘bottomless basket’. Bangladesh has moved from a least developed country status to a developing country one. Receipt of various awards by the Hon’ble Prime Minister is recognition to these achievements. Today, Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is on the threshold of Bangabandhu's ‘Golden Bengal’.

By the way, it can be mentioned that the heads of state or government of a third world country like Bangladesh, after coming to power, can spend a luxurious life in the country and abroad without doing any work for the country after coming down from power. There are numerous examples of this at home and abroad. But the current Prime Minister did not go that way. She has undertaken various mega projects along with many other development projects since she came to power by the people’s vote in 2008 with the aim of making Bangladesh a developed and dignified state in the real sense of Bangabandhu's dream. Many of which are visible today. According to experts, if these projects are implemented, Bangladesh will be on the path of becoming a developed country.

Bangladesh is now observing the Mujib centenary along with 50 years of the country. One hundred years ago from today, on March 17, 1920, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu was born in a British-ruled colony. The subjugated land was poor, neglected and full of discrimination. Then in 1947, the partition of the country on the basis of two-nation theory did not give peace and comfort. Despite being followers of the same religion, the West Pakistanis have ruled and exploited the Bengalis. Bengalis have been deprived of fair rights. They fired whenever the Bengalis demanded for that right. The highway has been red again and again with the blood of Bengalis. So in 1971 the Bengalis woke up again. They have liberated their own land ‘Bangladesh’. There were seven and a half crore Bengalis in Bangladesh which became independent under the leadership of Bangabandhu in 1971. And half a century later, the population of Bangladesh is now about seventeen crore. Even with such a large population in this small land, the development that has been achieved in the last more than one decade is truly unimaginable. This is what can be done if there is proven patriotism and selfless love for the people. Nevertheless, there are still many imperfections. The development progress of the country is being hampered by the misdeeds of some wicked people and the impact of the Corona pandemic. But the Bengalis will turn around.

Today, a hundred years later, that land is a dignified state in the world arena. Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina has been running the country for the longest time as the Prime Minister of this land. This year (2021) marks the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence. The Bengali nation has proudly celebrated the ‘Golden Jubilee of Independence’ in the midst of the deadly virus Corona. Every year March 17 is a golden and eternal day of joy for Bengalis. And every year since 1975, August 15 has been a sad day in Bengali life. But Father, your poor, miserable Bengali did not accept defeat. Those treacherous, conspiratorial, vicious vampires have been defeated. Led by your worthy daughter, your dear Bangladesh is on the verge of becoming ‘Sonar Bangla’ today. You said, “Can’t keep us down”. None could keep your beloved miserable Bengalis down. Those who tried to do it were themselves thrown into the dustbin and will be in the future too. Your beloved distress Bengali got direction from your loving daughter. Father, your beloved Bangladesh will be a ‘Golden Bangla’ under her able leadership. The people of Bangladesh will never leave her. Stay well in the heaven and bless us from there.


Respectively the writers are Chairman, Department of Social Work, Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib  Science and Technology University, Jamalpur and Research Consultant, Human Development Research Centre (HDRC), Dhaka.