Sheikh Hasina has earned a politico moral right to rule Bangladesh, to serve the cause of its people. Her commitment to fulfil the dream of her father, who made Bangladesh a free independent country, is understandable. But, the historical question is: why Sheikh Hasina has been building “Sonar Bangla” (Golden Bangla) as declared by Bangabandhu?
Did anybody ever think at the time when on 15 August 1975 Bangabandhu was brutally killed at road no. 32. A terrible situation was prevailing then in the country. Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana escaped the gruesome assassination attempt as they were in Germany with Dr Wazed Miah. Was the decision to go Germany of the two daughters of Bangabandhu leaving behind all other members- most of whom killed on road no. 32 Dhanmondi was guided by a spiritual dictate? It was a decision that created future prospect of Bangladesh. The decision to stop for some time in London and then taking political asylum in India and coming back to Bangladesh was also a pragmatic one that grafted a new chapter for the country. Now it is presumed by so many that had their been no Sheikh Mujib there would have been no independent Bangladesh and in future people of this country would say had there been no Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh would not have been at its present stage with a glorious face that the world has been witnessing today.
Who did think that the two consecutive terms (10 years) of Sheikh Hasina’s regimes would be branded as a role model of development for the rest of the globe? Did anybody think that the per capital income would rise to 1702 US dollars from 560 US dollars within a decade? Did anybody think that Bangladesh would be able to increase the adult literacy rate up to 72.75 percent (according to UNESCO Bangladesh) within ten years? Could anybody think that Bangladesh would be self-sufficient in food production producing 3.65 crores metric tons of rice to feed its 17 crores people within a decade? Would anybody believe that the country could be able to generate 19000 megawatt from 3500 within a decade? Could anybody guess that the country’s annual budget (FY2018-2019) would be 4,64573 crore in a decade, when it was bellow Taka 1000 crores in 1973? Was it not an imagination to think building up the Padma Bridge with domestic resources? Was it not unthinkable to provide every union with a free health clinic reaching the health facility to the doorstep of every citizen? Days are not far off when every village will be illuminated by electric light. The national primary education is completely free. The government has taken the responsibility to educate every citizen at its own cost. In RMG sector, the position of Bangladesh is 2nd in export, in fish production the position is 4th and in vegetables production the position is 5th.
Bangladesh has already been graduated to developing country and expected to be a fully developed country before Vision 2041. The latest global survey report released by HSBC that Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies of the world and would secure 26th position from the present 42nd by 2030.The country that now is advancing in all socio-economic indexes leaving many other south Asian countries. There has been almost revolutionary change in education, health and agriculture.
Since 15 August, the assassinating year of 1975 till 1996 that is more than two decades, the country was ruled by two former generals and one civilian who ruled the country in a way that saw negative growth in the economic sector tarnishing the image of the country in the world outside. But, it is only Sheikh Hasina who has made the country almost self-sufficient in all respect. We can export food grain now. In all foreign countries especially the west, people go to shops and seek Bangladesh products especially apparels.
Bangabandhu got the country liberated at the cost of millions of lives but could not build the country as per his dream as he was assassinated only within three and half years of his regime. It is now his daughter Sheikh Hasina who has been advancing the country in line with Bangabandhu’s commitment to the people and the country. She is determined to materialize the dream of her father to build “Sonar Bangla.” Bangladesh is proud to get such a leader who thinks about the fate of her people every hour, every moment. Hardly is there a leader who works for 18 hours a day for her people.
Bangladesh is a democratic country so the rulers will be changed as has been changed in the past. In a normal course many rulers will come and go in future. But to govern the country with commitment to the people may not be a reality. The people did see it only during the regime of Bangabandhu’s three and half years and Sheikh Hasina’s 15 years 1996 -2001 and 2009-2018. Bangabandhu ruled the country when it was just born. Most of his time was spent to reconstruct the war ravaged economy. The task of transforming a provincial government into a national one was really a difficult task under the objective condition prevailing then.
So the real development has taken place during the regimes of Sheikh Hasina from 1996-2001 and 2009-2018. In fact the period between 2001 -2008 ruled by Begum Zia and army backed caretaker government did not see the light of development especially between 2001- 2007. The period ruled by Begum Zia was contrary to development. Rather there has been reversal in true sense. It was out of vengeance that Begum Zia stagnated many development programmes undertaken by Sheikh Hasina.
It is only between 2009 -2018 that the country has been led by Sheikh Hasina advancing the economy to such a great height that the country has truly been branded as a role model for development in the world outside. No other ruler except Sheikh Hasina has got the moral obligation to fulfil the expectation of her people. She often says that her only duty is to fulfil the commitment of her father to the people for whom he sacrificed his life along with almost all the members of his family. Sheikh Hasina has duly honoured that commitment all through. The days are not far off when Sheikh Hasina will really be able to materialize the dream and commitment of Bangabandhu.
Dr S A Malek is former political adviser to the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, General Secretary of Bangabandhu Parishad and a columnist