Hasina turns 74 - survivor of 48 life attacks - will be celebrated inoculating 80 lakh

Published : 28 Sep 2021 01:43 AM | Updated : 28 Sep 2021 01:22 PM

An amazing world leader, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh turns 74. 

A mass vaccination program will be held marking Hasina's birthday on Tuesday. Sheikh Hasina has been ranked 29th in Forbes list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women in December 2019. She was attacked minimum 48 times, says Ognikonnya  Matiya Chowdhury, as the police report said before.

Also, President of the ruling party Bangladesh Awami League, Sheikh Hasina’s 75th Birthday will be celebrated inoculating 80 lakh people across the country on Tuesday.

 Announcing this Zahid Maleque, Health and Family Welfare Minister on Sunday said, ”The mass vaccination campaign is set to begin from 9 am and it will continue till the target is fulfilled.”

The government has prepared 80 thousand health workers including 48,059 volunteers to make the countrywide vaccination campaign a success, he mentioned.

The health minister also mentioned people aged 25 and above will be vaccinated besides those who have already completed the registration process will get priority.  

Sheikh Hasina, the eldest among the five children of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, was born at Tungipara in Gopalganj on September 28 in 1947. She is both a 'midnight child' and a 'daughter of the East.' 

Sheikh Hasina Wajed has ruled Bangladesh for three terms since and is now into the fourth.

An archetypal faithful Bengali housewife of Scientist Wazed Ali Mia with some exposure in student politics, Sheikh Hasina not only returned to her country at great personal risk but also reorganized to lead the biggest political party Awami League, founded by her father Sheikh Mujib or Rahman, before toppling the Ershad ruled 10 years long  military regime.

Hnble PM  would argue, but analysts see in her success not only courage and determination but the presence of a sharp analytical mind which can plan ahead and anticipate challenges.

The spotlight is firmly on her success in scripting a socially inclusive economic turnaround for Bangladesh, from 1975,'basket case' fun by US foreign Minister Henry Kissinger.

 But hn'ble PM Sk Hasina will also be remembered for her role in the restoration of democracy by bringing down a local military regime, like her father had brought the Pakistani military junta, in sustaining it against a persisting threat from radical Islamist forces, who threaten her regime with violent street agitations, militancy, terror strikes and systematic disinformation.

About the late Pranab Mukherjee, former president of India,  Hasina said she respected him as her 'Obhibhabok' (guardian), says journalists to imagine what Angela Merkel or Jacinda Arden would have done, if they faced the lurking threat of assassination, having survived many like Hasina. Pranab Mukherjee said, when it comes to 'raw courage', Hasina is comparable to only Indira Gandhi who refused to take off her Sikh bodyguards despite firm intelligence warnings of a lurking physical threat after Operation Bluestar.

" If Allah desires, I will live and all conspiracies to kill me will face," she always says, mentioning" But if Allah does not desire, I should live, who am I to question his will." 

Sheikh Hasina is deeply religious in belief continues  her politics as a  secular activist, never conflict to rule the country.

Seven years later, as the leader of Opposition, she suffered a deadly attempt on her life by top militants of HUJI, who confessed before the court, they're appointed by ISI,  on August 21, 2004.

The grenade and gunfire left 24 leaders and party activists dead.

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Sheikh Hasina barely saved with hearing problem. As did many of her senior party leaders. 

For someone who had seen almost her entire family wiped out in a violent coup 29 years back, it was indeed a tough decision for her, to continue in politics.

The nation saluted her after hanging the Jamat e Islam top leader, war criminals of 1971 including Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, self-proclaimed agent of pakistan .

Much as it a tough decision to return to Bangladesh seven years after her family members had been killed on August 15, 1975.

Each of these decisions required not just courage but a determination to uphold and build on her father's legacy and a deep faith in her destiny. 

Hn'ble PM Sheikh Hasina is a fast learner as well, as her policies on combating climate change would indicate. But what makes her achievement shine is her humility, in stark contrast to leaders who love putting their picture on vaccination certificates and naming stadiums. 

From combating the Covid pandemic to maintaining the country's rising growth curve during the crisis, Hasina's leadership has been a blessing for Bangladesh, even the oppositions do believe on this.

If her father drew global attention to the Bangla language through a UNGA speech in 1974, Hasina was responsible for getting 21 February UNESCO recognition as International Languages Day, drawing the spotlight on the seven largest linguistic groups in the world.

Bangabandhu tried best to bloom smile on the faces of the poorest people,his daughter followed the father of the nation. 

And she has been responsible for a huge 'trickle down' humanitarian economy that benefits the most vulnerable. 

And this is in a neo-liberal era when the focus is on wealth creation and growth and not so much on distributive justice.

Just before Sheikh Hasina formed government for the second time in 2009, the world was begun fingering to Bangladesh as 'another Afghanistan'.

The Islamist radicals of Bangladesh back after being trained by Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and Afghanistan slogans " Amra shobai Taliban, Bangla Hobe Afghan" (We all are the Taliban, Bangladesh will be Afghanistan), but the systematic Pakistani style sponsorship of terrorism by the Khaleda Zia's BNP and  Jamaat e Islami alliance government was threatening to take Bangladesh down the defeated Pakistani path.

Sheikh Hasina as a bold ruler not only arrested that trend by her firm 'zero tolerance to militants' but also enhanced intelligence to thwart a long-term threat to the whole region.

Her detractors have blamed her a police state and hauled her up for 'forced disappearances' and 'extra judicial executions’ but sources close to her argue that she has no choice but to resort to tough policing to keep Islamist radicals at bay.

 Hn'ble Prime Minister crushed the radical Islamist violence of Hefazat  on March-April.

Hn'ble PM Sheikh Hasina turns 74 as Bangladesh turns 50. A happy coincidence but one that points to something more than that. People celebrate both happy moments. 

 Writer: Sumi Khan Sumi is an investigatuve journalist and stringer of IANS, largest News Agency of India.

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