March 17, 1920, was one of the most important days in the history of Bangladesh because the greatest Bengali of all time, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, under whose leadership Bangladesh gained its independence, was born on that day. In the same way, on September 28, 1947, a majestic woman was born under whose leadership the misguided Awami League (AL) has stood on a solid foundation, and the country has stood tall in the world.
After 1975, almost all the governments played a dirty political game with the AL and continued all efforts to erase Bangabandhu and the party's contribution from the political history of Bangladesh. At the beginning of the eighties, when the AL was on the verge of collapse and splitting into different parts, Bangabandhu's daughter, Sheikh Hasina, returned from abroad on May 17, 1981, and took over the leadership of the fragile AL. She played an instrumental role in the movement against the military government, just as she tried to strengthen the party after taking over as AL president. As a result of that movement, democracy was re-established in the country through the resignation of General Ershad in 1990.
After going through many ups and downs, the AL won the 1996 election and formed a government under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. As the Prime Minister of the government, she adopted and implemented several exemplary policies. She started the trial of Bangabandhu's assassination besides putting the country's economy on a solid foundation. The AL failed to come to power in 2001 when the country was moving forward on a strong economic foundation. Bangladesh's progress remained almost stagnant for some years. Later, in 2008, the AL government was formed again under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. Having formed the government, she has taken the country's economy to a unique height and brought about massive development in social and other indicators.
As the daughter of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina has taken
herself to a height in which the qualities of Bangabandhu's
leadership are reflected. She has always been firm in decision
making. He knows what is good and what is bad
for running the country
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Since her return to the country, Sheikh Hasina has worked tirelessly to realise her father's unfulfilled dream of establishing "Sonar Bangla". She is moving in the right direction to achieve her goal. However, her journey was not very smooth. She had to face various kinds of oppression and conspiracy at different times. Even various state-sponsored groups repeatedly tried to assassinate her. We have not forgotten the brutal incident of August 21, 2004. Several grenades were hurled at a public meeting to assassinate her as AL president. Although Sheikh Hasina survived, many dedicated leaders of the party died that day. Hundreds of leaders are still alive today with the excruciating pain of sprinters. Although the assassins tried to kill her in various ways, with the blessings of God, she is moving forward, ignoring all obstacles to build Bangladesh.
The thing that has always captivated me about Sheikh Hasina's leadership is her farsightedness. To be successful as a leader, one has to understand the language and the hopes and aspirations of the citizens. Sheikh Hasina can understand the expression of her citizens very well. We witnessed her leadership's prudence when the World Bank decided to cut off funding from the Padma Bridge. As a result of the World Bank's decision, most people could not even dream that the Padma Bridge would be built in the country. But the person who has always been steadfast in her decision is Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She stood firm against the alleged corruption charges of the World Bank in the Padma Bridge project and expressed her conviction to build the Bridge with the country's own funds. She has put it into practice and proved that we Bangladeshis could do a lot for the country's welfare if we try. The Padma Bridge today is not a dream; it is a reality.
When she came to power in 2008, she carried out the trial of Bangabandhu's assassination. At the same time, she has completed the trial of the accused of war crimes and executed the verdict. Not all leaders have the kind of mental strength needed to implement such a decision. We have witnessed the rule of many leaders of different political parties in Bangladesh in the last 50 years. Bangabandhu established himself as a pioneer of Bangladesh's independence through his leadership before independence and post-independence period. During his three-and-a-half-year tenure, he started formulating and implementing all the plans required to establish Sonar Bangla. However, he could not materialise his dream as he was killed brutally by most of his family members. In the same way, Sheikh Hasina is taking and implementing all the necessary decisions to attain her father's cherished dream of establishing "Sonar Bangla" and make Bangladesh a developed state in the world. As a result of her relentless efforts, Bangladesh has been recommended to become a developing country in 2024.
Due to the strength of her leadership, Bangladesh is in a very advantageous position compared to various developed and developing countries even during the worst period of the century. We know that over the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost all sectors globally, including the economy and the health sector. We all know that to be successful as a leader, one should understand the impact of the crisis during the pandemic much earlier than ordinary citizens. Due to the determination of Sheikh Hasina's leadership, she had long ago realised the catastrophic impact of the pandemic. She had taken various measures to protect the citizens from this catastrophe and to keep the economy afloat. On the one hand, she has implemented lockdown on the other hand and tried to keep the wheel of the economy moving by opening offices, courts, factories and businesses at the right time. The biggest thing so far is that she has succeeded in fighting the COVID-19 by ensuring a balance between the lives and livelihoods of the citizens.
We all know that it is very difficult to implement a lockdown by ensuring a balance between life and livelihood in an economy like Bangladesh to fight against the pandemic because a large part of the population of our country is working-class people. However, Sheikh Hasina has tried to help the poor as much as possible. Even she has implemented an economic recovery package of over one lakh crore taka to keep the wheel of the economy moving.
She realised the need for vaccines for the people of Bangladesh at the right time and directed the Ministry of Health to purchase the vaccines. After the invention of the vaccine, when different countries of the world are trying to collect the vaccine for their citizens, the vaccination process is progressing very fast in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, the vaccination process has been hampered due to the non-availability of vaccines from the Serum Institute of India, but due to the government's diplomatic success under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, a sufficient quantity of vaccines has been procured from other sources.
Another aspect of Sheikh Hasina's leadership that attracts me is her honesty. We have witnessed the rule of different governments in the last 50 years. We have also noticed how the heads of government and their family members got involved in corruption to make money. If someone from the highest position in the country becomes corrupt, others are also inspired. However, Sheikh Hasina and her family members are an exception. Even Sheikh Hasina's arch-rivals will not be able to claim that she or her immediate family members are involved in corruption.
The third characteristic of the leadership of Sheikh Hasina that attracts me is her unconditional love for the people. She has a special respect for the people of Bangladesh. And it is because of this respect; she has always tried to figure out how to put a smile on the face of the people of the country.
In the end, it can be clearly said that as the daughter of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina has taken herself to a height in which the qualities of Bangabandhu's leadership are reflected. She has always been firm in decision making. He knows what is good and what is bad for running the country. She listens to everyone but decides on her own. This is one of the greatest characteristics of leadership that sets one leader apart from others. The courage and foresight to make decisions have set her apart from other contemporary leaders. On her birthday, we wish her a happy birthday and pray for her better health. We expect that the trend in which Bangladesh is moving forward will continue under her leadership. We want her credible leadership to make Bangladesh a developed country in 2041. Honourable Prime Minister, you are the last hope of the Bengali nation. Therefore, you need to stay safe and sound to steer the country.
The writer is a professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Rajshahi.
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