Sheikh Hasina: The Pioneer of Progress

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Published on September 26, 2021
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The greatest Bengali, who led the nation for freedom from the thousand-years-chain of subordination, was none but Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He finally declared independence on March 26 in 1971, following the two-long decades of struggles for freedom. The Bengali nation leapt into the war at the risk of their lives. The whole 55,000 square miles of battleground got buzzed with the slogan – 'Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu’. After nine months of the war, Bangladesh emerged as an independent state in the world on December 16.

But there was dead bodies and corpses all around, and the inhuman torture of the Pakistani junta and razakars left everything - from people to roads and infrastructure - ruined. So Bangabandhu had to take up the challenge of rebuilding the country after independence. He embarked on social reforms to materialize his dream of bringing smiles to the faces of the exploited and oppressed. The daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Hasina is building modern Bangladesh based on the initiatives taken by the Father of the Nation during his regime of only three and a half years. The dream of a golden Bengal that Bangabandhu showed to the Bengali nation has come true today under the leadership of Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. After achieving the goal of the Golden Bengal, the Bengali nation is now moving towards a new digital Bangladesh.

The humanitarian leadership of the daughter of Bangabandhu brought about a radical change in the living standards of the miserable Bengali people. She has pulled Bangladesh out of the curse of scarcity and poverty. The last decade witnessed the rise of more than one million entrepreneurs in the Information Technology sector and employment opportunities for nearly one crore people. The rural and marginal farmers are getting fertilizers and seeds at nominal prices. Bangladesh has become self-sufficient in food production.

After the independence, Bangabandhu rehabilitated one crore refugees, including two lakh displaced people and built 43 lakh houses for the homeless. Similarly, Sheikh Hasina dealt with the 1996 floods even after 70 per cent of the land got inundated. International media predicted that the floods could have claimed the lives of one crore people due to diseases and food shortages. But with the help of Awami League leaders and activists, she dealt with the disaster without any loss of life. Following that tremendous success, Sheikh Hasina was called a 'wonderful leader' in the international arena. In that continuity, the daughter of Bangabandhu never hesitated to stand by the side of helpless people. Directed by the leader of humanity, the government has continued the construction works of about 9 lakh houses to shelter the landless and homeless people of the country.

Moreover, the backward women are being given stipends to bring them to the mainstream of society. Around 4 million students from grade one to graduation level have been brought under regular scholarships. Besides, as per the direction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, security has been ensured for all disadvantaged people. A total of 91 lakh people, including widows, divorcees, the elderly and the disabled, are being given protection allowances. Maternity leave has risen from four months to six months, and paternity leave has also been introduced. The leader of the people, Sheikh Hasina, has raised the allowances to Tk 20,000 for the freedom fighters and their families.

Bangladesh has now become a digital nation in the last decade under the visionary leadership of Sheikh Hasina. The benefits of the internet and information technology have reached the villages. When the world came to a standstill in early 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Bangladesh government has dealt with the situation very prudently. The government has continued regular activities using digital platforms, keeping the economy, healthcare and law and order system running through digitized means. The Prime Minister herself has been campaigning online platforms regularly to aware people of hygiene to prevent coronavirus. The government has encouraged the mass people to get vaccinated despite widespread rumours from the extremists. Tackling the obstacles of international politics regarding the vaccine, the government has, so far, vaccinated more than five and a half million doses by dint of the prudence of Sheikh Hasina.

The humanitarian and development activities have not stopped during the pandemic due to her modern and timely leadership. With her direction, government assistance was delivered to the doors of more than one crore Covid affected families on regular basis. Approximately 5 million farmers, workers and day labourers affected by the natural disasters and pandemics received cash through a digitized system.

Just as Bangabandhu established the Islamic Foundation for the Muslim majority of the country after independence, so are the daughter of Bangabandhu playing a role to promote Islam. Under her direction, 560 model mosques are being constructed across the country at a cost of Tk 8,000 crores. During this pandemic period, she even provided cash for the development of mosques, temples, madrassas and orphanages and the nearly half a crore people associated with them across the country.  Besides, the Prime Minister has personally collected funds and distributed Tk 250 crores in these sectors.

The country is moving forward fast under the leadership of the Honourable Prime Minister amid the challenges of militancy, extremism and political conspiracies. Bangladesh has improved to a developing nation from the list of the least developed countries. This success has brought a widespread appreciation for the leader of the people Sheikh Hasina from the world leaders.

Sixty-one districts have come under 100 per cent electricity coverage already. Electricity facilities are also reaching the hills or remote islands. The per capita income of the people has been tripled. The average life expectancy has increased because of the development of health services. Extensive infrastructural development has made communication systems easier. Construction of four-lane highways from Teknaf to Tetulia is underway. Bangladesh has stunned the world by accomplishing the two-storey Padma Bridge with its funds. The construction works of the Bangabandhu Tunnel under the Karnaphuli River in Chattogram and the metro rail in the capital are almost complete. Leader of the people Sheikh Hasina has implemented the mega projects of foreign countries that we once used to see on the television screen for so long.

Because of the initiatives by the Honourable Prime Minister, the world is now respecting Bangladesh, once known as a ‘bottomless basket’. The improvement in the quality of life of Bangladeshi people during the last decade is a surprise to the world leaders. That is why, in the 2019 UN General Assembly, the then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon termed Bangladesh as a 'model of development'. In 2021, while celebrating the golden jubilee of Bangladesh, world leaders have also mentioned the achievements of Sheikh Hasina behind this new Bangladesh.

Beyond the national boundary, our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is now being honoured internationally as a visionary state leader. She has been recognized as one of the top 10 great leaders in the world for her unprecedented role in improving the social condition of the country.

Under her aesthetic leadership, Bangladesh has been able to build its image as a peaceful nation as recognized by the United Nations. For this reason, Bangladesh has got a significant number of key positions in the UN peacekeeping missions.

Just as Bangabandhu conveyed the identity of Bengal and Bengalis in his speech at the United Nations in his historic Bangla speech for the first time in 1974, Sheikh Hasina has also highlighted the Bangla language on the world stage. Her indomitable leadership has helped Bangladesh to be a welfare state in the international arena today. World leaders have highly lauded climate change mitigation proposals placed by Sheikh Hasina at the United Nations. Due to the role and philosophy of the Prime Minister in protecting the planet, world leaders also look at Bangladesh with utter respect. The way the humane and far-reaching leadership of the daughter of Bangabandhu is going on, it is only a matter of time to see Bangladesh on the list of the developed nation in future.