73 Years of the Awami League: Dedicated Leaders Should Come in the Lead

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Published on June 23, 2022
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Hiren Pandit:

The Awami Muslim League was formed on 23 June 1949 in the Rose Garden of KM Das Lane, Old Dhaka, with the aim of asserting the rights of the people of East Bengal under Pakistan, born on the basis of the backward and erroneous two-nation theory. Then a non-communal section of the leaders and workers of the Muslim League came out and formed a new party called East Pakistan Awami Muslim League through a conference of political workers.

The Ruling Awami League has entered the 73rd year by climbing every ladder of glory, tradition, struggle and success. June 23 marks the 73rd founding anniversary of this ancient political party which led the country's freedom struggle and liberation war. The Awami League has reached today's position by crossing the path of various ups and downs, ups and downs and long movement and struggle. In the long 73 years, the team has been able to establish many traditions and glory.

Despite the demand for naming the party as non-communal at the time of its formation, the party adopted a non-communal and secular policy by removing the word 'Muslim' from the Awami Muslim League in 1955, almost four years after its establishment in the social reality and political context. This political party made its debut in the name of the Awami League with the vow to struggle for the rights of Bengalis. After its establishment, the Awami League became an institution for the realization of the rights of Bengalis through a long movement and struggle.

Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani, President and General Secretary Shamsul Haque were elected of the Awami League at the first conference. At that time Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was in jail. In the first committee, he got the post of joint secretary from jail. At one stage of the continuity of leadership, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman came to lead the Awami League.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was elected General Secretary of the Awami League at the 1976 Conference. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was awarded the title of Bangabandhu for leading the movement for the realization of rights through the Awami League. He became the undisputed leader of Bengalis. The architect of independent Bangladesh, Father of the Nation.

Under the leadership of Bangabandhu, the Awami League became an institution for realizing the rights of Bengalis. Through movement and struggle, Awami League was transformed into the leading party of the independence struggle and liberation war. Under the leadership of the Awami League, all the movements for the rule of Pakistan, the movement against communalism, the movement for the establishment of language rights, and the realization of rights against exploitation and deprivation turned into an independence movement at one stage. The great war of liberation and independence was achieved under the leadership of the Awami League. On that day, at the call of Bangabandhu, the Bengalis jumped into the war of liberation.

The language movement of 1952 and the united front of 1954 led the party to victory in the elections. The six-point movement of 1966, the mass uprising of 1969, the huge victory in the elections of 1970, and the struggle for independence were formed under the leadership of the Awami League. The Awami League-led the great liberation war organized in 1971 at the call of Bangabandhu. The traditional party has led all kinds of democratic movements and struggles against the military dictatorships that have come to the country one after another during the rule of Pakistan and long after the assassination of Bangabandhu in 1975 after independence.

During this long journey, the Awami League has had to face many adversities. We have had to go through many ups and downs and break-ups. Sometimes the party has faced a leadership vacuum, sometimes repression, sometimes disintegration. After the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family on 15 August 1975 and the assassination of four national leaders on 3 November 1975, the Awami League lost its leadership. This emptiness led to multiple breakdowns and grappling and multiple divisions within the group. Then in 1981, Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina returned to the country and took the helm of the Awami League with a strong hand.

Under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, the divided Awami League has united again. The Awami League has been running under his leadership for almost four decades. At this time, besides the movement and struggle for the establishment of democracy in the country, the Awami League has been able to hold state power four times. However, the Awami League has had to stay out of state power, on the streets, in the struggle for almost 50 years out of 73 years. After the victory of the United Front in 1954 elections, the Awami League formed a cabinet in 1958 but it did not last long. Since the independence of Bangladesh, the Awami League has been in power for three and a half years under the Bangabandhu government and five years under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina in 1996, and now for 14 consecutive years.

However, looking at the Awami League, which has been in power for a long time, it seems that the Awami League is losing momentum as a party. Once upon a time in the Awami League there was a fleet of nationally enlightened central leadership, at the grassroots there was a tried and tested face of people-oriented honest ideology and experienced politics, but today the picture is completely different. It is time to discuss the success of the Awami League in separating the party and the government. Although many central leaders of the party keep in touch with the leaders and workers of the country, they are not in power. Not being able to play a role in implementing the team's commitment, not being able to do anything for the staff. When the workers come, they have nothing to give but comfort. Many stay away from power, even though they have organizational responsibilities, they are not members of the party's parliament. There are no visible examples of how positive this has been for the team.

There was a time in politics when the leaders from the grassroots to the center were MPs, if they came to power, they would be ministers. The government was formed with experienced political leaders from the center and the grassroots. The question remains as to whether the experimental separation of the party and the government has benefited the government or the party at all. Just like many people did not get the taste of party power even after being born Awami League, so many people are suddenly coming and flying and sitting all over and enjoying the power by enjoying full benefits. Many former bureaucrats, businessmen and hybrids are now in power, despite having organizational skills and experience.

This experiment of separating the party and the government without coordination has changed the nature of the Awami League from the place of a people-oriented worker-friendly well-organized political force. In the politics of the Awami League, the meeting of the working committee used to end in more than one day. The decisions taken at those meetings had a significant impact on the politics of Bangladesh. Talented politicians played a role in making that proposal. Although the Awami League was a party of the poor then, its politics was colorful and traditional. Although it is now a colorful festival centered on the National Conference, there is no political proposal that attracts the political circles of the country.

After the brutal assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with his family, the scenario has changed. However, the leading Awami League has turned around the movement and struggle born among the people. When the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Hasina was elected as the President in 1981 as a symbol of the unity of the party and started the war of life by lighting the lamp of democracy in the deep darkness, there was no need to look back. The Awami League once again became a popular and powerful party.

She returned to power in 1996 after the first 21 years. In the politics of Awami League, thousands of leaders and workers are full of pride. When the party comes to power, the party does not take the news of the dedicated workers of the great times. Ministers no longer know them. MPs do not allow them to the crowd. Stay away from any party benefits, they do not even have a political evaluation. After 1975, in that deep crisis, those who flew the flag of Chhatra League politics at the risk of their lives, propagated the politics of Bangabandhu's ideology and destroyed the party with their organizational skills and talents, can no longer show their face. The team does not look for them. They are not evaluated. In One-Eleven, those who took risks were imprisoned, were tortured, but now no one takes the news of those who did not leave the people's leader Sheikh Hasina.

Bangladesh has not only entered the developing world through the hands of Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, but it has also become a role model in the world in economic development. Like watching her success in Corona War. Despite hundreds of failures in the Ministry of Health, she is facing a crisis with her leadership, foresight, talent and wisdom. Food in people's homes. No one has to bother with food. The Awami League is in charge of the state today but the power will not last forever. Is the organizational strength and structure ready to deal with the tough politics of the opposition? Is anyone thinking about this? So, it's time to evaluate the team's dedicated and experienced leaders.

Writer: Columnist and Researcher