On this golden jubilee of independence, I pay my deep respects to the memory of countless freedom fighters and heroines who lost their lives and dignity, and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family, the architect of independence and the father of the Bengali nation, and the four national leaders.
The receipt and non-receipt of fifty years can be discussed in two ways. In a numerical or factual judgment. That is, what I wanted and what I got. The other is in terms of spirituality or emotion. That means I am happier, less happy or sadder than before.
I will start the discussion by judging spiritual or emotional. Freedom is my greatest achievement.
The existence of human beings in the land called Bengal is several thousand years old. But for the first time in the history of the world, Bangladesh emerged as an independent and sovereign country and nation in my lifetime, with my participation. This independence was not like gaining independence as the occupiers left the colony for strategic reasons. Our freedom was the freedom to defeat and snatch the enemy in the ensuing battle at the cost of countless lives.
Earlier, during the Sultanate period of the Middle Ages, we know of a few independent rulers in this land, all of whom were ethnically foreign. That freedom was in their interest. The language of them and their rule was also foreign. Their freedom was gained and protected by mercenaries.
But the freedom we gained in 1971 was born in Bengal, speaking in Bengali, growing up in Bengal at the behest of a genuine and genuine Bengali leader named Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. That is why we know him as Bangabandhu and consider him as the father of the Bengali nation. And that freedom was fully organized in the interest of the Bengalis and by the Bengali speaking people.
So as a Bengali my relationship with this freedom is soulful. What could be a bigger receipt than this?
When I first left the country in 1967, I had in my heart the immense pride of being a citizen of a newly independent sovereign country by defeating the enemy in battle. I walked around with my head held high with a fearless heart. But when I learned to understand some foreign language, I saw that the name Bangladesh was pronounced in foreign news with hatred, contempt and compassion. He was barely portrayed as a tragic picture of the declining economic and social misery and mismanagement. Even though foreigners showed interest in the first introduction on a personal level, if I had known the people of Bangladesh, their faces would have shrunk like water in a fire. That is why for the next twenty-five years I have been reluctant to introduce myself as a Bangladeshi to foreigners step by step. Like most Bengalis living abroad, I continue to suffer from inferiority complex.
Gradually I noticed that we are not as bankrupt as we think we are, and that we are not as bankrupt as we used to be. From this realization, I collected various data and wrote a research report titled ‘How Poor We Are’ in 2012. It was feared that the article would face severe criticism from many political-economists who denied the facts. But as soon as Hategona was published without some exceptions, I received an encouraging response from Bengali readers at home and abroad. Because no one has ever spoken so clearly about the recent positive aspects of Bangladesh.
Nine more years have passed since he wrote it. The country has also moved forward at an incredible pace. No one despises Bangladesh abroad anymore. On the contrary, Kissinger’s ‘Basket Case’ is an example of how Bangladesh is emerging in the developed world in various fields almost every month, every week. Forty-three years ago, as a citizen of a war-winning country, I had the attitude of going abroad, but today my glory is back. So in these fifty years after independence my receipt is infinite!
Fifty years ago, the independence that the Bengalis had in relation to existence, today it has been transformed into a matter of pride and glory. Call it passionate, or uncompromising loyalty to the liberation war, I think Bangladesh and the people of Bangladesh have achieved a lot in the last fifty years.
Now let’s discuss the numbers and information based receipts and non-receipts. Even in this trial, the number of our achievements and achievements is infinite.
The three words ‘Bangladesh’, ‘Bangabandhu’ and ‘Swadhinata’ have the same practical meaning. Before and after 1971, the existence of one without the other was unimaginable. So in my discussion these three words have been used many times in the same sense.
At the end of the war, at the time of independence on December 16, 1971, Bangladesh’s communications system was completely out of order, the government’s foreign exchange reserves were zero, the entire country including one crore refugees in India was in shambles, public and private infrastructure was destroyed. Unorganized. Added to the problem were the presence of hidden armed Al-Badr-Razakars and enemies of independence, and the presence of millions of Indian support troops. In the face of defeat, the Pakistanis laid numerous mines in the waters of Chittagong and Chalna ports. As a result, ships carrying food and goods could not come from abroad.
But after his release from prison in Pakistan and his return to the country on January 10, 1972, Bangabandhu solved all these problems in a very short period of time. This article will never fail to give a detailed account of his problems and successes. That is why I am only highlighting the few achievements and achievements of independence.
In the war of 1971
Later, local and foreign media reported that Indian troops would never leave Bangladesh, that even if independence was achieved, the poverty-stricken country would have a short life span, and that Bangladesh would soon become a tributary state of India. By disproving those speculations, Bangabandhu not only sent back millions of Indian troops just three months after the victory, but also assured the country of a dignified future.
The first constitution of Pakistan was written and adopted nine years after independence, which never came into force. The Constitution of India was adopted two and a half years after independence. The People’s Republic of China was created and adopted three years later. In comparison, the constitution of Bangladesh was drafted and adopted only eleven months after our independence to rule the country in accordance with the law. This is an example and receipt of our unique common! It was possible due to the concentration of Bangabandhu who respected the law.
Pakistan refused to take back the non-Bengalis who had shown allegiance to Pakistan. On the other hand, in just three years of independence, 160,000 Bengali military and civilian workers and their family members were repatriated to Pakistan. Not only that, but he also took the war-torn economy on his shoulders and appointed all of them to suitable jobs.
The following quote I said with the introduction of Professor Emajuddin Ahmed. I have taken it from the 184 pages of the book ‘Rise of Bangladesh and Sheikh Mujib’ written by Habibur Rahman Khan and published in 1991.
During the severe economic crisis of 1972-73, 7.5 million houses were rebuilt in a short time. 300 broken bridges were repaired. The port was cleared. The train started. The plane flew. Import of buses, trucks, taxis and necessary equipment started. In the interest of production, rent of land up to 25 bighas has been waived. Immediately, the arrears of about 60 crore rupees of the Pakistani period were written off. A sum of Tk 82.64 crore was distributed among the poor and landless farmers. Land ownership was reduced to 100 bighas. Surplus and khas lands are distributed among the poor and landless farmers. About 40,000 power pumps, 10,000 shallow pumps and 3,000 deep tube wells were provided for production on the farm. Initiatives were taken to distribute agricultural inputs among the farmers. Free pesticides, low cost fertilizers, seeds, irrigation equipment etc. are provided to the farmers. In the case of Jalmahal, Banamahal, and Hat-Bazar, the exploitative leasing system was abolished.
Bangabandhu lived only three years and eight months after independence. The destructive work of the enemy defeated in the war and the youths who were eager to establish socialism overnight was going on in the country. By dealing with them in such a short period of time, it was an outstanding achievement in any case for the war-torn and almost impoverished, poorest country in the world.
My current age is seventy years, in 1971 I was twenty. So I don’t always have to read books to know or tell the situation of Bengal fifty years ago.
Having lived abroad for more than four decades, the difference between the past and the present of Bangladesh is very clear to my eyes. On the other hand, in the eyes of those who are constantly living in Bangladesh, those differences should not be caught in this way. If I go for a few weeks after two or three years, the country no longer feels like Bangladesh. Talk about big cities, and talk about Oz neighborhoods.
I can’t recognize Bangladesh when I see the city’s gleaming streets, countless vehicles, people’s clothes, tall buildings and glittering lights, accustomed to seeing the dirty and broken streets of the city full of ditches, wheelbarrows, dull bodies, and flickering lights. But the mind is filled with joy. Looking for jute and straw houses in the village, which is familiar and memorable as seen in childhood, nothing is noticeable. Those dilapidated houses have now been converted into cement buildings or minimal tin houses.
The narrow footpaths filled with mud are now much wider and covered with cement-concrete. Earlier, it took me only two days to reach Khalishpur in Khulna from Brahmanbaria by a single ship or train. Now I hear that the farthest city of Bangladesh can be reached in a few hours by multiple routes. Forty-five years ago, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok were overrun by beautiful flyovers to ease traffic congestion. Today, not only in Dhaka city, but also in my small city of Brahmanbaria. In 1971, I walked 16 miles across the Ebrotheboro on the Titus River, injuring two legs. In Brahmanbaria, the now cemented Titas party is suitable for morning-evening travel. I also saw more on the banks of the Shitalakshna river in Mymensingh.
At present, the banks and canals of Dhaka, Narayanganj, Khulna and other cities are being rescued, cleaned and renovated to beautify the city and entertain the citizens. It is hoped that spending time in Dhaka will soon be as enjoyable as the leisurely leisure time spent in London, Washington, or Tokyo, which was a fantasy ten years ago.
After the inauguration of the Bangabandhu Bridge over the Jamuna in 2001, one of the most courageous and proud deeds of the Sheikh Hasina government is to undertake the construction of a large bridge like the Padma Bridge in 2014. When the work is completed, a new door will open for the socio-economic development of Bangladesh. The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have unjustly accused the government of building the bridge with its own funds.
He did not just raise the head of Bangladesh as a self-respecting nation in the international arena. He laid the foundation stone for the morale that the Bengalis could do on their own. In my opinion, this is a unique general gift of Sheikh Hasina to the Bengali nation.
Until the school’s secondary examination in 1986, I used to travel barefoot to Brahmanbaria Annada School. We had nothing to do with school uniforms. Many used to come to class even after wearing lungi. I don’t think I saw shoes or sandals on the feet of the students of that school even in 1971. As a result, the ankles and the lower part of our feet used to be attacked by various germs and insects. Let me remind you that at that time my school was known as one of the best schools in the country. Today, even in schools in remote areas of the country, the murmur of the students wearing school uniforms and shoes of the same color and pattern creates a joy in the soul.
Fifty years ago, even if it was imported from abroad, not everyone in Bangladesh would have two meals a day. In the Brahmanbaria region, there was a shortage of food in a few months of every year. In the local language, the condition was called ’tilting’. At that time most of the people in the rural areas did not have enough food in their stomachs. From that Pakistan period, the main theme of many of Bangabandhu’s speeches was ‘I want my countrymen to eat twice a day in Petpur’.
Bangabandhu called for an agrarian revolution to deal with the global economic downturn caused by the nationalization of oil in the Middle East, the manipulation of unscrupulous traders and the international conspiracy to cultivate every uncultivated land. He could not see the benefit. The success and praise were gathered by the later rulers who killed him. But when his worthy daughter came to power in 1996 and 2009, she ignored the advice of the World Bank and donor groups. He encouraged agricultural production by increasing agricultural credit and subsidizing agriculture by bringing down the price of fertilizers to less than one-fifth. As a result, no one is starving in Bangladesh today. In addition to rice production, yields of milk, vegetables, fish-meat, and other nutritious fruits have increased. After fulfilling Bangabandhu’s wish to arrange two meals a day, people are now able to eat three or four meals a day in Petpur. It is possible with the daily income of a day laborer. Problems in the developed world like ‘obesity’ or obesity due to overeating are now making their home in Bangladesh. When you look at the appearance and health of heroes and heroines and actors in a movie released in Dhaka in 1970, today they seem to be malnourished and starving.
Fifty years ago, everyone from kindergarten to postgraduate had to study with a salary and buy books. Only a small section of the society could bear the cost of education. And those who could, could not afford to buy all the books. I didn’t have all the textbooks even at the time of secondary examination, I borrowed them from friends. Today, every child in Bangladesh has to go to school at the government’s expense. Added to this is one of the most amazing and admirable works. The government is delivering free textbooks to every student on the first day of the school year. This year the number of books was thirty-four million! Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government alone deserves this praise. I don’t know how many other countries in the world are showing this foresight and expertise. But I know that not all books reach all the schools in America on time. Education has been made more universal in 2013 by making the jobs of more than 6,000 primary schools and a quarter of a million teachers official. In 1980, the population was 25 percent, and in 2006, 48 percent. In comparison, the population of Bangladesh today is 75 percent educated. Today, 98 percent of children are finishing primary school. What’s more, today there are more girls than boys in secondary school! These educated girls have emerged as the key to the development of Bangladesh.
After independence, about 90 percent of the people of Bangladesh lived below the poverty line. Today, it is below 18 percent as poverty is reduced. According to the World Bank, in the last 15 years, 2.5 crore people of Bangladesh, which is 15 percent of the total population, have been lifted out of poverty. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Christophe wrote a report in the New York Times on March 10, 2021, encouraging President Biden’s economic plan to highlight Bangladesh’s success in alleviating poverty.
During my stay in Japan in the eighties, a Brazilian friend jokingly criticized the rise in poverty in Bangladesh and said, “Why is your country so dark? Can’t you keep the lights on at night? ” I don’t remember what the answer was then, but it was a foolish thing to imagine that in my lifetime electricity would reach the villages.
In 1971, the power generation capacity of the then East Pakistan was only 1.6 thousand megawatts. In the two decades since independence, power generation has increased at a slower pace, reaching a capacity of 2,000 MW by 1995, but its consumers were only 6 percent of the total population! We noticed that after coming to power for the second time in 2009, the Sheikh Hasina government, with the help of Japan, determined the amount of electricity demand of Bangladesh in the next fifty years and came down to solve it as soon as possible. Citing an example of this speed in government incentives, according to Reuters, Bangladesh was supposed to become a ‘sun nation’ or ‘solar nation’ in the world six years ago. Apart from this, with the launch of several power generation projects called ‘Quick Rental’, the opposition wasted money.
The government remained steadfast in its intentions, ignoring the allegations of backlash. As a result, today, with the capacity to generate 21,000 megawatts, the benefits of electricity are reaching 99 percent of the population in rural Bangladesh. As a result, poverty is not only being eradicated by increasing production in agriculture, irrigation, industry and trade, but it is also leading the nation on the path of light by saying goodbye to darkness, controlling the population.
Bangladesh’s success in healthcare in underdeveloped countries is exemplified by American health-science research institutes. In 2014, two full articles were written in a special issue of the famous Scientific American magazine praising Bangladesh. It also acknowledges that 98 per cent of essential medicines are manufactured and supplied at low prices in the country. As a result of the establishment of health service centers in villages and unions, people are getting health services even in remote areas of the country. Our average life expectancy increased from 48 years in 1971 to 72 years now, which is higher than the average life expectancy in some states in the United States! The information is not mine, but the most recent report in the New York Times.
The government project to build a digital Bangladesh is bringing some immediate and far-reaching benefits. The biggest visible benefit is being able to pay electricity, water, telephone and gas bills without having to pay a bribe every month. The second benefit is that the salaries of all teachers and government employees in the country reach exactly as a bank on a certain day of the month, preventing snatching. In the news on March 17, I saw that the idea of paying the salaries of the garment and construction workers of the country in this way has started. This has prevented the regular killings of tenders, the suffering of job seekers abroad, and the hassle of business and personal money transactions. The far-reaching benefits are that despite living in remote areas of the country, our youth are able to get an education in any country of the world, earn foreign exchange by opening new businesses, and find competitive jobs. As a final example, people of any social status, regardless of rich-poor and influential-innocent, can take the corona vaccine on the principle of ‘first come, first served’. It is beyond our comprehension how fast the internet or digital technology under digital technology will change our lives. Therefore, the government is showing its foresight by making this technology accessible to the people of the country in advance.
In the international arena too, our identity is no longer a spineless or ‘bottomless basket’. Peace was brought to the Chittagong Hill Tracts in 1997 by signing a peace agreement with the troubled tribals to end the bloody incident that had been going on for two decades. By completing the trial of Bangabandhu’s assassins and war criminals in a public court, on the one hand, the country has become free from guilt, on the other hand, Bangladesh’s reputation abroad has been highlighted as respecting the law. After a long battle in the international court with Myanmar and influential neighbor India, we have been able to bring the vast border of the Bay of Bengal to our side. Although India and China have been enemies for many centuries, Bangladesh is benefiting from long-term economic, cultural and technical agreements with the two countries. Turkey and the Muslim countries of the Middle East have been able to maintain bilateral and multilateral economic cooperation by ignoring the unjust whims and demands to stop the trial of war criminals. All this bears the imprint of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s diplomatic prudence. We have confirmed our presence in space by sending Bangabandhu satellite above. Due to the lack of evidence of corruption allegations brought by the World Bank, the decision of the Canadian court and the tough stance of our government have made Bangladesh famous in the international arena. Bangladesh has become a unique example for the least developed countries to undertake the construction of the huge Padma Bridge, which is nearing completion with its own funds. By providing shelter and food to 1.1 million refugees from Myanmar, Bangladesh has earned a reputation as a humanitarian country in the world. Above all, according to the United Nations, the country is no longer impoverished or underdeveloped, we are now on the list of developing countries.
With so many more considerations like this, I can never put the country in the frame of Bangladesh that I saw fifty years ago. The daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s wisdom, foresight, diplomatic knowledge, courage and leadership should be given more opportunities to continue the steady pace that Bangladesh has been advancing over the past decade.
In fifty years, the number of our failures is less, but not less important. Fifty years have passed since the rise of independent and sovereign Bangladesh in 1971, accepting the tragic loss of life in February 1952 in the ‘Rashtrabhasha Bangla Chai’ movement. But even today Bengali language has not been introduced at the state level. Immediately after independence, under the direction of Bangabandhu, the work of introducing Bengali as a medium of education and in government office courts began. Our constitution was also made in Bengal. But seeing the misery of Bengali language in the country today, I get great pain in my soul.
Yet we cannot or do not want to speak in pure Bengali without quotes in English, Urdu or Hindi! At Dhaka University itself, only Bengali-speaking seminars are conducted in English! The official report is still written in English in the court! In higher education, I have not yet been able to write textbooks in Bengali and start teaching in Bengali!
The idea of many is to go high in the modern world without being educated in English
No. They have introduced English medium education from expensive nursery to university. Not only that, the government law has introduced separate and multiple English-medium education in the same school along with Bangla in our independent country, which I do not remember being in a subjugated state. As a result, a handful of classes have benefited and increased the per capita income of the country, but are increasing their inequality with the larger population in all areas. That should never be desirable for a nation that sacrifices itself for its mother tongue and freedom. You can’t make everyone in the country English, you can’t make them understand everything in any language other than your mother tongue. As a result of such efforts, in most cases the education is inferior, partial and wrong!
Many argue that the widespread use of English in neighboring India has enabled the people of that country to earn more by doing good jobs and doing business in the West. Although it is true that 63 years have passed since independence from the British, has the country still emerged from extreme poverty and illiteracy? Is the Philippines, which has enjoyed independence for a quarter of a century despite adopting a foreign language as a medium of instruction, still on the list of the developed world?
There is no doubt that in order to keep pace with the world, one has to learn a foreign language, but only after being able to speak and write everything in one’s own language. Take a look at the best countries in the world. How many English-speaking people do you see on the streets of developed France, Germany, Italy, or Switzerland before the First World War? Excluding Japan in Asia, how many people in China and South Korea, who stand tall in front of our eyes, can write or speak in English? The modern journey of these two countries started only forty-fifty years ago. Apart from becoming the world’s economic superpowers, where in the world are these two countries lagging behind in education, science, music, dance and cinema by introducing mother tongues at all levels?
If we, like the European countries and China, Japan and Korea, could introduce mother tongues as a medium of education and at all levels from the very beginning, we would be one of the most developed nations in the world today.
Another of our shortcomings in the last fifty years has been the neglect of secularism in the Constitution. The country was born with the slogan of secularism in mind. Now, as a result of converting the state religion to Islam, we are leaning towards such bigotry on the one hand, and on the other hand, the minority community does not feel completely safe. Although the number of Hindus, Buddhists or Christians is negligible, there is a lot of talk of hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims. As a result, the victims of communal oppression are inevitably minorities.
The constitutions and constitutions of only four countries in the world, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, are Islam-based. Apart from these, 13 other countries like Bangladesh declare a particular religion as the state religion in their constitutions. Apart from Pakistan, the first three and the origin of Islam, Saudi Arabia, is rich in oil, so the people do not have to work as hard as the people of Bangladesh to improve their lot. Moreover, for hundreds of years, about 99 percent of the population of those countries have been Muslims.
The situation in Bangladesh is completely different from these. Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Muslims have been living side by side in this land for almost a thousand years. The creation of the state of Pakistan cut it off for twenty-one years. From the long twenty years of Pakistani rule, we realized that the religion-based state did not bring any welfare to the Bengalis, but we were exploited and deprived for the sake of religion. So we had to jump into the liberation war. During the war of liberation, Bengali innocent Hindus were more desolate than Bengali Muslims and in spite of giving their lives, they fought side by side with many Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Muslims and liberated the country. It has also contributed to the reconstruction of the country since independence. About 10% of the current population of Bangladesh is non-Muslim.
Recognizing Islam as the state religion in place of one of our four national mottos, secularism, has not only denied us our commitment during the War of Independence. I am looking down on the religion of one and a half to two and a half crore non-Muslim Bengalis. Despite various government measures to protect their interests, the country’s recognized identity as a particular religion naturally makes the majority suffer from insecurity. In this, their cooperation in building the country and improving the state should also come to a standstill. And from time to time the incidents of oppression of minorities have been happening. As a result, the desired development is also being hampered.
Apart from that, by making Islam the state religion, we are not serving Islam as we are serving Muslims. The state is not getting any benefit. On the contrary, I am giving some opportunities to push the country towards bigotry, which is harmful for all religions and people.
Other aspects of the non-receipt book are discussed in the next chapter.
Non-receipt and my position
As I said before, I once suffered from pessimism but now I am optimistic. The half-empty glass does not catch my eye, the half-filled glass catches my eye. Many question the lack of free and fair elections in Bangladesh, increasing money laundering abroad, rape of children and women, death of prisoners in police and RAB custody, the news of torture of journalists, what do you say Bangladesh is moving forward?
My answer is – I condemn and hate all of this like a healthy thinking person at all times and in all ages. But from 1972 to 1975 and beyond
I have a self-realization by analyzing the events of the two eras. If my protest, rather than the remedy for a heinous crime, helps to divert a state engaged in the greater good, I must think many times. Explaining the matter.
We wanted freedom to be free from Pakistani tyranny and exploitation under the call and leadership of one person. I thought- as soon as I get freedom, the cup of milk will come in my mouth in you; Government officials will forget their positions and devote themselves to public service; Food and commodity prices will fall; Thieves will give up robbery and people will become saints; There will be no unemployment in the country; The individual ensures freedom to do and say whatever he pleases; Politicians, writers, poets, literary figures, journalists and ordinary people can write whatever they want in the newspaper; That means we will spend the day in absolute happiness.
We could not imagine that the task of nation building is much more difficult than the war of independence! I did not think that our bureaucrats do not have the experience to run an independent country, it takes time to gain that experience. We did not think that ninety percent of the bridges and culverts in the country were destroyed in the war and the communication system became almost useless. The sapphire bead industry has become useless. We did not think that we had to import almost everything we needed, including food. But on December 16, 1971, the amount of foreign currency in Bangladesh Bank was zero. We did not think that the nationalization of oil resources in the Middle East, where the line of cars at gas stations in the United States itself has become mile after mile long and the global economic downturn has started, has also affected Bangladesh. I did not realize that these problems are not solved overnight. I wanted, we want the benefits of freedom right now. Otherwise, the government has no protection.
As a result, for the first time in the history of the world, without congratulating the Bengalis on such a huge achievement as independence, in December 1971, an intellectual named Enayetullah Khan started protesting against the government of the child state in the English weekly Holiday. In February 1972, along with some enemies of independence, Maulana Bhasani set out to spread anti-government sentiments among the common people by spreading false news through Haq Kotha. And by confusing the youth society by demanding an illusory possibility called ‘scientific socialism’, the newly formed Jasad set out to push the country towards an extreme anarchy. A large section of Bengali educated and intellectuals accustomed to twenty-one years of anti-politics fueled it.
Bangabandhu and his government, believing in freedom of speech and freedom of the press, did not stop them even after seeing everything. But in the midst of so much hostility, India, Pakistan, and even China, very quickly, just eleven months after independence, gave the gift of the Constitution to the defenders of the country’s rule. He sent back more than one lakh Indian troops from Bengal. He brought back five lakh Bengali soldiers and employees stranded in Pakistan and arranged for their employment. He repaired almost all the damaged bridges and culverts and restored the communication system. To reduce the inequality of the rich and the poor, he limited the ownership of land to one hundred bighas, and nationalized large industrial factories according to the popular demand of the time. He called for the implementation of the agrarian revolution to deal with the famine of the seventy-four caused by the floods and the global economic recession.
We did not pay any attention to those huge achievements that were happening in front of our eyes. I paid attention to what a minister said, where a robber or proletarian died in a war with the police, why things were not available in the market, where a little lime fell from the drink, etc. With the attitude of becoming independent, we attacked the police outposts, government warehouses, and destroyed the only source of foreign exchange, jute warehouses, by setting them on fire one by one. And blaming the government for all this, I killed about two dozen elected representatives of the ruling party and finally killed the father of the nation and his family.
Then more than two decades passed. I killed the freedom fighters and killed them, rehabilitated the enemies of freedom and put them in the ministerial seat. With the promise of secularism that made the country independent, I removed it from the constitution and pushed the country towards fanatical Islam. I made the self-confessed state murderers saints and leaders by law. I increased the inequality between the rich and the poor by handing over the state resources to some beneficiaries. In a word, by denying the world-shattered Pakistani rule and social system in which we sacrificed millions of lives in 1971, we again consider that Pakistan as our only ally.
The so-called ‘ideal democracy’ of yes-no voting and party favors did not stop the creation of privileged groups, police and RAB atrocities, murders, disappearances, rapes, law-breaking, labor fraud and torture, and money laundering abroad. At this time, the world witnessed the establishment of ‘multi-party democracy’ by forming new political parties by handing over money to petty leaders, tasya leaders, hajmi sellers, amulet sellers and self-confessed murderers.
Although the economic progress of a few people has been slower than that of snails during those two long decades, what should happen to the people of an independent country?
But we didn’t see anything of it. In contrast, what I have seen in the world’s media is the introduction of Bangladesh as an adjective for ‘bottomless basket’, ‘recklessly poor’, ‘dishonest’, ‘dying poor’, ‘unfortunate son’, ‘flood- and disaster-oppressed’. During the rule of Ziaur Rahman, when Bangladesh lost to Japan with the help of the United States and took a seat in the Security Council, it was written that ‘even though there is no cloth on the back and no rice on the stomach, the country has become fond of being a world leader’. Although General Ershad made some visible improvements in the communication system, no one was unaware of the money he kept abroad and his love of women. Not to be outdone are the conflicting regimes of illiterate parents and the ill-gotten wealth. There was no place to stand with one’s head held high.
By ending that anarchy, the party that led Bangladesh’s independence, respected the war of independence, and believed in independence has regained the opportunity to rule Bangladesh. Along with the rest of the world, I am also witnessing the country’s rapid progress in health, education, socio-economic and international relations, overcoming poverty. There is no doubt that the heinous crimes of all time, torture of women, children and journalists, kidnappings, assassinations, lack of ‘ideal’ democracy, money laundering, and occasional torture and deaths in police custody have not been brought under control. It is also true that these kinds of mistakes are not caused by this government. Opportunists always create this kind of anarchy everywhere. On the contrary, in many cases these crimes have been reduced due to effective measures.
Therefore, I do not want to distract the state apparatus engaged in the greater good by blaming the government for such incidents, even if it is hated like all thinking people. By doing so in the previous seventy-five years, we have delayed the development of the country by fifty years. I don’t want to see a repetition of it.
I know that after reading this article, some people will take me as ‘Awami League’. I mean, I have never been an Awami League member, not yet. But I have a weakness for this party that led our war of independence and respected the war of independence. I also respect the Bangabandhu-daughter of the party-led visionary Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for remaining steadfast to her cause. I don’t expect everything in the way he is running the country to go or will go on as I wish. But I do not see any alternative to support him in the results of his rule so far.