Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said Bangladesh would have made massive progress if Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was alive for several years more.
“After Bangladesh won independence, Bangabandhu had gotten only three years to have a war-torn country stand on its feet. The country would have made giant strides and not lag behind if he was alive for three or four more years,” she said.
“Awami League has also lost 21 unproductive years after his death,” Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu, said while addressing an “Education Rally” organized by the National University at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka on Sunday.
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On August 15 in 1975, then president Bangabandhu and most of his family members were assassinated by a group of disgruntled army officers, only three years after Bangladesh was born on December 16, 1971 through the nine-month-long war with Pakistan.
Talking about her father’s contributions in the country’s education system, she reminisced how Bangabandhu used to say that investment in education was the biggest investment. “He had started with the education system when he began working to bring Bangladesh back on its feet after the war.
“He (Bangabandhu) had made primary education free. Within nine months, he gave us the constitution in which he also prioritised education (as one of the fundamental principles of state policy).”
The prime minister said Awami League was still working to fulfil Bangabandhu’s dream as the government nationalized many schools and brought teachers under the MPO facility after they came to power.
“We had built around 1,500 schools around the country based on a survey. But whenever we work for the country’s development, we face an attack. And that trend started with the assassination of the Father of the Nation,” she said.
Hasina said the country’s grassroots level would have been more developed now if Bangabandhu was alive long enough to decentralize the power and unite everyone.
The Awami League chief also took a dig at people who give credit to late president and BNP founder Ziaur Rahman for bringing back multiparty democracy in the country. “He only introduced that to help those who were against our independence.”
"Now if they think multiparty democracy means helping the anti-liberation forces, then I have nothing else to say," said Hasina.