In celebration of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s 73rd birthday
Sheikh Hasina was born on September 28, 1947, in Tungipara of Gopalganj district. She is the eldest daughter of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Sheikh Hasina, who survived due to her staying in Germany on August 15, 1975, returned home on May 17, 1981.
Ignoring the military ruler’s bloody eyes, she said at the reception that day, “I have nothing to lose. I have come to you after losing all my parents, my brother Rasel. I want to get them back among you. With you, I want to put a smile on the face of the miserable people of Bangladesh by implementing it in the way directed by Bangabandhu.”
After a long 21 years of struggle, Sheikh Hasina took charge as the prime minister in 1996 and led the country in the spirit of the Liberation War. She has taken many creative steps, including the “Ideal Village” and “One House One Farm” programs.
During her rule, houses and disaster shelters have been built for the poor. After becoming the prime minister for the second time in 2009, she continued this trend and brought historic and groundbreaking achievements in the social and economic spheres of the people of Bangladesh. Under the innovative leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, world-renowned leaders and research institutes have been composing prose and poetry for the progress of developed Bangladesh.
Nobel laureate and economist Amartya Sen said: ‘‘Despite being a hugely popular leader, Sheikh Hasina is actually the voice of disadvantaged people.” In 2017, Sheikh Hasina gave shelter to over a million helpless, deported Rohingya refugees.
Her initiative and foresight to save densely-populated Bangladesh from the recent corona epidemic has been praised worldwide. Sheikh Hasina’s government is giving Tk2,400 to 50 million disadvantaged families, along with various other incentives, due to the corona disaster.
According to a report in The Economist, published on May 2, 2020, Bangladesh ranks ninth in the list of countries that will be relatively safe in the corona disaster; many economically sound states of the world, including China and India, are behind Bangladesh.
But even a decade ago, the economy of Bangladesh was not so prosperous. In 1995-96, the country’s poverty rate was 41.5%. Under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, the poverty rate in the country has come down to 11.3% in the last 10 years. By 2020, Bangladesh’s per capita income was $2,000, and GDP growth was 8%. On September 1, 2020, the country’s largest foreign exchange reserve exceeded $39 billion.
The Human Development Index and Indicator, published in September 2017, showed that the socio-economic status of the people of Bangladesh had increased. Bangladesh is the 43rd largest economy in the world.
According to the US-based Center for Economics and Business Research (CBR) report 2019, Bangladesh will be one of the 25 largest economies in the world by 2032. In terms of economy, countries like Malaysia, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Vietnam, and South Africa will be behind Bangladesh in 2033.
Sheikh Hasina, one of the world’s most intelligent rulers, has shown historic success in honesty by challenging allegations of corruption regarding the Padma Bridge. Some of her landmark initiatives in the fight against corruption and terrorism have also been lauded at home and abroad.
In 2017, in the study of ‘‘People and Politics,” she was recognized as one of the honest rulers of the world. After coming in contact with Sheikh Hasina’s discipline, life, philosophy, and rule, many leaders, activists, and bureaucrats have become accustomed to her sense of honesty.
Sheikh Hasina is a writer, researcher, reader, and philosopher. As of October 2019, there are 28 books written and edited by Sheikh Hasina, and 89 books that have been written about Sheikh Hasina.
Sheikh Hasina has won around 50 international medals and recognitions. She is the most influential figure in the politics of this country. The people of Bangladesh believe that Sheikh Hasina is a bright light amidst the country’s confusion -- the country’s initiative and human motivation.
She is a patriot, a competent ruler, an asset, and the best guide for the country. On the 73rd birthday of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, I express my respect, love, and best wishes.
Mohammad Monirul Huque is a columnist and researcher. He can be reached at [email protected]