Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the greatest son of the soil and greatest Bengali for thousands of years, the great hero of history and the father of the nation, has made the dream of Bengal a reality and gave the people an independent state. In the historic speech of March 7, 1971, Bangabandhu instructed the people of Bangladesh to plunge into the war of liberation. He said, "This time the struggle is for our freedom, this time the struggle is for our independence."
He instructed the Bengali nation, 'Be ready with whatever you have.' Inspired by this hypnotic speech, the Bengali nation started taking preparation for starting a liberation war with weapons, and independence was attained through the 9 months of the war in sacrifice for the fresh blood of 3 million martyrs, a disgrace to two lakh mothers and sisters, and boundless sacrifice.The victory was snatched on 16 December after 23 years of struggle and 9 months of armed struggle, defeating the Pakistani aggressors.
Bangabandhu landed in the country on 10 January 1972 and mentioned just after his arrival that "the freedom will not be fruitful if the people of Bengal do not eat rice on a full stomach, this freedom will not be fulfilled for me if the mothers and sisters of Bengal do not get clothes, the freedom will not be fulfilled for me if the people of this country, who are my youths, do not get jobs".
Taking over as Prime Minister for the second time on January 8, 2009, she worked tirelessly to implement the Sixth Five-Year Plan, the MDGs, and the First Perspective Plan. She was re-elected in the February 5, 2014 elections and got a chance to take the country forward by forming the government. Hon'ble Prime Minister took 10 special initiatives. Prioritizes poverty, hunger-free society, housing, education, medicine, employment, social safety net, and digitization in the country.
Now Bangladesh is the third-largest producer of rice in the world and is also self-sufficient in fish, meat, eggs, and vegetables. Bangladesh ranks second in terms of the growth rate of fish production in inland open water and Bangladesh ranks first among 11 Hilsa producing countries. Today, the benefits of 'Digital Bangladesh' have spread from urban to villages.
Bangladesh has achieved many unprecedented successes. Our beloved motherland is moving forward by overcoming various obstacles. PM Sheikh Hasina has taken up several mega projects. The Padma Multipurpose Bridge, whose work is already 91 percent completed the last span was set up in December last (2020). Travel across the bridge will begin in the mid of next year (2022).
This will revolutionize communication with the South part of Bangladesh. Bangabandhu Satellite-1 contributes to boosting the country's economy by providing all citizens with a wide range of telecommunications services (direct-to-home TV, radio, telemedicine, education, and internet access), Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Dhaka Metrorail Project, Materbari Deep Seaport Construction Project, Rampal Coal Based Power Project, Bangabandhu Tunnel Construction Project, work of 100 economic zones is in progress, elevated expressway, more than three dozen high-tech parks, and IT villages are being built. The eighth Five Year Plan has been adopted.
The villages are being equipped with all civic amenities. Today we have become a country with self-respect in the world holding our heads high.According to the World Economic Forum, Bangladesh will be the 24th largest economy in the world by 2030. According to the second perspective plan, in 2031, there will be no one to call Bangladesh extremely poor.
Bangladesh moves to developing countries. Per capita income is now 2227, human resources, and economic fragility- the criteria for these three indicators determine the eligibility of developing countries to be listed. Bangladesh has achieved the desired qualifications in these three indices. Even in the COVID-19, Bangladesh's per capita income has stunned the whole world by maintaining economic continuity. Which has multiplied the acceptance. Women are now contributing at all levels including social, political, and economic. Women in rural areas are not lagging in the touch of technology. They are also moving forward in parallel.
Which has brightened the image of Bangladesh in the world. Bangladesh is moving forward on the path of building a golden Bengal. The young generation is the leader of the future state. To turn the young generation into human resources, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education is being introduced for career-oriented education. The state must give due value to the knowledge, skills, experience, desires, and opinions of the youth.
PM Sheikh Hasina has given 4 milestones, the first is the vision of Digital Bangladesh in 2021, the second is to achieve the SDGs in 2030, the third is to build a developed Bangladesh in 2041 and the fourth is the Delta Plan for 2100. Architect of Digital Bangladesh Sajeeb Wazed Joy has been making an outstanding contribution to the implementation of these plans at a young age.
When the World Bank canceled the allocation from the Padma Bridge, the Awami League government took it as a challenge and the work on the Padma Bridge is being completed quickly. The work of laying the last slab of the railway was completed recently. The existence of the bridge is now important to all of us.
Over the past few years, the Awami League government has been busy building infrastructure. Flyovers and underpasses are being constructed. Metrorail is now a big reality. On August 29, 2021, Metrorail was run experimentally. PM Sheikh Hasina has turned Bangladesh into a middle-income country with the huge workload of the Awami League in mind. Attempts are being made to make it a reality on the golden jubilee of independence.
Education, communication infrastructure, gas, electricity, women's education, 100% increase in salaries and allowances of employees, healthcare, distribution of free books, self-sufficiency in food production, socially disadvantaged people, helpless, elderly, widows, persons with disabilities, divorced, autism, the benefits of assisting the poverty-stricken freedom fighters, shelter project, one house one farm project, women empowerment and overall development of various sectors should be highlighted and explained to the people. Only under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina will it be possible to achieve that prosperity. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our beloved Bangladesh is moving forward at a relentless pace towards the desired goal.
One of the dreams of the Father of the Nation about the Bengalis was to liberate the motherland and build a hunger-free, poverty-free golden Bengal. The first dream was materialized by Bangabandhu. The greatest achievement of the Bengalis is the independence of Bangladesh, which he has brought. At present, under the dynamic leadership of PM Sheikh Hasina's wise and visionary leadership, Bangladesh is fast moving towards realizing the second dream of the father of the nation. With dedication, honesty, and efficiency Bangladesh is surpassing many countries in the world today.
All citizens have to work for a developed Bangladesh, free from hunger and poverty (achieving SDG-1 end poverty and SDG-2, Zero Hunger) and uphold the spirit of liberation war and secularism which Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dreamt of. Bangladesh has limited resources, more population compared with its geographical borders. Bangladesh today is a role model of development to the world.
Hiren Pandit is a Research Fellow, Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication