Exclamations of freedom in 1971 as Dhaka is 'liberated'
Time has arrived to assess to what extent we have been able to materialize the dreams, aims and desires with which the glorious Liberation War of 1971 was fought. Bangladesh was liberated from the vicious claws of Pakistan occupation army on 16th December 1971 with the sacrifices of three million martyrs who laid down their lives to hold high the nation's esteem and to acquire independence.
The heroic ballads of 1971 cannot be narrated in just articles and stories because the Independence War of 1971 is a timeless epic composed with blood, tears and supreme forms of dedications by the country's patriotic people.
Any reference to the Liberation War of 1971 portrays before us a struggle for justice, human rights, equity, self-actualization and the power to stand on our own feet. There is no doubt about the fact that Bangladesh has made substantial progress with per capita income, economic growth, infrastructural facilities, technological and telecommunication sectors on a broad scale since the country's independence.
Cell phones, laptops, tabs, satellite channels and other sophisticated devices have reached across households all over the country by means of information and communication technologies (ICT). The expansion of technological connectivity has widely aided students, entrepreneurs, architects, employees of all offices with their day to day work.
Extreme poverty has been comprehensively eradicated from Bangladesh which is now being followed by other developing nations as an example illustrating success in upgrading people's living standard. Millions of women besides men have found jobs across Bangladesh which depicts the country's breakthroughs in promoting women empowerment.
Since becoming independent Bangladesh has crossed several ups and downs. Our way to the present foothold was not at all plain. Dark clouds of adversity gripped the country following the tragic assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation under whose charismatic leadership Bangladesh became independent in 1971. Anti-liberation forces grabbed top state power after the catastrophe that took place on 15th August 1975. Bangladesh was deprived of democracy for longer than a decade under the jackboot of military rulers while the country was going through bleak uncertainty.
Democracy was restored at the end of 1990 but Bangladesh became a hunting ground by war criminals who had opposed the independence of the country during 1971. Rise of militancy, religious fanaticism and communal outfits glared up across Bangladesh during 2001-2006 and the curses of these diabolic phenomenon are still haunting us. Bangladesh has suffered militant attacks a number of times during last few years.
However, it's a ray of hope that the present government has been working hard with law and order forces to eliminate militancy and radical gangs. Assaults on religious minorities in some parts of Bangladesh have panicked the country's people. Culprits who are involved with such heinous things should be prosecuted through unflinching actions.
Social justice is very essential to extend the blessings of independence to the doorstep of all people in both urban and rural areas. Inflation, price hike, financial scams, corruption and disorder in government organizations should be tackled with firm initiatives by concerned authorities so that Bangladesh can become a fully self-supporting country in near future. Class discrimination should not be allowed to rise further and hectic endeavors should be made by the government to reduce socio-economic chasm between rich and poor citizens.
Bangladesh government should carry out intensive drive throughout the state-run agencies to uproot bribery, nepotism and graft so that good governance can be established at all levels. It has been remarked by economists and news agencies that some of the ongoing infrastructural projects are taking too much time and money.
The ministries in charge of the implementation of these development programs should scrutinize the expenses and other relevant angles to avoid wastage of the country's resources and to save money and time. Over-expenditure is too large a load for us to bear and it slows down economic pace too. Ensuring transparency and accountability in all government offices is a monumental obligation if we really want Bangladesh to move forward soundly without impediments.
Freedom of press is another vital prerequisite for any country to build up democratic values and political integrity. There should be no undue inhibitions on journalists and intellectuals. Newspapers and television channels play valuable roles for the growth of political and administrative fairness in a state. Some reports by media agencies at times may not sound pleasant but constructive criticism should be accepted without adverse reactions for the sake of the country's betterment.
In the same way teachers, authors, poets, columnists and scholars who love Bangladesh are assets for the country. For this reason these professionals should be allowed to carry on their duties freely as long as they don't break ethical norms.
Enforcement of law should be equal for everyone which the government should ensure with utmost sincerity. Politicians and bureaucrats who spoil the government's image by misusing power should not be spared. The prevailing irregularities in banking sector need to be obliterated with immediate effect. We should remember that we exposed our valor and patriotism by liberating Bangladesh in 1971. The existing anomalies in the country should be fixed up with the same spirit and gallantry.
The writer is a columnist for The Asian Age
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