In an article written in the daily Janakantha by Mr Tofail Ahmed, MP, he mentions the return of Sheikh Hasina to Bangladesh from India where she had been living for over five years after the assassination of Bangabandhu, the Father of the Nation. However, in the article he has given his own analysis which seem far removed from the reality of what really happened.
The most important issue relating to the return of Sheikh Hasina was the holding of the Special Council Session of Awami League in Hotel Eden in 1981 in which she was elected to the presidency of the Awami League in the place of her father in her absence. Nearly 50,000 followers of Bangabandhu gathered to elect the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Hasina as the president of Awami League. It was a spontaneous gathering. There was not a single village in Bangladesh from where people did not arrive to witness the election of Bangabandhu’s daughter as president of Awami League.
Since 15 August’s 1975 tragedy, Awami League, the political party that earned national independence, had come to a catastrophic state. Autocrat General Zia, who came to power through conspiracy and killing, targeted Awami League as the arch-rival and planned to annihilate its leaders to ensure that there is no opposition to his autocratic regime. Thousands of Awami League workers had been killed and another few thousands youths had been driven out of the country to make certain that there is no problem during his governance.
The next step was to tempt the Awami League leaders to co-share the power with General Zia. General Zia compelled Awami League to participate in a kind of so-called election, only to give its military government a constitutional legality. The Awami League leaders, who could not stand against the military regime, surrendered to it for a compromise. Therefore, at the time when Sheikh Hasina was elected as the president of Awami League, the party was in terrible shape. Many feared that the military regime of Zia would not allow Awami League to survive again.
Millions of supporters believed that there is no one except the daughter of Sheikh Mujib who could save the party and the country as well. The entire house at the Special Council Session held in Hotel Eden then shouted slogans in favour of Sheikh Hasina demanding to make her president of Awami League, and so defying the evil design of some central leaders who termed it to be an attempt to establish family rule.
The process of mobilizing opinion in favour of Sheikh Hasina continued for at least a year, while some leaders who did not like this idea tried to launch their counter campaigns. In the council session, there was a risk of disturbance created by those who did not like the move, although their numbers were poor. But the support in favour of Sheikh Hasina was so vast and spontaneous that the opponents did not dare disagree with the resolution and had to support it in the long run. Hence the resolution was passed unanimously.
Many leaders who opposed her are now either dead or over-enthusiastic supporters of Sheikh Hasina to cover up their opposition. While addressing a political meeting or even in parliament, they utter the name of Sheikh Hasina in almost every breath.
After Sheikh Hasina joined the party, the leaders who challenged Hasina’s leadership formed political parties like BAKSAL and Ganoforum reflecting their dubious roles in the past. Abdur Razzak challenged the leadership of Sheikh Hasina by forming BAKSAL and claiming himself as the ideological son of Bangabandhu. He challenged Sheikh Hasina by campaigning all over the country against her however he did not manage to get any support from others.
Dr Kamal Hossain, who with the blessings of Sheikh Hasina became the presidential candidate of Awami League, got defeated and later decided to form a separate political party Ganoforum where he now holds the top position.
Sheikh Hasina had never been safe in her own house. Even after putting the party to power twice, some senior leaders in the guise of reform formed a group to challenge her leadership. But ultimately they failed. So Sheikh Hasina had to face in one side the opposition i.e., anti-liberation elements and on the other her own party traitors. Despite all the odds, Sheikh Hasina has demonstrated the outstanding ability to deal with the party stalwarts and the opposition. She is still fighting in both the fronts.
Meanwhile her opponents have lost their ground. Sheikh Hasina is now safe except from conspirators in her own party.
We all know how many times the opponents tried to kill Hasina. With all the threats hanging over her head, she has been governing the country from 1996-2001 and again from 2009 to till now. The return of Bangabandhu from Pakistan’s imprisonment on 10th January 1972 consolidated the independence and sovereignty of our country. Likewise, the return of Sheikh Hasina on 17 May, 1981 from India saved Bangladesh from the clutches of the enemies of independence.
The 1975 assassination of Bangabandhu and the 21 years rule by dictators and their stooges destroyed all that the nation earned out of the liberation war. It is Sheikh Hasina who in entering the politics of Bangladesh, ceaselessly fought against the military dictators, the pseudo democratic and reactionary forces, the fundamentalist and the terrorists to bring Bangladesh to its present position. We are now at the height of glory because of Sheikh Hasina.
It is because of Sheikh Hasina that the country has brought back almost all the values that were lost during the post counter-revolutionary regime. It is because of her that swe are self-sufficient in food but are even capable to export. The per capita income is now USD 1909, GDP 8.13. The electricity generation capacity increased to over 20,000 MW. Bangladesh is a country that distributes 35 crore books to primary schools students on the first day of January each year.
The rate of literacy increased to 72 per cent. The improvement in the health sector is tremendous. The life expectancy is now 72 years. Child and maternal mortality have reduced significantly. Our leader Sheikh Hasina has been conferred 39 awards by the international community.
What would have been the condition of Bangladesh if the Father of the Nation could not return to Bangladesh in 1972? Similarly one could guess what would have been the condition of Bangladesh if Sheikh Hasina did not return in 1981 and recover Bangladesh from the hands of the enemies of independence and the military dictators who tried to reverse what was achieved through the war of liberation. In fact, she has given re-birth to Bangladesh.
The writer is former political adviser to the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, gesneral secretary of Bangabandhu Parishad and columnist.
Click here for Bangladesh Post update news.