Digital Bangladesh: modern version of Bangabandhu’s ‘Sonar Bangla’
Published : 26 Jun 2016, 04:03:28
With the assassination of Nawbab Siraj ud-Dolah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, the British took over the charge of Bengal in 1757. After almost 200 yreas of Brtish rule with the political crisis (Divide and rule policy of the Pakistani dictatorship), the economic condition in East Pakistan also deteriorated. People of East Pakistan started losing faith in Muslim League and a new political party was formed. Frustrated Bengalis formed the "East Pakistan Awami Muslim League" (popularly shortened to 'Awami Muslim League', People's Muslim League) on 23 June 1949. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was 29-year old at the time, was made joint secretary at a council held on July 9, 1953.
Later, on 21 October 1955, the party dropped "Muslim" from its name to accommodate the other minorities and show that it was a non-religious party and attract wider support from the secular middle class. It now became 'East Pakistan Awami League', popularly shortened to just 'Awami League'.
Bangabandhu, Bangladesh and Awami League are tied in the same root. With the formation of Awami League the foundation of present Bangladesh began where the young leader Sheikh Miujibur Rahman played a prominent role. Chatra League was formed on January 4, 1948 under the direct supervision of Sheikh Mujib.
Describing the formation of Chatra League, Bangabandhu in his ‘Incomplete Biography’ said: “The decision was made at a meeting held at the meeting called by Fazlul Haque at Muslim Hall on January 4, 1948. We received huge response and were able to set up district committee within one month. Although Naimuddin was its first convener I had to do most of the work. I had a group of sacrificing co-workers.” (Incomplete Biography, Page 88-89).
When Pakistani governor-general Khaja Nayeemuddin on February 23, 1952 declared that people of East Pakistan had agreed to accept Urdu as their state language, Bangabandhu instantly protested it. The Sharbodalio Kendrio Rashtrabhasha Songram Parishad (All-Party Central Language Action Committee) was formed following a proposal of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in a meeting at the Fazlul Haque Hall of the University of Dhaka.
Khawaja Nazimuddin staunchly defended the "Urdu-only" policy in a speech on 26 January 1952. Protesting Nazimuddin’s statement Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib staged hunger strike on
February 16. That was the beginning of Bngabandhu’s fight against Pakistani dictators.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman entered parliamentary politics first in 1954 through his election as a member of the East Bengal Legislative Assembly on the united front ticket. He was also a member of the Pakistan Second Constituent Assembly-cum-Legislature (1955-1958).
In April 1954, the general elections were held for the East Pakistan Legislative Assembly, in which the Pakistan Muslim League lost to the pan-Bengali nationalist United Front Alliance. Awami league, an alliance member, won in 143 constituencies among 237. Sheikh Mujib beat influential leader of Muslim League in Gopalganj in that election.
Unrest over continuing denial of democracy spread across Pakistan and Mujib intensified his opposition to the disbandment of provinces. In 1966, Mujib proclaimed a 6-point plan titled Our Charter of Survival at a national conference of opposition political parties at Lahore, in which he demanded self-government and considerable political, economic and defence autonomy for East Pakistan in a Pakistani federation with a weak central government. The six-point plan is compared as ‘Magna Carta of Bangalees”. Mujib obtained the broad support of Bengalis, including the Hindu and other religious communities in East Pakistan. However, his demands were considered radical in West Pakistan and interpreted as thinly veiled separatism. In reaction Ayub Khan sent him to jail.
Mujib was arrested in 1968 by the army and after two years in jail, an official sedition trial in a military court opened. Widely known as the Agartala Conspiracy Case, Mujib and 34 Bengali military officers were accused by the government of colluding with Indian government agents in a scheme to divide Pakistan and threaten its unity, order and national security. The outcry and unrest over Mujib's arrest and the charge of sedition against him destabilised East Pakistan amidst large protests and strikes. Various Bengali political and student groups added demands to address the issues of students, workers and the poor, forming a larger "11-point plan." The government caved to the mounting pressure, dropped the charges and unconditionally released Mujib. He returned to East Pakistan as a public hero. He was given a mass reception on February 23, at Racecourse ground and conferred with the title 'Bangabandhu', meaning 'Friend of the Bengal'.
On 5 December 1969 Mujib made a declaration at a public meeting held to observe the death anniversary of Suhrawardy that henceforth East Pakistan would be called "Bangladesh":
“There was a time when all efforts were made to erase the word "Bangla" from this land and its map. The existence of the word "Bangla" was found nowhere except in the term Bay of Bengal. I on behalf of Pakistan announce today that this land will be called "Bangladesh" instead of East Pakistan.”(Incomplete Biography, page 297)
Mujib's declaration heightened tensions across the country. The West Pakistani politicians and the military began to see him as a separatist leader.
In the Pakistani general elections held on 7 December 1970, the Awami League under Mujib's leadership won a massive majority in the provincial legislature, and all but two of East Pakistan's quota of seats in the new National Assembly, thus forming a clear majority. But, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was completely opposed to Mujib's demand for greater autonomy.
It was on 7 March 1971 that Mujib called for independence and asked the people to launch a major campaign of civil disobedience and organised armed resistance at a mass gathering of people held at the Race Course Ground in Dhaka.
“Since we have given blood, we will give more blood. God-willing, the people of this country will be liberated ... Turn every house into a fort. Face (the enemy) with whatever you have. The struggle now is the struggle for our emancipation; the struggle now is the struggle for our independence. Joy Bangla!”
Then, the nine-month long liberation war began. Throughout the period of the War of Liberation, Sheikh Mujib's charisma worked as the source of national unity and strength. After the liberation Bangladesh, a new free country made its place on the world’s map.
Thus, Awami League and emerged as the key driver of politicl freedom of Bangladesh. Bangabanhdu is not only a person. He is—an institution, a revolution, architect of a nation… Thus, he is the Father of the Nation. He has been honoured with the title “Greatest Bangali of Thousand Year.”
Bangabandhu said, “Economic emancipation is not possible without political freedom.” He thought the country become self sufficient in producing crop through agricultural revolution. He wanted to cultivate every single inch of cultivable land and raise awareness among farmers to increase crop production. He took measures to implement his idea. When the country was getting back on its feet and was on its way to economic emancipation, he was brutally assassinated. The defeated force in the Liberation War in 1971, who were against the freedom of Bangladesh, could not tolerate the country’s progress after its independence. Bangabandhu was an emerging global leader.
On 15 August 1975, a group of junior army officers invaded the presidential residence with tanks and killed Mujib, his family and personal staff. Only his daughters Sheikh Hasina Wajed and Sheikh Rehana, who were visiting West Germany, escaped. They were banned from returning to Bangladesh.
Peoples’ leader Sheikh Hasina entered politics with a vision to complete the incomplete tasks of Bangabandhu. In 1981, she returned to Bangladesh and became a strong advocate for democracy. She was elected to lead the ‘Awami League Party’ in February at the age of 34. Everey day She has been haunted by the by the betrayer who wants to take her life. But, the daughter of the Bangabandhu was always focused on the target. After struggling for 21 years, on June 23, 1996, she was elected and sworn in as the second female Prime Minister of Bangladesh. During five years in power Hasina made the country self sufficient in food. Also the ‘Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord’ and The Ganges deal are significantly important among her achievements. Dream Bangabandhu Bridge was built. She opened a new horizon by dissolving the telecom monopoly. She is focused on building the “Sonar Bangla” that Bangabandhu dreamt off.
In 2001, she lost the election and political turmoil only got worse. There were violent protests and strikes, grenade attacks, and extreme political unrest. She led the party opposing the government for the next seven years. During her tenure in the opposition she became the target of an assassination attempt in 2004 on August 21. The grenade attack aimed at her resulted in the death of 21 fellow ‘Awami League’ members. Since her return in 1981, she has been attacked 21 times.
Peoples’ leader Sheikh Hasina announced “Vision 2021” prior to the national election on December 12, 2008. The key element of vision was Digital Bangladesh. Her son Sajeeb Wazed Joy is the architect. The implementation of Digital Bangladesh began from January 2009. Bangladesh is moving fast towards Vision 2012. The country has graduated Less Develop Country status ahead of its target. It secured its Middle Income Country rank on July 1, 2015. Bangladesh has become a role model in development. Global media hailed Sheikh Hasina for the recently announced Budget of the Awami League Government.
Today’s Digital Bangladesh is the modern version of Bangabandhu’s dream “Sonar Bangla”. To build the “Sonar Bangla”, Awami League under the leadership of Bagabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina working nonstop to achieve the goal.
From the facebook page of state minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak.