Sep 28, 2017 Sri Lanka Guardian Diplomacy, Essays, FeatureNo comments
Sheikh Hasina would arrive at her 71st birthday on 28 September of 2017. The current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, in office since January 2009, her political career has spanned more than four decades.



( September 28, 2017, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) It is aptly said, “If Rabi Thakur is the poet of thinking, reflection and thought, if Bangabandhu is the poet of politics, then Sheikh Hasina is the poet of development.”


Sheikh Hasina would arrive at her 71st birthday on 28 September of 2017. The current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, in office since January 2009, her political career has spanned more than four decades. She previously served as opposition leader from 1986 to 1990 and from 1991 to 1995, as Prime Minister from 1996 to 2001, and has been leading the Bangladesh Awami League since 1981. In 2008, she returned as Prime Minister with a landslide victory. In January 2014, she became Prime Minister for a third term. Hasina is one of the most powerful women in the world, ranking 36th on Forbes’ list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2016. She is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers. In 2017 she has been featured distinctively in a book named Women Presidents and Prime Ministers as one of the 18 current women national leaders of the world.


She is the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Founding Father of Bangladesh and the first president of Bangladesh, and Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib. As she said in many interviews that she had grown up in fear due to her father’s political works. During the peak of violence of the 1970 Elections in Pakistan as well as her father’s arrest she had lived in refuge with her grandmother. She says, “I was not allowed to go to the school. Because I had to cross the canal by a wooden bridge, she was very much afraid that if I fall from this wooden bridge I will fall in the river”. She was active in the student politics of Dhaka University. Hasina was not in Bangladesh when her great father was assassinated barbarically on 15 August 1975. She was not allowed to return to the country until after she was elected to lead the Awami League Party in 16 February 1981 and returned to Bangladesh on 17 May 1981.


The Awami League has been described as a “left-of-center” political party. Hasina was in and out of detention throughout the 1980s. In 1984, Hasina was put under house arrest in February and again in November. In March 1985, she was put under house arrest for three months. Leader of the opposition, 1986-87 Hasina and the Awami League participated in the 1986 parliamentary elections held under President Ershad. She served as the leader of the opposition in 1986–1987. Hasina’s decision to take part in the election was criticised by her opponents, since the election was held under the martial law, and the other main opposition group, led by Khaleda Zia, boycotted the poll. However, her supporters maintained that she used the platform effectively to challenge Ershad’s rule. Ershad dissolved the parliament in December 1987 when Hasina and her Awami League resigned from the parliament in an attempt to call for a fresh general election to be held under a neutral care-taker government. During November and December in 1987, mass uprising happened in Dhaka, several people were killed.


After several years of autocratic rule, widespread protests and strikes created so much unrest that the economy was not functioning. A huge mass protest in December 1990 ousted General Ershad from the power, who resigned in favour of selected Vice President Justice Shahabuddin. The caretaker government, headed by Shahabuddin Ahmed, the Chief Justice of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, administered a general election for the parliament. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by Khaleda Zia won a general majority, and Hasina’s Awami League emerged as the largest opposition party. In 1996 elections, the Awami League, with other opposition parties, demanded that the next general elections be held under a neutral caretaker government, and that provision for caretaker governments to manage elections be incorporated in the constitution. The ruling BNP refused to act on these demands. Opposition parties launched an unprecedented campaign, calling strikes for weeks on end. The government accused them of destroying the economy while the opposition countered that BNP could solve this problem by acceding to their demands. In late 1995, the MPs of the Awami League and other parties resigned from the parliament. Parliament completed its term and a general election was held on 15 February 1996. The election was boycotted by all major parties except the ruling BNP. Hasina described the election as a farce.


The new parliament, composed mostly of BNP members, amended the constitution to create provisions for a caretaker government (CTG). The next parliamentary elections on 30 June 1996 were held under a neutral caretaker government headed by retired chief Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman. Sheikh Hasina served her first term as prime minister of Bangladesh from 1996-2001.She became the first Bangladesh’s Prime Minister since its independence to complete the entire term. She signed the 30 year water sharing treaty of the Ganges with India. Her administration repealed the Indemnity Act, which protected the killers of the country’s Founding Father, BangabandhuSheikh Muijibur Rahman, her father and the first president of Bangladesh. Her government opened the telecom industry to the private sector which till then was limited to government owned companies. In 1999 the government started the New Industrial Policy (NIP) which aimed to strengthen the private industry and encourage growth its growth.

During her second term as leader of the opposition, political unrest and violence increased. Ahsanullah Master, an MP, was killed in 2004. This was followed by a grenade attack on 21 August on an Awami League gathering in Dhaka, resulting in the death of 21 party supporters, including party women’s secretary Ivy Rahman. Shah M S Kibria, Hasina’s former finance minister, was also killed that year, in a grenade attack in Sylhet that year. Caretaker government and military intervention happened in October 2006–2008. The months preceding the planned 22 January 2007 elections were filled with political unrest and controversy. Following the end of Khaleda Zia’s government in late October 2006, there were protests and strikes, during which 40 people were killed in the following month, over uncertainty about who would head the caretaker government. The caretaker government had difficulty bringing the all parties to the table. Awami League and its allies protested and alleged that the caretaker government favoured the BNP. Later in the month, the president Iajuddin Ahmed imposed a state of emergency and thus Lt General Mueen Uddin Ahmed took over the government behind the screen. Political activity was prohibited. Fakhruddin Ahmed became the chief advisor of the care-taker government with the support of Bangladesh army. On 16 July 2007, Hasina was arrested by state police at her home and taken before a local court in Dhaka. She was accused of extortion and denied bail, and was held in a building converted into a jail on the premises of the National Parliament. The Awami League said the arrest was politically motivated. On 17 July 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission sent notices to both Hasina and Khaleda Zia, instructing them to provide details of their assets to the Commission within one week. These arrests of the political leaders were widely seen as a move by the military-backed interim government to force Hasina and Zia out of the country and into political exile.

On 30 July 2007, the Dhaka High Court suspended Hasina’s extortion trial and ordered her release on bail. On 2 September 2007, an additional case was filed against Hasina by the Anti-Corruption Commission regarding the awarding of a contract for the construction of a power plant in 1997, for which she allegedly took a bribe of 30 million takas and kept the contract from going to the lowest bidder. Six others were also accused of involvement. A graft case was filed against Begum Zia on the same day. On 13 January 2008, Hasina was indicted on extortion charges by a special court along with two of her relatives, her sister Sheikh Rehana and her cousin Sheikh Selim. On 6 February, the High Court stopped the trial, ruling that she could not be prosecuted under emergency laws for crimes alleged to have been committed prior to the imposition of the state of emergency.


On 11 June 2008, Hasina was released on parole for medical reasons. The next day she flew to the United States to be treated for hearing impairment, eye problems and high blood pressure. On 6 November 2008, Hasina returned to Bangladesh to attend the Ninth National Parliamentary Elections 2008 scheduled for 29 December 2008 and decided to participate in the parliamentary election under the name of “Grand Alliance” comprising 14 political parties. On 11 December 2008, Hasina formally announced her party’s election manifesto during a news conference and vowed to build a “Digital Bangladesh” by 2021. Her Bangladesh Awami League and its Grand Alliance won the general election held on 29 December 2008 with a two-thirds majority, numerically the party controls 230 seats out of 299. But Khaleda Zia leader of BNP-led coalition (4-Party Alliance) rejected the results of the election by questioning the Chief Election Commissioner “for stage-managing the parliamentary election”. Finally Hasina was sworn into office as the Prime Minister for the second time on 6 January 2009.

Hasina removed many of her party politicians who supported reforms forced by the previous caretaker government. She had to confront a major national crisis in the form of the 2009 Bangladesh Rifles revolt. In 2012, she maintained a hardline stance and refused to allow entry to Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar during the 2012 Rakhine State riots. On 27 June 2013, a case against Hasina and 24 other Bangladeshi ministers and security personnel was lodged at the International Criminal Court. She has been “credited internationally” for the achievement of some of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. In 2012 a coup attempt against her by some mid ranking army officers was stopped, with Bangladesh army being tipped off by intelligence agency.


One of the most fascinating developments in Bangladesh’s politics has been the increase in women’s political participation since the mid-1990s. Women are becoming more engaged in a variety of institutions from local government, to legislatures, and even the executive. Today, Bangladesh is a leader in women’s parliamentary representation globally. Finally, women are often perceived, rightly or wrongly, as outsiders to politics and therefore, untainted by corruption and clientelism. They are seen as not having fomented conflict. This gave them greater credibility in the newly reconstituted political order. These perceptions may not have always been accurate, but they are there and have given women added credibility in seeking office. Research on women and politics in Bangladesh has made important contributions to both scholarship on Bangladesh, and the more general literature on gender and politics. This area of study is fast evolving and has made key advances in helping explain the increasing rates of female legislative representation; the role of women in conflict; state policies and processes regarding women’s rights; women’s patronage of politics; and the role of traditional authorities with respect to women’s leadership and rights.


Women’s history is more than the sum of its outstanding players: Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Sacagawea, Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, et al. These women enjoy a firm place in society’s collective consciousness. As icons in the respective fields, they represent firsts or standouts. In those headlines we do find extraordinary people who just happen to be women, and these women of the extraordinary services act as inspiration for current and future generations—for both women and men. These woman and others like them did not just prevail, they excelled when personal, economic, political, and other obstacles threatened. If you will stroll down Cliché Lane for a bit, the cards were/are stacked against these women, but they bet the firm and won. Everyone can relate to that—and to their stories. Their stories are full of adventure, loss, and triumph. While we can certainly agree that specific documents and battles and elections do alter the course of history, we the pedestrians are rarely the stars of these monumental events. We are the extras in a cast of thousands, more footnotes than headlines, to mix metaphors. In that sense, the majority of women’s history is closer to us, male and female, than any other kind of history. Let’s face it, as amazing as we humans think we are, the truth is we are more apt to serve tea than sign treaties. Women’s history, like other subsets of history (ethnic history, art history, social history, cultural history, archeology, etc.) is mostly about the other 99.9% of things that are going on outside of the treaties, battles, and elections. By studying these subsets, we benefit from a richer perspective on what is generally considered regular history.


Other historically accurate concepts include girls receiving education, women earning the right to vote and own property, women playing sports, women serving as heads of state, women making important scientific discoveries, women taking to the skies, and eventually, women outnumbering men in schools, colleges and universities. The political concepts inspired by great women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sheikh Hasina, Benazir Bhutto, Madame Curie, and Beryl Markham should be celebrated because they were or are firsts or were/are important to society or both. They should be recognised not just within the sub-category of women’s history but as part of all of history, threads that have altered the pattern of history for everyone. By studying Sheikh Hasina, we can glean more about what life was like for the common folk in any historical period. Let’s face it, unless you are Bill Gates or Barack Obama or even Hilary Clinton, you are the common folk of the early 21st century. She is Sheikh Hasina, so many years later. History, good history, the kind with gripping stories and messy morals and surprising twists, is more than just a highlight reel with pink or blue graphics. History is also the rest of the movie, and of course, the credits.

The UK, Canada, USA and Australia celebrate Women’s History on every March. The month is used to reflect on the many different roles women have taken throughout history. It began under Jimmy Carter as Women’s History Week and later expanded to the entire month. Famous Women in Modern History are Joan of Arc, Queen Isabella, Queen Elizabeth I, Pocahontas, Queen Anne, Catherine the Great, Abigail Adams, Sacagawea, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Queen Victoria, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightingale, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, Annie Oakley, Marie Curie, Gail Laughlin, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Georgia O’keeffe, Amelia Earhart, Margaret Chase Smith, Margaret Mead, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Mildred Ella, Margaret Thatcher, Anne Frank, Sandra Day O’ Connor, Jane Goodall, Gloria Steinem, Barbara Jordan, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Sheikh Hasina…Sheikh Hasina may be recognised saying the words of, “All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the heart of her … for it is she who has earned Bangladesh’s women the right to speak their minds.”


Sheikh Hasina can work which rings around all of us who consider themselves as politicians. In her work is so stark one can smell the effluvia of the salted herring, breathe in the clean, cool sea air, and sink into the homey chairs at the local inns. One can also feel her emotional pain. She not only changes lives, it changes history. She belongs to those women who are a mere quintet who, by refusing to play by the rules that society handed to them, forever has altered the course of history. Hers is women’s History, sure, but it is also a critical piece of Bangladesh’s History. Her story demonstrates how women in history are overlooked. Her gift to humanity has to be recognised to honour her work. Imagine being so famous and important she has an era be named after her’s name. You would either have to be incredibly lucky or really good. Hasina is probably both. She has created the persona of Sheikh Hasina, a woman who says little and makes few strong alliances. She is masterful at keeping her enemies at bay.

These discussions are relevant today. A significant amount of historical narrative is still being written by those with the most power. If you walk into any of the worlds most powerful institutions (government, academic or corporate) you will also identify that the group that are shaping history are Bangladesh’s women. I am not saying that this group is intentionally shaping history for the rest of us, or that other groups aren’t contributing in large measures to what future generations will consider history. Rather, I want to highlight that the power of political contribution one’s own history seems to be what history making is all about. Knowing the sources of our politics that shape our lives, they help to combat the danger of the single story. Today we shall reverse the order and use our Hasina to play the role of a great politician. No woman is known in the history of the Bangladesh’s reactions and responses to the foreign power better than Sheikh Hasina.

A few women can lay claim to as many legacies for their countrymen as Hasina. I am just telling the world the truth. And if my truth then becomes political, I can’t do anything about that though I have been thoroughly apolitical in life. We should celebrate great women who have shaped our history and our admirable cultural values. This hero is not only brought true meaning to the words “courage, sacrifice and determination”, but their immense legacy and tremendous fortitude should inspire and inform both women and men of the future. Throughout our glorious history, Bangladesh has prided itself on great, fearless women to the extent that – while the F word (feminism) is widely derided among both men and women on the sub-continent – I think many feminist thinkers worldwide draw their inspiration from leadership roles played by Bangladesh’s women past and present.


As writer Belal Bangalee couches it: “Bangladesh’s women have been an important and increasingly visible part of modern Bangladesh’s political life. We participated in anticolonial struggles as trade unionists, political leaders, wives and mothers, often in the more traditional ways that women have entered politics. But we have also made fundamental changes to the body politic of Bangladesh in very significant ways. Therefore, as we bring up a generation of future leaders, we have a responsibility to narrate her-story in much the same way as the history of the great political leaders like Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Tajuddin Ahmad, Syed Nazrul Islam, M. Mansur Ali, AHM Kamruzzaman, Maulana Bhasani, Prof Muzaffar Ahmed, Moni Singh and so many others is told. In the present times of Bangladesh’s politics, Sheikh Hasina steadfastly remains pillars of society, promoting values of peace and justice.” To this day, her words imbue her with indescribable courage like, “If you men of Bangladesh will not go forward, then we will. We women will. We, the women, will. I will call upon my fellow women. We will fight the evil forces until the last of us falls on the battlefields.” Empathy for her people, she has motivated our womenfolk to fight for the protection of their people. Although she rarely receives the same accolade, all those famed women have worked for our country side by side with men in liberating Bangladesh from the Pakistani colonialism and its offshoots in 1971. According to the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, a hero is a person, especially a man, admired by many people for doing something brave or good. A heroine is, to be specific, the female counterpart. Thus, these men and women are Bangladesh’s heroes and heroines. We salute all of them, along with the countless other women who served in the various liberation parties, including ordinary women of all religions who participated in the historic Liberation War of 1971.


Sheikh Hasina is like a rock. If you strike a woman, you strike a rock. She is not a woman but a world. A strong, visionary, spirited woman whose transcendental life, or whose legendary stories, have elevated mankind with their mystique, incomparable ethereal beauty, wisdom, wit, virtue, grace, talent, kindness or exceptional courage. Start your “Extraordinary Heroines” genealogical journey, experience past worlds, stroll through the annals of world history to meet the remarkable ancestors upon whose stalwart shoulders we stand today. She personifies outstanding attributes of her times to help you capture the spirit of the times, and the mood of the moment. We will encounter the influence and persuasiveness of her power through the ages. Be awed by the transcendental qualities of the breathtaking, bold, brave women of the sacred Scriptures, and the powerful women icons of ancient, classical and civilisations. Admire the zealous, valiant, spirited, pioneering, wise women of the Middle Ages who paved the way for the passionate, creative, revolutionary, luminary Renaissance Thinkers.

Revel in the victories of the empowered liberated woman like Hasina of the present century, champion crusaders of liberty, unbridled free spirits who has been campaigning so that we should be able to enjoy our new Millennium free of all gender challenges in an altruistic, unconventional, and boundary breaking 21st Century. Our historical tour will continue by paying homage to immortal portraits of women through the Ages. Please note, to meet the bright new living legends of tomorrow, just catch this patriotic and bold figure of Sheikh Hasina. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and undoubtedly the people of Bangladesh are thunderstruck by this great woman and her people. He has taken great pains to accommodate every need of her people. She has been observed as the wise and compassionate as ruler as she interacts with her people in everyday affairs. Speaking of her values, one may summarise or state the below words:

“How happy I am for my people. Would that I could remain here always, if but as the humblest of your workers, so that I could always hear your words and obey our people! How happy I am when I interrogate them! How happy when they answer me. My whole being is moved with pleasure; my soul is filled; my feet no longer stumble; I thrill with delight. People’s wisdom and goodness are beyond all measure. They are excellence themselves. Under their influence I am placing new values on life. I see light in the darkness; the fire flying the garden reveals itself in newer beauty. I discover added lustre in the pearl; a greater radiance in the morning star, and a softer harmony in the moonlight. Blessed be the people that has brought me here; blessed be them who have permitted their majestic mind to be revealed to me; blessed be the one who has brought me into their house to hear their voice.” She is a gifted communicator – and a well-respected advisory to her political colleagues.

It is like as if the words,”…remember the gentlemen and ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands…. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” She is an inspiration for women all over the country. Her struggles have proved that being a woman doesn’t make you incapable of being a brave and glorious politician to serve her country. She is my hero because she is strong, brave, smart and determined. These heroic qualities have made her want to serve her country. She also has not let social barriers keep her from being the second woman in the premiership of Bangladesh. She is my hero because she is not afraid to do something different, is not afraid of being judged for her choices, and has been making a difference in the world in which she lives. She can help them create change far beyond our own imagination of scale and impact. She is someone I cherish so much.


When you are sitting with her … she makes you feel like your ideas and your experience are interesting and valuable. She emboldens lots of young women who are often at the bottom of the totem poll … to feel confident enough about themselves that they have gone on to be on television or to change governments. If she is ever in a position where she could do something which she would not turn away that she would act. She has made general people feel happy and cheerful. She is a very courageous woman…She is a politician the country has ever produced! She is loyal to her country and knows exactly what it stands for. To me, a hero or a heroine is someone who is respected and does not care what others think. A hero or a heroine is someone who has done things which have made a difference, thinks for themselves, and of course, has a sense of style. The one person who matches every one of these traits is a Bengali of Bangladesh. However, this is not what she has to be remembered for. Sheikh Hasina has to be remembered for being herself. She represents her strong-mindedness and her wise decision-making ability. All these reasons encompass why she is my hero. She has no problem doing what she thought was right, no matter how unpopular the decision was. She is also educated, unlike many other women of her time, so she could make a decision and back it up. She is the very definition of the kind of person I want to be, and for this, she is my hero. Someone once asked me what I regarded as the three most important requirements for happiness. My answer was: “A feeling that you have been honest with yourself and those around you; a feeling that you have done the best you could in your personal life and in your work; and the ability to love others.” She is a remarkable politician in the annuls of present world history. She has used her position in society to do great good for poor people.


She has demonstrated humanitarian efforts in many ways. She has touched many lives and is a hero to many people. She is a role model in public life. She has gone out of her way to help so many people with their problems and needs, even when she had things of her own to deal with. That is why she is a heroine to the world and me. A hero is a word that can take on many meanings, each different with every person. But to me, a hero is someone who has an unbelievable amount of courage and bravery, someone who is not afraid to say what they feel, someone who doesn’t pretend to be something they aren’t, someone who is independent, and does things for the wellbeing of others, but most importantly, my hero must be determined, and dedicated to their goal. Her determination has never died. She is so brave for standing up and fighting for her people’s rights as a woman, especially during a time when women were looked down upon and laughed at for wanting the same rights as men. I am truly inspired by her bravery, courage, and determination. Without a doubt, Sheikh Hasina is my hero in the present world.


Bangladesh’s people are a resilient people. They have suffered through a lot but they are committed to moving ahead to a future of hope and promise. Across Bangladesh and around the world, we must show that freedom can deliver prosperity and peace. Failure to do so will be more costly than we can contemplate and in our country that failure could be catastrophic. Our children are beginning to smile again with faith in the future. I tell you there is one thing that bores down on us very, very hard and that is a sense of urgency. We have got to deliver fast to be able to keep that hope alive and to have that hope build on a solid foundation for PM Sheikh has been working tirelessly. Her leadership is bringing change and hope to the Bangladesh’s community. The desperately needed economic, social and political development of her resource-limited country is underway and the world is watching and hoping, too.


A hero is a person who fights to make a difference in the world, a person who is modest, unselfish, diligent, honest and caring. I thought this person was non-existent, and it would be impossible to have all of these traits in a single being. This is because everyone has ‘another side.’ For example, even Hitler, himself, was loyal to his wife. But, he is most noted for being one of the most evil men to ever live. He had ‘another side,’ an evil one. To me a hero is a person who has ‘other side’ is not apparent, but Sheikh Hasinais a person who I admire most in the present day leadership. She is a person who is very valuable to this society and the world today. She is an exceptional woman, a fighter who has willpower and who has helped the country’s people in many ways. She is a multifaceted woman in every possible sense of the word. Her objectives can best be described in the words of Ms. Farkhonda Hassan, a famed Professor and popular Egyptian television personality and UN Economic Commission for Africa, “The objective now is not to renegotiate our dreams, but to emphasize the accountability of all actors. We are no longer seeking promises, but are demanding action.” Tying it all together is her role as a woman political leader, passionately dedicating all of her various service endeavours to Bangladesh’s causes.


She has been throwing and catching several objects simultaneously in her political pursuits with her political roles and activism and intertwining all her various endeavorus flawlessly. Gender disparities still exist. Such disparities undermine not only women’s capacity to participate in and benefit from development, but also the effectiveness of development as a whole. This is the reason for the PM Hasina’s insistence that illiteracy must be eliminated within a short period of time. She also feels that the general public still doesn’t view women as fully credible within the political spectrum. She has been trying to implement programmes promoting the contributions and capacities of women to help sway the general public away from archaic male-biased ideologies. In everything she does, Hasina is devoted to promoting the advancement of women. She uses her various political pursuits, her political prominence, her Bangladesh’s and international connections, as well as her passionate grass-roots approach — towards supporting female empowerment in public policies, education, science, technology, public service, culture, and within society as a whole.


She is a woman who does not hand out aid. She has been creating innovative new ways for women – and men – to lift themselves out of poverty. What is a hero? Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines a hero as, “A Myth. Legend. A man (or woman) of great strength or courage…” Whom do you think of? Some might think of Superman or Gandalf. Others would say firefighters or policemen – anyone who risks their life to save someone else. My definition of a hero is someone who, even in the face of opposition, perseveres in the job people have laid out for them, continuing to trust in them. One of the people I most admire is Sheikh Hasina. Throughout all her life, she has done things for other people and not for herself. When I hear the word “hero” I instantly think of the three H’s: someone who is honourable, hardworking, and happy. When I think more about this word I picture someone who has accomplished good things for people and tries to do the right thing. Hasina is one person whom I find to be very heroic. She seems proper and serious, even stern at times, but inside her seemed to be a completely different person; a caring lady who is interested in other peoples’ lives.


She did famous things, things worth honouring. Trialing the war criminals……She really is a true hero. When most people think of heroes, they think of strong, muscular people who save lives. These types of people are usually thought of as men. I believe that you don’t have to be physically strong to be a hero, but you must be emotionally strong. You have to have something inside yourself that can pull you through hard times. Hasina is my hero because she is a hard worker who put all of her effort into helping others and most importantly, she has a good political background. Her positive attitude and strength have helped her accomplish great things for others. She has given them her strength by standing against their difficult times, and by doing so, have made them stronger. This is what makes her my hero and Jane Addams is absolutely right when he says, “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” To me it seems that to give happiness is a far nobler goal that to attain it: and that what we exist for is much more a matter of relations to others than a matter of individual progress: much more a matter of helping others than of getting ourselves. Jane Addams personifies this quote with the way she has dedicated her life completely to helping her fellow men and women regardless of race, gender or social standing. Her independence and drive to be involved in the world around her stems from her close relationship with her successful political leader and philanthropist father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.


As a leading reformist, Hasina’s open-minded approach to politics, well-earned intelligence, and complete disregard for what others thought about her makes her an important figure in bridging the gap between social classes and races. To stand up for what one believes in – to save the world. These are the goals that we imagine the ideal hero striving for. This is what we see come up from our subconscious minds when the word “hero” is uttered…but perhaps, just perhaps, a hero is something more. Someone who would sacrifices all of herself or himself for the good of others for a just cause. Someone who isn’t afraid to be right, even if it means being wrong to achieve their ends. Maybe then, this someone is a true hero. To me, this hero is Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. There are few people in life, that when you meet them for the first time, you just know you have been blessed by God. Well, Hasina is one of those people. If you ever get the chance to be graced by her presence, consider yourself lucky. I sure do. She is a great woman whose name will remain an inspiration to the people of Bangladesh, while our history endures.


Three heroic traits that a hero should possess are being a leader, strong, and devoted. Leadership skill because lacking this skill will keep people from knowing what is expected for them to accomplish. Strong will power would allow the hero to get things done. And lastly the hero needs to be devoted to their cause, while having the mindset of not giving up until something is accomplished. She portrays great leadership, a strong will for what’s right, and a devoted mindset; all of which signifies that she deserves the title of a hero. With a strong-will to get something done, she has proven that hard work pays off. She has been showing she is a strong leader by her good deeds. She is a strong, determined woman who has stopped at nothing to achieve her goal. By being able to accomplish her goal, she has become a major icon for the people’s rights. To say ones strong is one thing but to be able to prove it is another, she is able to prove it.

Telling people to accomplish something without a purpose is one thing, but being able to lead a vast amount of people with a purpose to succeed their goal is a whole other story. She has proven that with great leadership skills, she is able to band together many organisations and people to help support her just causes. Every great battle, event, or movement always has an amazing leader that is meant to lead the group to victory. That’s where she comes into play, she is the people’s leader that sets up everything and organises what everyone is supposed to do to be a part of her on-going development efforts in the country. Without a good leader how will the people know what to do, the whole thing might as well come crumbling down and everyone just give up. But “NO” that is not what the people want. They want a fierce leader that will stand up for what they believe; just like how she has stood up for the people’s welfare. Leaders also need to be able to stand up for them. She believes everyone deserves the right to speak up in anything from politics to society in general.


Anyone who knows Sheikh Hasina will tell you to beware – she just might change your life. She is known as a hero because she always put her country before herself. She loves to help her country out when its people in desperate need of her. She is a very strong hero also because she didn’t become depressed when many close people to her passed away. She is an inspiration to many people in Bangladesh. “My message is that your light is as bright as mine. It’s like sunlight. There’s no difference. You just need to have it lit,” she says. “It’s not about just me. It’s about a lot of people, working together.” She is not a bantam woman, above five feet tall, but she has a larger presence, seeming to fill a room with her positive energy. When talking about her work, she jokes that “This old girl did something good.” But it’s hard to think of her as old. She still scurries up precarious ladders to paint, still enthuses about her development works, her hands waving in the air as she speaks. “I owe everything to my people” she says like her glorious father Bangabandhu. It is a new kind of empowerment. People’s minds are opened to new possibilities and affirmation. “When I see people’s lives transformed for the better, it gives me deep fulfillment,” she says. She further adds, “It makes my life meaningful.”

She encourages all individuals to maintain self-discipline, respecting others right to maintain global peace and harmony. There is so much violence in the name of religion everywhere in the world and she requests to world leaders, religious leaders, and all citizens to take appropriate action to stop incidents of violence. She requests that the youth of the world, actively engage in their studies and community service to bring positive change to their own lives as well as others. Thank you, venerable Apa, for being who you are and for the change you are making in the country. She believes that education is very important to everyone. It is our third eye, the eye of wisdom that will take one very far in life. Personally, quality education is important to girls and women in Bangladesh; because only with quality education will they understand their roles, rights, and responsibilities as good citizens, daughters and wives. Without it, they will not be able to advance in life and will forever live in poverty and be at the mercy of their male family members, be it their fathers, brothers or husbands.


I really admire Hasina because she is so determined to overcome the view that men are dominant over women. She is not afraid to step out of a society-made box and voice her opinion. She has stood up for what she believes in. She has been fighting for what she feels is the right thing, and she did not give up if there were obstacles in her way. Some would often harass her at her speeches, but that did not make her quit. She really is an astonishing lady. What she really doing has been mining for gold and the gold is what is in the women: They are enabling them to discover their own value. And that is immeasurable. She says she has so much more to achieve. “I want to make my dreams come true before I leave this world,” she says. She possesses many attributes that help shape her into a heroic figure. She holds a courageous and selfless view on life that has helped many women today, which makes her a hero. She triumphantly marches through life’s many challenges; the multiple threats, the assassination attempts… Selflessness means to worry and care about others more than you, which is exactly what she is now. She strives to set equal rights for both genders, even if she has to face the toughest situations. Hasina states, “In my life, I have tried to respect the rights of others, to appreciate and value the capabilities of women and men, and to encourage these capabilities in other women and men. She always respects rights of others and appreciates their values and capabilities. She encourages others and aids them more than she aids herself. She is altruistic in various types of ways, one of them being that she fights for who and what she believes in, even if it hurts her in the end. She obtains many heroic traits, but being selfless is one of her strongest. She treats others and puts their problems in front of hers. This trait helps frame her into the hero she is today.

Sheikh Hasina is a hero because she courageously has stood up for what she believes in, even if powerful forces are against her. She is a hero because she admits the challenges and faces reality, which takes courage from anyone. She is a true hero because she carries herself with courage, through any situation she is put in. She is a woman full of courage and selflessness, that helps shape her into the heroic character she is today. Women have been taught that, for them, the earth is flat, and that if they venture out, they will fall off the edge. Some of them have ventured out nevertheless, and so far they have not fallen off. It is her faith that she will not. She has ventured out. Instead of falling off the edge, she has found a new opportunity for her people. She is still making a change. If there are no obstacles that stand in her way she could have made an even bigger historical influence.


“When people are educated, when they have the information they need, when they have human rights and they know their rights…when they are working together…I think we will see a huge change in the world”, she says in confidence. She means “breakthrough” in one language–like the hatching of an egg–and peck by peck is how Hasina seems to work so well. She realises that connectedness matters for social change as well. She sees that large changes rarely widen from isolation. It is fine for a single village to make a small change, but it takes many villages acting together to make a big change. And for people in Bangladesh, that is a huge, huge change in the world. She is a hero because she has spent almost her whole life improving the lives of others. When she was younger, a man said, “We, whose hearts have been touched by grace, we must not eat our bread alone.” and that changed her view on life. She also wanted to fight for the women who didn’t know how to voice their concerns, had too many responsibilities, and who were overworked. She believes that “no nation could ever rise higher than its women, and that women, freed, organised, and made efficient could abolish the harms of drug addictions, child labour, slum conditions, hunger, and “lead the nation to a better life.”


She is recognised in her field for accomplishing her goals and changing the lives of Bangladesh’s people. She should be remembered because she has followed her dreams, achieved her goals, and changed the lives of her people. She has taught many others to follow their dreams, accomplish their goals, and never give up. She is an amazing person and achieved her dreams. Reuters has reported, “Women have proven to be a powerful force in the fight against global hunger and poverty, especially in agriculture. Women farmers face a variety of obstacles, including a lack of access to information technology, agricultural training, financial services, and support networks like co-operatives or trade unions. Without these services, women cannot develop resilience to political, economic, social, or environmental upheaval, and they remain dependent on their male family members. The good news is that women worldwide are developing and utilising agricultural innovations to sustainably nourish their families and communities. There are many innovations that are helping women get access to credit, improve their incomes, feed their families, introduce sustainable crops to markets, and reduce rural poverty.” In today’s world, this is quite amazing. No one does anything for free. She is indeed a very special woman who cares for others dearly. Wise far beyond her years, she has since devoted herself passionately to a number of important humanitarian and social causes near to her heart, as well as to her life as a wife and mother of two.


She believes that the future welfare of Bangladesh is in great part also dependent on the economic development and success of its citizens, and likewise, they are also working to improve economic conditions for the less fortunate. Her works have not gone unnoticed by the world either. In fact, she has received a number of awards and commendations for her works. She merges the roles of wife, mother, philanthropist, activist, and of course, she, seamlessly, with all facets of her life given equal dedication. As a crusader for the rights of women and children, an advocate of advancements in education, technology and healthcare, a promoter of entrepreneurship and microfinance, and a forerunner in the battle to eradicate poverty and to bridge educational and other divides, it is clear why so many consider Sheikh Hasina to be a role model, not only for people in the South Asian world, but for people everywhere. She is incredibly passionate about her work, which is what I think inspires many people to get involved and support her work. And it’s clear the people who go through her work love her, too – they flock to her like a den mother! She is a great woman, who will for be remembered for helping others. When someone thinks of a hero they usually think of someone that wears a mask, a cape or has superpowers, but I think a hero is someone who pushes you to be the best you can be, or to do what you want to do without caring about who you are, what you do, or how old you are. My hero is Sheikh Hasina.


I admire her. She shows us that we just need the determination and desire of living life to the fullest to take the first step and start a new life. There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded. My hero definitely falls under the first group; she is someone who has dedicated her life to making the Bangladesh world a better place one step at a time. She was born into a family who had a passion for making the world a better place. As she says us these stories her face would light up with a passion, a passion to make a difference and to stop all the wrong in the world. It is the fact that she would never think herself higher than anyone, even though she has every right to. Her heart is always set on her goal, and she never lets her heart sway in the direction of fame and fortune. She has made such an impact on our lives and I am happy to say that I understand her.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” This quote from Edward Everett Hale, I hope, really inspires Hasina! Alone she cannot change the world. But just because she can’t change the whole world doesn’t mean that she can’t make a difference in her own way, no matter how small! She has become my role model! I am ever grateful to her for the difference she has made in our lives and the way she has inspired us and continues to inspire us every day. She has inspired people to make a difference in whatever way they can. To be the change she wants, to be kind to everyone, and to always be ready with a hug, but most of all she has taught us to light up every day with a smile! One asked her if she could say one thing to the whole world what would it be and she responded with this quotes: “Your silence cannot protect you; my silence did not protect me.” She never backed down from a challenge. I admire her perseverance; she always has kept her head up during the hardest times. I look up to her because she has the strength to never give up hope.


Her intellectual toughness can be summed up by saying, “She would stand up for herself and not be intimidated by anyone.” She can be described her as a “warm, extraordinarily kind and caring person.” A senior citizen of the country has remarked, “She has an amazing story, but she’s also just an amazing person.” He also added that she has the ability to get to know all of the people around her. She really has gone out of her way to get to know everyone and is well loved by everyone,” which truly shows the kind of person Sheikh Hasina is. Her humility is another great trademark of hers. She mentions, “I stand on the shoulders of countless people, yet there is one extraordinary person who is my life aspiration – that persons are my parents.” She has demonstrated that as long as you put your mind to something, you can do it! She is a perfect role model and a prime example that anything is possible. She is a great representative of Bangladesh’s people and for that we consider her our hero!


Heroes are people who often go against what is expected of them. They fight for what is right, even if they are persecuted and silenced. It takes great inner strength to become someone in a world where you are oppressed and looked down upon by those who hate you or envy you. To rise above this is to go beyond what is expected of you. To overcome the obstacles that are put in your way to victory is to triumph. That is what a hero is. PM Hasina is one of them. She has made a deep impact in the world, by being a female politician in a world where most women live a life of servitude and silence. She has broken this silence that was expected of her and made a yell that rocked a nation. When she was told to be quiet, she would not back down. She has defended her right to knowledge and she has made sure that her ideas are made known to everyone. That is what a hero is all about.

Even though she was threatened, she managed to break the silence that women had been forced to keep. She fought to protect her rights and when silenced, she fought back, with even greater strength than before. In a world that was entirely against her, she made her voice known and through her actions, she dealt a powerful blow to a male dominated world. It is through her that women know that they too can be heard. She is a great person that hopefully everyone will remember. She is the woman that is engaged in daily activities that improve millions of people’s lives. She says, “We can ignite a lot more change together than we can apart.” She goes on to say: “I believe that by engaging people to talk about connectedness in their own lives and in the world, the ripple effect of these conversations will have far reaching impact for good that will create lasting change.”


As a woman Sheikh Hasina, as a living hero is so amazing because she has clarity and humour and a directness that has represented people and equality in the best terms. She delivers what she says with laughter but it is very clear. She is courage. She is a hero. I am so glad we have her in this world right now. I have a list of heroes I am always adding to. Men heroes, women heroes, couples, comedians, artists! I love looking at them and thinking about what I admire about them. If you have the attention of the world for 5 minutes what would you do or say? I think everyone has their own hero. Some people adore Kartini for her struggle in education, some might adore Cut NyakDien for her braveness, or perhaps some might adore Martha Tillaar for her creative innovative talent in beauty world. However, I choose PM Sheikh Hasina as my hero.


Her words show not only about love but also the portrayal of social and friendship. Therefore, I adore Sheikh Hasina for several reasons. I adore her because she is a woman who has inspired so many people through her beautiful and everlasting hard works for her people. She is not only a politician, but also a composer of politics. She is inspired to create songs of loving people every day. She has made lots of improvement of the lives of our people with her deepest empathy and sympathy. Those works have talked about people who are always forgotten and cornered by their environment. She has picked up some inspiring themes in her politics. Those themes are translated into many different accomplishments. She has started from the sadness point of human’s life, for example: the brutal death of her parents or beloved people and the other life stories.

She is a hero because she strives for the weak people. She always struggles for good causes as she has struggled with her own challenges in life. She always defends those on the weaker side without taking personal advantage. She has strived to help people and their difficult situation. I think she has been a great Banladesh’s woman who portrays inspiration, independent, and women’s struggle. So I think she deserves to be everybody’s hero. We can learn a lot from her. Furthermore, there should be more women like her, to do and to continue what she has done. I think that it is a great advantage when Bangladesh’s women want to take a look on what she has done for us. So in the future there will be more women who want to carry out lots of ideas, inspirations and braveness. She is a positive female role model. She considers her life perfect. She has a loving family, supportive friends, and a wonderful place to live. She has a view of the ocean when she wakes up in the morning. To me, she is a hero because she is very brave and kept a positive attitude through her whole experience. She is a good role model because she is able to make the best of her time in the country and she is now very involved in her hard work to improve the lot of her people. She is able to get over this obstacle in life positively, and that is why, she is strong, inspiring female figure and can be a hero to many.


She knows despite all the work, sleepless nights, and heartbreak, what she has been doing is, in a small way, saving the people of Bangladesh at a time. “It was never easy to give so much to so many children while giving my own family the love they deserve,” she says. “But I have never considered quitting. I have found the strength in my heart to keep going because I know I am giving these children something many of them had never had: unconditional love. I know most would not remember me, but I also know many would carry the imprint of that love with them. It is like giving a tiny piece of me to each child to carry into their lives. Giving to them gives me the strength to keep going.” She has demonstrated that a belief in oneself gives us the strength to accomplish a great deal. She is a pioneer in many things we think about today. In truth, she is a woman who lives a century before her time. The lessons she has taught — to question, to be honest, to believe in your power, to value your mind and body, to fight for what is right — are all lessons for today. “That’s the course. If you’re not on the blue line, you’re not doing the course. People run away from their difficulties. This is my life,” she says. “I have a right to be here and face whatever comes my way. If I give up once, then I will have lost something very special.”


That outpouring of love and support is enough for Sheikh Hasina, but it’s not enough for others who admire her. In the process of her political odyssey, she has become a spokeswoman and hero, though is not what she has intended. Sheikh Hasina personifies the unstoppable spirit. She has written her noble politics, the winning spirit; life lessons learned in last place and speak to people, sharing her story of achievement in the face of obstacles. But for Hasina, the true reward is how her efforts have inspired so many others. “Over the years I have become a symbol of endurance for people,” she says. “I get supports all year long. I carry them with me when I run. What I do is a metaphor for life, just like the marathon itself. It means you can get somewhere by putting one foot after another.” She is living proof that it’s not where you start that counts. It is where you finish.


Whether they led a country, history’s best leaders understood the importance of providing the motivation and direction to achieve larger goals. Poor leaders lose the faith and trust of the people they lead, while great leaders seem to lead without effort. The character, actions and thoughts of a leader, good or bad, permeate an organisation. Your goal should be to demonstrate the best qualities of a leader while encouraging the same from those who follow you. A political leader, or a politician, can be anyone who has taken up the responsibility of governing a tribe, city, state, region or even an entire nation. History has given us a plethora of political leaders, both good and bad, who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of their countries and the people living in the country. Political leaders are not just people who govern nations during peace times but also during times of crisis. They are people who are responsible for making and implementing strategies and policies meant to better serve the interests of the country they govern. These leaders are chosen through various processes, some examples of which would be through elections, in a democratic nation, and through lineage or birthright, in case of a monarchy, or even dictatorships wherein one individual declares herself/ himself the head of state. A look at the political leader’s hall of fame would reveal names like Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill…


Sheikh Hasina is one of the most famous names of Bangladesh’s political history, who is remembered by the masses of today. This great leader has risen to the ranks of becoming the prime minister of her country and has been serving in this position for a period of fourteen years. Her life is an excellent example of leadership which inspires people throughout the world. It is time for her to drag Bangladesh and its people and leaders into a new nation that reinvents itself, rediscovers its lost moral values, and gingered into the new global order. The future beckons us to fight for the restoration of the dreams of our forefathers, who fought for the emancipation of the state. We must, however, not forget in our haste for change, that overhauling status quo is often fraught with obstacles. Whatever happens, the first step is the search for, and enthronement of a leadership that can craft and implement a vision to replace the old and obsolete ideas that has seen us navigating the tortuous journey out of underdevelopment, only to relapse into poverty and despair. The incursion of corruption into every facet of our nation has destroyed the very foundation of our society, drained the life out of the generality of the people, undermined all attempts at genuine reform and negated every positive action.


Propelled by mediocre leadership and selfish antecedents, the exploitation of our society has ensured that we cannot even make informed decisions that are of national benefit, even though this is doing extreme damage to our collective national image and psyche. Instead, all the assistance that have accrued to us, are a balance of trade deficit, bigger debt profiles and the depletion of all our natural assets by dubious ‘friends’, who line the pockets of our leaders and then force us to buy the refined end-products of our very own resources, at higher prices. They even dictate the terms of our contracts with them and we appear absolutely helpless, but in case of PM Hasina’s leadership, it has no place.


The characteristics of our national ethics, which have seen the enthronement of mediocrity and the reign of impunity as well as the installation of graft, as a ‘god’, have continued to further tighten the noose, as we have set ashore into the realm of a state of development under the able and dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina. Our socio-political boil, encapsulated in the unnecessary constitutional crisis on our hands, right in the midst of the killing field of a more serious militant epidemic, among others, needs urgent lancing. Just as the economic strangulation by foreign prowlers, has shown how the state of our current governance and national life, is a dung-heap whose stench lures the most amoral of political creatures. After years of witnessing the faces of the anti-liberation forces gradually robbed of our smiles, devoid of their voices and their willpower; deprived of the zeal and determination that made us a resilient lot in the past, I simply believe that the hour and the moment for us to take a strong look at ourselves and look at alternate route for our salvation has come under her leadership.

Amid the sullenness of the generality of the people, it has become imperative and essential for all stakeholders to take stock of our pathetic past, identify the errors of our ways so far and endeavour to chart a new workable formula that will take cognisance of our available natural and human resources, for socio-political and economic development. Without a shadow of doubt, several detrimental landmarks that have and are blotting our existence, indicate that the opportunity for a political revival has come and we need to seize it with both hands. A cursory look at the lot of the generality of the people shows that they have been fed the wrong diet – hopelessness and despair, for too long. Agenda for change and prosperity – yet the hunger in our land has not been satiated, despite platitudes about agricultural revolution and such mumbo-jumbos. And still, despite the mind-boggling revenue that swells their own coffers, there is nothing natural about the son of the soil in our land, whose crude state of existence in an unnatural environment, is contrary to the platitude of poverty eradication.


Our youths and those who cannot join the cult of those in power are finding it difficult to rise up and take the mantle of leadership, despite being called the leaders of a tomorrow that we are already killing today. It is getting to the stage where a once proud people, hardly know what exactly is true democracy and good governance or political decorum. With lack of transparency and increasing corruption in practically every facet of our existence, we have been forced by man-made problems to accept depravity as a way of life .Greedy, self-seeking men, who promised to enhance the status of the desperately hungry, as long as their own status is substantially enhanced, ruled the roost, committing all sorts of dastardly acts in a flurry of activities that emits heat without fire, motion without movement. While the masses whisper hope, in the very hope that they deserve some succour, they are deafened by the sirens of evil spirits-who-can-do-no-wrong and political leaders who haven’t delivered the promises they made. It is time for us to be serious and let go of these charlatans and never-do-well bunch of politicians. In a nation once full to bursting with gifted, imaginative, creative, skillful, astonishingly brilliant political class, we have ended up with not a single discernible legacy of our proud and awesome heritage. Pale shadows of what the old Athens of Africa used to churn out, is all that we have.


The wholesale failure of governance to improve the lot of the majority of Bangladesh’s people exposes the damage to our political leadership, which is so poisoned by the image of corruption, that the benchmark symbols and tokens of democracy that they deliver to the people undermine the very credibility of those in government. Similarly, their haphazard and distorted delivery, aim a torpedo at whatever integrity they claim to possess. Unfortunately for us, our political and economic set up have always given the advantage and opportunities to individuals within a cabal, who wield enormous power and then rotate it among themselves, without any checks and balances. Mortals in suits made from the same cloth of sorrow. It is a great shame that the dearth of leaders of tomorrow and today is one reason why those who come into reckoning, are either those who don’t know what goes on in the real world of our existence, or those whose only hope of wrestling power is to be part and parcel of the same rot that we are trying to reform. We, therefore, need to establish and entrench the right culture and ethos in our society, and redefine our attitude and perception as well as the mind-set of the electorate and those who seek or attain power. History is inviting and challenging us to re-examine ourselves; to discover our true individuality and awesome natural powers; and to wear the armour of enlightenment and get into battle for freedom… under the great leadership of Sheikh Hasina.

We have to silence the smoking gun of man’s inhumanity to man; of the yoke of man-made oppression, repression, discrimination, subjugation, humiliation, and near annihilation. What Bangladesh needs at this time in its existence, is a new and fresh leadership like Hasina. But it is also high time we gave the chance to bright, young and intellectually, change-inclined personalities, who would be willing to see divergent views as part and parcel of our democracy. We need minds that will see the need for strife towards genuine societal transformation as a huge responsibility and enormous challenge. Minds, whose leadership will galvanise each and every one of us to play a part in salvaging the nation from political and socio-economic decay. I am thinking of minds that will bring form and sequence to our jumbled jungle and show strong leadership and good governance by example; minds that will not let extraneous issues derail the needed climb, out of our bottomless pit. Right now, the country cries out for those whose heart bleed for its current state, to arise and answer the battle call for true change and a clean sweep of its cupboard that is full of characters from the realm of debauchery. This is our last hope, our last card to survival and progress as a nation. We are in the last chance saloon. If you believe, do not give up. Every little contribution to social awareness makes a world of difference. It is the heavy responsibility for Sheikh Hasina to build up such leadership during her precious time.

2018 is nearer than we think. Relics of the present rotten system are already strategizing. Luckily for us, the current groundswell of frustration provides a refreshing reassurance that the totality of our minds has not become ensnared in a lethargic spell that restrains us from rational judgment, in the search for the Holy Grail of democratic sanity. That is part of the change we are talking about. It is not a change from imperfection to perfection. It is a change from hopelessness and cluelessness to some hope and to some expectations. This is our wish! PM Hasina is our true dream in this quest.


Vandalism was rampant all over the country from 2013, 2014 and early 2015…….Following the terrible events that took place in Bangladesh, and that are foreshadowing a bloodier and more devastative tragedy, we ask our readers to put into practice the request of Sheikh Hasina: Pray to avoid devastation. Because of her tireless work for her people to improve their lot, many international observers have also hailed her as the modern day Joan of Arc. She may be called the “Idol of the Masses.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for taking up integrated and multidimensional steps to ensure better water management of common rivers and to conserve environment of river basins. She has made the call in a message marking the “Dhaka Water Conference 2017.” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said human resources of the country is the best asset, if we can build them up with proper education and training. She added, “Many people consider our human resources as a burden. But there is nothing to be worried about increasing population as it would be our best asset, if we can build them up through proper education and training” while she was inaugurating an international conference on ‘Skill for the Future World of Work’ and TVET for Global Competitiveness’ at Osmani Memorial auditorium in the capital.

The District Commissioners (DCs), the most powerful field level administrators in the country, have received loads of directives from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina regarding what’s need to be done and what they can do to get Bangladesh moving towards its cherished goals of development and rid the country from menaces like corruption, militancy and drugs. She has disclosed while inaugurating the Dhaka Water Summit-2017, “All canals in Dhaka would be re-excavated for preserving surface water and ensuring better water management.” Her goal is to achieve safe water for all by 2030. In a conference of the Diploma Engineers, PM stressed, “No compromise on quality of work as they are the main force of the country’s sustained development, no matter… this is my request to you.” The country has made a record in human development, made significant economic progress; it is one of fastest growing economies globally. It is self-reliant in agriculture due to advancement made in areas of agriculture, its track record of research on … mitigating climate change risk is impressive.


Bangladesh is truly a land of potentials. Our development narrative speaks for itself. We have proved the doomsayers wrong — and this is through our resilience, our determination, and our innovative and indomitable spirit. Bangladesh is now showcased as a development role model. We saw how Japan was rebuilt within a short span of time after World War II to emerge as an economic superpower. Our aspirations and determination to emerge as an economic powerhouse are no less. In our development journey, we would like to join hands with the rest of the region and world to transform the lives of our people for a better world; for a better planet; and a peaceful and prosperous world order. Sheikh Hasina’s demons are within: graft, terrorism and corruption. Like Gandhi, she has also paid her pound of flesh in serving her country. Throughout her premierships, she has also proven a remarkably effective and un-dogmatic leader. In fact, she has been working indefatigably to come out of those something immaterial that stands in the way and must be circumvented or surmounted.

The then Jatiya Sangsad Chief Whip Abul Hasnat Abdullah signing the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord on behalf of the Bangladesh government while Jotindra Bodhipriyo Larma (Santu Larma) on behalf of PCJSS on December 2, 1997 as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina looks on. FILE PHOTO

In the UN, she categorically has said, “We do not want war. We want peace. We want people’s wellbeing – not destruction of humanity. We want sustainable development. Let this be our collective goal.” “We are currently sheltering over 800,000 forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar. The ongoing atrocities and human rights violations in the Rakhine State of Myanmar once again aggravated the situation at the Bangladesh-Myanmar Border,” the prime minister said. She has further made a clarion call to the UN General Assembly, “These people must be able to return to their homeland in safety, security and dignity,” Hasina told “I have come here just after seeing the hungry, distressed and hopeless Rohingyas from Myanmar who took shelter in Cox’s Bazar. This forcibly displaced people of Myanmar are fleeing an ‘ethnic cleansing’ in their own country where they have been living for centuries. Hasina proposes the following actions on Rohingya crisis:

Myanmar must unconditionally stop the violence and the practice of ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine State immediately and forever.
UN Secretery General should immediately send a fact-finding Mission to Myanmar.
All civilians irrespective of religion and ethnicity must be protected in Myanmar. For that “safe zones” could be created inside Myanmar under UN supervision.
Ensure sustainable return of all forcibly displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh to their homes in Myanmar.

The recommendations of Kofi Annan Commission Report must be immediately implemented unconditionally and in its entirety.
Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the UN General Assembly and proposed creating UN-supervised safe zones inside Myanmar to protect Rohingya Muslims who are fleeing a military crackdown to seek refuge in her country. These people must be able to return to their homeland in safety, security and dignity. The UN says more than 420,000 Rohingya have fled for safety to Bangladesh in the face of an army campaign in northern Rakhine state of Myanmar.


The world’s renowned thinkers and educators have proposed the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the unique example of humanity and peace in the Rohingya issue. It is known that Sheikh Hasina’s name has appeared in the short list of the Nobel Peace Prize for the year 2017. When Sheikh Hasina unanimously accepted the United Nations’ philosophy of ‘people’s empowerment’ philosophy of world peace, her name is being considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. Besides that, Sheikh Hasina was awarded the Indira Gandhi Padak, which was recognized as Asia’s Nobel in 2009. She has also been awarded numerous national and international awards Her ‘people’s empowerment’ has been praised all over the world for establishing world peace. As we see Hasina’s name is now to the list of 10 people the Nobel Peace Prize for the year 2017, people of Bangladesh now hope Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is to be glorified with the Nobel Peace Prize for her outstanding contribution to peace both at home and abroad. Salute to Bangladesh’s hero. She is not a woman but a world. She is a symbol of confidence. She is a woman who acts on her words. Let woman like her lead her beloved country, Bangladesh.


Joy Bangla. Joy Bangabandhu. Joy Sheikh Hasina on her 71st Birthday. Long live Sheikh Hasina in good health and in good spirits to serve the nation of Bangladesh.

-The End –


SEPTEMBER 28, 2017





The significance of Bangladesh government’s attitude towards the Rohingya problem is that it has been pragmatic


This year on 28th September Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be 70. I wish her in advance on this occasion and pray for her long and successful life. Her political life is colourful and as Prime Minister her achievement is tremendous. My prayer is that she reaches the goal of fulfilling her father’s dream of a golden Bengal free from hunger and poverty, rich in economy and built on a non-communal foundation. Her life is not an easy one.

There were many attempts on her life, and conspiracy after conspiracy were hatched to topple her down from power. So far she has survived all and my prayer is that to sustain our political stability and economic growth she continues to have people’s support and cooperation for a long time to come. Her life is dedicated to the welfare of her countrymen and humanity. Those who have given her the title ‘Mother of Humanity’ are justified because she has proved this with her lifelong activity. In the recent Rohingya problem she has earned worldwide praise for handling the crisis with courage and sympathy. During her current visit to America she met President Donald Trump with other world leaders. She was asked by the journalists whether she approached the American President to help Bangladesh tackle the Rohingyan refugees.

The number of refugees is 7 to 8 lakhs and they are still coming having been persecuted by the Myanmar army and there are wholesale massacre of the Rohingyan Muslim populace. Sheikh Hasina herself said that this torture and killings are almost similar to the Pakistani genocide in Bangladesh in 1971. Though Bangladesh economy is flourishing now but this extra pressure of huge number of refugees is an unbearable pressure on this economy. Still Sheikh Hasina has repeatedly said that if we can provide food and shelter for 16 crore of our people we would be able to provide the same for the 7 to 8 lakhs refugees also. With this indomitable courage she replied to the journalists’ query that she knows the policy of President Trump on immigrants and refugees. So why would she ask him to help Bangladesh?

With the same courage she confronted the problem of Padma Bridge Project when World Bank withdrew their monetary support from the project on trifling excuses. Hasina said that we will build the bridge with our own resources. Nobody believed her. Even her Finance Minister said that we would not be able to build the bridge without the help of the World Bank. But the Prime Minister’s determination has proved it now that it is possible to materialize the dream of Padma Bridge with the government and people’s collaboration. Of course foreign help also came afterwards.
It is hoped that Hasina government will be able to confront this refugee problem also though it is a problem of huge magnitude.

The significance of Bangladesh government’s attitude towards the Rohingya problem is pragmatic. Though this refugee problem is an ethnic cleansing problem of Myanmar, which is very old and the burden of this problem is very acute on the shoulder of Bangladesh, still Bangladesh did not lose its patience and handled this problem with courage and sympathy. Sheikh Hasina appealed to the military authority of Myanmar and especially Aung San Suu Kyi that Rangoon government should immediately stop this persecution, take back their citizens, arrange their rehabilitation and recognise their citizenship. Aung San Suu Kyi, after long silence spoke in her parliament. She responded to the appeal of Sheikh Hasina without naming her saying that she will take back the citizens though she tried to minimize her soldiers’ barbarity.

Still there is a problem that how Myanmar will identify their Rohingyan citizens. Myanmar army burnt all their houses along with their other belongings. They have not provided the Rohingyans with a passport for a long time. Now if they deny their citizenship and do not agree to accept them how will the problem be solved? In this case a third party, especially UNO’s mediation would be necessary. Under United Nation’s supervision Bangladesh and Myanmar could sit together and can solve this problem peacefully and diplomatically. There is no military solution to this issue. Foreign intervention, especially western intervention in the name of mediation or peace effort will escalate the crisis and may turn it into a killing field like the Middle-east. Sheikh Hasina very wisely welcomed the help and assistance from other countries but did not seek any direct western interference. Perhaps her approach towards American help has proved her awareness of the consequence of that help.

Long ago when Begum Khaleda Zia became the-then Prime Minister of Bangladesh for the first time that very night the coastal districts were devastated by cyclone and vast areas of the country were flooded. The American Marine at that time was stationed in the Bay of Bengal, very near the Bangladesh border. They entered into Bangladesh in the name of quick relief work without taking any formal approval from the-then Khaleda Zia government. Just after her oath taking ceremony the country was devastated with the storm.

That is why people called her ‘Tufaani Begum’ for some time. But the American Marines did not care to obtain any permission from her government to enter into Bangladesh territory. They did quick relief work ignoring our army’s role and was accused by some of the media of carrying out some activities which in effect violated the sovereignty of a country but the government had to oblige to these activities. Even government had to accept a condition from America that if any of their soldiers committed any crime in the Bangladeshi soil they would not be tried in any Bangladesh court by Bangladeshi judges.

When American forces go to any country in the name of humanitarian help they gradually establish their military base there which is in conflict with the sovereignty of that country. Now South Korea is in a fear of nuclear attack for the presence of American military base in their Guam island. Anglo-American mediation did not solve Kashmir problem between India and Pakistan for the last 60 years but escalated it. In the present Rohingya problem and in the face of huge refugee problem all the big powers including America are almost inactive. They are mute spectators with only verbal protests against the perpetrators of this barbarity. Even big countries like India and China are not showing active interest to save the humanity in Myanmar. Bangladesh is almost alone in this human disaster. By bilateral discussion Bangladesh can pressurize Myanmar to solve this problem peacefully. In that case Dhaka needs strong pressure from United Nations and other peace loving countries on Myanmar to agree to stop this barbarity and help to save world peace.

Sheikh Hasina is strongly pursuing that goal. The peace and prosperity of the whole South-east Asian region are depending on her success. Sheikh Hasina is a lone warrior, she was born in crisis in 1947 when the subcontinent was surviving a terrible communal violence and division of the country with crores of refugees fleeing from their home countries. Again she was brought up in political turmoil through a war of liberation and became the Prime Minister of the country through crisis and since then she has been surviving crisis after crisis. We hope that she will survive this Rohingya crisis also. History may one day record her name as a survivor and an undaunted warrior.


SEPTEMBER 24, 2017




Tribune Desk

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s becoming 10th among the Fortune magazine’s latest list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders is one of a dozen other awards and recognitions she has received in the last couple of years.

The US-based magazine says Hasina has deftly navigated the competing demands of Islamic tradition and women’s rights.

In December last year, Hasina was named one of the world’s top 100 leading thinkers listed by Foreign Policy, a Washington-based magazine. She secured the place in “Decision Makers” category for her outstanding contribution to addressing climate change.

On September 27 last year, Hasina received the UN’s “Champions of the Earth” in recognition of Bangladesh’s far-reaching initiatives to combat the adverse impacts of climate change. United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner handed her the award at a gala reception.

She received the “ICT Sustainable Development Award” from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) at the UN Headquarters on September 26 last year. She was recognised for her contributions to promoting the use of ICTs for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Hasina was ranked at 59th among the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2015” by US-based magazine Forbes on May 26 last year. She secured 47th position in 2014.

Forbes selected 100 of the most influential women from eight categories or power bases: billionaires, businesses, celebrities, finance, media, philanthropy and intergovernmental organisations, politics and technology.

On November 21, 2014, the premier was honoured with “South South Cooperation Visionary Award” of the UN for her contribution in expanding IT, ensuring healthcare to grassroots level, improvement of society’s distress people through safety net programme and success in poverty alleviation.

Hasina, serving as the president of the Awami League since 1981, received the “Tree of Peace” memento from Unesco in recognition of her outstanding contribution to promotion of girls’ and women’s education, on September 8, 2014.

On June 13, 2013, on behalf of the government of Bangladesh, the premier was invited by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation for halving the incidence of hunger well ahead before target year 2015.

On June 8 the same year, Hasina received Rotary Peace Prize at the Platinum Jubilee of Rotary International District 3280. It was a recognition of her endeavour to promote peace among communities and across the globe.


MARCH 10, 2016




– A K AZAD –

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the worthy daughter of the greatest Bangalee of all time Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, has inaugurated a brilliant chapter in Bangladesh`s development history. She has uplifted the country’s image and made a significant contribution to the national economy and politics.

With her sincere and relentless efforts, the country is enjoying a balanced relationship with some of the key players of the world politics. She has been able to create a positive acceptance throughout the world, earning prestigious global awards as marks of recognition to the country’s gradual development in all key fields.


Generated by IJG JPEG Library



bruneis-sultan-hassanal-bolkiah-c-offers-bangladeshs-prime-minister-sheikh-hasina-lDespite conspiracies against her and her government, Sheikh Hasina has become not only a beacon of Bengali nation, but also an icon of South Asian politics, by her bold and visionary leadership.

By the way of her outstanding leadership, she has been able to splash her importance in South Asian region. Amid spate of horrific terror attacks across the country, she could encourage foreign friends to invest here, making the way to boost country`s development.

Though several world leaders criticised the Sheikh Hasina led Awami League (AL) government for the January 5, 2014 national election. After the elections Sheikh Hasina also made a successful visit to United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) as well. It has been just three years, the world leaders are now inspired by her diplomatic strategy. Responding to her life-awakening call, now foreign investors are ready to invest billions of dollars in Bangladesh.


sheikh-hasina-with-world-leadersSheikh Hasina, maintaining strong ties with Russia and India, started to build ties with China. Balancing China, India, and Russia is no easy task, but it is indeed Sheikh Hasina’s diplomatic strategy. Hasina`s charm leadership and strategic plans have put Bangladesh on centre-stage of international and regional politics.

During the liberation war in 1971, China along with the United States (US) took an “anti” stand in the name of what they called the “ping-pong diplomacy.” Governments came and went, with the US recognising Bangladesh reluctantly and China vetoing our entry into the United Nations.

China only recognised Bangladesh after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the man they held responsible for breaking up Pakistan.

Sheikh-Hasina-shakes-hands-with-Chinas-President-Xi-JinpingIn an attempt to carve out innovative ways to strengthen the more than three decade old bilateral and diplomatic relations with the emerging Asian giant, Sheikh Hasina undertook a high-profile five-day official visit to China since coming to power for the third time. It was her first foreign visit since taking charge of Bangladesh’s new government, after the landslide victory in the December 2009 elections.

The much anticipated high level talks between Sheikh Hasina and her then Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao yielded a resolution to create a “closer comprehensive partnership of cooperation.” This was a crucial stepping stone in Hasina’s ambition to get a “comprehensive partnership” with Beijing, according to analysts.

Chinese-President-Xi-Jinping-assures-Prime-Minister-Sheikh-Hasina1The landmark talks dealt with a spectrum of issues that were significant for both countries. China gave a positive answer to Hasina’s call for Chinese financial aid and technical support for development projects, collaboration in agriculture, and the power sector. Chinese premier Web Jiabao then assured Hasina of overall backing and support in all areas.

The far-sighted Sheikh Hasina also took her maiden visit to China when she was in opposition. It was then called an “ice-breaking” trip.

chinese-president-jinping-arrives-in-dhakaIt has been 45 years since Bangladesh was born, the two superpowers (China and US) of the world are now busy to maintain a balanced relationship with their Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina. It has been possible only for her effective diplomatic strategy.


Chinese President Xi Jinping recently spent two days in Bangladesh, making the historic visit in three decades by a first Chinese President.

614597444After signing 40 agreements during the visit, Chinese President told media, “We agreed to elevate China-Bangladesh relations from a closer comprehensive partnership of cooperation to a strategic partnership of cooperation and to increase high-level exchanges and strategic communication, so that our bilateral relations continue to move ahead at a higher level.”

On October 14 after bilateral talks, Bangladesh and China signed 40 agreements, including loan and investment deals in the infrastructure sector worth over $20 billion, as they upgraded their ties to a strategic partnership.

Xi and Hasina witnessed the signing of 27 agreements and memoranda of understanding involving the two governments. Chinese state-owned and private entities also signed 13 agreements mostly with Bangladeshi private enterprises.


pmo_kerryAfter suspending the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for Bangladeshi products, US tried to put Bangladesh in pressure waging voices over the existence of global terrorists in Bangladesh. They frequently said Islamic States (IS) backed militants existed in the domain of Bangladesh and carrying out terror attacks across the country. But, out far sighted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina always dismisses their allegations. She always says, “There is no existence of IS back militants in Bangladesh. Those who are making isolated attacks here, they are from local oppositions and off the rails.


sheikh-hasina-with-kerrySensing her boldness and far sights over the world politics, US sent its State Secretary John Kerry to visit Bangladesh for maintaining balanced relationship. Amid the wake of militant attacks across the country, John Kerry arrived in Dhaka on August 29 to discuss the global challenge, preventing the rise of militancy and violent extremism in Bangladesh and the region.

jonh-kerry-07Kerry`s tour at the end of the tenure of Obama administration, diplomatic sources said the visit is quite “extraordinary” and carries “special significance” as the US government is giving importance to Hasina`s government after giving it the cold shoulder for years.


hasin-kim20161023124702Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has proved that it is wrong to depend on foreign aids for the country`s development. The Padma Multipurpose Bridge (PMB) project was designed to be funded by donors such as the World Bank (WB), JICA, ADB etc. After a scandal of alleged corruption by some people associated with project preparation the global financing organisation WB withdrew its commitment and other donors followed.

Then the premier announced to construct it with own-finance, proving Bangladesh is now well-off enough to complete any project with own-funds.

world-bank-president-kims-visit-dhakaLater, WB also announced that no evidence was found over corruption in the Padma Bridge Project, but the announcement could not heal the cold relation with Bangladesh authority.

Recently, WB president Jim Yong Kim visited Bangladesh and heaped praises upon the country, its people and leadership for becoming a model for poverty reduction despite being saddled with a long list of hardships.

He also lauded Bangladesh’s role in empowering women and terming the country as a model in women’s progress.

During the visit, WB President pledged Bangladesh to give USD $3 billion over the next three years to help the country become less vulnerable to climate change and to combat malnutrition of children.

world-bank-president-kims-visitEarlier, the WB released two reports that Bangladesh has done an impressive job in reducing poverty over the last decade and has the potential to end extreme poverty by 2030 if it takes firm steps to make growth more inclusive to benefit all Bangladeshis.

The reports titled ‘Bangladesh Development Update’ and ‘Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016: Taking on Inequality’, find that Bangladesh is making sustained progress in poverty reduction and increasing opportunities.

Under the new $1.90 poverty line based on 2011 purchasing power, 28 million, or 18.5 percent of Bangladeshis lived in extreme poverty in 2010, according to the reports.

More than 16 million people in Bangladesh graduated from extreme poverty between 2000 and 2010, the reports said.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in BIMSTEC summit lauded the steps taken by Sheikh Hasina to fight terrorism in the country and went on to tell her that she has “given a new template on how to fight terrorism”.


indian-prime-minister-narendra-modi-greeted-prime-minister-sheikh-hasinaEarlier on Sheikh Hasina`s birthday, Modi also highly appreciated her leadership saying her resolute leadership has provided the people of Bangladesh a beacon of hope during a difficult period.

“From development to security, Bangladesh has made rapid strides in its progress towards peace and prosperity for all citizens, under your able stewardship,” Modi wrote in the birthday message to Hasina.


target-of-power-generationPrime Minister Sheikh Hasina has become a role model of development in South Asia as she could overcome all complexities to boost countries development.

Though political demonstrations centering the January 5, 2014 national election disturbed the country`s development temporarily, her brilliant leadership and effective steps helped national economy to overcome the situation soon. Despite traffic and non-traffic barriers, foreigners are now inspired by her diplomatic strategy to invest in Bangladesh.

power-genaration-in-bangladesh-16-638Under her dynamic leadership, the country has achieved tremendous success in the overall development. After assuming power by the Awami League-led government in 2009, the power generation capacity was only 4,942 MW and real electricity production was only 3,268 MW. Now the power generation has arisen up to 14,539 MW (Megawatt) and 76 percent of the total population has been brought under electricity coverage and the nation has witnessed the continued turnaround of recovering from the chronic energy crisis.

The common people across the country are proud enough to see a tremendous success of this government in the power sector as load shedding, a perennial problem before 2009, is no more in both urban and rural areas.

nuclear-power-plantThe government has set a target to generate 24,000 MW electricity by 2021 and 40,000 MW by 2030 to cover the whole country with electricity. The villages normally die soon after the dusk into the darkness of the night, but the scene has now changed as most of the households remain alive at night in rural Bangladesh.


02_12_2014-Economy_Bangladesh-EnOn the overall economic front, the Awami League government has scored the GDP (gross domestic product) rate at 7.2 percent in the 2016-17 fiscal year by the outstanding leadership of Sheikh Hasina. The current year’s GDP has been fixed at 7.5 percent with the confidence that it will grow in the same pace steadily in the years to come.

Meanwhile, the per capita income has already reached USD1466 and the foreign currency reserves exceeded USD 30 billion in June 2016 to lead Bangladesh to be a middle-income country very soon.

pm-sheikh-hasina-g7The government under the bold and visionary leadership by Sheikh Hasina has been progressing towards materializing the vision-2021 along with turning the country into a Digital Bangladesh.


OCTOBER 23, 2016





The first time many of us came to know of Sheikh Hasina was on the day after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was freed from the Agartala Case and was released, along with his co-accused, unconditionally. On 23 February 1969, the Karachi-based newspaper Dawn carried a front-page picture of her hugging her father in what was clearly an iconic image. Both she and Bangabandhu looked happy, for obvious reasons.

sheikh-hasina-17-may-1981-1The first time I met Sheikh Hasina was on an evening in May 1981, a few days after her return from exile in Delhi to take over the leadership of the Awami League. It was a reception arranged for her on the spacious lawn of architect Mazharul Islam’s residence in Paribagh. I was there not by invitation but as somewhat of a gate-crasher. His daughter, my good friend Dalia Nausheen (today a reputed Nazrul artiste), who was my colleague at the Dhaka YMCA where we both taught English, had brought me along to meet the new Awami League leader. It was an opportunity I was not ready to pass. With Dalia I went over to her place. On that occasion, it was only a hello that I exchanged with Sheikh Hasina. She was young. Her smile was infectious.

skhasina-80sIt was a few years later, on a very monsoon morning in 1987, that Bangabandhu’s cousin Mominul Haque, whose daughter Farhana was my student, turned up at the Lalmatia home where my wife Zakia and I lived. It was rather early, one of those mornings where you did not feel like getting out of bed. But there was Mominul Haque, our dear Khoka Bhai (who a few years prior to his death left a very riveting account of the life Bangabandhu’s family led in some of its darkest moments), asking me to get ready for breakfast with Sheikh Hasina. That was a happy shock. By the way, Khoka Bhai and his daughter had come to know of my profound respect for Bangabandhu through observing a bust of the Father of the Nation we had in our drawing room. The news must have trickled down to Sheikh Hasina and here I was, on that rainy morning, on my way to 32 Dhanmondi for breakfast with the new leader of the Awami League. I cannot pretend I was not nervous.

Drik_Hasina_01It was a memorable meeting. Sheikh Hasina, Khoka Bhai and I had a good, hearty, typically Bengali breakfast over a good conversation as it poured outside. The AL leader had meanwhile been reading my articles (I was new to journalism) and concluded, correctly, that I held Bangabandhu in deep, abiding respect. Our breakfast was in Bangabandhu’s library on the ground floor. I remember wondering, even as I conversed with Sheikh Hasina, what her feelings must have been given that it was the very place where the biggest tragedy had occurred in the history of the country in August 1975. I remember asking myself — I still have that question — how Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana had managed to keep themselves together, in one piece, after all that massacre had taken place.

prime-minister-sheikh-hasina_9There have been assassinations in history, but rarely if at all have been the instances where entire families, or nearly, had been wiped out by gun-carrying men appearing in the depths of the dark. Aung San Suu Kyi lost her father to murder, Benazir Bhutto saw her father walk the gallows, Gandhi and John Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated. In none of these instances were their families killed. In all these years that have passed since my reflections over breakfast at 32 Dhanmondi, I have never ceased to ask that question: how did Sheikh Hasina steel herself, through that huge tragedy, into becoming the powerful leader she is today.

hasina5_327518635My interaction with Sheikh Hasina has always been an occasion for me to rediscover anew the individual in her. After that breakfast morning, my contacts with her increased, to a point where I often had the opportunity to act as a speechwriter for her, especially when she travelled abroad in the Ershad years. During the campaign for the general elections of February 1991, I was part of the media team she constituted for herself and in that capacity I was present at 32 Dhanmondi on the occasions when foreign media needed to interview her. It felt good working in a very typical western way, briefing her on the kind of questions she could anticipate and the responses she would need to make. She was always ready to learn.

sheikh_hasina_climate_treaty_rtxi53y_ah_48979The Awami League defeat in the elections was disappointing. But my contacts remained. At one point, when the decision was made to transform Bangabandhu’s home into a memorial, I found myself part of a team tasked with the selection of photographs and other images that could go into the making of a gallery on the ground floor of the residence. We had a team, comprising Sheikh Hasina, the late Gaziul Haq, Baby Moudud, Siddiqur Rahman and myself, which had the job of sifting through the huge collection of photographs in Bangabandhu’s innumerable family albums and selecting the ones we needed for the memorial museum. It was painful being in Sheikh Kamal’s and Sheikh Jamal’s rooms. Indeed, it was agony being in that home knowing how iconic it had become in history and yet remembering what terrible deeds had been done there by villainous men.

BANGABANDHU WITH SHEIKH HASINAA fundamental part of my work, as the museum took shape, was looking into the English language captions of the photographs which today line the walls of the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum. In one corner of the hall, a large photograph of the truck bringing Bangabandhu, in January 1972, from the old Tejgaon airport to the Race Course (now Suhrawardy Udyan) is set against the wall. Every time I visit the museum, I watch that picture, knowing that at the back of the truck, invisible to the photographer, I am hanging on. I would hang on there, all the way to the Race Course. I once told Sheikh Hasina the story. She was amused.

sheikh-hasina_homecoming-enAs the Prime Minister steps into her seventieth year — she is one of those people you can safely describe as Midnight’s Children, having been born slightly over a month after the cataclysm of Partition in 1947 — I reflect on the sheer grit and determination with which she has pursued politics as a career. One of the happiest moments for this nation was the day Sheikh Hasina took over as Bangladesh’s Prime Minister in June 1996. It was in the evening when, having been sworn in at Bangabhaban, she arrived at 32 Dhanmondi with her husband, the decent, self-effacing Dr. Wazed Miah. It was a moment poignant with huge pain and great joy. The pain was in remembering that on the stairs of that residence the Father of the Nation had lain, done to death by dark conspiracy. The joy was in experiencing Bangabandhu’s daughter finally making it to power. She was a power woman who had proved her mettle as a politician. With so many others, I watched the nation’s new leader. I remember that as she stepped out of the car, I told her, in English, ‘Welcome home, Prime Minister’. For the very first time in all the years I had interacted with her, I thought it inappropriate to address her as Apa.

sheikh-hasina-a-survivorYes, it is her courage, her steadfastness of purpose, her resilience which have made Sheikh Hasina the formidable politician she is today. Of course, there are the frailties, the indiscretions, the faux pas that emanate from her as they do from other politicians around the world. But for Bangladesh’s people, her leadership has been a historical necessity. Until she came along, no one really believed that Bangabandhu’s assassins could be brought to justice. Until she arrived, no one could imagine that the perpetrators of war crimes in 1971 could have their comeuppance. Until she took charge of her party, few thought that the long era of military and quasi-military rule would see its twilight. She has succeeded in achieving all three of these goals — and more.

sheikh-hasina-protectorSheikh Hasina has always come across as a warm human being, a trait she has certainly inherited from her family. Even those who have not always agreed with her politics have remarked on the good cheer she exudes, on the sense of humour she exhibits in her moments away from the limelight. Abroad, she has interacted with statesmen with dignity becoming the elected leader of a nation. In the years I served as media spokesperson at our diplomatic mission in London, I had occasion to observe the gravitas she brought into her deliberations with other heads of government. I observed her in Edinburgh in 1997 as she engaged in good banter with Tony Blair; she engaged purposefully with Mahathir Mohammad and Inder Kumar Gujral; she went into friendly conversation with Nawaz Sharif despite the sensitivities of the past.

A couple of years ago, a telephone call from Ganobhaban for me made it known that the Prime Minister wished to see me. When I turned up in the evening, I realized that she had been kept in the dark about me. She had been looking for me but had been told I spent much of the year abroad and a very limited time at home. When I informed her it was absolutely the other way round, she appeared surprised. But why had she been wanting to see me? Her answer was touching, for it demonstrated her confidence in me. She had wanted me to render into English Bangabandhu’s posthumous memoirs, Oshomapto Atyojiboni. By then, the translated edition had already made its appearance.

hasina-10th-among-fortune-worlds-50-greatest-leaders-dhaka-tribuneOn the last day of August this year, it was my privilege to share the stage with her at a discussion on Bangabandhu and Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib. As I walked past her toward the microphones, she said softly, ‘Take as much time as you want. My speech will be brief.’ I ended up speaking for nearly an hour.


SEPTEMBER 28, 2016






News Desk |

Mentioning that a meaningful cooperation is possible with Bangladesh in many sectors, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has said both his country and Bangladesh could jointly explore prospects in the fields of education, IT and other sectors.

“We could jointly explore cooperation in the fields of education, IT and other sectors,” Plevneliev told Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when she met him at the Bulgarian presidency building on Wednesday afternoon.

He also described Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the great leader of the people of the world at large.

Earlier, the Bulgarian President and the Prime Minister also had an exclusive meeting.

mm_1463592372Briefing reporters after the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said the Bulgarian president going beyond the standard protocol received the Prime Minister on the corridor of the Presidency building.

The Bulgarian President was assisted by two of his advisers on foreign policy and Bulgarian non-resident ambassador to Bangladesh during the meeting.

Praising Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, Plevneliev appreciated the rapid economic development of Bangladesh over the last few years. “Many nations could learn from Bangladesh,” he was quoted as saying.

Mentioning that a meaningful cooperation is possible between Bulgaria and Bangladesh in many sectors, the President said Bulgaria is also doing well in the context of Europe.

mm_1463592392Responding to the Prime Minister’s call for recruiting skilled manpower from Bangladesh, the President said that they usually provide ‘blue card’ for the seasonal migrant workers for a shorter period in their country without elaborating further on the issue.

Expressing her gratitude for the support that Bulgaria had provided during the War of Liberation in 1971, the Prime Minister said, “Bulgaria has a special place in our hearts.”

She recalled that Bulgaria was the fourth country in the world and the 2nd in Europe to recognise Bangladesh after its Liberation War in 1971.

Hasina also recalled that the government of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had put such level of importance towards developing relations with Bulgaria and other countries of East Europe.

bangladesh-bulgariaBut after the assassination of Father of the Nation with most of his family members in 1975, this momentum was lost, she said.

Hasina also emphasised that Bangladesh from now on could forge cooperation with Bulgaria in sectors like agriculture, ICT and tourism. Bangladesh also wants to share its experience with Bulgaria in various socio-economic fields, she added.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki and Bangladesh Ambassador to Bulgaria M Allama Siddiki were, among others, present.


JULY 30, 2016







“You are the champion of economic development and women empowerment,” the Australian high commissioner said this when she paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office this morning. After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.

Ms Niblett also highly praised Bangladesh’s economic growth under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and said Australia is looking forward to further strengthening bilateral cooperation with Bangladesh in different sectors.

“We want to further consolidate our cooperation with Bangladesh in different sectors, particularly energy and education,” she said.

The Australian high commissioner hailed the performance of Bangladesh cricket team and said a memorandum of understanding on sports sector cooperation between the two countries is expected to be signed soon.

Mentioning again terrorism as a global problem, the prime minister said her government has been creating mass awareness against terrorism and militancy.

“We are creating mass awareness against terrorism and militancy by involving the people of all strata including religious leaders and teachers … we are getting tremendous response from the people to this end,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina also said that she had already arranged video conference with the cross section people of the 64 districts of the country to mobilize public opinion against terrorism and militancy.

The premier expressed Bangladesh’s interest in greater collaboration with Australia in the fields of trade, investment, education, sports and culture.

“We like to see greater collaboration with Australia in matters related to trade, investment, education, sports and culture”.

Elaborating various steps of her government for the development of the womenfolk, the premier said no country could achieve its desired progress leaving out the women, the half of the total population, from the development process.

Sheikh Hasina said success of women is everywhere in Bangladesh and they are now at an equal level along with their male partners in education, games and sports and creative works.

“The girls are doing better in the field of education in comparison with boys,” she said. She said 30 percent seats in the local government bodies like Union, Upazila, Municipality and City Corporations have been kept reserved for the women.

In this regard, she mentioned that the country’s women are now in very high position in all sectors like administration, judiciary, education, administration, as well as in the armed forces and in law-enforcement agencies.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the excellent bilateral ties established date back to 1972 and Australia is the first OECD (organization for economic cooperation and development) country to recognise Bangladesh as an independent state.

She also recalled the invaluable contribution of the Australian government and the people to Bangladesh’s war of liberation in 1971.

PMO Secretary Suraiya Begum was present at the meeting, among others.


AUGUST 31, 2016






There is a lot for Bangladesh to celebrate in the latest World Bank research on global poverty and inequality.

The new report, entitled “Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016: Taking on Inequality”, uses revised data to give a more accurate estimate of how many poor people live in Bangladesh. What the report shows is that 18.5 percent of the population was poor in 2010 compared with 44.2 percent in 1991.

This is a major achievement that will receive global recognition on October 17 when the World Bank Group marksEnd Poverty Day with the Bangladesh people at an event in Dhaka.

This achievement means that 20.5 million Bangladeshis escaped from poverty between 1991 and 2010. It means that Bangladesh beat the deadline by an impressive five years in achieving Millennium Development Goal number 1, an internationally recognized target to cut extreme poverty rates by half by 2015.

prosperbangladesh_greenIt is worth remembering how far Bangladesh has come.

U.S presidential security adviser Henry Kissinger dubbed the country a “basket case” at its birth in 1971. Bangladesh emerged from the ashes of a gory War of Independence as the world’s second poorest nation. Its population and economy were ravaged and its productive assets — which once provided the bulk of undivided Pakistan’s exports — were in shambles. Even as well-meaning experts sounded warnings that the fragile state would collapse, Bangladesh increasingly silenced the sceptics by proving resilient against the devastating 1974 famine and a series of crippling cyclones. From 2000 onwards, the economy has been growing consistently at 6 percent a year on average. Development officials from other nations now visit Bangladesh to decipher the secrets of its success.

Bangladesh has tackled its challenges in remarkable ways. It has overcome meagre resources to make the most of its strong cultural and intellectual tradition and a national will to build a prosperous nation following Independence.

Bangladesh gave the world a revolutionary new micro-financing model to monetize the productivity of the poor and showed that a predominantly Muslim country could unleash the potential of its women, making them a significant partner in progress. Its Female Stipends program, widely acclaimed as a model for achieving gender parity of enrolment, has been replicated successfully in several countries. Its vibrant garment sector is giving a whole generation of women jobs that open new opportunities.

Today, Bangladesh is a lower middle-income country with a bright future as a member of the “Next 11”, according to U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs, which had earlier identified the “BRICS”. The image of Bangladesh as a country with endemic poverty could soon change as Bangladesh finds new pathways to sustainable and equitable growth and aims to achieve middle-income country status by its 50th birthday in 2021.

The sceptics will say that poverty, regardless of the latest World Bank estimates, is a reality in the lives of too many Bangladeshis. They are right.  Bangladesh still had 28 million poor in 2010, the latest year for which a household survey is available for the country. Based on the new estimate, Bangladesh is the 64th poorest out of the 154 countries included in the World Bank’s global poverty database. Much more therefore still needs to be done to end poverty in Bangladesh and to increase the prosperity of the bottom 40 percent of the population. These are the goals that the World Bank Group is pursuing with the Government of Bangladesh.

1-a-education_facebook4-2As the government has rightly identified, Bangladesh will do well by addressing infrastructure, energy and regulatory bottlenecks to increase productivity, make exports more competitive and attract more domestic as well as foreign investment.

The country can build on its success in human development and improve the quality of education, vocational training, as well as child nutrition and health services. The country can do more to strengthen institutions, including improving governance and strengthening anti-corruption measures.  It can improve the policy environment for businesses, manage rapid urbanization and adapt to climate change impacts.

imagesThe World Bank Group will work with the people of Bangladesh to overcome these challenges every step of the way. The World Bank has invested more than $24.3 billion in support since 1972 to advance Bangladesh’s development priorities. Bangladesh is currently the biggest recipient of credits from the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries.

There is much to be done to complete Bangladesh’s development journey and to give all its citizens the opportunities they deserve. But as the World Bank’s new report shows, Bangladesh is an inspiring example to the world on how to overcome poverty. Now is the time to build on these successes and end poverty in Bangladesh in our lifetime.


OCTOBER 05, 2016





BANGLADESH - Audacity of Hope



It has been sixty one years since the end of the Great second world war, after atomic bombs decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, sixty million lost there life in that wretched war, and nations vowed never to indulge in a global conflict in that scale again. One solution architects drew was the formation of The United Nations, a common ground inclusive of all the nations of the world, to address disputes, negotiate and mitigate disputed issues to avert conflicts in the future.

beware-of-america-1366x768Has United Nations performed according to its founding principle, as it stands today, United Nation looks more and more like the cover for the old Imperial Powers, the same colonial powers which brought much misery to Africa, Asia and the rest of the world, the same powers responsible for the two destructive wars in the late century, to dominate the globe once…

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power_generationFARID HOSSAIN

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the greatest Bengali of all times, had not only created the independent and sovereign Bangladesh. He had left his golden touch in everything during the post-independence rebuilding of the nation even though he got only three and half years before he was assassinated by a handful of conspiratorial and power-greedy army officers. The man who had successfully led the country’s nine-month independence war against Pakistan having survived nine-month solitary life in a darkened prison in Pakistan’s Layalpur awaiting death was killed, along with most members of his family, by some men who unfortunately were born in Bangladesh. Bangabandhu is no longer with us but his legacy remains to inspire us to build a strong nation the way he dreamed and wanted to build it: Sonar Bangla.

sources_bp_2010_consumption_mtoe_bd_mzm_none__Soon after independence (even before it) Bangabandhu realized that energy was one of the fields that should receive top priority. He made his decisions and took steps accordingly. In 1974 a landmark law, Petroleum Act, was passed by the parliament giving to the people the ownership of the country’s all natural resources. Then in another historic move Bangabandhu bought the ownership of Shell oil company under an agreement that allowed payments in nine installments on August 9 in 1975. It had been a red letter day indeed in the country’s energy sector. The moves also had demonstrated how a great visionary leader Bangabandhu was. Whatever Bangladesh has achieved in the country’s vital power and energy sectors over the years since independence was because of Bangabandhu and his historic steps. The flag of success is now being carried forward by Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina who has established herself as the most successful prime minister and administrator Bangladesh has ever seen.

Since 2010, a year into Sheikh Hasina’s second term as the prime minister, Aug. 9 is observed as the National Energy Security Day. The observance focuses on the importance of power and energy in taking the country’s economy ahead. More importantly, it is also a decent way of paying our tributes to a great leader who had laid the foundation of Bangladesh’s rebirth from the war-caused ravages.

Bangladesh, as we have already said, formulated the energy policy with priority focused on exploration the country’s own primary fuel resources. During those difficult days natural gas had little role and contribution in the energy sector. But Bangabandhu had the vision that there would come a day when the engine of the economy would be fueled by energy. What was started by the father of the nation is now being carried forward by Sheikh Hasina, his daughter.

target-of-power-generationUntil 1990, the energy sector in Bangladesh was almost entirely owned and controlled by the government. The private sector made a real dash into the energy sector during the first term of Hasina’s government, 1996-2001. That was the period when international oil giants came to Bangladesh in droves to prospect for natural gas and exploit the resources under agreements fair to Bangladesh. Production sharing agreements were signed favouring Bangladesh as Sheikh Hasina insisted on getting a fair deal for the country. The production of natural gas saw a big raise as a result.

sylhet-90-mw-2-customashuganj-power-station-company-ltd52-50-mw-power-plant-project-at-munshiganj sirajganj-225-mw-combined-cycle-dual-fuel-1st-unit-power-plantlearn-more bibiyana-ii-power-plant khulna-225mw-combined-cycle-power-plant rampalThen the spectacular success in the production of electricity came during the governance of Sheikh Hasina, now in her third term as the prime minister. The country has now achieved a capacity of producing more than 13,000 MW of electricity, a huge jump from barely 3,000 MW she inherited from the BNP government of Khaleds Zia. Along with the increased capacity Bangladesh has been making records in the daily generation of electricity that has seen a great reduction in the instances of load shedding even during the peak of summer.

lng-terminalrooppur-ws-en1matarbari_coal_powerThis has been possible as Hasina’s government let the power sector open to the private encouraging investors to put money in this gold mine. The policy has worked well and thanks to Hasina’s farsightedness, a leadership virtue she has inherited from her illustrious father, Bangladesh is well on track of transforming from a power-starved nation to power-secured country.








Fortune has released its annual list of the World’s Greatest Leaders. This year, the list is record-breaking and stands out for a very special reason- nearly 50% of the spots (23 in total!) were awarded to women! That’s a big jump from last year’s ranking, which included only 15 women. This year, the list celebrates women in government, business, activism, non-profit, and even the military.  Read about these 23 exceptional women after the jump!

#49 Clare Rewcastle Brown, Editor and Founder of the Sarawak

49clarerewcastlebrownThrough her website Sarawak Report, London-based journalist Brown has become an irritant in the corridors of power in Malaysia. Her exposés on state investment fund 1MDB—publicizing the alleged siphoning of $700 million into the pockets of Prime Minister Najib Razak—have made her a hero and a villain in the country, depending on whom you ask. The government has tried to arrest her for “activities detrimental to Parliamentary democracy” and has banned her website, a move that prompted advocacy group Reporters Without Borders to unblock access and help get her revelations out.

#45 Mina Guli, CEO of Thirst

45minaguliWhile some climate-related threats can seem abstract, water scarcity is visceral and immediate, palpable in the crunch of drought-ravaged crops or the sting of a parched throat. Guli, an Australian corporate-lawyer-turned-activist, started Thirst to educate consumers about water conservation, but this year the 45-year-old upped the ante, running 40 marathons across seven deserts on seven continents—in just seven weeks—while collecting conservation pledges online. On March 22, World Water Day, she completed her 1,048-mile journey. “Never seen a better example yet of #gobigorgohome,” tweeted a fan in Hong Kong.

#41 Melinda Gates and Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Co-Chair and CEO of the Gates Foundation

41gateshellmanFor the past 15 years, the Gates Foundation has leveraged its $44.3 billion endowment to attempt to eradicate diseases like malaria in the developing world. Under new CEO Desmond-­Hellmann, a former Genentech product chief, the foundation could become an even bigger player in global health. Last year the foundation financed a prototype of a plant that converts human feces into drinkable water; meanwhile, a $1.5 billion commitment to vaccination organization Gavi will ensure that an additional 300 million children will be vaccinated by 2020.

No. 39: Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria

39aminamohammedAs special adviser on post-2015 development planning to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mohammed had to rally 193 countries to endorse the same objectives for the next 15 years. Acting as the point person for the Sustainable Development Goals, she helped bridge the divide between developing countries and First World nations, and by September all member states signed on to 17 goals related to wiping out poverty and tackling climate change. Now Nigeria’s Environment Minister, Mohammed is trying to make renewables a bigger factor in the oil-producing country’s energy strategy.

No. 38: Gina Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island

38ginaraimondoAmerica’s smallest state just tackled one of the country’s biggest fiscal problems. Countless state and local governments struggle with under­financed pension plans, and Rhode Island’s was one of the worst before 2014. That’s when Gina Raimondo, then state treasurer, engineered an overhaul that slashed cost-of-living increases and pointed the system toward solvency. Public-sector unions fulminated and sued, but voters rewarded Raimondo by electing her governor. In 2015 she negotiated legal settlements that preserved her pension reforms, inspiring hope in cash-strapped statehouses everywhere.

No. 36: Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF

36christinelagardeThe former French Finance Minister fought to keep the eurozone together in her first term as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, an accomplishment that helped her earn (unopposed) another five-year term. She faces comparable challenges today, among them avoiding a debt crisis in emerging markets, keeping China committed to the path of market reforms, and persuading Congress to honor the reforms the U.S. agreed to in the wake of the 2008 crisis. That may still leave her some time for another cause she favors: boosting female workforce participation in the developing world

No. 34: Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver, U.S. Army Rangers

34griesthaverWhen Griest, a platoon leader, and ­Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot, enrolled in the Army’s notoriously grueling Ranger School, they were simply soldiers. When they graduated in ­August—the first women ever to do so—they were icons. What got them through the brutal regimen of runs, marches, and other mental and physical trials? “I was thinking really of future generations of women—that I would like them to have the opportunity,” said Griest. Their accomplishment, astounding in its own right, transformed the debate about women in warfare, proving that women can perform on the battlefield as ably as men. And that undoubtedly buttressed the Pentagon’s December decision to open all combat positions to women—without exceptions.

No. 33: Rosie Batty, Founder of the Luke Batty Foundation

33rosiebattyOn Feb. 12, 2014, 11-year-old Luke Batty was killed with a cricket bat by his own father, who was then shot and killed by police. The next day, Luke’s mother, Rosie, stood in front of television cameras and calmly said, “Family violence happens to everybody.” Thus began a nationwide road trip that has seen Batty selflessly put domestic violence on the Australian agenda in a country where one in five women has experienced sexual violence after age 15. “She moved forward the issue by a decade or more,” says Jeremy Lasek, whose government organization named Batty the Australian of the Year for 2015.

No. 28: Chai Jing, Freelance journalist in China

28chaijingSmog is a daily phenomenon in every major Chinese city. But until former CCTV reporter Chai Jing released the powerful documentary Under the Dome last year on the causes of gray skies—failed government policies, feckless regulators, corruption—and their effects, including skyrocketing cancer rates, shorter life-spans, and childhood illnesses, China’s middle class had mostly taken it with a shrug. Chai’s 104-minute documentary drew 200 million views online in a week before government censors took it down. It created a groundswell of concern and anger that continues today.

No. 27: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, Co-Founders of Black Lives Matter

27garzacullorstometiModern social movements often fizzle after their moment in the national news (Occupy Wall Street comes to mind), but Black Lives Matter has steadily gained momentum since its founding in 2013. The Black Lives Matter network has grown to 28 local chapters, all fighting injustices like police brutality and racial profiling. Last year the movement inspired college students to take up the mantle with some successes (the system president and chancellor of the University of Missouri resigned over outcry that they had failed to address campus racism) and pushed presidential candidates to address the country’s systemic racial problems— an issue would-be nominees would have preferred to sidestep.

No. 25: Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress nominee

25carlahaydenIn February, President Obama nominated Hayden to lead the ­Library of Congress. If confirmed, she will be the first woman and the first African American to do so—and fresh leadership for a 216-year-old institution in sore need of a technological upgrade. Hayden knows plenty about sustaining a library as a relevant and inclusive institution. In Baltimore, where she has run the Enoch Pratt Free Library system for 23 years, she has modernized early and often. When violence erupted near one branch last April, Hayden kept it open—a safe, trusted space for community members.

No. 24: Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts USA

24annamariachavezWhen Chávez, the first person of color to head the scouts, took the helm in 2011, the 104-year-old institution seemed to be creeping toward anachronism. Not anymore. Chávez has added new badges in fields like financial literacy and STEM education. You can now buy Girl Scout cookies online. And Chávez has teamed with the likes of Sheryl Sandberg (on a campaign to encourage leadership among girls), First Lady Michelle Obama (who recorded a scouts recruitment video), and even Chris Rock, who collected more than $65,000 during the Oscars in donations and sales of Thin Mints and Tagalongs.

No. 20: Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code

24984244072_5f2b2d0f08_oIn a TED talk in February, which has since accrued more than 800,000 views, Saujani stressed teaching girls to be brave rather than perfect. She’s well-qualified to preach that message: It took the former Wall Street attorney three tries to get into Yale Law School. Girls Who Code, which aims to get more women into computer science, is seeing plenty of early success: By the end of 2016, more than 40,000 girls will have gone through its training and internship programs. This summer, Girls Who Code will dole out $1 million in scholarships (classes are already free, but scholarships pay for transportation and other costs).

No. 17: Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina

17nikkihaley-copyWhile the most successful Republican pol builds a following by stirring resentment, Haley is proving that Trumpism isn’t the only way. South Carolina’s Indian-American governor was among the earliest in her party to call out the GOP presidential front-runner, warning against “the siren call of the angriest voices”—in a nationally televised State of the Union response, no less. Last summer, following the massacre of nine African Americans in a Charleston church, Haley engineered the removal of the Confederate flag from state capitol grounds, setting off a movement across the South to pack away the charged symbol.

No. 9: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

9ruth-bader-ginsbergTo say it is unlikely for a Supreme Court Justice to become a cultural icon is an understatement. But that’s exactly what has happened to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Thanks to a 2015 book that in turn expanded on a law student’s fan site on ­Tumblr, she is now known on the Internet, on T-shirts, and to young women everywhere as “Notorious RBG.” Deservedly praised for her intellect, skill, resilience, and strong voice on everything from voting to women’s rights…she serves as an example for us all in her ability to connect in the service of a mission more significant than one’s self-interest.

No. 10: Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh


As the only female leader among the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states, ­Hasina has deftly navigated the competing demands of Islamic tradition and women’s rights. She has committed Bangladesh, the nation with the world’s fourth-largest Muslim population, to securing legal protections for women and helping them attain more education, financial freedom, and political power. About 30% of adult women in Bangladesh now have at least a secondary ­education—and the ­nation scores better on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index than any other South Asian country.

No. 7: Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

7christinafigueresFigueres became the United Nations climate-change chief in 2010, tasked with nothing less than halting the potentially catastrophic effects of global warming. For six years she worked to convince governments that a binding agreement on limiting carbon emissions and slowing fossil fuel-led growth was in the world’s best interest. Figueres’s efforts culminated in December at the Paris climate conference, where 195 countries signed a deal committing them to limit worldwide temperature increases to no more than 2° C above pre-industrial levels, a critical if hard-to-attain benchmark.

No. 3: Aung San Suu Kyi, Leader of the National League for Democracy

3aungsansuukyiSuu Kyi, the daughter of one of the founding heroes of the country’s post–World War II independence movement, returned to Myanmar from exile in 1988 to oppose the junta that had taken power in the early 1960s. She co-founded the National League for Democracy and steadfastly renounced violence, even as the military subjected her to house arrest for nearly 20 years. Her personal sacrifice gradually rallied global opinion around her cause, the more so after she won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Worn down by isolation and sanctions, the regime eventually agreed to allow free elections, which the NPD won in a landslide last November.

No. 2: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

2angelamerkelAngela Merkel has dominated Europe’s politics for a decade now. She is the only Continental leader whose term in office predates the 2008 financial crisis, a winner of three general elections who has also seen off countless intra-party rivals. But last year, after a decade of hard-nosed and decidedly cautious pragmatism, she became a conviction politician: She put charity and compassion ahead of Realpolitik by welcoming more than 1 million hard-pressed migrants and refugees to Germany.


JULY 2016





Address by Her Excellency, the Honorable Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of BangladeshSYED SHUKUR ALI

With sincere and relentless efforts of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is now enjoying a positive acceptance throughout the world, earning prestigious global awards as marks of recognition to the country’s gradual development in all key fields. As a visionary leader of one of the most populous nations, Sheikh Hasina, the worthy daughter of the greatest Bangalee of all time Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, has uplifted the country’s image and made a significant contribution to the national economy and politics by way of her outstanding leadership.

sheikh-hasina-pm_global_thinker A very successful Prime Minister of Bangladesh for the third time, she has already achieved tremendous success in the overall development of the country. Under her dynamic leadership, power generation has risen up to 14,539 MW (Megawatt) and 76 percent of the total population has been brought under electricity coverage and the nation has witnessed the continued turnaround of recovering from the chronic energy crisis. After assuming power by the Awami League-led government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2009, the power generation capacity was only 4,942 MW and real electricity production was only 3,268 MW. hasina-10th-among-fortune-worlds-50-greatest-leaders-dhaka-tribuneThe common people across the country are proud enough to see a tremendous success of this government in the power sector as load shedding, a perennial problem before 2009, is no more in both urban and rural areas. The government has set a target to generate 24,000 MW electricity by 2021 and 40,000 MW by 2030 to cover the whole country with electricity. The villages normally die soon after the dusk into the darkness of the night, but the scene has now changed as most of the households remain alive at night in rural Bangladesh.  

sheikh-hasina-fortune-greatest-leadersmaxresdefaultOn the overall economic front, the Awami League government has scored the GDP (gross domestic product) rate at 7.2 percent in the 2016-17 fiscal year only because of the good governance in the country. The current year’s GDP has been fixed at 7.5 percent with the confidence that it will grow in the same pace steadily in the years to come. Meanwhile, the per capita income has already reached USD1466 and the foreign currency reserves exceeded USD 30 billion in June 2016 to lead Bangladesh to be a middle-income country very soon.

 The government under the bold and visionary leadership by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been progressing towards materializing the vision-2021 along with turning the country into a Digital Bangladesh. Only recently, Bangladesh achieved the status of lower middle income country.

sheikh-hasina-mdg Sheikh Hasina, who has already been adjudged as a global icon, earned much appreciation and laurels from the world leaders in different international forums, as they have seen in her leadership the rare quality of freeing the “once basket case” Bangladesh from poverty and hunger to turn it into “Sonar Bangla” (Golden country) as dreamt of by Father of the Nation. What was beyond the imagination of the people in Dhaka city is now a reality only because of Sheikh Hasina’s government. She is now introducing metro rail and bus rapid transit, two dream projects, besides constructing so many eye-catching flyovers to rid the city dwellers from the decades long traffic snarl.

sheikh-hasina-has-received-the-uns-highest-environmental-honour-the-champions-of-the-earth-award Sheikh Hasina with her visionary leadership is constructing the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, the biggest infrastructure in the country’s history, at own finance setting a rare example in the process of development. The government is also constructing Mass Rapid Transit Line-6 (MRT-6) and Elevated Expressway. As the envious and jealous lobbies are up against her pro-people performance, they have unleashed terror attacks on certain spots and soon she has adopted “zero tolerance” policy against all forms of terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism. 

Sheikh Hasina has the command over a country with the world’s eighth largest population-162 million– and she has wielded this power since 2009. Bangladesh is now self sufficient in food production due to adoption of modern technology in the agriculture sector particularly during the regime of the present government. The government is working relentlessly to build a hunger and poverty free as well as technologically advanced modern and prosperous Bangladesh.

hasina-receives-ict-sustainable-development-awardWith following her instruction, the government proposed expansion of the number of beneficiaries of old age allowances saying from the current fiscal-2016-2017 around 31.50 lakh elderly people would come under the safety net programme.
 The National Service Programme would be provided with temporary jobs 7.20 lakhs unemployed educated youths so far, both male and female for two years by imparting training in different trades. 

The ICT sector is the next big thing for Bangladesh as the government established one-stop service outlets operating at all 4,547 Union Parishads (UP, lowest tier of local government) of the country.

HASINA AWARD Through use of ICT, UNION DIGITAL CENTER is able to bring various types of information related to government, livelihood and private services to the doorstep of citizens in rural areas.

 Sajeeb Wazed Joy, ICT adviser to the prime minister, is hopeful that Bangladesh will become a major player in the sector in a few years from now and the country would be a “Digital Bangladesh’.

HASINA AWARD 2 Under the bold and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina the government has undertaken project to construct Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport (BSMIA) on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis.

 According to the business magazine “Fortune”, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been listed as one the greatest leaders of the world. Hasina has ranked 10th among 50 leaders who “are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same,” the internationally acclaimed magazine said.

Hasina-receives-a-UN-award The daughter of democracy, Sheikh Hasina has been ranked 36th among the world’s 100 most powerful women in 2016 by influential business magazine Forbes. Hasina jumped 23 spots from last year’s 59th. She came 47th in 2014. German Chancellor Angela Merkel retained the top spot, the sixth time in a row, in the list with former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton as the second powerful woman.

 Sheikh Hasina’s government revised and updated laws and regulations to cope with the unique challenges of this global evil. Bangladesh is also focusing on sustainable development, education, social mobilization and various de-radicalizations programmes to prevent and counter violent extremism.

 Sheikh+Hasina+World+Leaders+Speak+UN+Climate+03JSm19BsTvlAccording to global information, Goldman Sachs listed Bangladesh among the “Next Eleven” the most promising economies of the 21st century. The poverty rate has been reducing to below 22.4 percent from 56.7 percent. One of the fastest poverty reduction rates in the world.

 In 2015, she is among the 13 top global thinkers in the “Decision Makers” category of a Washington-based prestigious magazine for her outstanding contribution to the nation. Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Ruling Awami League, has been ranked 47th in Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women in 2014. She remained as a centre of attention for her relentless campaign for promoting girl’s right to education. Adoption of a series of visionary policies in this regard resulted in outpouring global support for the premier.

140827-PINTU-HASINA-CAMERON-BDAs Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina has demonstrated “Leadership and Vision” in both making climate change an issue of national priority and advocating for an ambitious global response.

 On 14 September 2015, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was announced as one of the winners of the United Nations Champions of the Earth award in recognition of her country’s initiatives to address climate change. She received the award at the UN Head Quarters in New York on 27 September, day before her 69th birthday. Sheikh Hasina returned Bangladesh on May 17, 1981 after a long exile and reorganized the Awami League. She established her party with her strong personality and started from root level across the country after assassinated Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on August 15, 1975.

hasina_000 In the acknowledgment of various educational milestones achieved by Bangladesh in recent years, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) held a ceremony in Bangladesh, outside of Paris for the first time. On the occasion, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova handed over the award to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2014 International Literacy Prizes to the awardees in Dhaka on September 8, marking the International Literacy Day.

Sheikh Hasina receives the 'Global Diversity' award She received the “South-South Cooperation Visionary Award” upon her extraordinary role in advancing Bangladesh towards digital system and the expansion of education through revolutionary concepts. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron praised the progress achieved by Bangladesh in the fields of economy and women development. Expressing his government faith in the Sheikh Hasina led Awami League government.

 A US-based IRI (International Republican Institute) revealed a survey report saying, “The Ruling Awami League government gained support among a majority of Bangladeshi respondents”. “The (IRI) poll results also indicated positive public feelings about Bangladesh’s current economic position and optimism about both the respondents’ and the country’s economic futures,” the US research group said.

 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received Rotary Peace Prize from Rotary International at Platinum Jubilee of Rotary international DistrictA British newspaper, which also extensively interviewed Sheikh Hasina for its reports, outlined Bangladesh success under her premiership saying “she is credited internationally with helping Bangladesh achieve key UN anti-poverty and development goals and appears to enjoy a high level of domestic support”. The Guardian described Sheikh Hasina as “Bangladesh’s formidable, long-serving head of government” while in her interview with its journalists Simon Tissdal and Anna Ridout she said “My job is to assist the common people. I do politics for the people, not for me”. sk_hasina_v02_2105_enAccording to the present government’s tremendous success Bangladesh would be a middle-income country by 2021 and it would be a developed country in 2041. All the democratic institutions are working and people are satisfied with the government’s development and other wellbeing activities. Bangladesh is ideally placed to maintain and improve economic growth and achieve middle-income country status by 2021, the United World’s Bangladesh Report, 2015 said in a publication.

 HASINA QUEENThe publication focused on the country’s geostrategic importance, historical achievement in the fields of economy and human development, and highlighted especially on the significant success of the present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in fostering economic growth, strengthening regional and international relations and empowering women with creating more jobs.

 JAPAN-BANGLADESH-DIPLOMACYIt said Bangladesh maintained a constant 6-plus percent GDP growth in the past 10 years amidst an enviable situation in a time of global uncertainty. It attributed the economic progress to the government’s strategy of focusing on structural reforms, increased revenue and regional competitiveness, which also led the country to ‘Next 11’ status.

 hasina Ban-Ki+Moon+(3)Under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh won a long-standing sea claim battle with India. On July 7, 2014, a Netherland-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) awarded Bangladesh 19,467square kilometres out of 25,602 sq km disputed area in the Bay of Bengal. It was Sheikh Hasina’s government that placed the issue to the international court in 2009.

 As a result, Bangladesh now owns 1,18,813 sq km territorial sea along with the ownership of all the 10 blocks India had claimed before. An exclusive economic zone extending to 200 nautical miles has also been owned by the country. Following this, Sheikh Hasina’s government successfully won significant marine territories from other neighbour country, Myanmar.

HASINA PUTIN Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made hectic efforts pushing her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to take sincere steps to resolve the longstanding unsettled matters including the two most important issues – Teesta water sharing treaty and the land boundary agreement. Later Indian Parliament passed the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA).Some 37,369 residents of 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh became Bangladeshi citizens.

 Sheikh-Hasina-shakes-hands-with-Chinas-President-Xi-Jinping“The Government of Bangladesh has demonstrated political will and firm commitment to combat domestic and transnational terrorist groups, and its counter terrorism efforts made it harder for…terrorists to operate or establish safe havens in Bangladesh”, stated the US State Department in its Country Reports on Terrorism 2013.

hasina_modi_2 Special Envoy of New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Jim Bolger highly appreciated Bangladesh’s stunning successes in human development and millennium development goals (MDGs) under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad highly appreciated Bangladesh’s development in recent times in various areas, particularly in the field of infrastructure under Sheikh Hasina led government. Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma praised PM Sheikh Hasina for the rapid development in the health sector and women empowerment of Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina IN JAPAN The People of Bangladesh across the country poured out into the streets in the early hours of Sunday to celebrate the execution of two war criminals, BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, for their crimes committed against humanity in 1971.

Sheikh Hasina IN EMPERORS PALACE JAPAN The countrymen held their breath to hear the news of the execution of the death sentences of these two war criminals and hailed it as a milestone in the country’s history as both the war criminals sought presidential clemency confessing to their crimes committed during the War of Liberation. They brought out numerous processions expressing joy and happiness after getting the news of the hangings after a long wait of 44 years.

SHEIKJH HASINA AND MERKEL German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib are the other heads of state or government who have been named along with the Bangladesh Premier as leading global thinkers in this category this year. For her honest, patriotic, outstanding, dedicated and progressive performance as people’s leader and head of the government, people have designated Sheikh Hasina as Deshratna, jewel of the country.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with other heads of delegations at International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Deshratna Sheikh Hasina was born on September 28, 1947 at Tungipara in Gopalganj district. She was the eldest of five children of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa. In 1968, Hasina had tied nuptial knot with renowned nuclear scientist M Wazed Miah. Together they have one son, Sajeeb Wazed Joy and a daughter, Sayma Wazed Putul. Sheikh Hasina was in the then West Germany with her younger sister Sheikh Rehana on the fateful night of August 15, 1975 when Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with the remaining members of his family was brutally assassinated. She was forced to live in exile in London and Delhi for the next six years.

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

 Later on, she was elected the President of Bangladesh Awami League in 1981 in her absence and returned home on May 17 the same year. She was the first to raise voice against the autocratic regime of military ruler HM Ershad. Under her leadership, Awami League spearheaded the movement for democracy which brought about the fall of Ershad in 1990.

 This time, apart from the “Champion of the Earth” award, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister also received “ICT Sustainable Development Award” from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).  While receiving the ICT award Prime Minister said, “It is a significant recognition as we are working to build a ‘Digital Bangladesh’. I deeply feel honoured to receive this award.” 01_Sheikh+Hasina_PM_Indonesia_220415_0003The Champions of the Earth award is the United Nations highest environmental honour recognizing visionary people and organisations all over the world that exemplify leadership and advocate action on sustainable development, climate change and a life of dignity for all.

 Past winners in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship, and civil society action include Sylvia Earle, Mario Molina, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Tommy Remengesau, Jr., Felipe Calderon, Tsakhia Elbergdoj, Al Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev and Marina Silva.

 sheikh-hasina-protectorOn the same place of the UN, Sheikh Hasina received the MDG award in recognition of achieving the MDG goal-4.  At that time the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed the hope that Bangladesh would be able to achieve the rest of the goals in future under her prudent leadership.

 sheikh-hasina-a-survivorCommon people of the country have expressed their expectation that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should run Bangladesh further tenure to develop and reach the country in a prestigious position.


The writer is a senior staff report
AUGUST 02, 2016





640px-garden_city_building_sylhetSAJEEB WAZED

A significant piece of news emerged from Bangladesh recently that received little notice outside the country. Last year for the first time, foreign direct investment from other countries into Bangladesh surpassed $2 billion, a 44 percent increase from the year before.

In other words, investors increasingly see Bangladesh as a smart place to put their money. And they aren’t alone.

fastest-growing_economies_focuseconomics_2016According to a March poll by the U.S.-based International Republican Institute, 83 percent of Bangladeshis surveyed said the security situation in Bangladesh is very good or somewhat good and 77 percent believe the country is politically stable. In addition, 72 percent are optimistic that their personal economic situation will improve.

Top sectors for direct investment last year in Bangladesh included the ready-made garment industry, of course. But investors also poured money into oil and gas, banking, telecommunication and power generation. One reason is, unlike many of its neighbors, Bangladesh has a liberal investment regime that allows 100 percent foreign investment in many sectors and an unrestricted exit policy.

Stacking Intermodal container in Port of Chittagong

Stacking Intermodal container in Port of Chittagong

In recent years, Bangladesh’s economy has grown at a consistent, blistering rate of more than 6 percent, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Over the past nine months, that pace accelerated to 7 percent. Today, the Bangladeshi economy stands at about $180 billion. According to the World Bank, that will rise to $322 billion by 2021, creating many more scalable investment opportunities.

Growth is driven by the already-well-known ready-made garment industry. But it’s a more dynamic industry than most people know. In fact, it’s a mistake to continue to think of Bangladesh as t-shirt maker to the world. Bangladesh garment manufacturers produce high-end clothing that sells in Europe’s best boutiques.

textileThe garment industry has fostered more than pure economic gains. Demography has also been a winner. Garment factories have become the great gender leveler in society.  Most employees and managers are women, which has led to their economic empowerment and rise in stature in society.

At the same time, the Bangladesh garment industry is developing an international reputation for being smart and nimble. “Bangladesh offers ease of doing business, importing-exporting is faster. R&D on new styles is faster as you can import fabrics in three days. In India, it would take 10 days,” Vijay Mathur, an official with the Indian Apparel Export Promotion Council, recently told the Business Standard.

As a result, Bangladesh garment exports are likely to hit $27 billion this year, up 10 percent from 2015.

womeninbangladesh_petercantonoxfamau_800x533-648x431The economic success story of Bangladesh has also improved the health of its citizens.

Twenty-five years ago the average Bangladeshi could hope to live only to age 56. Today, that figure is over 70, which is among the most notable improvements in modern history, according to the Asia Foundation. In fact, expected longevity in Bangladesh is more than four years longer than in neighboring India and Pakistan.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of poor in Bangladesh dropped 26 percent from 63 million to 47 million. Today, the overall rate of poverty in the country is 22 percent, down from 40 percent a decade ago.

Millennium Development Goal 5   UNDP in BangladeshThe World Bank reports that labor income has risen while birth rates have dropped, leading to lower dependency ratios and higher per capita income. The World Bank recently ranked Bangladesh as a lower middle-income nation for the first time.

1628129236_1deee556d2_zThe economic surge started after the Awami League, the nation’s ruling party, won in a 2008 landslide. The impressive growth has been nurtured and sustained by smart government programs, savvy foreign investment and the entrepreneurial spirit of Bangladeshis, especially its young people who are increasingly English speaking and digitally savvy.

The bottom line is that Bangladesh is a legitimate – if underreported – economic success story, and one that is only in its beginning.


Sajeeb Wazed is the chief information technology adviser to the government of Bangladesh and the son of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
MAY 02, 2016





cskjinsuaaamy2cMD FAZLUR RAHMAN

In conversation with The Daily Star, Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters speaks on both local and global economies

The brutal militant attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery that killed 17 foreign citizens suddenly made Bangladesh a scary place to do business.

The July 1 attack had stoked doubts whether foreigners would keep visiting Bangladesh or working in the country.

Despite a feeling of unease in the air, top officials of foreign companies continued coming to Bangladesh, thanks to stern responses by the government following the attack — to tackle the rise of militancy.

One of those officials is Bill Winters, a star banker and group chief executive of Standard Chartered, who came to Bangladesh on Tuesday on a two-day visit delivering a positive signal to the local market.

“I am happy to see a serious response from the government. I know there is no easy fix to this. It is a global phenomenon,” Winters told The Daily Star in an interview.

“It is a concern in Bangladesh as it is in many of our other markets.”

“The human cost is enormous. Its economic cost is huge,” he said.

downloadWinters said he is sure there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the most calamitous effect on local or global economy.

Winters joined the London-based but Asia and Africa-focused bank in June last year as its new chief executive.

He said he is familiar with Bangladesh and impressed by the progress the country has made in the past several decades, especially in the past several years.

Standard Chartered Bangladesh has become a strong local bank, promoting trade, investment and exports and bringing in capital to the country, he said.

The American banker, who spent 26 years with JPMorgan in diverse leadership roles, said South Asia is a bit of an oasis as it is largely free from geopolitical tensions.

South Asian economies have remained strong partly due to good policies and the import of commodities whose prices are falling, he said.

Banner_economic_success“Our Bangladesh business remains very strong. No complaints… I know that our team is focused on ways to do better, and we are doing better on the back of the investments we are making.”

In South Asia, the bank’s position is strong in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal while there are challenges in India.

“But our programme remains the same: to invest in technology and people so that we can become a best-in-class service provider and gradually redeploy our capital to higher returning areas from lower returning areas.”

He said, like in India, the bank has repositioned itself quite well in countries like the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar. He praised Africa, saying the continent offers a fabulous position for the bank.

He said Bangladesh Bank is very professional when it comes to supervision. “As an organisation, they are quite professional. I don’t think there is a supervision deficit in the country,” he said, adding that there is always room for improvement.

When asked about the health of state-run banks in Bangladesh, he said he has seen in a number of markets around the world that when “you have reasonably high level of government interference in a bank, accidents tend to happen.”

RMG-is-the-Basic-rote-of-economical-standardization-for-Bangladesh-economyHe said, during the financial crisis the US government’s interference came in the form of massive subsidies to the US housing market.

“As a result of the subsidies the housing market created the biggest bubble in the financial history, probably. It caused an extraordinary amount of pain everywhere in the world,” he said.

“I am a very strong advocate of governments staying out of markets because when they are getting into markets bad things tend to happen.”

After taking the helm of the British bank, Winters laid out an aggressive strategy to ensure that the bank is financially strong, raised enough capital from shareholders to dispel capital risks and began the process of cleaning up the balance sheet.

He said, in the last one year the bank made great progress and returned to profitability in the first half of 2016. “Our income is growing albeit slowly. Our expenses and risks are under control, and the investments are beginning to bear fruit. We have quite a bright future.

“We are concentrating on getting it right. We don’t have to look further than Bangladesh where we have a strong market with high customer satisfaction.”

He, however, said the bank takes risks and operates in markets that are risky themselves. “I expect to have some higher than normal level of non-performing loans for a bit longer. But it is under control.”

slow-economic-growthBut he said the bank has to be more efficient. Winters has set a target to slash expenses by $3 billion by 2018, and the bank is halfway done and most of that came from trimming the management ranks.

“The flip side of saving the $3 billion is that the bank is investing every penny of the savings back into its business. Half of the investment will go into technology to be the best-in-class digital bank.”

Winters said the bank is already the best in mobile banking and online banking. “We need to automate not just the frontline but also our entire process.”

Winters said the bank is investing in new capabilities and Bangladesh is already a recipient of significant amount of the new investments.

“We are hoping to add branches and corporate client base. We are making investment in technology here. We would like to ensure that we remain at the leading edge of digital banking in Bangladesh.”

Winters said the bank has very strong business in Bangladesh and high customer satisfaction in a growing population. “We are very happy to be part of that.”

Bangladesh is, in some ways, a role model for Standard Chartered, he said. “The country is a core market.”

export-import-growth1Ajay Kanwal, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered for Asean and South Asia region, who was also present during the interview, said it is fair to see that Bangladesh will be among the bank’s top ten markets. “It continues to be a strong investment destination for us.”

Apart from catering for local economy and businesses, the bank is successfully bringing in international businesses, capital and investors to Bangladesh. Half of the capital coming to Bangladesh is coming through Standard Chartered, according to Winters. “We are a big promoter of capital coming into the country and a big promoter of exports going out of the country.”

He said China plans to shift its excess manufacturing capacity and capital to other countries such as Bangladesh.

When the Chinese are looking to finance infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, Pakistan, the UAE, Nigeria or Kenya, the natural partner for them is Standard Chartered because it has a big operation in the world’s second-largest economy and also operates in the countries where China wants to invest in.

“We are a very natural arranger of those sorts of financing. That’s exactly what we are doing.”

Winters said as the remotest part of the population is getting access to digital economy through mobile phones, there is opportunity for the bank to bring in a much larger portion of the unbanked population under the banking operation.

He also thinks that it is not a big issue for Bangladesh that local firms are borrowing from external sources to benefit from low-cost funds.

Abrar A Anwar, CEO of Standard Chartered Bangladesh, said the country’s total debt is 15 percent of its gross domestic product.

“It is very low. Sometimes we wonder whether it is detrimental to our own growth as we have been so conservative and don’t borrow to grow.”

Of the $8 billion that entered Bangladesh’s private sector as loans from international sources, $3.5 billion has been raised by Standard Chartered for power projects, aviation and export-oriented industries.


SEPTEMBER 08, 2016

DAILY STAR logo - black




151230104643-emerging-markets-custom-780x439CHLOE PFEIFFER

A new report from BMI Research has identified the “10 emerging markets of the future” — the countries that are set to become new drivers of economic growth over the next 10 years.

BMI estimates that these countries will cumulatively add $4.3 trillion to global GDP by 2025 — roughly the equivalent of Japan’s current economy.

In general, manufacturing and construction are the sectors that will drive the economies. BMI reports that new manufacturing hubs are set to emerge in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan, and that these countries will see particularly strong growth in exporting manufacturing industries. And construction growth is going to be widespread throughout all the countries — partly to facilitate increases in urban populations and partly to help develop the manufacturing sector.

On the other hand, extractive industries — like mining, oil, and gas — are going to play a far smaller role in driving growth than they have the past 15 years.

While it might provide bright spots for some countries, the report states, “the ubiquitous commodity-driven growth model that was derailed by the 2012-2015 collapse in commodity prices is not coming back.”

Here are the 10 new emerging markets and the sectors that drive their growth:


bangladesh-flagPrimary sector: Agribusiness

Key exports: Garments, agricultural products

2015 GDP growth: 6.4%

Unemployment rate: 4.9%

Exchange rate: 77.42 Bangladeshi taka per US dollar

“Bangladesh’s export-oriented industrial sector already accounts for more than a quarter of GDP and will continue to develop as a global manufacturing hub in the coming years.”


Primary sector: Natural gas

Key exports: Oil, fruits and vegetables, cotton

2015 GDP growth: 4.2%

Unemployment rate: 12.8%

Exchange rate: 7.72 Egyptian pounds per dollar

“We expect continued investment across the housing sector in Egypt, given the almost 1 million additional urban residents per year that we forecast over the next 10 years. There will be some investment in Egypt’s large manufacturing export base in a continuation of recent investment in the autos and food sectors.”


ethiopian-flagPrimary sector: Agribusiness

Key exports: Coffee, oilseeds, vegetables, gold

2015 GDP growth: 10.2%

Unemployment rate: 16.8%

Exchange rate: 21.55 Ethiopian birr per dollar

“Construction to meet rapid urbanisation and ambitious state infrastructure targets will be the main driver of economic growth in Ethiopia … Ethiopia’s construction industry will record the highest growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, averaging real annual growth of 10.7% between 2016 and 2025.”


indonesiaPrimary sector: Agribusiness

Key exports: Mineral fuels, machinery parts

2015 GDP growth: 4.8%

Unemployment rate: 5.5%

Exchange rate: 13,577.6 Indonesian rupiah per dollar

“Growth in Indonesia will be far less commodities-centric than over the past decade, as the mining and oil and gas sectors will stagnate … The government remains committed to developing a manufacturing-based export economy by boosting infrastructure spending and streamlining bureaucracy.”


kenya-flag-768x1366Primary sector: N/A

Key exports: Tea, horticultural products, coffee

2015 GDP growth: 5.6%

Unemployment rate: 40%

Exchange rate: 99.73 Kenyan shillings per dollar

“As Kenya imports almost all of its energy needs, lower average oil prices over the next decade compared to the previous decade will boost both Kenyan consumption and non-energy investment. Growth will be centered in … infrastructure (including renewable energy), financial services and retail trade.”


myanmar_flag_0Primary sector: Mining

Key exports: Natural gas, wood products

2015 GDP growth: 7%

Unemployment rate: 5%

Exchange rate: 1,171.8 Burmese kyat per dollar

“Investment will continue to pour into a range of industries as Myanmar reaps the benefits of substantial political reform enacted since 2010. We believe that the trends of economic liberalisation and political democratisation will remain in place and keep the economy on track for strong growth over the coming years.”


nigeriaPrimary sector: N/A

Key exports: Oil, cocoa

2015 GDP growth: 2.7%

Unemployment rate: 23.9%

Exchange rate: 196.9 Nigerian naira per dollar

“The significant growth that we forecast for Nigeria’s economy will be principally driven by the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy. Financial services are a bright spot due to the relatively low penetration of financial services in the country. Retail sales will grow strongly, though mostly in the low value goods segment due to the fact that essentials spending remaining at around three quarters of total household income.”


pakistanPrimary sector: Agribusiness, oil

Key exports: Textiles, rice

2015 GDP growth: 4.2%

Unemployment rate: 6.5%

Exchange rate: 101.45 Pakistani rupees per dollar

“Pakistan will develop as manufacturing hub over the coming years, with the textile and automotive sectors posting the fastest growth at the beginning of our forecast period. Domestic manufacturing investment will be boosted by the windfall from lower energy prices compared to the last decade, and improved domestic energy supply.”


philippinesPrimary sector: N/A

Key exports: Semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment

2015 GDP growth: 5.8%

Unemployment rate: 6.3%

Exchange rate: 45.503 Philippine pesos per dollar

“Key sectors will include autos and construction. Robust private consumption and a booming construction sector will translate into growing demand for both passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles … Ongoing economic and business environment reforms, such as an anti-corruption drive, have made the Philippines more conducive for investment.”


vietnam-1242275_960_720Key exports: Clothes, shoes, electronics

2015 GDP growth: 6.7%

Unemployment rate: 3%

Exchange rate: 21,928 Vietnamese dong per dollar

“We expect the manufacturing and construction sectors to outperform… thus helping to underpin growth in the broader industrial sector. These sectors will remain attractive to foreign investors, owing to relatively low labour costs [and] the government’s gradual relaxation of foreign ownership restrictions rules.”


JULY 10, 2016





rtx17q7kSun Online Desk

Latest research by major global rating agency identified Bangladesh as the toppers among leading ’10 emerging markets of the future’ — the countries that are set to become new drivers of economic growth over the next 10 years .

On Thursday, Business Insider reports, according to recent by Fitch Ratings’ BMI Research firm, new manufacturing hubs are set to emerge in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan, and other seven countries will see particularly strong growth in exporting manufacturing industries.

BMI Research estimates that these countries will cumulatively add $4.3 trillion to global GDP by 2025 — roughly the equivalent of Japan’s current economy.

7-opyFitch Ratings Inc. is one of the “Big Three credit rating agencies”, the other two being Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

“Bangladesh’s export-oriented industrial sector already accounts for more than a quarter of GDP and will continue to develop as a global manufacturing hub in the coming years.”


JULY 07, 2016






Atradius picks the top 8 markets for business opportunities in 2016. These emerging markets have been showing strong performances over the past three years and are expected to improve further in 2016.

Economic conditions across emerging markets deteriorated sharply in 2015. The headwinds facing these markets are likely to continue into 2016. There are, however, some clear bright spots that are bucking the trend and showing strong performance. These are the markets with great opportunities for businesses.

Why are these markets doing so well?

Emerging markets in the spotlight

Supportive policies – In general these are all markets that have stable political conditions combined with decent macroeconomic policies. For example Peru has developed strong institutions and Colombia has recently become much safer making government policies more effective.

Commodity importers – Most of these markets benefit from the lower commodity prices, such as oil and metals, as they heavily rely on import. India, for instance, imports 75% of its oil and saved an estimated USD 2.5 billion in 2015 on fuel subsidies.

Growing middle class – These markets show strong internal dynamics with rising investment and a growing middle class. The total population in Kenya, for example, has grown by 50% over the past fifteen years, boosting the domestic economy.

Best performing sectors in these markets

Opportunities by sector

Chemicals and plastics

In India, with further growth in industrial activity and an improving performance outlook for key end-user segments, import demand for plastics and chemical goods is expected to remain strong.


In Peru, construction is a growth sector due to continued investment by the Peruvian Government. In Kenya and Tanzania dedicated construction businesses from abroad could benefit from infrastructure growth, including the building of new ports.

Retail, consumer durables and electronics

gdp-groth-2016The Asian markets of Bangladesh, India and Vietnam all provide business opportunities for exporters in the consumer durables and electronics segments, due to increasing disposable incomes, urbanisation and rising living standards. India’s retail market is expected to nearly double to USD 1 trillion by 2020 from USD 600 billion in 2015. In Vietnam there is a perceived preference for foreign brands, deemed to be of better quality and hygiene standards.

Colombia is expected to be the most attractive retail market in Latin America for foreign investors over the next five years, with private consumption forecast to remain a major driver of economic growth and as formalisation in the industry will increase (about 50% of total food retail still account for the informal retail sector).

At the same time ICT is one of the most promising growth sectors in Peru, as the penetration rate in this market is still low: only 30% of population have access to internet service. In Vietnam, the government supports the increase of household PC penetration in rural areas.

Machinery and capital goods

rmg-summit-2014A growing economy and increased infrastructure investments  provide export opportunities for machinery and capital goods businesses in India, Vietnam, Kenya and Tanzania. However, in the two latter markets price competition from Asian machinery businesses is high.

Pharmaceuticals and medical devices

Vietnam is expected to become a growth market for pharmaceuticals, as the government aims to improve the health system. Vietnam has a large, yet unmet need for healthcare and medical devices, and continued major investment is required.


JANUARY 20, 2016





Economic-Zones-Attracting-investment-for-growthKAYES SOHEL

Bangladesh’s export-oriented industrial sector already accounts for more than a quarter of GDP and will continue to develop as a global manufacturing hub in the coming years

Bangladesh has been named one of 10 emerging markets that are set become new drivers of global economic growth over the next 10 years.

BMI Research report says the economy is heading for impressive growth, lifted by the apparel and construction sectors.

fitchThe report released last month by the US-based research firm of the Fitch Group has identified Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan as “10 emerging markets of the future.”

The countries will add about $4.3tn to the global gross domestic product by 2025, providing significant opportunities for investors and roughly the equivalent of Japan’s current economy, the report said.

gdp-groth-2016“Bangladesh’s export-oriented industrial sector already accounts for more than a quarter of GDP and will continue to develop as a global manufacturing hub in the coming years,” according to the report.

In general, manufacturing and construction are the sectors that will drive the economies.

BMI reports that new manufacturing hubs are set to emerge in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan, and that these countries will see particularly strong growth in exporting manufacturing industries.

And construction growth is going to be widespread throughout all the countries — partly to facilitate increases in urban populations and partly to help develop the manufacturing sector, it said.

bangladesh-inflation-cpiOn the other hand, extractive industries — like mining, oil, and gas — are going to play a far smaller role in driving growth than they have in the past 15 years.

While it might provide bright spots for some countries, the report stated: “The ubiquitous commodity-driven growth model that was derailed by the 2012-15 collapse in commodity prices is not coming back.”

Growth_Gaining_Pace“In order to shortlist the countries, we considered those with per capita income of about $3,500 and below, that enjoy strong enough economic and political institutions to enact reforms, are set to enjoy rapid economic growth, boast a potentially large domestic market and have an infrastructure deficit that will lead to productivity-enhancing investment,” it explained.

6316432-flag-of-bangladesh-national-country-symbol-illustration-finance-economy-dollarBMI said a large domestic market implies strong growth opportunities for consumer industries.

“Moreover, large populations will provide significant opportunities for infrastructure and construction as urbanization rates rise,” it said.

RMG-is-the-Basic-rote-of-economical-standardization-for-Bangladesh-economyStronger institutions are typically associated with better policymaking, the protection of property rights and reform, which help to underpin growth, it added.

The think tank said the countries that experience strong economic growth will provide strong investment opportunities and returns.


JULY 14, 2016





bangabandhu_return_after_9_months_of_detention_by_saidulislam-d71imxmSHABBIR AHMED

The students of history of South Asia know it too well that the partition of India into two nations did not bode well for us, the inhabitants of the then East Pakistan.Punjabi clique ruled our motherland for a long time and that includes the military and the communal forces of Pakistan. These Islam-based communal forces tried to suppress the secular political and cultural tradition of our ancestral homeland. To implement their sectarian Islamic Ummaism, the communal ruling class of Pakistan denied the right of the Bengalis to use their language in the state of Pakistan. Even the communal ruling class tried to ban and restrict the cultural activities of our people. Most of the non-communal political and intellectual forces of erstwhile East Pakistan were frustrated under the rule of the communal system of Pakistan.

At that time, Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman organized the secular and non-communal intellectuals and other social forces of our motherland to stand against the military and their allied fundamentalist “Muslim Leaguers” of Pakistan. He received a full support (except a few pro-Pakistani collaborators) for the political and cultural freedom of the Bengalis. He continued his relentless struggle and suffered for a long time in the jails of Pakistan.

Father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur RahmanIt was possible for a towering and charismatic leader like Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to unite our people against the communal ruling classes of Pakistan, who were using Islam at all levels to keep our motherland under their Ummatic system. Bongobondhu was a believer in Islam but opposed to the use of Islam in politics. That is precisely why the first parliament in Bangladesh wrote the constitution that banned all the Islamic political parties. Bongobondhu had this farsightedness to realize that the aspirations of Bengalis could never be met by the religious traders who kowtowed the ruling Punjabi clique from the then West Pakistan.

Unfortunately, after Bangladesh’s independence the banning of the communal politics using Islam did not prevent the pro-Islamic political goons from continuing destructive politics by joining hands with many other extremists. Most of the cadres of the Islamic parties went underground. At the same time, the Maoists/communists formed underground political parties with armed cadres to carry on armed revolution inside our motherland.

Prime Minister Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the parliament, 1973.In the aftermath of the independence of Bangladesh, all these underground extremists created a terrible condition in the newly born republic. Even the ultra-leftists formed political parties and their armed wings (such as Gonobahini) to implement “scientific socialism,” a term not quite clear even to the proponents. To protect the country and its independence, Bongobondhu took a temporary measure to unite all the pro-liberation forces of our motherland under Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BKSAL).

Unfortunately, he along with most of the members of his family was murdered before he could  implement the programs under BAKSAL. In the wake of the independence of Bangladesh, there was a need for bringing stability in the country before allowing free-will politics. However, Bongobondhu was a leader who believed in multi-party political system. That is why, immediately after the independence he allowed political activities of all parties except the Islamic parties that performed genocide and spread communalism in Bangladesh under the occupation of Pakistani army for nine long months in 1971.

bangabandhu-comilla-military-academyAt a later stage, it was necessary to go for a restricted democracy due to the extremists of the armed wings of the communists and the defeated Islamic forces. But disregarding the restricted democracy under BKSAL, one would find pragmatism for the development of the future of Bangladesh under the leadership of Bongobondhu. The administrative reforms that were supposed to take place under BKSAL would have brought significant effects on the condition of Bangladesh.

BANGABANDHU NAVY 7All the districts were supposed to be getting autonomy under a representative executive body headed by the governor. Under this system, most of the development programs could have been implemented directly by the district administration. The bureaucratic system under the secretariat was supposed to be cut down to a minimum level. The central ministry was supposed to be mostly providing funds to the districts. The agricultural reforms could have brought self-sufficiency in food a long time ago. It was planned to cultivate under cooperatives where the government would provide modern equipments and other resources. According to the plan, the owner, the government (for providing resources), and the laborer (for providing labor) would get the share of the
production. A massive plan was undertaken to bring all the lands (including the ones that are not cultivated by the owner) under cultivation.

Bangabandhu and his cabinet after the Liberation WarUnfortunately, Bongobondhu  was  not able to materialize his vision of reforms especially in administration and agriculture because of his assassination by a few disgruntled army officers. It is noteworthy that the disgruntled army officers first declared Bangladesh an Islamic republic after the assassination of Bongobondhu. The Wahhabi hate kingdom “Saudi Arabia” and their partner Pakistan recognized Bangladesh only after the death of our great leader Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

7036_303280559807323_972374549_nMany researchers in Bangladesh and abroad wrote on the life and politics of Bongobondhu. Of them, Dr. Habibur Rahman, wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Independence of Bangladesh” in 1989. Based on his Ph.D. research, Dr. Rahman later wrote a book titled “Bangladesher Obvhuddhoy O Sheikh Mujib (Rise of Bangladesh and Sheikh Mujib)” in 1991 (City Press and Publishers, Dhaka, Bangladesh). In the preface, Dr. Emaj Uddin Ahmed (a former vice chancellor of Dhaka University) wrote on Bongobondhu as “a leader ever memorable like Mahatma Gandhi, Sukornao, Kamal Pasha, et al.”

mujibIn this book, Dr. Rahman wrote elaborately and neutrally like a researcher on the rule under Pakistan and the political programs and organization under the leadership of Bonbondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Especially, he wrote about the difficulties encountered by the government under Bongobondhu in the post-war Bangladesh. He mentioned about the destructive activities of the opportunists in his own party and the extremists belonging to the armed wings of different underground political parties. Despite the failures in controlling the chaotic condition in the post-war Bangladesh, Dr. Rahman wrote about some far reaching successes of the government. In particular, he highlighted the decision of the government in taking over the financial responsibilities of all the primary schools in the villages and tax exemption for the poor farmers (up to 25 bighas of land).

We can come to know from his research that the government for the first time provided forty thousand power pumps, ten thousand shallow pumps, and three thousand deep pumps to the farmers of Bangladesh. Dr. Rahman elaborately mentioned about the programs (under BKSAL) taken by then government a bit early to eradicate poverty and hunger through massive cooperative programs in the agro-based areas in the villages throughout Bangladesh.

bangabandhu-in-islamic-summit-1974Those who observed Bongobondhu closely and studied his policies and rule, gives overall positive high marks for his sincerity to eradicate poverty and communal Islamic politics from the soil of Bangladesh. It is a tragedy that the people of Bangladesh lost such a great leader only after three and half years of the independence of Bangladesh. All the Bengalis regard him as the founder and the father of the nation of Bangladesh except a few followers of the military rulers and the followers of the political Mullahs who were our Fifth Columnists.

The descendants of the communal forces ideologically attached to the Mullah-Military alliance of Pakistan and Bangladesh try to create controversy on Bongobondhu. In fact, their followers are now in the catbird seat of power. They are the ones who are re-writing the textbooks to inject confusion amongst the future generations of Bangladesh. But, they won’t be able to succeed because it is the “truth” that ultimately will prevail.

bangabandhu-231Bongobondhu’s contribution for Bengalis will remain afresh in the minds of millions of people. It is a small wonder that in a BBC survey he was voted as number one Bengali to set foot in this mortal world.


The writer , a researcher and  commentator, writes from Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
SEPTEMBER 08, 2016


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bangabandhu-immortalSAIFUL ISLAM AZAD

This year the nation observed the 41st death anniversary of the founder of Bangladesh, the Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. On August 15, 1975 he was brutally murdered by a group of assassins, along with most of his family members. On the darkest day of our history, the loving and affectionate Begum Mujib, her sons and their newly married wives, 10-year-old Russel, and other members of the family were killed.

We mourn this loss more and more with each passing year, as his towering image dawns on our mind and consciousness, with greater relevance — and we express our wrath and abhorrence towards the disgruntled military officials who were involved in the massacre, more with each passing year.

It is true that a bullet can kill a human’s life, but it cannot kill the ideologies, thoughts, and achievements of a man like Mujib as he was a rare personality in contemporary history. He was a statesman — handsome, charismatic, confident, popular, simple, farsighted, and patriotic.

540464_409014129148865_1125195452_nNewsweek Magazine on April 5, 1971, following the declaration of independence on March 26, 1971, said: “Tall for a Bengali (he stood at 5 feet 11 inches), with a touch of graying hair, a bushy moustache, and alter black eyes — Mujib can attract a crowd of million people to his rallies and hold them spellbound with great rolling waves of emotional rhetoric. He is a poet of politics. So his style may be just what was needed to unite all the classes and ideologies of the region.”

Time Magazine, on January 17, 1972, wrote: “The history of the Indian sub-continent for the past half-century has been dominated by leaders who were as controversial as they were charismatic — Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and Jawaharlal Nehru. Another name now seems likely to join the list, Sheikh Mujibur (“Mujib”) Rahman, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.”

BANGABANDHU SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN AND THE SAUDI KING FAISALThe great modern Bengali novelist Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay said: “From the ocean of time, the eastern part of Bangladesh — otherwise known as East Bengal or East Pakistan — is emerging with a new spirit, a new aura, in a new magnificent figure. She is borne up on the head, deity-like, by the 75 million people of East Bengal.

Mujib was such a revolutionary leader that his name and fame spread worldwide. The Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro said: ‘I have not seen the Himalayas. But I have seen Sheikh Mujib. In personality and in courage, this man is the Himalayas’

IWDRFGTYH“Their leader is Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the friend of Bengal. A historical conflict has drawn to a close and a new chapter is being written.”

Mujib was indeed a popular leader who had reached the pinnacle of political fame and authority by the hard work of ceaselessly addressing the people’s problems, and not by whining about his own misfortunes.

bangabandhu-with-BREZNEVJames J Novak said: “Sheikh Mujib brought an immediacy to the political environment. He never tired the people by sophisticated ploys or half-measures. He had no love for the government office.”

bangabandhu-with-marshall-titoNovak portrayed Mujib’s personality by saying: “As for the Sheikh, hard work shaped his style. Indefatigable, he walked across fields from village to village, and mingled with the people, sharing their rice, dal and salt, remembering names, praying at mosques, sweating in fields, visiting flood sites, weeping at funerals and milads.

He empathised mightily, instituted sympathetically, and reached out and touched — not golf clubs and club chairs but the people’s sweaty hands. He knew what the people believed because he could explain things not only in terms they could understand but in one they respected. Knowing that, they believed he did not need to lie.”

bangabandhu-immortal-2Mujib was such a revolutionary leader that his name and fame spread worldwide. The Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro said: “I have not seen the Himalayas. But I have seen Sheikh Mujib. In personality and in courage, this man is the Himalayas.”

Castro made these observations after he met Bangabandhu in 1973 during the Non-Aligned Summit in Algiers. His remarks reflect the height of respect Bangabandhu commanded, internationally.

Journalist Cyril Dunn of the London Observer said: “In the 1,000-year history of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujib is the only leader who has, in terms of blood, race, language, culture, and birth, been a full-blood Bengali. His voice was redolent of thunder. His charisma worked as magic on people. The courage and charm that flowed from him made him a unique superman in this time.”

mujibIt was Bangabandhu who brought freedom to this land named Bangladesh, which never existed as a free state in greater Bengal before.

This portion of Bengal was once part of Vanga, Samatata, and Pundra State and it was also part of large empires such as the Maurya Empire and Gupta Empire, and part of the regional Buddhist Pala Empire (8th-11th century) and Sena Empire (11th–12th century).

Thirteenth century onward, the region was controlled by the Bengal Sultanate, Hindu kings, and Baro-Bhuyans landlords under the suzerainty of the Mughal Empire, until the British East India Company took control of the region from the Mughals in the late 18th century.

The historic homecoming day of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur RahmanThe greater Bengal was divided during India’s independence in 1947 along religious lines into two separate entities: West Bengal (a state of India) and East Bengal, a part of the newly created dominion of Pakistan that later became the independent nation of Bangladesh in 1971.

After the pre-historic period till 1971, no leader or king ruled this part of Bengal (Bangladesh) as an independent state. And no ruler was a Bangalee like Bangabandhu in terms of blood, race, language, culture, and birth.

We know about many kings who were prone to extend their state’s area, but they never thought or fought for the freedom of the people like Bangabandhu did.

As a human being he had too much belief and confidence in his people for whom he struggled his entire life, not realising that all good people had enemies. History will remember him as a person who loved his country and its people — unconditionally.


AUGUST 20, 2016


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