Today is the 76th birthday of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the indomitable leader of Bangladesh, a deserving world leader, and eldest daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman; she brings to our mind her political wisdom and personality, by which she has taken herself to a stage where no political figure could from a country like Bangladesh ever imagine.
She has established herself as a global leader by driving enormous national development and contributing substantially to numerous international concerns over the past decade. She is steadfastly committed to realizing her father’s vision of a “Golden Bangla.” Last Friday, she spoke before the UN General Assembly (UNGA) for a record-breaking 19th time. Bangladesh has advanced to new heights under her astute leadership and extensive knowledge of world affairs.
On September 28, 1947, Sheikh Hasina was born at Tungipara in today’s Gopalganj district. People worldwide revere her for being a brilliant global leader and an inspiration to billions of women. Sheikh Hasina covered a wide range of topics in her 19 speeches at the UNGA, including the dream of a digital Bangladesh that is self-sufficient in food, advanced in education, health, and gender parity, and free from the scourge of poverty and climate change. Over the years at UNGA, she continuously emphasized “zero tolerance” for extremism and terrorism and had a laudable accomplishment in reducing terrorism in Bangladesh. She has indeed shown that she is a man of words.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently encouraged the international community to cease the arms race, war, and sanctions to build a peaceful world in her 19th address to the UNGA, emphasizing the significance of dialogue in resolving crises and conflicts. Sheikh Hasina’s speech at the 77th session of the UNGA significantly addressed peace and stability, climate change, food insecurity, the Covid-19 pandemic, Palestine, and migration difficulties, among other topics affecting the global as well as Bangladeshi perspectives.
She focused on SDGs, climate change, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, peace, combat against cybercrime and cyber-violence, etc. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the United Nations and world leaders to take effective action for the sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas. According to the Prime Minister, the Bangladeshi economy, ecology, security, and sociopolitical stability have all suffered significantly due to the Rohingyas’ protracted stay in Bangladesh.
Recently, Myanmar seems to get involved in armed conflicts with Bangladesh in the name of controlling rebels. Sheikh Hasina declared to not let any terrorist or insurgent use Bangladeshi soil to disturb peace in the region after executing Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Treaty. She is very committed and firm on that promise. Hence, Bangladesh remained on the road to progress and played a vital role in protecting regional peace under her visionary leadership.
Sheikh Hasina accomplished a lot during her political career. After the brutal killing of Bangabandhu, she had to endure a life of refugee for six years. In 1981, she returned to Bangladesh in the face of severe adversity and challenges imposed by the then autocratic regime. She took charge of her father’s party firmly and, through democratic movement, came into power after 21 years of Bangabandhu’s killing. She has presided over the Awami League for 41 years in a row. For more than 18 years, she has served as the nation’s prime minister. Throughout this journey, she faced 21 attempts but never lost her courage and willpower. Securing the nation’s unparalleled socio-economic development is one of Sheikh Hasina’s greatest triumphs. Bangladesh was a lower-income nation when she became its prime. Because of her leadership, the country graduated from LDC. The GDP and per capita income have increased dramatically over a short period, outpacing several South Asian nations. Bangladesh has transformed into ‘Digital Bangladesh’ under her leadership. Her protection of respect and completion of the Padma Bridge using internal resources is another outstanding accomplishment. Trials of war criminals and those responsible for the murder of Bangabandhu will be documented as her courageous achievements.
She committed to the full electrification of the country and succeeded in doing so. She has stated that there will be no homeless people in the nation during the ‘Mujib Year,’ and her government is making quick progress toward that goal. She conducted the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Treaty in her first term. Under her leadership, the longstanding maritime dispute between Bangladesh and Myanmar ended after the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea gave its final verdict on 14 March 2012. Moreover, the 2015 LBA was signed on 6 June 2015 in Bangladesh during her reign. The historic agreement facilitated the transfer of 111 enclaves, adding up to 17,160.63 acres, from India to Bangladesh.
Sheikh Hasina is a great sports patron as she is often found on the field enjoying matches in Bangladesh. She honors and adores the sportsmen and sportswomen. Her government is in the process of establishing a stadium in each district and Upazila. Moreover, her government supports religious activities too. Selecting model mosques in each District and Upazila is a massive work. Sheikh Hasina provided recognition of ‘Kaomi’ madrasa and their certificates which will allow the religiously educated students to come into the mainstream and reduce the risk of religious fundamentalism. Along with that, she is a great advocate for women’s development. She declared at the UN to ensure gender equity in Bangladesh.
In her political career, she has essentially accomplished everything and demonstrated her dedication to the welfare of the populace. Now, she may fight corruption for the remainder of her current tenure as prime minister. Corruption, according to Bangabandhu, was the main vice impeding Bangladesh’s growth. He constantly brought it up in numerous speeches, like; January 25, 1975, and March 26, 1975, speeches he gave across the nation between 1972 and 1975. And to create a secular, corruption-free, welfare Bangladesh, he began his campaign for the Second Revolution in 1975. However, on August 15, 1975, he was brutally assassinated, and the Second Revolution ended abruptly. It is, therefore, time for Sheikh Hasina to launch a war on corruption, following in her father’s footsteps.
Sheikh Hasina had won admiration for her consideration of human rights in international forums. As per the recent declaration at the UN and a survey conducted by Singapore-based research firm ‘The Statistics International,’ Sheikh Hasina is the second best prime minister in the world. On September 12, 2019, the renowned Diplomat Magazine from the Netherlands released its issue, which included a cover story about PM Hasina with the heading “Sheikh Hasina: The Mother of Humanity,” praising her decision to shelter the brutally tortured Rohingyas from Myanmar on Bangladeshi soil. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was ranked number 43 on the Forbes list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World in 2021. The Daily Leadership, one of Nigeria’s most significant newspapers, has described her as one of the world’s most stern leaders. Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in 2018 includes her. She is also among one of the top 10 thinkers in the world in the field of “Defense and Security.” She was listed among the leading 100 intellectuals in the world by the esteemed publication Foreign Policy.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken the lead in addressing international challenges while implementing dynamic development projects at home. She received more than 50 accolades and recognitions for her dynamic leadership. She transformed herself into a brave leader, the mother of humanity, and a world leader during her voyage. Additionally, she elevated Bangladesh to a position of distinction in front of a global audience by transforming it into a role model for growth.
Bangabandhu, unfortunately, had only three and half years as the leader of independent Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina, fortunately, received much more than that in power. Though many questions her remaining in power for 14 straight years, the only thing that matters is if her leadership is bringing good to the country or the people, and Sheikh Hasina is the most successful leader of Bangladesh in that consideration. She is chasing her father’s dream at a great pace and hopefully will complete the rest of the task with utmost focus, and her name will be written in golden letters in the history of Bangladesh.
Sheikh Hasina has taken herself and Bangladesh to such a position that she is not comparable to any other leaders, considering the constraint this country has to overcome. Being at such a height, she has nothing to lose. Hence, she must focus on achieving the rest of the goals in front of her, like; eliminating corruption, establishing democratic practices inside and outside her party, ensuring social security for the people, drastic aesthetic improvement of the country, etc.
She has remained steadfast in her ideals and beliefs, did not panic in danger, and has overcome adversity. Even after being in power for a long time, egoism and intimacy did not get her. She kept her feet on the ground all the time. Impossibly brave again fiercely compassionate. One point to be noted is that she has no mercy for rogues or thugs.
But on the other hand, she opens her heart and is very kind to the oppressed. Most importantly, she understands the language of the people. She understands and foresees the hopes of the people and their aspirations. When the heads of state or government go the distance of the stars from the people, development activities cannot be active. Sheikh Hasina is quite the opposite. She picked up the phone from strangers and listened to them. As a result, she has established a connection with the people. Even she has shown her kindness to BNP Leader Khaleda Zia, a convicted under Bangladesh court for corruption. That is why Sheikh Hasina’s popularity has not diminished even after being in power for over a decade. Instead, she is the one who has no choice now. Sheikh Hasina is like Bangladesh now. All the country’s people believe that Sheikh Hasina is Sheikh Hasina’s alternative.
The most significant aspect of Sheikh Hasina is her passion for her countrymen. Her political insight, integrity, commitment, patriotism, and ability to lead in the global arena give us confidence that Bangladesh was given exemplary leadership at the right moment. Bangladesh has many more to achieve, and we hope those achievements also come holding her strong hands.
My sincere Tribute to Prime Minister Sheikh on her 76th birthday. I wish her a long life to steer Bangladesh into a developed country, free from militancy, poverty, and fundamentalism. She has to live long for the country, the region, and the peacekeeping people of the world.
Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu.
Joyetu Sheikh Hasina.