People can take pride in progress of an independent Bangladesh

People can take pride in progress of an independent Bangladesh

25th March night was the moment of truth when Bengalis faced a demonic power of the Pakistan military. It was that night when brave Bengalis, irrespective of religious faiths and gender, decided to fight for independence on the basis of inspirational historic speech of 7th March by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Their grim determination to fight emanated from the darkest hour of 25th March night.

On 25th March the lamps went out all over Bangladesh and on 26th March, we witnessed lamps again being brightly lit.

Although it was the darkest hour of Bengalis, on 26th March we were made to feel not only powerful but also morally righteous to fight against the oppressors. The Liberation War commenced against injustice, tyranny, brutality, oppression and gross violation of fundamental human rights. International community and media supported our liberation movement. India and European powers including the Soviet Union were sympathetic to us at the critical time of our history.

Eventually we became victorious and became an independent and sovereign country on 16th December 1971, We can be proud of Bangladesh’s achievements during the last forty three years. We have some failures but our successes outweigh failures.

In the United Pakistan, Bengalis who constituted 56% of the total population cried out for justice and fairplay. They were deprived of economic gains and political power in a planned way by the minority. History has it that 94% of the total revenue was spent in West Pakistan. The annual rate of growth of the GDP in the 60s was 4.4 percent in West Pakistan versus just 2.6 percent in East Pakistan.

After independence, Bangladesh has been a dynamic nation against all odds. The World Bank has said Bangladesh has maintained an impressive track record on growth and development and had shown what could be achieved by working across sectors to pursue smart policies.

Poverty dropped by nearly a third, coupled with increased life expectancy, literacy, and per capita food intake. More than 15 million Bangladeshis have moved out of poverty since 1992.

US Ambassador Dan Mozena reportedly said his country’s former National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger’s remark “Bangladesh is a bottomless basket” was totally wrong.

Bangladesh has already met a few MDGs such as poverty reduction, gender parity at primary and secondary education and reduction in children’s mortality rate and is well track to reach other MDGs. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen reportedly remarked that Bangladesh was above India in all social indicators.

The private entrepreneurs have shown imagination innovation and creativity. There are hundreds of industrialists in the country and $27.6 billion in 2013 was earned through exports. A HSBC report recently predicts exports would grow to 15% a year. Presently 8 million migrant male and women workers are employed in many countries and the remittances from them stood at $15 billion in 2013.

The hardworking farmers have given the nation bumper crops for several years and Bangladesh now grows about 35 million tons of rice. Boro—Aman and Aus (in 1971 it was only 10.59 million).

Women in the country are found in all sectors of professions and careers from judges to parliamentarians, to police and military officers to doctors, academics, lawyers and business women. The Prime minister, the speaker of parliament and the leader of the opposition in parliament including the head of one of the largest parties (BNP) are women and so also are many ministers.

Women have come out in large numbers to work in the garment factory, women take loan from micro credit organizations and run their small business, in rural areas and are now elected in the rural bodies. . Women have conquered Mount Everest.

The income of villagers has increased and the lives of people in villages have been transformed with availability of mobile phones, cable TV and electricity. Roads are accessible for all weather period from Teknaaf to Tetulia.

Robust civil societies have become a buffer between people and misuse or abuse of power of governmental agencies. NGOs have supplemented the development efforts including reduction of poverty and illiteracy.

The region’s leadership recognises that Bangladesh is capable to help in the strategic evolution taking place in the region. Bangladesh is an important component in regional BCIM (Bangladesh India, Myanmar and China) economic corridor.

Bangladesh’s success in international diplomacy is manifest from that it has become members of the executive committees of many UN agencies and contributed its personnel both male and female to 36 UN peacekeeping missions. Bangladesh earned praise from the UN Secretary General for this significant contrition to global peace.

On this day, Bangladesh’s report card, on the whole, can be considered as positive. Many suggest it could have been much better. One of the impediments appears to be the confrontational nature of national politics and governance. We all hope the political baton will pass on to next generation who will shun this type of environment for further progress and prosperity of the country.

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