July 14, 2024, 7:44 pm

Dr. Kazi S. M. Khasrul Alam Quddusi

2023-11-22 02:26:46 BdST

DOWN TO EARTHThe H (Hasina) Factor

Admittedly, Sheikh Hasina, for her determination, steadfastness and resilience, has become a factor not only locally but also on the global stage. Her leadership style has become so riveting that her aura and influence must be given a title. I dare to call it the H (Hasina) factor.

Yes, defying all the odds home and abroad, Sheikh Hasina, the indomitable and invincible daughter of the Father of the Nation, stands tall and resolute like, allegorically speaking, a rock-solid monument.

Who does not know that she has gone through pains and gains, ups and downs and endured almost all the tribulations in the world? She was left uncared for after the brutal assassination of her illustrious father at the hands of the beneficiaries.

She moved from door to door for small support. Even state-sponsored attempts were made to assassinate her and abolish her party. And, the number of such attempts is just staggering.

She has weathered as many as 19 assassination attempts over the years. The 21 August 2004 grenade attack was the worst and most heinous of them, which was spearheaded by the then ruling party stalwarts.

However, her lifelong experience of facing up to challenges, superb intuition, as well as ingenuity to overcome the challenges, has turned her into a triumphant gladiator. Her revival is just like a Phoenix bird and her political career is nothing short of a fairy tale.

Thus, it does not look awkward when she openly claims that it is not easy to overthrow her and that is possible only by killing her for which she is ever ready.

Can anyone doubt her intrepid character?

Her detractors must be thinking that she has had an unwritten deed with the angel of death. Though politics is indispensable for nation-building, some people in the country gave it the shape of a mischievous and treacherous game.

They thought that they would outshine the daughter of the great yet forgiving father. However, the daughter was made of a different texture and had a mindset of not being as lenient as her father and served the conspirators with a medicine that tasted terribly sour. The Providence might have a different scheme of things altogether.

The ones who wished to eliminate her by force did not even visualise the consequences of the game they were playing.

Since 2009, to be precise, Sheikh Hasina has been constantly at the helm of the country with notable success stories in many sectors. To be candid, the party, Awami League, which led the Liberation War, now relies heavily on the monolith named Sheikh Hasina. Nothing significant takes place without her inkling or consent. All the leaders of her party look up to her for almost all the crucial decisions.

Many cashed in on her excellence and fondness. However, few were able to follow in her footsteps and advance the cause she was enamoured of. Some even brought disrepute. Nothing, however, could dishearten her to the level of being let down. She is just not ready to leave anything half-done. Enlightened boldness exudes from her in the face of troublesome and turbulent situations.

The Time Magazine recently depicted her in the following manner: “At 76 years old and silver-haired, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister is a political phenomenon who has guided the rise of this nation of 170 million from rustic jute producer into the Asia-Pacific’s fastest-expanding economy over the past decade.

In office since 2009, after an earlier term from 1996 to 2001, she is the world’s longest-serving female head of government.” The above feat is unlikely to be emulated soon.

The Time Magazine also lauded Sheikh Hasina by saying: “Hasina’s economic achievements are impressive.

Bangladesh has gone from struggling to feed its people to a food exporter with a GDP rising from $71 billion in 2006 to $460 billion in 2022, making it South Asia’s second-largest economy after India. Social indicators have also improved, with 98% of girls today receiving primary education.”

The government under the able and tested leadership of Sheikh Hasina launched ‘Making Vision 2041 a Reality: Perspective Plan of Bangladesh 2021-2041’ to achieve specific goals by 2041.

The goals include eliminating extreme poverty and reaching Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) status by 2031, and High-Income Country (HIC) status by 2041.

As things stand now, Sheikh Hasina is not inclined to think of anything that can divert her vision. It is expected and feasible that the goals will be materialised by 2041. The per capita income of Bangladesh in 1987 was half that of Pakistan, and in 2007 it was two-thirds that of India.

However, Bangladesh surpassed both India and Pakistan in 2020 in this regard. Bangladesh has exhibited to the world a remarkable story of poverty reduction and development.

The World Bank could not but acknowledge it during Bangladesh's golden jubilee in 2021. In fact, the two major initiatives of Sheikh Hasina's government, Vision 2021 and Vision 2041, have helped the nation make admirable progress over the past ten years.

The development of Bangladesh is not just a coincidence. It has been achieved through the struggle of the ordinary people, and the competent and resourceful leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paved the way for it.

The Time Magazine has very rightly pointed out that Bangladesh is the largest single contributor to U.N. peacekeepers and regularly joins exercises with the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and that its vibrant diaspora is essential to business and artistic communities across Asia, Europe and the Americas. To be candid, Bangladesh's growing importance in the global scene will definitely give more confidence and credence to Sheikh Hasina.

It bears repeating that fear of demise does not perturb the towering leader of Bangladesh and this is really assuring for the for the nation. Things would have been all the rosier had she opted to enforce draconian rule against the corrupt and self-seeking elements.

Time is, however, not yet over to take recourse to that route. She must be eyeing such a role in her next tenure in office. The countrymen are raring to see such a turn of this phenomenal leader.

The writer is a Professor, Department of Public Administration, University of Chittagong

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