Bangabandhu never lost hope, and instead chose to focus on the collective will and resilience of the Bangladeshi people in transforming this poor, broken country into one that would prosper and thrive
March 17 is a very special day for the people of Bangladesh. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation, was born on this day, 101 years ago. A man of incredible courage who always stood for equality, dignity, and justice, Bangabandhu’s love and devotion for his country was always his first priority, and his ultimate vision was always to transform this nation he called home, Bangladesh, into Sonar Bangla, where every citizen of the country would lead a life of dignity, respect, and fulfillment.
Bangabandhu is the reason that Bangladesh even exists, for it was his incredible leadership leading up to the Liberation War, and his inspiring words in the historic March 7 speech, that galvanized the entire country. His leadership allowed Bangladesh to, despite all odds, defeat the oppressive regime of Pakistan and emerge as a free, independent nation.
We must remember, however, that Bangabandhu inherited a country and a people that were war-torn, ravaged, and lacking any physical and social infrastructure, regulatory institutions, or a functional civic society. Despite that, Bangabandhu never lost hope, and instead chose to focus on the collective will and resilience of the Bangladeshi people in transforming this poor, broken country into one that would prosper and thrive.
This will and this resilience have become hallmarks and a signature trait of the people of Bangladesh over the years, yet, without Bangabandhu’s faith in the people despite the insurmountable odds during our inception as a nation, we may never have found this resilience and will to overcome our challenges.
It is through the understanding of Bangabandhu’s values that Bangladesh will continue to not only exist, but thrive and develop, as we have done so, particularly over the past dozen years or so. In fact, much of our success is owed to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the values of secularism, democracy, and equality -- enshrined in our constitution that he helped develop -- on which Bangladesh was founded, that he championed.
The world talks about sustainability and equitability now, and we have the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Yet, Bangabandhu in his infinite wisdom realized very early on that his country would succeed in reaching its full potential only if every single person within it united under one common goal, and that any and all forms of development would have to be inclusive, not just for a select few, and would have to be sustainable, not just temporary.
Though he was cruelly taken away from us over 45 years ago on August 15, 1975 at the hands of some rogue military officers, his teachings continue to guide the whole of Bangladesh. While we will perhaps never know what Bangladesh could have been if Bangabandhu had not been assassinated, his daughter, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has now taken up the mantle left by Bangabandhu, and is propelling Bangladesh to heights never seen before, and in the process, doing the dutiful task of fulfilling the dreams of her father.
As we look forward to celebrating 50 years of glorious independence as an independent nation, there is no room for debate on who the architect of that independence was -- Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation, and the greatest Bengali who ever lived.