Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman assumed office as the statesman on 12 January, 1972. He headed the first government of sovereign and independent Bangladesh. The post-liberation Bangladesh was beset with countless problems. The liberation war had just been over but the evidences of huge destructions pervaded everywhere. In such a war ravaged situation it was very challenging to provide basic needs amid the people with a quicker responses. Not only that, there were the challenges of restoring law and order, recovering illegal arms, rehabilitating the freedom fighters , rebuilding communication system and many more before the government.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, one of the greatest leaders in the world realized that it had been the first responsibility of his government to address multifarious challenges with pragmatic activities.
It is obvious that the people in this country were really blessed with huge assistance from many parts of the world due to the quick diplomatic relations of Bangabandhu with the world. He was very polite to build up relations with the leaders of other countries and held a very respectable position among the leaders in the world.
After Bangabandhu formed his cabinet, he felt the necessity of forming the Constitution for the country. According to him, a state without the Constitution is like a boat without oarsman. He added that in the Constitution the rights and duties of the people would be written and it would be made based on four fundamental principles-- Bangalee nationalism, democracy, socialism, and secularism. Upon his advice the constitution drafting committee headed by Dr. Kamal Hossain completed the task and the Constitution came into effect on 16 December 1972.
Bangabandhu’s government has been considered one of the most humanitarian governments in the world history. With the quickest possible time Bangabandhu could come across enormous challenges beset with the state. To combat poverty he rightly prioritized agriculture production. He realized very well that in the agrarian country apart from feeding people, agriculture would be a source of income generation.
He took some prudent initiatives to ensure agriculture growth. During the early days of his rule he rebuilt the war-ravaged agriculture infrastructures, distributed crop seedlings free of cost or at a minimum price, cancelled 1.0 million certificate cases for loan default against farmers filed during the Pakistan period, introduced a rationing scheme for poor farmers, opened the doors of education for the children of the farmers and tax was exempted for those having land up to 25 bighas.
Banganbandhu created a favorable environment for growing industrializations across the country. He nationalized many factories that helped many to survive. Not only that, he took many initiatives to reopen the damaged mills and factories. He could understand well that there was no alternative to industrialization in the country. To sustain agriculture production and to export goods which were produced locally he urgently felt the necessity of expanding industrialization though this task was quite challenging for the government as just after the independent there was no foreign reserve and no foreign investment.
During his regime as a head of government, he relentlessly tried to develop the country. He made the planning commission and asked to ensure socialist economic policy. His only expectation was to ensure an equal opportunity for the people where there will be no class discrimination. He established Bangladesh Krishi Bank for the development of agriculture sectors, similarly Bangladesh Shilpa Bank and Bangladesh Shilpa Rin Sangshta for development of industrial sector.
With declaring the budget in the year 1972 to 1973, he tried to accelerate the economic state of the country. The first five year plan was undertaken from1973 to 1978 in his regime with the amount of Taka 4,455 crore to reduce poverty and boost up country’s economy.
As a statesman he was more humane and loved his people very much. He had a dream throughout his life to free the humanity from inequalities. He wished to change the fate of the millions of people and envisioned a society free from dishonesty, violence, oppression and corruption.
During his regime he undertook a comprehensive education scheme. Reviewing education system in the developed countries he took many initiatives towards the modernization of the country’s education system. He realized that no inclusive development was possible without ensuring quality education for the future generation.
As one of the initiatives, Bangabandhu formed an education commission with Dr. Qudrat-e-Khuda as its head in July 1972. The commission was asked to recommend strategies for ensuring appropriate education system that would help to build the Sonar Bangla, Bangabandhu’s model for a prosperous country. As per his directives, the Qudrat-e-Khuda commission gave its report to the government on May 30 in 1974 and it was lauded by Bangabandhu due to having its many pragmatic outcomes in regard to accelerating not only quality education but also inclusive education in the country.
Not only that, different sources say that during Bangabandhu’s regime 36,165 schools were nationalized and teachers’ salary increased significantly. To emphasize girls’ education and to ensure emancipation of women girls’ education up to class eight was tuition- free. Again, the credit completely goes to Bangabandhu who offered autonomy of the public universities to accelerate an environment of free thinking and expression conducive to research and academic activities.
Simultaneously, Bangabandhu gave utmost importance to rebuild the country’s communication system as more than 90 per cent roads were completely damaged during the liberation war. Sources say that by 1974 he rebuilt 274 road bridges and 97 new road bridges. On top of that, some 295 damaged railway bridges along with 16 mile broad gauge and 63 mile meter gauge rail lines were rebuilt. Many small and big bridges adjacent to Dhaka- Aricha Highway were constructed during his rule. He established Bangladesh Biman to run domestic flight operations and started the construction work of the Kurmitola International Airport (now Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport).
Banganbandhu always dreamed for Sonar Bangla but his dream to make Sonar Bangla was shattered as some miscreants killed our great leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with his family members. The present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina cherishing the dream of Bangabandhu at heart is working relentlessly for the people of Bangladesh. Today Bangladesh has been a model of sustainable and inclusive development for the rest of the world under the prudent leadership of Bangabandhu’s worthy daughter Sheikh Hasina.
Writer: Alaul Alam teaches at Prime University. He is also research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]
BDST: 1938 HRS, JUL 27, 2021