50 years of Bangladesh victory: Bangladesh is a valued possession that we won with the blood of three million martyrs and two hundred thousand mothers and sisters raped during a nine-month-long carnage in 1971. We are also the unfortunate lone nation globally that fought for our mother tongue against the same totalitarian regimes of West Pakistan in 1952 and won our battle at the cost of countless lives. Bangladeshis worldwide are honouring the country’s 50th anniversary of independence today; let’s look at how far we’ve come in 50 years of freedom: have we been able to match the equation of expectation with achievement?
The phrase “benefits of liberty” is frequently used. The question now is, what do we mean when we say “benefits of liberty”? Why did the Bengali people declare their independence from Pakistan? Why have two lakh mothers and sisters lost their dignity in the name of freedom? To discover answers to these questions, we must first understand the situation of Pakistan at the time.
The West Pakistan government did not realise the Bengali people’s ambitions and dreams. Discrimination was rampant, and the public’s input was neglected. There are no such things as equal opportunity or rights. In general, Pakistan’s government has failed to provide the people in East Pakistan with fundamental needs and rights.
As a result, after 24 years of British rule, Bengalis aspired for independence. Finally, the Bengali people recognise that the only way to end tyranny and establish a secular state is to rally behind Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the nation’s hero and national leader, and free the motherland from the doctor, just like we did for our mother tongue.
Fifty years of victory: the war of liberation of British expatriates in 1971.’
Britain was home to the second-largest Bengali community outside of Bangladesh. Although they did not fight to liberate East Pakistan from West Pakistan on a battlefield, the Bangali community in Britain was instrumental in swaying public opinion in favour of Bengali independence and against Pakistani forces’ death and torture in 1971. In addition, a small number of other ethnic groups joined the Bengali population and lasted until the war’s end.
Following the fuzzy photographs of the night of 25th March, British and Indian media sources, a spontaneous outcry among expatriate Bengalis grew into an organised movement over the next nine months. Expatriate Bengali political activists, students, professionals, cultural activists, and housewives have continued to work for an independent Bangladesh, sometimes alone and sometimes in groups.
On a chilly winter day in London, they were picketing in front of the Pakistan High Commission. Instead of working, a sizable throng joined the picket line and spoke their worries and opinions. There were continual campaigns, lobbies, demonstrations, and gatherings to keep people informed about what was going on in the fight for justice and freedom.
The British Bengali community has donated a portion of their weekly income to the refugee’s fund, the independence fighters fund, and the expatriate Bangladesh independent movement to ensure that no one dies in East Pakistan without any food. In addition, various charity events to collect funds for East Pakistan refugees in their motherland who were getting killed, raped, tortured by the West Pakistan army.
Birmingham is England’s second-most-populous Bengali city. Birmingham was the birthplace of Bangladesh’s independence movement. An ‘East Pakistan Liberation Front’ was created two years before 1971 and afterwards renamed Bangladesh Action Committee.
On 25th May 1971, Birmingham hosted the largest demonstration organised by the Bengali community in Britain. On 28th March, the Bangladeshi flag was raised for the first time on British territory at a gathering in Small Heath Park, Birmingham.
Human rights advocates such as the Paul Connett pair and Gordon Slaven and a handful of British MPs such as John Stonehouse MP and Peter Shore MP joined the movement for an independent Bangladesh in 1971. Roger Gwen, a Birmingham schoolteacher, was one of them. In 1971, he took part in several Bengali protests in Birmingham and London. He took many march photographs, which were eventually published in books and periodicals. In 1971, he published a book about Bengali activities in the United Kingdom.
Of course, Roger Gwen has a long history of sympathising with an independent Bangladesh. He volunteered for an international development agency in East Pakistan for a couple of years in the mid-1960s. He stayed with a Bengali family for two years when he returned to the country and began his school teacher in Birmingham. He could also communicate in Bengali; thus, he was familiar with Birmingham’s Bengali community. On 26th March 1971, Roger Gwen was present during the first Bengali flag hoisting in Britain at a protest gathering in Birmingham’s Smallheath Park. “There were people at the park that day,” he added.
In 1971, the expatriate Bengali women in Britain formed the Bangladesh Women’s Association and started various activities for an independent Bangladesh. On 3rd April, hundreds of Bengali women wearing saris marched in London holding posters and placards rare in London.
Mohammad Faizur Rahman described the procession of Bengali ladies in his book ‘Bangladeshis in Britain.’ “3rd April in 1971 was a Saturday. Some 300 Bengali women stood on the Thames River in London, chairing the cross embankment and holding placards in the morning. Pedestrians were staring at the placard on one side. Stop genocide, recognise Bangladesh is a slogan written in Bengali and English. … ‘With the cry ‘My Country, Your Country, Bangladesh Bangladesh,’ they marched towards 10 Downing Street, the British Prime Minister’s residence.”
During a match between the visiting Pakistan cricket team during the war, demonstrations outside the pitch. In June, the Pakistani squad will play a series in England. The Student Struggle Council decided to go to the game’s location and protest.
71 Contributions of foreigners
The Pakistani crimes in 1971 stunned the entire globe. Many people stepped forward to support the freedom warriors on that day, ignoring America’s or China’s tearful eyes. They stood by Bangladesh on that day, responding to the call of conscience. Many journalists risked their lives to photograph the massacre. Many people took active action in support of the freedom fighters once more.
George Harrison, and Indian Ravi Shankar, Bhupen Hazarika, according to AS Oderland, a Bata official based in Dhaka. India’s then-Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, did, however, provide a hand to the freedom fighters. Moreover, India’s ordinary people were also on Bangladesh’s side. The Eastern Chief of the Indian Army, Lt. Gen. J. F. R. Jacob, led the freedom fighters in every manner imaginable. However, Wonderland, a Dutch-Australian citizen, could not cope with the Pakistani cruelty without violence. As a result, he arrived in Dhaka in the late 1970s.
Wadland was the production manager of Bata Company in Dhaka, where he was trained in guerilla warfare during WWII. He did, however, join the battlefield after being inspired by the idea of the Great Liberation War. He also led guerilla warfare training for the liberation fighters.
AS Oderland, a Bata official headquartered in Dhaka, US Senator Edward Kennedy, British journalist Simon Dring, Pakistani journalist Anthony Mascarenhas, American poet Allen Ginsberg, Beatles’ George Harrison, and Indian Ravi Shankar, Bhupen Hazarika.
However, Indira Gandhi, India’s then-Prime Minister, did lend a hand to the independence fighters. The common masses of India were also on Bangladesh’s side. Lt. Gen. J. F. R. Jacob, the Eastern Chief of the Indian Army, led the freedom fighters in every way possible on their behalf. However, Wonderland, a Dutch-Australian citizen, could not cope with the Pakistani brutality without restraint. So he came to Dhaka in the late 1970s.
Wadland was the production manager of Bata Company in Dhaka, where he was trained in guerilla warfare during WWII. He did, however, join the battlefield after being inspired by the idea of the Great Liberation War. He directed the intelligence on Pak-barbarism while training the freedom fighters in guerrilla warfare.
He also provided direct training to Tongi’s liberation warriors. His contribution should not be overlooked. He fought in the conflict and regularly publicised images of Pak brutality in the western press so that the world was aware of the genocide. The government of Bangladesh honoured him with the title of ‘Bir Pratik’ in recognition of his contributions.
Draft of 50 years development
Bangladesh was one of the poorest countries in the world when it was independent in 1971. Eighty per cent of the population was considered impoverished. It has now dropped to less than 20% after 50 years of independence, indicating its economic prosperity. However, inequality persists, despite the country’s economic prosperity. Therefore, it is vital to examine the country’s position in macro and macroeconomics from 1971 to 2020 to understand the country’s economic evolution.
The overall appraisal of the 50-year economic condition, however, is complicated. Some data, however, was evaluated. Bangladesh’s pre-independence GDP was only $9 billion US dollars in 1970. However, by 2020, the GDP is expected to be 80.918 billion dollars. The average per capita income was 140 dollars in 1970, 1909 dollars in 2018-2019, and 2064 dollars in 2020. Bangladesh’s national budget was eight crores in 1972-1973, 5 lakh 74 thousand crores in 2019-2020, and 5 lakh 6 thousand crores in 2020-2021. The development budget was 501 crore taka.
In 1982-1973, the development budget was 501 crore taka, compared to 2 lakh 15 thousand 43 crore taka in 2020-21. On the other hand, the clothing sector has kept the country’s economy afloat.
Bangladesh’s ready-to-wear garment sector got its start in the 1960s. However, the business began to expand as an export-oriented sector in the late 1970s. It is currently Bangladesh’s largest export-oriented industrial sector. Bangladesh was also the world’s second-largest exporter of ready-to-wear clothes in 2019. Bangladesh sold 34 billion dollars worth of readymade clothing in 2016.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) declared this at a session in Geneva. In 1981-82, this industry accounted for only 1.1 per cent of overall export revenues. However, the clothing industry currently accounts for 63 per cent of the country’s export revenue. The garment business grew in size throughout time. The clothing business has risen dramatically in the 50 years since independence. The clothing sector currently employs around 40-45 lakh people.
Expatriate remittances continue to support the economy of the country. Expats sent a total of 16.12 billion in remittances in 2019, up from 16.42 billion the previous year. Remittances totalled over 19.6 billion USD in 2020, the highest number in recent years. This remittance from expatriates is regarded as one of our country’s growth regulators. In 50 years of freedom, this is at the pinnacle of expectations. With so much progress, the long-awaited Padma Bridge has become a reality! As a result, the country advanced one step forward.
The Padma Bridge, which was once only a dream, is now a reality. This visibility of Padma Bridge began a new chapter in the court of the world as the country progressed 50 years after independence.
The first span of this 6.15-kilometre bridge was completed on 30th September 2016, and the 41st span will be conducted on 10th December 2020. The Padma Bridge will increase connection in the country’s south-western region. A total of 21 districts will be impacted.
In addition, factory complexes for the heavy industry will be built. This will result in more jobs being created. These economic developments are measured by per capita income, budget growth, and GDP growth. The government is leveraging this economic progress to propel the country to a world-class position. However, ordinary citizens did not receive the benefits they were entitled to due to economic prosperity.
However, even after 50 years of independence, the country’s infrastructure has not progressed. Nevertheless, these growth gains are visible, including the road system, electrification, and urbanisation. In the 50 years since independence, this is reassuring. On the other hand, financial inequality has grown, import policies have become more liberal for the advantage of the WTO, small and medium businesses have been endangered. Liberal import-export policies have resulted in large sums of money being smuggled into the country.
The jute industry contributed to export revenues. However, the jute sector is in danger of extinction due to the government’s reluctance to take proper measures to protect it. In 50 years of freedom, it bears the imprint of our incompetence.
Like the garment industry, the jute business was on its way to prosperity. By 1970, raw jute and jute products accounted for half of the exports and most export revenues. However, the jute industry’s route to capital shifted as time passed.
We buried the jute business with our own hands as the global demand for environmental pollution management grew. Jute was previously the country’s cash crop. Furthermore, the majority of the country’s in our 50 years of freedom, we’ve come a long way in terms of education! The educational rate in the country has increased. Primary education is currently mandated by law. The rate of decline has come to a halt. Free books are being distributed. Higher education has increased in both public and private universities. A conducive, scientifically minded, progressive, human-oriented, and decent citizen national life is the goal of world-class university education. The fundamental goal of university education, on the other hand, is the commerce in the recruitment of university teachers, and political tailgating between students and professors has been rendered obsolete. As a result, several irregularities occur, beginning with the session clutter.
This affects the quality of schooling. Despite the government’s commitment to education, the demand for high-quality education is expanding, which falls short of the university standards set by the country. As a result, no American university can compete on a worldwide scale. Moreover, there is a budget gap in the education sector. The university will provide outstanding, scientific, and researched education; nevertheless, if the university fails, the unemployment rate will climb. There are currently between 26 and 28 lakh educated unemployed people. The country’s 50-year period of independence has been a disaster.
Padma Bridge, widening and highway reform, Metrorail, Tunnel, Bangabandhu Satellite, Rooppur Nuclear Passant, Over the bridge, flyover, numerous bridges and culverts, educational institution building, railway development, waterway salvage, construction of new roads and construction of old roads have all been self-financed in the 50 years since independence. The ability to generate electricity and accomplish economic growth has improved. However, the general public’s quality of living has not improved. Fundamental rights are yet to be realised.
People’s hopes that excellent governance, democracy, and non-communalism should be built in tandem with the country’s progress are extraordinary. So that ordinary people can publicly announce our unshakable commitment to meeting the fundamental expectation of achieving freedom.