A trendsetter of modern times

Sheikh Hasina: The Daughter of Bengal - Mohammad Ali Sattar Mohammad Ali Sattar is a journalist, columnist and writer

We all are more used to watching our leaders, especially the top ones, in what they do and say with regards to politics only. Their politics, to us, is typically confined to their attending of parliament, cabinet meetings and delivering public speeches, now and then. We embark on debates and discussions immediately after they say or do something. We jump to conclusions with regards to their remarks made against or for somebody. In brief, we are mainly preoccupied with the overt acts or messages that they convey.
We mysteriously fail to observe the measured development and maturity that they have achieved. We seldom behold or mention cultured and timely actions of these leaders. We are yet to come out of the box so we can praise them when they deserve it most and give them their due respect. For typical cultural poverty we lack these practices.
I, for one, watch with ‘awe’ how our current Prime Minister has graduated into a top leader of vision and character. Her visionary measures and advises have already yielded positive outcomes in almost all sectors of the country.
Her earnestness has allowed the agriculture to flourish, exports to rise, foreign reserve to scale up, communications getting better each day, national elections being made to democratize, trial of the war criminals and upholding of values of the liberation war.
One may rightly differ with her party politics, but her leadership skills and fearless decision making attitudes has certainly given the much needed shot in the nations arm. Leaders make nations- let us all now believe, we have a leader.
A daughter of the illustrious father, the founder of Bangladesh, she has been learning, word by word, bit by bit, from her father’s books. She will never forget to quote him or refer to his sayings. She will not fail to bring forth instances of Bangabandhu when there is a crisis or the joy of achievement.
On one hand, I see a devoted daughter of a father on the other a committed leader of a nation – an amazing blend – of which we don’t find any equal in this time of history.
This courageous lady of ours has gradually gained such vision, wit and knowledge that, in the current times, the world looks upon her for suggestions and advises on issues like peace, climate and economy. She has been vocal, upfront and fearless with regards to tackling of crime and terrorism in the region. Her bravado greatly instils fear in the minds of ‘enemies of peace’.
Her image round the world has stamped a positive mark for Bangladesh in the globe. The farthest corner of the world, be it impoverished drought stricken land or haven of the affluent, knows the name of Bangladesh. They also know the lady who is carrying the flag and flame of the country conveying messages of peace, harmony and development. Her agenda now contains global economic emancipation and peace. These two areas cover almost all the sectors of human development schemes that one may think of. The MDG, SDG and the likes will always find its place in her list of activities and campaign.
I would prefer not to compare her with any other women leader of the past or present simply because what Sheikh Hasina is doing for her people and the world is now unparalleled. With due respect to the women leaders now in power or outside, we must feel proud to have Hasina as the front runner in all aspects. She has successfully left her women and men counterparts and others way behind. She is sprinting fast while others are struggling with their politics and policies. (Check out the current politics of the world!).
For instances, Brazilian president is almost on the brink of being impeached, Su Kyi is largely controversial for her policies and she is discontent because she is not getting the power of a president, outside the power corridors, Hillary is fishing for the nomination to run as the president, Sonia Gandhi is weighed down with her defeated party, Mamata Banerjee is in soup for many reasons. South Korean president is going through a bad patch with her party and government. These are only a few to mention.
To speak of the gentlemen who are in authority at different states, from Barack Obama. David Cameron to Narendra Modi and Najib Razak – see how they are battling to combat regional wars and battles, terrorist groups, rights issues, naughty leaders, environment and climate, and banking heists etc.
These are extremely trying times. The volatile environment, the hot-blooded climate change issues, hugely complex global politics, terror operation making inroads almost anywhere, human rights regularly trampled in almost all the countries of the world. The leaders of the world find it utterly difficult to tame the rising heads of dragons that are out to destroy the human society.
The world easily feels the absence or the need of robust leadership. The 7 billion plus population of the world needs resources to survive and flourish as much they require visionary leaders to make best use of the global resources for greater and sustainable development of the human society.
Sheikh Hasina has taken up the challenges. She doesn’t wait for anyone to come up and plead for succour. She is there almost in every event that takes place especially with regard to extremism, women and child rights issues.
If one listens to her in any discussion meeting or view exchange gatherings, one would be taken aback by her frankness, gullibility and clarity of speech. She doesn’t mince words. She doesn’t dodge queries.
You like it or not she speaks her mind out and decides on issues instead of sitting over it for days and months and years. Bangladesh leaders should take this ‘go-getter’ lesson from her.
Of late, the two issues that she has spoken about and gave her decision is something the nation would remember and pay due respect to her ‘feeling’ for the common man and sea resources and the other for her observation on ‘hurting religious sentiment.’
I, as a common man, have been telling my friends and peers for a long time now that the Hilsha racket should be stopped. I had suggested earlier in number of newspaper columns that those who catch and sell Hilsha in such conditions and price and buyers who make the market hugely superfluous by paying exorbitant prices for a pair of hilsha etc., ought be to dealt with severity. Harshest measures ought to be taken against the unscrupulous fish traders and the mindless buyers of these produces.
When I learned that our PM has struck off Hilsha from her Baishakhi menu I sent her my gratitude secretly. She did what other leaders did not think of. She spoke and acted for the common man and for the hapless fish population. There was the immediately upshot of the PM’s remark. Facebook postings poured in suggesting all to list out Hilsha this year from our menu. Thanks God.
On another occasion she spoke out fearlessly about her belief. She so plainly said that as a Muslim she would not like her prophet or religion to be teased and taunted. She rightly observed that if one is hurting and making nasty remarks about our religion the government will not be responsible for his security. Why should the government be answerable for these naughty elements? She couldn’t be more correct. She also observed that ‘free thinking and liberal minds’ doesn’t allow anyone to hurt faith and beliefs. She also rightly put that Bengali culture doesn’t stop any one from being a Muslim!
So here we have the leader – the daughter of Bengal – who is gradually dawning to bring about emancipation for her people and the world. Here is the leader who is a Bengali, a believer and the most modern thinker of our time. May you live long, O daughter of Bengal!
Mohammad Ali Sattar is a journalist, columnist and writer