Introduction: Pre-Liberation era
The history of Bangladesh after Independence has passed over 48 years. From 1947, the people had to struggle for sovereign existence against the rule of Pakistan till 1970. Initially the protest started with Language Movement in 1952. Our leaders and the citizens of the then East Pakistan played their role for sharing the equality with West Pakistan. Our leaders were vocal with the reality and confirmed that situation of East and West Pakistan had discrimination and difference in parity. The disparity continued from the very beginning till 1970. Repeated discussions, with the West Pakistani rulers were non-compliant. Thus began the confrontation with the government and leadership of West Pakistan which ended at the War of Independence in 1971.
The Great Liberation War which befell with genocide and destruction came to an end on the 16th December 1971 and the need for development came in front with the birth of Bangladesh. We got our Independence with the requirement to develop and face crisis to overcome for people, land, economy, law and order and many other things.
Country's re-building activity and programme started from 10th January, 1972 after the arrival of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from Pakistan. The new government had to work hard to improve in all sectors, segments, and field of life. Bangabandhu formed the government and started taking the books of account. He found that he had got nothing and needed to have everything to rule the country with a minimum requirement of everything, everywhere. The exchequers were empty, assets and infrastructures had been destroyed. The economy with no foreign currency deposit, no industry, no export import, development programme was a difficult task in the face of hostile war-stricken situation.
At that critical situation of uncertainty, the new Prime Minister Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman started creating new bondage with all the countries and International organizations so as to get support for development.
The development and the crisis from 1972 to 1981
At first the Awami League Government, the mainstream of struggle for Independence of Bangladesh and then the rule by President Ziaur Rahman and President Abdus Sattar till the takeover by President H.M. Ershad in 1983 Bangladesh had different situations of development and crisis.
When Bangabandhu took over, he started running with international political recognition for Bangladesh. Along with post-Liberation political turmoil and difficulties he was very occupied in getting international support for a wide economic reformation. He also organized and managed allies for the safety, security of Bangladesh for facing future all other internal crisis and managing infrastructure development for all basic sectors. He arranged international bilateral support with the countries of South East Asia, Middle East and other countries and international development organizations for recognition, growth and other development. Mismanagement and corruption with relief and other issues pushed the country towards severe famine.
The most unfortunate occurrence during this first 4 years of our Independence was the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and his family members and nearest relatives except Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana. The country was in the way of out of track and discontinuity of development works. Killing of the national leaders created a vacuum in the continuity of development growth and thus crisis continued.
During the rule of Ziaur Rahman and after his assassination the rule of Justice Abdus Sattar, international bilateral support with Asian countries, Middle East and other countries and International development organizations, cooperation for related development work through this government continued. During this period manpower export, large & small industrial growth including Textile & Garments, Agriculture & Irrigation, Fisheries & Livestock farming came out prominent. But again within a couple of years Ziaur Rahman was assassinated and the country again fell into crisis.
The development and the crisis from 1983 to 1990
At this time came President Hussain Mohammad Ershad. Infrastructure development along with building bridges, flood embankments, cyclone shelters, Roads & highways communications throughout the country were also prominent during his rule.
Industrial growth in Textile & Garments, Jute, Leather, Handicrafts, Building & constructions, Agro-fisheries & livestock, Food & Medicine, other micro & cottage industries, manpower export growth and development Programme for different Sectors were visible.
The national language 'Bangla' was also first officially implemented and practiced as mandatory in all government, semi government institutions and corporation offices.
The development and crisis from 1990-2019
Due to less political turmoil during this period, the economic stability and development was to some extent smooth. It was when the activities of the country were stable and major development was recorded in many fields.
1. Financial institution and Banking
Financial institution and Banking growth were prominent. Many national and international Banks and Financial Institutes were opened with more organized trades at home and abroad. But crisis lies in improper management. Many foreign companies were also setting up their office in Bangladesh with their activities.
During this time Bangladesh has earned foreign currency largely and its GDP growth is the highest in South East Asia.
Educational fields have risen broadly and marked up to international standard.
Large number of private, semi-govt. & government schools, colleges, universities, technical & training institutes have been established producing thousands of educated youths. Even large number of students from many countries are coming to Bangladesh to take the advantage of education here.
3. Industries and power generation
Industrial development and power generation are remarkable. Vast growths in small, medium and large industries are noticeable. Growths in Export, import have also increased largely. Export of food, clothes, medicine, leather products, handicrafts and other allied products were prominent. Many multinational organizations, foreign companies also set their factories and industries in the country at many EPZs.
Power generation has increased almost up to 25,000 Mega Watt of electricity.
4. Infrastructural development
Infrastructural development in roads, bridges, highways and airways have progressed very largely. Many EPZs have accommodated large number of entrepreneurs from home and abroad. The second international sea port has been activated at deep sea.
5. Internal security, defense policy, foreign policy and international relationship
Defense and internal security is largely taking place to cover the external defense and internal need. All forces are highly trained and geared with modern equipments, weapons and ammunitions along with their presence internationally with high reputation in all UN Peace Keeping Mission. 'National Defense College' has trained some highest numbers of defence offices from many countries around the world.
Presently more than 40,000 troops are also deployed in various war-stricken countries. Some of the countries like Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone got so pleased and friendly with our troops that they made 'Bangla' as their 2nd or 3rd State Language.
6. Health & hygiene
Overall healthcare systems have increased dramatically with growth of Medical Colleges, Hospitals, Clinics, Health centers and many pharmaceutical companies with the required medicines.
The epidemics, mal nutrition of children has been eradicated during this period. Some critical issues like birth control, child mortality, mother mortality had developed so rapidly that these achieved international praise. The health department with their enormous teams are working round the clock countrywide even at remote villages making people more health and nutrition-conscious.
7. Food, agriculture, fisheries & livestock
Development in food, agriculture, fisheries & Livestock are also remarkably mentionable. Modern agriculture and growth of the fishery, poultry and dairy sectors are in good position. Many inland sweet water fisheries are even export-oriented with their hi-tech processing and packaging facilities.
8. Relief, rehabilitation and disaster management
Developments in Relief, Rehabilitation and Disaster management sector were significant. Hundreds of cyclone centers have been built along the coastal areas for emergency safety and protection for human and live-stock. A record number of more than 11 lacs Rohingya refugee from Myanmar are now sheltered due to the `ethnic cleansing’ and 'slow genocide'.
9. Corruption and national expenditure
Even after such growth corruption and national expenditure are still at uncertain state. Due to poor control, the Banking and Finace sectors are in crisis.
Corruptions and uncontrolled investment in Finance sector are getting at risk due to lack of proper management.
10. Political development and improvement of national standard
Due to lack of a healthy Democratic practice in politics and in government, the political intolerance is at its worst situation. As a result some of the international organizations are at negative attitude. Political un-accountability has eventually created a stalemate situation of degradation of ethics and moral values of a section of young generation. Even after huge development, situation is observed as dangerous as crisis deepens in the security and safety of citizens and children.
(Engr. S.A.Rashed B.Sc.(Mech), BUET Advisor & Consultant on Industrial Development, Environment & Social Improvement. He is a Veteran Freedom Fighter and author of `Sritir Ekattor’ & `Bijoyer Ekattor’ - a book on our Liberation War.
He has written many articles in newspapers & periodicals on various issues from time to time.
He is also a prominent Releif Activist.)