Awami League Reflects the Mainstream Political Culture of Bangladesh


Published on June 1, 2024
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The Bengali people took a democratic and non-communal approach in their movement for being free from a thousand years of shackles, exploitation and injustice of Pakistanis. It became necessary for the Bengali nation to establish an independent state to protect the right to speak the mother tongue, to protect the long-standing local culture and to uphold the ethnic identity. And Awami League led the nation step by step on the path of this long liberation struggle and freedom movement. This party was formed by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and later reorganized by his daughter Sheikh Hasina.

The political objectives of the Awami League can clearly be understood through a single speech of Bangabandhu at the first council session of the Awami League in independent Bangladesh on April 7, 1972. Awami League chief Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said in an unequivocal voice, “Our aim is clear... We must bring smiles to the faces of the poor people.”

Achieving a non-communal society respecting values and cultures

The people of Bengal chose to vote for Awami League’s boat symbol in the United Front elections in 1954 because of its political philosophy for the welfare and democratic rights of people irrespective of religion, caste, class and profession. Awami League won 223 out of 237 seats while the Muslim League, which exploited people in the name of religion, got only nine. The people of Bengal accepted Awami League's non-communalism wholeheartedly.

Later, in the 1970 elections, people also brought a landslide victory for the Awami League and ignored the so-called misleading religious fatwas by religious traders.

However in 1975, following the assassination of Bangabandhu and his family members, and the massacre of thousands of Awami League leaders and activists across the country, extremist forces plotted to take revenge for their defeat in the Liberation War. They started spreading propaganda calling Bangladesh's policy of secularism and non-communalism as 'irreligion’. For 21 long years, dictators ran the propaganda against the Awami League. But Awami League is the only party, which was able to bind the entire country with its principle of equal rights of people of all religions on the soil of Bengal.

Bangabandhu himself made it clear in his speech to the Constituent Assembly on November 4, 1972. He said, “Secularism is not the absence of religion. We have seen fraudulence in the name of religion, exploitation in the name of religion, dishonesty in the name of religion, and oppression in the name of religion for 25 years. Religion is a very sacred thing. Sacred religion should not be used as a political tool. Religion is a very holy thing. Holy religion can no longer be used as a political tool. The constitution has made arrangements to protect the religious rights of seven and a half crore people through secularism.”

To prevent the abuse of religion in the state, Bangabandhu set the basic principles of Bangladesh as a non-communal and secular country in the constitution, as well as officially sponsored the right religious practice of the majority of Muslims in the country.

Bangabandhu established the Islamic Foundation in March 1975 to spread proper religious education, promotion and spread of Islam. After independence, the Bangabandhu-led Awami League government declared public holidays on the occasion of Eid-Miladunnabi (PBUH), Shab-e-Qadr, and Shab-e-Barat and allotted land for Bishwa Ijtema in Tongi. Along with this, Bangabandhu used to repeatedly warn the extremists so that people of other religions could live in harmony in the country by practising their religions. The incumbent Awami League President Sheikh Hasina built 360 model mosques and libraries to build a modern Digital Bangladesh with religious tolerance.

People and public opinion always draw the highest priority

The whole nation got united under the flag of Awami League to make Bangladesh independent with faith in secularism and non-communalism. As a result, the Awami League government was able to introduce a Constitution to Bangladesh within just one year of gaining independence. Even after leading the long way in the liberation struggle, the party ultimately took the mandate in the 1970 elections from the nation before the final war started.

After forming the government with the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the supreme leader of the winning party and other senior leaders, the Awami League government conducted the Liberation War formally by the Proclamation of Independence. As a result, all kinds of conspiracies to call the Liberation War a separatist or civil war were foiled. The non-communal and democratic practices made it possible for the Awami League to lead the Liberation War by uniting the whole Bengali nation.

Later, the dictators and extremists oppressed the people of Bengal for two decades. But the Awami League ensured the right to vote and meal for all by ousting the dictatorship through nearly a decade of struggle since 1981. Even in 1991, this party, the strong and effective opposition in the parliament, forced the BNP-Jamaat coalition government to establish a parliamentary democracy by cancelling the presidential rule system. People are the strength of Bangladesh Awami League, so Awami League has always struggled for democracy and the party has always achieved its goals through democratic movement.

Awami League upholds the dignity of the Bengali language and culture

Awami League was established in the historical backdrops of protesting the despotic behaviour of Pakistanis towards the Bengalis and protecting the Bengali language and culture. Based on the roots of the nationalist spirit, the Awami League gradually made its place in the minds of every Bengali. This party planted the seeds of nationalism in the minds of the masses, based on which people of all walks of life supported the Six Point demand of 1966. As a result, the Awami League won the 1970 election with a landslide.

After becoming the general secretary of the Awami League in 1953, Bangabandhu travelled around the country's villages and realized the hardships and needs of people's lives. Later, based on the people's desires, he announced political programs one after another. Likewise, Sheikh Hasina, after returning to the country in 1981, visited the remote areas of independent Bengal as Awami League president for a decade and consulted experts on the causes of people's poverty and the spirit of liberation. So, after formatting the Awami League-led government, she took several initiatives to remove Manga from the country and created employment opportunities for people.

Bangladesh Awami League has given a manifesto to build the new generation of modern Bengal with digital advancements in the spirit of nationalism and a traditional culture of harmony. That is why the party has always emphasized universal education and women's empowerment. Bangladesh Awami League aims to make women folk educated and self-reliant as she can create a humane and smart generation to this end.

The Humanitarian State and Philanthropic Politics

After achieving independence, Bangabandhu gave utmost importance to the rehabilitation of two crore displaced people, including one crore refugees who took shelter in the neighbouring country due to the barbaric persecution by Pakistanis and Razakars during the war. In the first step of reconstructing war-torn Bangladesh, the Awami League government was able to bring back one crore refugees in just three months. At the same time, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder and prime minister of Bangladesh, renovated and built houses for sheltering displaced people. In 1997, Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina launched a shelter project for all the disaster-hit helpless and landless people. Under the special supervision of Awami League President and Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government has built houses for ten lakh people so far.

The 35 instructions Bangabandhu gave to the administration during the non-cooperation movement against the Pakistani junta on March 14, 1971, also included the continuation of all developmental works, aids, rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the cyclone area. It is the reflection of Bangabandhu's humanitarian characteristics not to hesitate to give strict orders to stop charging people the land rent and call for continuing all kinds of cooperation for the cyclone-affected people

Awami League simultaneously made the regime of the Pakistanis ineffective through a non-cooperation movement throughout March 1971. It reached out to help the helpless people as much as possible after the devastating floods in 1970. In that continuation, the Sheikh Hasina-led government and Awami League did not let anyone die in the 1998 floods that inundated 70% of the country.

Even Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina called upon her party leaders and activists to help the people voluntarily during the lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Responding to her call, Awami League leaders and activists braved their lives to save the lives of Covid-affected helpless people.

Awami League leaders and activists took people infected with the virus to hospital, arranged ambulances, and delivered necessary medical supplies to their homes and food to the helpless people. When family members left a person who died of COVID-19, the Awami League came forward and buried the body with religious rituals.

Apart from Awami League, no other political party in Bangladesh has stood by the people during the Coronavirus crisis. Many leaders and activists have sacrificed their lives while volunteering to deal with the worst disaster of the century. However, the Awami League did not stop public service. Awami League was born in 1949 to achieve liberation, philanthropies and the welfare of the Bengali nation. The list of the sacrifices of the Awami League leaders and activists is growing longer as the party is growing over time. In every crisis in the country, the leaders and activists of this party are dedicating their lives to patriotism and the betterment of the country’s people.

Awami League and Bangladesh are inseparable from one another

The main goal of the Bangladesh Awami League is to work diligently and relentlessly for the country's and its people's welfare. The politics of Awami League is manifested in the glory of self-sacrifice for the public interest because it is not just a political party, but an integral part of every pulse in the birth of Bangladesh and the rise of the Bengali nation.

Every political program of Awami League always aims to implement the philosophy of Bangladesh because the vision of Awami League is creating the philosophy of a humane and dignified Bengali nation. Just like the relationship of people with soil, so is the relationship of Bangladesh with the Awami League.