The Endeared Leader of the PeopleProfessor M Maniruzzaman Miah

It has been proclaimed in our constitution that all powers of the Republic  of Bangladesh belong to the people. Shaheed (Martyred) President Ziaur Rahman used to say that it is the people who are the source of power. As a successful President, he always felt that the people are the source of his inspiration. We have seen the materialisation of this principle in the state activities during his tenure while in power. Ignoring all sorts of protocols, President Ziaur Rahman used to go in the midst of the common people freely and without fear. The cheerful people also accepted him with sincere love. In his many programmes, including the canal digging scheme, the people’s participation was inevitable. But why was it so?

 Shaheed President Ziaur Rahman was aware of what focus the politicians are meant to have. Their main work is to serve the people and to stand by their side at the time of their sorrows, happiness and adversities. He moved forward with all his strength for the welfare of the people and thereby he was able to become an unforgettable and undisputed leader in the politics of Bangladesh.

 The driving force of the development of Bangladesh is primarily our agriculture sector and the farmers are the vital force of the country – a narrative which was effectively reflected in Shaheed Zia’s state policies. He remained active for taking multidimensional steps like providing water necessary for irrigation and preserving water necessary for drinking. In view of his sincere initiative, the common people participated voluntarily in the canal digging programme and made the country self-reliant.

We shall be able to save the country from national wastage if we can maintain the continuation of the history of Shaheed Zia’s voluntary effort. During his time, our agricultural production was increased to double. We should not be unmindful about these development projects. Due to the success of development in the agricultural sector, the amount of foreign assistance was reduced to half during the time of Shaheed Zia. It is necessary to have moral strength and honest courage for taking such national steps with a view to reducing foreign dependency. It is also necessary to have strong selfconfidence, which was totally present in the actions and activities of Shaheed Zia. As a successful leader of state, his dreams made him the spokesman of Asia. He became the favourite leader of the people across the third world countries.

 We saw what the unconditional love of the people was, when the dead body of Shaheed President Ziaur Rahman was brought in Dhaka. As far as the eye-sights went, there was the cosmic concourse of people – everyone’s eye was bursting with tears with the grief of loss of their beloved one. Perhaps it is called the emotional expression of the vast multitude of people. Why was this vast multitude of people? Who called so many people to come over there? There was no one to call them and make the arrangement. The people came with the passion to honour their beloved President; they came with the motivation to have a last glimpse of a person as close as their family members. There was no intricacy in the attraction of this love; there was only pure love. Why did it happen? I believe the main reason is that Shaheed Zia reached the people of the grassroots level and loved them.

 Shaheed President Ziaur Rahman is no more today. But the Bangladesh of which he dreamt of still remains in the world map. His dear people still remain in the country and beyond. It is not possible to erase an ideology by killing a person. Tarique Rahman, a worthy son of his father, moves forward upholding the flag of his Shaheed Zia’s ideology. He draws on the friendship and appreciation of the common people. He loves and looks after them. He makes them his partners in the development activities. He does things in such a spontaneous way that the people of the country think of him as a genuine friend and a close well-wisher.

 As a deserving son, Tarique Rahman always keeps in mind that the inspiration for Shaheed President Ziaur Rahman to march forward was the love of the common people. With the unstinted love of the common people, Shaheed Zia dedicated himself totally to the country and to the people of the country. Without thinking of his own peace and happiness and future interest, he served the people selflessly throughout his life and for this reason the people of the country still remember him with deep love – with unending regard.  In the present day Bangladesh, Tarique Rahman is living up to our expectations and adeptly following the legacy of his father. We enjoy the reflection of Shaheed Zia in Tarique Rahman’s constructive actions of growth and development. That is why we have seen how he took numerous progressive initiatives during the last BNP period, which in turn, changed the visage of Bangladesh. No sphere of national life was unmarked in his policy programmes, and this gives us full faith that Tarique Rahman is the most appropriate person to lead the BNP and the nation. I believe that Tarique Rahman will go forward firmly in the way towards truth, justice and welfare with the strength of patriotism, upholding his father’s ideology and programmes of action.

Professor M Maniruzzaman Miah
Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Dhaka

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