Bangladesh Has A Lot To Prove
The Global Intelligence|Summer 2015
With her nation newly behind her, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is looking abroad for new opportunities.
Rajendra Prabhu

There is peace once again on the streets of Dhakha. Bangladesh has come out of its political turmoil, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is positioning her nation on the global stage. The Prime Minister’s successful negotiation and recent signing of a 65-point agreement with India has impressed both the supporters of her traditionally anti-Indian rivals and the world. The country that Henry Kissinger once dismissed as a “basket case” can no longer be so easily dismissed, and Sheikh Hasina has been doing her best to convince foreign investors of that.

Illustrative of what Kissinger derided in the nation, Sheikh Hasina’s path to the Prime Minister’s office was beset by violent opposition. The main contender against her Awami League (A.L.) part is the Bangladesh National Party (BNP). The A.L. has always sought to bring the nation back to its secular roots, but the BNP is a chiefly Islamic party.

The A.L. had long been embattled against the BNP and more extreme Islamist forces that together sought to uproot her government through street action. Sheikh Hasina has now a solid achievement to show for her determination against the Islamist elements that brought jihadist-style violence to the Muslim majority nation.

After the A.L. came to power in 2008, the BNPIslamist coalition attempted to dislodge the new regime when Sheikh Hasina vowed to take the nation back to the secular platform promoted by her father Sheikhh Mujibur Rahman during and after the 1971 Independence War against Pakistan. The BNP encouraged violent clashes in the streets following Sheikh Hasina’s election. They failed to shake her, however, and the ruling Awami League pushed through constitutional amendments declaring the nation secular and brought to trial the leaders who abetted Pakistan’s army in 1969-71 in the massacre of millions of Bengalis and later in the assassination of Hasina’s father in a military coup. Her response to the protests has been much criticized, however, and in 2013 a still-open case was filed against her in the International Criminal Court.

Following years of violent protests, the BNP boycotted the 2014 general election. Over 20 people were killed in protests on polling day. The boycott backfired, however, and Sheikh Hasina returned to power with a large majority. A key element that tilted popular support to Sheikh Hasina was public anger against the Islamization of the country, which, though primarily Muslim, has a syncretic infusion of Bengali culture and religious practices. After the A.L. returned to power, the street battles continued. Several leaders of the Jamiat and other Islamist forces were tried and some sentenced to death. But the army was fully behind the civilian regime.

Finally, in March, BNP leader Khaleda Zia suspended her support for the agitation that had called for the resignation of the Prime Minister and fresh elections.The withdrawal may have been a mere tactical move, but it was clear that the pro-Pakistan Islamist groups had lost the street battles they had spearheaded. In the 18 months since the election, Sheikh Hasina has gained political support for returning the nation to secularism and fighting off the Islamist elements.

Now that the turmoil has abated, the Prime Minister is looking onward and outward to establish Bangladesh in the eyes of the world.

A Deal with Delhi

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine


FOOD FOR Thought

All about food

2 mins read
Reader's Digest US
June 2022

THE TREE OF Life and Fertility

DR. V. RAMAKANTHA shares some insights into the science, history and mythology of the Banyan tree, also known as the Bengal Fig or Indian Fig. The Banyan is one of those mythical trees that has had an important place in the life and history of the people of India since ancient times. It is also home to many species of birds, animals, and epiphytic plants.

7 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
May 2022

East Meets West

KALYANI ADUSUMILLI grew up in a minority group in the United States, straddling cultures, learning how to fit in, and later learning how to accept the traditions of her heritage. Today, she is watching her children going through the same process, shifting their cultural identity, as they head toward adulthood in the melting pot of a multicultural society.

4 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
May 2022

Instant Credit's Next Magic Trick

“Buy now, pay later” started as a credit card killer, but what if it’s really an end run around the Facebook ad-industrial complex?

5 mins read
Fast Company
Summer 2022

NILANGANA BANERJEE: 2 series The 'Selves' | The Lullaby

The series Selves aims to artistically represent the psychological conflicts we face when we weigh ourselves based on socially determined of what is ideal and where we stand with the distorted and one-size that fits all defined.

6 mins read
Lens Magazine
April 2022

RESTORING RELATIONSHIPS to Ourselves, to One Another, and to the Earth


10+ mins read
Spirituality & Health
May/June 2022

Why We Are Not Responsible Toward the Environment

DR. ICHAK ADIZES is an expert in change management for organizations. Here he shares some of the reasons why companies are not changing their actions in relation to the environment, even though everyone knows we are facing an environmental crisis. He also offers simple solutions that will bring change.

4 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
April 2022

Annadata Suraksha Abhiyaan

A tailor-made insurance initiative to financially secure farmers and growers against farming risks.

2 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
April 2022

The FORCE Behind the FORCE

How George Lucas created Hollywood's most beloved franchise

5 mins read
May - June 2022


In addition to treasure hunting, magnet fishing has an environmental aspect-it helps to clean up our waterways.

8 mins read
Popular Mechanics
May - June 2022