In 13 years, incredible success has come in the technology sector in Bangladesh. The world has come within reach. You can communicate from one end of the world to the other in an instant. Whether family, social, economic or state, politics, technology, health, everything is under consideration. Even the world is told its own opinion.
These are the image of digital Bangladesh. All people in the country enjoy the benefits of implementing Digital Bangladesh. In agriculture, education, health, economy, industry, trade, skills development, and employment, there is no sector where information technologies are not used.
This is possible mainly thanks to the development of a solid ICT infrastructure across the country, which extends from cities to remote villages. And this has become possible thanks to the availability of interpersonal services. Before the Awami League government came to power, the price of internet bandwidth per Mbps was 78,000 Tk. Currently, it is less than 300 rupees.
Bangladesh was able to reach a unique height in the technology sector thanks to the smart decision of Sajib Wazed Joy, the architect of the digital construction of Bangladesh, and the privileged son of the leader of the people Sheikh Hasina. The young generation of the country is now rich in technology, ahead of sports and culture, and they are uncompromising on the issues of the country. This generation knows the noble sacrifice of the father of the nation and the story of a long struggle, knows the sacrifice of the brave freedom fighters, and remembers the contribution of the martyrs with respect. The touch of technology has increased the power of this self-aware youth.
The government provided information technology services not only in the city but also in remote rural areas beyond the district and Upazila headquarters. In particular, the “Trade Union Information Center” or “Trade Union Information Center” provides much-needed services to rural populations throughout the country. From Grameenphone’s idea of the ‘phone lady’ or polyphone to A-to-I (Access to Information) under the Prime Minister’s Office and the establishment of a National Data Center under the Ministry of information and communication (ICT), various projects related to information technology have already been implemented. Other major projects are underway. Development partners also see these projects as very important for the country and are increasing the amount of project funding and providing research support.
Until a few days ago, international communication was not open and affordable in our country. There was no attempt to develop technology, and no opportunity to express self-confidence. The number, size and type of mass media were all limited. There was no chance to go to higher education, to acquire skills. It was the citizens’ struggle to somehow survive. Now we dream of moving forward, of becoming citizens of developed Bangladesh.
Our current generation needs to understand all of this, but it came because the political culture of policy-making with the mentality of leading the state along the path of sustainable development and progress was at the highest level. This highest rung is none other than Bangabandhu’s daughter, Sheikh Hasina. We saw how the country is from 1975 to 1996. What I got, what happened. I saw despair and the desire to live somehow, unable to dream of moving forward. When does the dream start? When the Sheikh Hasina government came to power. The country has started to make progress in various fields. The food security of the population is guaranteed.
Then I slipped again for seven consecutive years. 2001 to 2008. Young people today are eyewitnesses to what happens when things go wrong. They are the biggest victims. So I will say to young people, we have to focus on developing the mentality. Again, we have to be vigilant so that no one plays tricks on us. This is our fight ahead. Fight to build yourself, understand your rights as a citizen, improve yourself and thus improve society and the country in the next decade.
Our generation did not have the chance to fight for Bangladesh at the call of Bangabandhu, but our generation is the greatest beneficiary of an independent and sovereign Bangladesh. The horrors of the War of Independence, the attempted retreat after the defeat of Bangabandhu, and numerous incidents and accidents were largely ignored by the generation born in post-75 Bangladesh.
The generation after has seen even less and the emerging generation has had even less difficult times. So naturally, the level of expectation is also very high. Expectations were raised seeing the potential of Bangladesh under the leadership of Bangabandhu. Many of our generations have never experienced a food shortage. We can see prices go up and down, but we see stores full of a variety of products. Which was unthinkable before.
All in all, I think the time has come for our generation’s introspection, that is, self-realization. Where have I been, where have I come and where do I want to go? Instead of preparing ourselves to meet expectations, we now have to get our hands dirty.
Culture must be instilled in us. Many of us often forget the difference between state, government, and politics. Now there is an easy process to enjoy good governance and civic services. But in many cases, because of some people, where there is delay, stagnation, and corruption, we do not exercise our rights as citizens instead of responsibility. Outside of government, we see the private sector moving forward. I’m tired of seeing the touch of prosperity, but this generation needs to be shown the accountability of this vast sector, its sense of responsibility, its trust, and its respect for the law.
The government of Sheikh Hasina gave this generation a resource, that is, information technology. By using this resource, one can acquire skills, learn and also ensure cleanliness. One can ensure availability instead of obtaining citizenship rights. We have to understand this generation, it is Bangladesh in exchange for the many sacrifices of our previous generations. Our country is still going through a growing economic process amid many existentialist crises and existential risks and crises. We need to have the mindset to hold on to this risky journey.
The fight is different now. The most dangerous. Religious radicalism, bigotry, and wealth inequality. These should be viewed as challenges. This generation should come forward and prepare for the cultural movement and fight to counter them. Humanity, justice, equity, non-communitarianism, tolerance, acquisition of knowledge, acquisition of skills – these are the paths of our future struggle that this generation should walk with it. Only politics based on elections, change of government by change of political parties – if we limit ourselves to these expectations, the journey of the future will stumble.