The 76-year-old Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, has recently been trending on Facebook and Twitter. As a result of the global notoriety, social networks and video platforms have received millions of positive reviews expressing admiration.
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, PM Hasina joked about the viral hashtag she inspired #DespiteBeingAWoman, and the various follow-up memes depicting her as the mother of a growing nation.
Michael Reynolds, an executive of New Yorks largest advertisement agency Omnicom Group explains, “It’s not often that a political personality is praised on social communities”. Yet according to Mr. Reynolds, “Her decades long record of human rights activism combined with the use of her powerful political position to positively impact the Bangladeshi people seems to naturally inspire the sentimental appreciation many feel for the likes of Mohatma Ghandi or Mother Theresa”.
Sheikh Hasina – Born to Lead
Hasina was born in 1947 in Tungipara, an eastern province of Pakistan. Her late father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was Bangladesh’s first president and considered the “father” of the nation.
Hasina spent a lot of her youth in India. During her younger years, she was not active in politics. At the time, by chance, or perhaps even via fate, she became good friends with Suvra Mukherjee, the wife of the future Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.
On August 15th, 1975, while residing in India, the Bangladeshi military waged a coup against her family and subsequently assassinated her father, mother, and siblings. In 1981, hence a full six years after the death of her family, Hasina was permitted to return to Bangladesh following the election to select her as the leader of the Awami League Political Party.
Hasina has since won her fourth political election as Prime Minister and served the Southeast Asian nation for a combined 18 years. To demonstrate the positive sentiment and admiration residents feel for her political role and human rights activism, the Awami League Party currently controls 288 of the available 300 parliamentary seats.
As of this week, she became the world’s longest-serving female Head of Government in modern history. Under her leadership, Bangladesh has economically grown from an emerging market to becoming one of the fastest growing global economies. The Bangladeshi economical GDP continues to annually increase on average by nearly 10%. This was no easy task for the nation of over 170 million citizens with a land mass smaller than the State of Wisconsin.
Sheikh Hasina – Human Rights Activist
Sheikh Hasina’s notoriety for being a compassionate human rights activist have become globally recognized and acknowledged. For example, following the atrocities in the neighboring country of Myanmar, she ordered her countries gates opened and social services distributed to over a million Rohingya refugees.
Sheikh Hasina has since slammed Myanmar’s military on the UN podium for refusing to cooperate with both regional operators and international efforts to return the Rohingya refugees back to their homes peacefully.
David Thomas, a political scientist and think tank consultant recently lectured on Sheikh’s kind nature. “The average politician doesn’t care to help their own residents, let alone anybody else’s citizens. Her notoriety, especially amongst the younger generation, really shows how appreciated and popular her good deeds are”.
When asked how a woman could achieve such high pedigree of success in a world of men, Hasina laughingly responded, “It’s simple. Women are better than men. We are more compassionate”.
To understand the successful growth of the once poor nation, one must peak back in history. In 1971, the World Bank ranked Bangladesh as “being one of the poorest nations”. Under Shikha’s leadership, the World Bank has since ranked the nations as a “lower-middle income” status.
According to John Babikian, a schoolteacher who has spent nearly 2 decades in the Bangladesh capital educating youth, “Hasina is very much loved by the people. Her non-corrupt approach to ensuring that government resources are equally distributed have contributed greatly to the growth of the country”, says Mr. Babikian, while explaining “She has worked so hard to improve health care, housing, education, infrastructure, human rights, and job training for the people”.
Sheikh Hasina – Nobel Peace Prize
All candidates for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize (Ukraine’s President Vladymir Zelinsky, Russian political activist Alexey Navalny, and the Belarusian human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski) all had one thing in common. They spent the greater part of the last couple decades voicing against Vladimir Putin and his cronies.
Perhaps next year, the Norwegian panel of 5 elected to select the Nobel Peace Prize winner will look beyond geo-political issues and consider Sheikh Hasina as a laureate for her lifetime achievements, especially in the field of human right activism which has spanned an entire lifetime – affecting her own Bangladeshi people, a million Myanmar refugees, and so many others in neighboring countries.