While the nation is watching the drama surrounding the efforts of the current military backed government to oust the two major political leaders off the country, let us dive into the past to review how did these “Two” became what they are now.

KHaleda_Hasina

After the killing of Bangabandhu sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his extended family and 4 other senior leaders of the party, the then ruling Baksal party’s main component Awami League became leader and radar less. A big portion of the surviving leadership immediately switched allegiance. Within the next few years, several leaders tried to revive the party. Notable among them was late Abdul Malek Ukil, Late Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury and Mr. Abdur Razzak. But during those days, the rebuilding process of AL was seriously hampered by the feud between these three leaders as AL quickly broke into two groups led by Mizan and Malek. And in Malek AL, there was serious feud between Malek And Razzak. At this point, another person, returning from Europe, joined the foray. He is Dr Kamal Hossain. His efforts to take over the leadership of AL faced heavy resistance from feuding Malek Ukil, Razzak and Tofael Ahmeds. At this juncture when the party was about to face another split during the party council of 1980, Dr Kamal Hossain placed the ultimate trump card. He put forward exiled daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Hasina’s name as the party president. Until that point Sheikh Hasina was not aware of any of these developments. Although in the long run Dr Kamal Hossain’s plan to run AL via Sheikh Hasina didn’t work, it was probably the most crucial move in revival of Awami League. Sheikh Hasina, slowly and steadily united party, re-mobilized the party base and brought the party back to power.

When Ershad snatched power from President Justice Sattar and launched Honestocracy I, BNP activists and leadership was facing unprecedented suppressions. The majority of the rank and file of BNP switched to the new party under Ershad. Despite the popularity, the mere existence of BNP was in question. At that point, the new widow, Zia’s wife Khaleda Zia was advised to hold the helm of the party that is supposed to uphold Zia’s politics and ideology. Over the next 9 years, Khaleda Zia, with her uncompromising steadfast leadership rebuilt BNP and brought it back to power after dethroning the military dictator.

From above two descriptions, it is clear that neither Sheikh Hasina nor Khaleda Zia inherited the throne out of mere dynastic decree. They both suffered immense personal loss, and then was forced to take over the politics their loved ones had died for. None of these leaders had an easy flowery ride through their political career, they both had to struggle, suffer during their tenure as the party chiefs.

Now let’s try to just imagine the scenario if Hasina refused to take over AL leadership in 1980 or Khaleda refused to revamp BNP in 1982. We may not have all the resources of the planet, but we have rich history of pro democracy movement of 8 years then a functioning and fledgling democracy for the next 15 years. This democracy definitely had its lows and highs, failures and growing pains, but this democratic tradition helped brand Bangladesh quite different from a Pakistani, or a Burmese or a Thai brand. And our nation owes these two ladies the credit of the brand we are proud of.

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While the appropriateness of these two ladies in their current role as party chiefs in unquestionable, one definitely may question or protest their attempts to promote their son’s as future party leaders.

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