Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bangladesh, Ershad (contd-3)

Personal Life:
H.M.Ershad was married to Raushan Ershad and they had a son and a daughter. He had also a son from his second wife, Bidisha Ershad. He had allegedly married three times. A woman , named Mary Mumtz, filed for divorce from Ershad in the court of United States. But the case was dismiised as Ershad was the Head of a State of a friendly State.
His eldest son Shad Ershad had his share of misfortune too,when he tried to help a mentally ill girl who ran away from home. The girl's father file a missing person's case, however the govt. pressured to pursue the case when it was discovered she was with the Former President's son, he was discredited.
Ersgad had been also infamous for extra-marital affairs which on cover of every news paper in the country soon after his downfall which continued till 2006. His affair with Zeenat Mosharraf, a member of Parliament almost removed him from the Chairmanship.
His marriage with Bidisha ended in a bitter divorce and sedition charges brought by the BNP Govt. against Bidisha. H.M.Ershad divorced her for allegedly hiding her first marriagewhich still was not annulled at the time of their marriage.
His wife and former first lady of Bangladesh Mrs Raushan Ershad always stayed by his side despite the infidelity. She was the acting Chairperson when Ershad was in prison, and now leads a rival faction of Jatya Party. Raushan Ershad was also elected as a member of Parliament thricein the elections of 1991,1996 and 2001.
Ershad served the longest Presidential term and was the first former President of Bangladesh to have been sent to prison. Ahmad comments on the difference between Zia and Ershad, while Zia's trnsformation military dictator to civilian president was largely successful,Ershad failed to make the transition. Zia won the support of the youth, Ershad alienated them and inspite of his utmost attempt he could not shake the image of being an "oppressive ruler". He was widely known as a usurper who toppled Sattar's elected Govt. and set democracy back with the help of military. Yet, as Ahmed said, he enjoyed some popularity of winning seats from jail. Choudhury described that his regime was the most corrupt in the history of Bangladesh and the progress he had was minimal but the damage caused by "the absence of democracy".
But still he was honoured by :
He was awarded as a United Nation's Laureate twice during his presidency,
i) In recognition of outstanding contribution to increasing awareness of populationquestions and to their solutions. Ershad was awarded UN population award,1987, by the General assembly.
ii) He campaigned for early conclusion of an international convention on protection and conservation of climate. He also proposed a worldwide fund to help developing countries stop environmental degradation, for which he was awardedthe UN Environment Award,1988.
i)For foundation of the foundation of Multipurpose bridge on Yamuna River connecting east and west of bangladesh.
ii) Stablizing Bangladesh army and sending to UN peace keeping mission which earned highest source of foriegn currency.
iii) He was the first leader in historyto sign a death sentence for throwing acid on women. In the early eighties he signed the death sentence of three people who had thrown acid at girls refusing their advances and ordered their public hanging. This led to a dramatic lowering of throwing of acid on girls.
iv) He also issued death sentence to one for mutilating children for begging. He was the one who passed a law that if a child found crippled on the road he has to be taken to police custody and then from there to a hospital and appropriate institution. Any one who voluntarily cripples a cild or any one is given a death sentence. This also led to a dramatic decline in crippling children for begging in Bangladesh. He suupplied free drugs for patients of Tuberculosis and leprosy in all health complexes. He stopped human transportation on the Bangladesh borders.He launched wide campaign against use of illicit drugs and opening of drug rehabilitation centers in Bangladesh.
v) The land reforms ordinance of 1984(1) granting tenants right for the first time .
Special note ;
He introduced a new plan for divestment of Government industries and promised to move the away from socialism. This is to be noted that the The West, that backed him for almost a decade, no longer supported the Non-socialist president after the fall of USSR in 1991 and the intensification of campaign against Ershad launched by students and opposition parties led to step down Ershad on 6 dec 1990.