Time to challenge what we know: Radwan Mujib

Bangabandhu’s grandson Radwan Mujib Siddiq has called on policymakers to revisit their assumptions and look deeper into the factors that "make Bangladesh tick" as the country charts its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The story of Bangladesh is a complex one, with multiple layers and a rich cast of characters. Its developmental journey has been remarkable and needs to be understood as a sum of its parts – but not all sectors grab the headlines they deserve,” he wrote in an editorial note to the fifth issue of WhiteBoard, said to be the first policy-based magazine of the country.

“As the country looks to rebound from the global pandemic, policymakers need to revisit their assumptions, and take a more detailed look at who and what makes Bangladesh tick.”

A trustee of the Centre for Research and Information, Radwan termed the South Asian country's developmental turnaround “remarkable”, referring to the government’s policy of inclusive growth with a trickle-down effect to benefit the poorest.

Emphasising the need for fresh perspectives to help the country meet future challenges, he said, “The global pandemic has shown that countries need nimble thought leadership to be truly adaptable. Fresh perspectives, detailed analysis, and good data are essential.”

With a renewed call for participation from a pool of writers, he sought “continued support of our readers, contributors and sponsors, to establish WhiteBoard as the premier space for the next generation of analysts, academics and professionals.”

Earlier during the launch of the fourth issue, Radwan had said it is “time to move on from talking about the ‘Bangladesh Miracle’ and start focusing on the ‘Bangladesh Model’, as the country seeks to consolidate its position as a middle-income country.”

“The model outlined in Vision 2021 and Digital Bangladesh embraces people-centric policies that ensure the much-needed distributive justice,” he added.

The latest issue of the quarterly covered some crucial policy issues such as the importance and relevance of agriculture in the country’s march towards middle-income status and the role of middlemen in labour immigration.

MA Razzaque explains why the importance of agriculture will not diminish even as Bangladesh consolidates its position as a middle-income country. He shows how key policy decisions over the past 50 years have transformed the sector into an engine for growth and poverty alleviation. The future of the sector includes precision agriculture, increased foreign investment, and bold new partnerships, he added.

WhiteBoard, in its first issue, had narrated the futuristic policy decisions taken by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in post-independence Bangladesh, an issue often outshined by his leadership and struggle towards the country’s freedom.

The magazine featured detailed analysis on a gamut of policy issues, penned by internationally acclaimed academicians, researchers, and journalists.

Radwan, a London School of Economics graduate, has led some initiatives, the first of their kind in the country, such as ‘Mujib’ graphic novel, based on ‘The Unfinished Memoirs’ of Bangabandhu, ‘Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale’, a docudrama based on the life of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as a daughter of Bangabandhu, Joy Bangla Concert, themed on the nation’s sacrifice for freedom.

He is widely credited with drawing the young generation closer to the country's glorious history of liberation and growth through creative storytelling.