by our correspondent in Dhaka:
The Awami League and its associate organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes to celebrate the 74th birthday of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the chief of the ruling party, on Monday.
Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib, was born in Tungipara of Gopalganj district on September 28, 1947.
This is the first birthday programme in which Hasina will be at home as in the past years she used to stay in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly as her birthday coincided with the annual UN meet since she became the prime minister in 2009.
This time round, the UN annual events is being attended by the heads of the state or governments through virtual media because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. And, Hasina is at home.
The Awami League and its fronts will highlight through various events the life and achievements of Sheikh Hasina, who is driving the nation towards prosperity following the footsteps of her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Discussions, special prayers and photo exhibitions will be organized in the capital and different parts of the country, abiding by the appropriate health rules.
Hasina moved to Dhaka along with her family in 1954 when Bangabandhu was elected a legislator after she spent much of her childhood and basic schooling in the southern hamlet where she was born.
She was enrolled to what is now Sher-e-Bangla Girls’ School and College and later to Azimpur Girls’ High School from where she completed her secondary education in 1965. She was then admitted to Badrunnessa Government Girls’ College.
During her bachelor course, she was elected as the vice-president of the students’ union of Eden Girls’ College (That time, Badrunnessa and Eden Girls’ College was a single entity). Later, she enrolled into her Masters’ programme at the Bengali Department of Dhaka University.
Hasina actively took part in the six-point movement of 1966 and the student movement of 1969 which saw the abdication of General Ayub Khan.
In 1968, with the blessings of her imprisoned father, Hasina got married to nuclear scientist Dr Wazed Miah. Hasina and her family were interned in a house in Dhaka during Bangladesh’s 1971 liberation war. On July 27 in 1971, her first child Sajib Wazed Joy was born. Her second child Saima Wazed Hossain was born on December 9, 1972.
She along with her younger sister Sheikh Rehana survived the August 15, 1975 massacre when a group of army officers killed Bangabandhu and most of his family in Dhaka. The two were in Germany at that time.
Hasina and her family were offered political asylum in India, where she stayed till 1981 when she was elected as the president of the Awami League in her absence.
She was greeted by crowd of tens of thousands when she returned home on May 17, 1981. She addressed a public rally on her return at Manik Mia Avenue.
Hasina was elected to parliament from multiple constituencies in 1986 election amid an anti-autocratic movement. She was elected the leader of the opposition in parliament after the ouster of military dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad in 1990.
Hasina’s Awami League party reassumed office 21 years after her father was assassinated in 1996 and she became the prime minister for the first time. She survived an attempt on her life on August 21, 2004 when she was addressing an anti-terrorism rally as the opposition leader in Dhaka. Twenty-four people were killed in the grenade attack carried out by elements backed by the then ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.
In 2008 election, she swept an overwhelming parliamentary majority in and formed her government in early January of 2009. Her party consecutively won the elections in 2014 and the 2018 and she remain as prime minister for the third consecutive tenure.
She took up many measures to take the country forward. Hasina was honoured with various international awards for her contributions towards development.