‘I have come back to you after losing everything’
She was forced to stay back in Delhi for six years
After Bangabandhu was assassinated in 1975, Sheikh Hasina, now the prime minister of Bangladesh, returned home on May 17, 1981.
Her political colleagues at the time said she had prepared herself to return to the country after spending six years abroad, with the aim to restore democracy and progressive politics in Bangladesh.
During her student life, Sheikh Hasina was an activist for Bangladesh Chhatra League and was elected vice president of the Students Union at Eden College.
When she returned to Bangladesh, she left her two children Sajeeb Wazed Joy and Saima Wazed Putul with her younger sister Sheikh Rehana in London.
The premier’s discontent
After returning to Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, who is now serving as Bangladesh’s prime minister for the fourth time, said: “I have come back to you after losing everything, I want to sacrifice my life to avenge the murder of the Father of the Nation by implementing his ideals.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is one of the very few people who has seen the political life of her father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, very closely.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina often questions where the Awami League leaders were at the time of the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and why none of the leaders came forward and played a brave role in protesting against the assassination.
“It (Awami League) is such a big organization… there are so many leaders! Where were they at that time? I still keep looking for answers. No one dared to take a step. The people were always with Bangabandhu,” she said.
Addressing a discussion at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on the occasion of Victory Day, she said: “How did no one in Bangladesh know that Bangabandhu would be killed, and why no one took any action against the killing?
“His body was lying on the floor in Dhanmondi 32, why? I still did not get any answer. The nation had to pay the price for its failure to protect Bangabandhu in the following decades,” she said.
What politicians think about her transformation
When asked about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s transformation after the loss of her family, Awami League Advisory Council member Nuh-ul-Alam Lenin said: “The assassination of Bangabandhu was a shocking incident for us as a nation. But Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana were also caught off guard during the attack. They never imagined this could happen.
“However, in December 1974, when I was the president of the students’ union, the then Dhaka University VP and I told Bangabandhu about the conspiracy. Sheikh Hasina was forced to stay abroad for six years, but she did not sit idle during that time. She was laying the groundwork for her return home, including overcoming her trauma,” he said.
During those years, Sheikh Hasina actually made himself fit for the fight she was about to face in Bangladesh, the politician said.
“She did not even bring her children with her when she returned because she knew about the risks. When she was made Awami League president, it was more strongly evident that she was ready to take the risks of returning home,” Nuh-ul-Alam Lenin said.
Dr Atiur Rahman, former governor of Bangladesh Bank and Dhaka University’s Bangabandhu chair, said: “Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina is leading an unforgettable journey to turn grief into strength. On August 15, 1975, she and her younger sister survived the attack because they were abroad. But after losing all her family members, she spent her days in political asylum.”
Sheikh Hasina returned to Bangladesh in 1981 with the hope of completing the unfinished works of Bangabandhu. Taking charge of a big party like the Awami League, she travelled around the country and reorganized the party, he said.
“After struggling for 15 years, in 1996, she revived Bangabandhu’s unfinished economic and social development programs by bringing the party to power. After returning to power in 2009 and suffering a setback in 2001, the government now has completed a series of infrastructure and development activities to make Bangladesh an exceptional developing country,” Dr Atiur Rahman said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been creating an extraordinary example of this transformational leadership by overcoming the intense grief of losing her family and sacrificing herself for the welfare of the common people, he noted.
Source: Dhaka Tribune.