The 73rd birthday of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Bangladesh Awami League, will be celebrated across the country on Monday.
The Prime Minister was born on September 28, 1947 -the eldest of the five children of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Begum Fazilatunnesa, in the village of Tungipara in Gopalganj.
Like previous years, Awami League and its affiliated organisations will celebrate the day through various programmes. But this time there is the added attraction for them that for the first time since returning to power as Prime Minister in 2009, she will be in Dhaka for her birthday.
Previously, more-or-less every year from 2009 to 2019, her birthday was spent in New York City or its surrounding areas, where she would be attending the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, held every September. This year, the pandemic has forced even world leaders to resort to Zoom or to send in their recorded messages for the centrepiece event that stretches till the end of the month.
Thus the Prime Minister is on home soil this year, among her near and dear ones and her fellow Bangladeshis on her birthday, as she turns 73.
Marking her birthday, different programmes including doa and milad-mahfils, special prayers, photo exhibitions and discussions will be organised in the capital and different parts of the country maintaining the health guidelines amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
As part of the AL central programmes, a special doa and milad-mahfil will be held with participation of a limited number of leaders at the party’s central office in the city’s Bangabandhu Avenue at 3:30pm.
Besides, the doa and milad-mahfil will be held at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque centrally and all other mosques throughout the country after Zahr prayer.
Special prayers will also be offered at International Buddhist Monastery (Bihar) at Merul Badda at 9am, Christian Association Bangladesh (CAB) Mirpur Baptist Church at 10am, Jakmala Rani Church at Tejgaon at 6am and Dhakeshwari Temple at 11am on the day. The AL central leaders will be present in the function, said a release.
The AL associate bodies will also arrange different programmes including discussions, doa-mahfils, special prayers and photo exhibitions across the country maintaining the health guidelines, it said.
The leaders of all AL units up to ward-level were asked to celebrate taking up similar programmes maintaining the health codes.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended heartiest congratulations to Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina on the eve of her 73rd birthday.
Also read: Modi greets PM Hasina on her birthday
Outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das during her farewell call handed over Modi's letter along with a bouquet to the Prime Minister on Sunday.
"Please accept my warm wishes and hearty congratulations on your birthday," the Indian Prime Minister wrote.
"Your (Sheikh Hasina) visionary leadership has helped Bangladesh achieve immense social and economic transformation, and equally your contributions to our bilateral relations has been extremely impressive," said Modi, wishing Sheikh Hasina good health and happiness and many more years in the service of the people of Bangladesh.
Sheikh Hasina had spent much of her childhood in the village where she was born in Tungipara. She started her schooling there. When Bangabandhu was elected a legislator, his family shifted to Dhaka in 1954.
She graduated from Dhaka University in 1973.
She has had a checkered political career. She was elected vice-president of the Students Union of the Government Intermediate Girl's College when she contested as a candidate from Students League.
Later, she served as secretary and then as president of college unit of Chhatra League. She was also a member of Chhatra League in Dhaka University and became the secretary of Ruqayyah Hall unit. She actively participated in all mass movements in her student days.
The Father of the Nation, along with members of his family, was brutally assassinated on the fateful night of August 15, 1975. Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana were the only survivors as they were in West Germany at that time.
Sheikh Hasina was unanimously elected president of Bangladesh Awami League in 1981 while still abroad. She returned home on May 17, 1981 ending her six years in exile.
Sheikh Hasina played a crucial role in establishing democracy in the country when she won from three constituencies in the parliamentary election in 1986 and was elected leader of the opposition.
She was one of the principal leaders of the historic joint movement in 1990 that toppled the military regime of HM Ershad.
She became prime minister for the first time on June 23, 1996 when the Awami League acquired a majority in the general elections held on June 12, 1996.
Following a defeat in the next election held in 2001, she was once again leader of the opposition but returned to power with a resounding victory in the December 2008 election and has remained in power through two more elections since then.