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Virtual Bangladesh : Biography

Sheikh Hasina

Sheikh Hasina was born on September 28, 1947 at Tungipara, a remote village under Gopalgonj district which is also birth place of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. She is the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Her mother Begum Fazilatunnesa was widely respected as a tender hearted lady.

In 1968, Sheikh Hasina was married to an eminent scientist of Bangladesh Mr. M. A. Wazed Miah and they are now the parents of one son and a daughter.

 After her marriage, Sheikh Hasina continued her studies and was graduated form the University of Dhaka in 1973. Scion of a political family, she was actively involved in student politics in her college and university days. She gained political experience as the go between in her role to maintain contact between her father and the political and students leader during Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's repeated imprisonment by the Pakistani ruler in late sixties. Always popular among the students, Sheikh Hasina was elected as the chief of the Student's Union of Eden Girls College, the leading women's college in Bangladesh. She was a member of student's League (Chattra League ) of Dhaka University and Secretary of the Chattra League unit in Rokeya Hall. She was also the President of Eden Intermediate Girls College Chattra League. Sheikh Hasina actively participated in the mass upsurge of 1969 and at the time of the Liberation War of 1971, she was imprisoned by Pakistani occupation army along with her husband, mother, sister and brother.

On the fateful night of August 15, 1975 when some disgruntled army officers assassinated the Father of the Nation and elected head of the state Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his wife, three sons and all the inmates of his residence to capture power, Sheikh Hasina was then on a visit to West Germany. Her divine fate led her to escape the conspiracy of eliminating the entire family of the Father of the Nation and subsequently bringing her to the leadership of the largest political Organization in Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina was unanimously elected the president of the Awami League in 1981 while she was still in exile. She was forced to live in exile because of the restrictions put on her return home by the then government in Bangladesh. Ending six years in exile she returned home finally on May 17, 1981 to a tumultuous welcome by million of people when she declared, " I have nothing to lose. I pledge you to fight for restoration of the democratic rights of the people of my country."

In 1982 she was the first to raise the voice of protest against an assumption of state-power through military coups d'etat.

Thereafter, she had to suffer confinement time and again. In 1984 she was put under house arrest in February and then again in November. In March 1985, she was put under house arrest for three months at a stretch. On March 26, 1996 in a statement issued in Dhaka on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said that her party would participate in the general election as part of its movement to put an end to the politics of coups, killing, conspiracies and martial laws." She also said, " We want to have elections not only to form the next government but also to establish a system that represents the people as well"'

Sheikh Hasina became leader of the Opposition in Parliament, commanding the support of 104 elected MPs belonging to her party and alliance. In the Elections of 1991 following the ouster of General Ershad she assumed the mantle of leader of the opposition. Awami League returned to power in Bangladesh after many years in the opposition after the 1996 elections. Under her leadership, the Awami League government was the first government to complete a full 5 year tenure. The 2001 elections saw Awami League losing the elections and once again becoming the largest opposition party.

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