17 May, 1981: Homecoming of Sheikh Hasina, the Daughter of Democracy

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Published on May 16, 2023
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Hundreds and thousands of people were gathered there to welcome her. Men and women, from all over the country in countless numbers who proceeded towards the airport, represented every single segment and community of the society. There was a queue of vehicles, not less than a few miles long, on the road that led to the airport.

There were hundreds of people on the tarmac inside the airport, chanting ‘Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu’ carrying portraits of Bangabandhu, banners, festoons and replicas of boats. The moment the aircraft carrying Sheikh Hasina touched down, the people waiting for such a long time rushed toward the runway. It was difficult, not impossible, to contain them. The security workers pleaded with and appealed to them over and over again before they were able to clear the way.

The moment the aircraft came to halt, hundreds of people rushed to touch it. Many burst into tears when they found the aircraft carrying the Daughter of Bengal within their reach. Moments later, the Daughter of Bangabandhu, the Father of the Nation, Sheikh Hasina appeared at the door. She was profusely garlanded by the Awami League leaders. She waved at the people and saluted them. The whole airport was filled with cries of joy and pain at one and the same time.

Sheikh Hasina too, couldn’t stop her tears; she was in no position to respond to the gestures of love of the people. For a long time, she had kept confined in her heart the deepest of her pain. Now, she couldn't control herself anymore.

These were the tears that would one day cleanse the soil that was drenched with the blood of her father, mother, brothers and the wives of her brothers in the dark night of 15th August 1975.