On 17 May, 1981, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returned home after years of exile in a foreign land. While abroad she came to know of the tragedy that had struck her family on 15 August, 1975. She lived abroad for many years with the terrible pain in her heart as she knew she would never see her beloved father, mother, brothers, uncles, aunts and little cousin brothers and sisters ever again. No one would be able to feel the pain that she suffered in seclusion away from home.
Bangladesh those days was passing through phases of military rule, destruction of democracy, misrule, muscle power, closing down of educational institutes and patronisation of the war criminals. The leaders and workers of the Awami League passed their days in fear without a powerful leader who could give them courage and unite them. As democracy was not in practice, and there was no rule of law, many thought that the return of Sheikh Hasina to the country was not the best decision. But, the true courageous daughter of the courageous father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Sheikh Hasina took the decision herself – to come back to Bangladesh.
It was perhaps the diktat of destiny so she could not avoid that call. On 17 May, 1981, she came back and soon took charge of the hull of the large boat called The Awami League. It was not easy sailing for her as she could not trust all who were around her. Only a handful of true soldiers of Bangabandhu, intellectuals, and workers at the grassroots remained to give her protection. It is sheer interference of the Providence and loyalty of the supporters and workers that she survived many attempts on her life.
Sheikh Hasina worked hard for the next two decades and more to translate the dream of Bangabandhu into reality. Today she has taken Bangladesh to an enviable position among the comity of nations. Today Bangladesh is considered by them as a role model of development. Today she is considered one of the top powerful women leaders of the world. And this fairytale had started 38 years ago on a stormy day.