Sheikh Hasina while reminiscing her six-year of life in exile and the subsequent events including homecoming at a civic reception accorded to her on Friday broke down in tears. Emotion-choked Hasina wept and made her audience weep too.
The grand reception was organized by the National Citizens' Committee in recognition of her outstanding international and national accomplishments.
"On return from exile in 1980, I did not get back my beloved father, mother, brothers, and other near and dear ones who became the victims of August 15 massacre, but I got boundless love and affection of the people of the country," the Prime Minister said in an emotion-choked voice at the very outset of her speech.
"Leaving behind my lovely offspring in foreign land, I came back to the sacred soil of my mother land not to become the president of Awami League but to bring smiles on the faces of the downtrodden masses of the country which was the life-long dream of my father," Hasina said.
It was raining outside the reception venue that witnessed pin-drop silence and the huge grief stricken audience chanted "Jananetri" [peoples' leader] Sheikh Hasina.
She said, "My father used to love the people and he finally sacrificed his life for them. Today I am vowing to sacrifice my last drop of blood for the wellbeing of those people who loved my father too."
"I know I have to die one day. I am never afraid of death. I shall be ready to embrace death for bringing smiles on the faces of the people who hugged me in love and affection when I came back among them from abroad," she said while expressing her deep gratitude to the rank and file leaders and workers of Awami League and millions of disciples of Bangabandhu.
The reception was held at Suhrawardy Uddyan that witnessed the historic March 7 speech of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaiming independence of Bangladesh. It is in this ground where 95,000 Pakistani defeated armymen surrendered before the victors on December 16 in 1971.