Since 1991, when she first became Prime Minister, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has been celebrating 15th August as her ‘official birthday’ .
She has been roundly criticised for doing that on a day of mourning for Bangladesh’s fallen national hero, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who was assassinated with much of his family this day in 1975 by disgruntled military officers.
But that has not stopped Khaleda from celebrating her ‘birthday’ on Aug 15. It was no different this year, when seven 69-pound cakes were cut to usher in her 69th birthday.
The seven cakes were cut at BNP's Naya Paltan headquarters by Metropolitan BNP, Juba Dal, Swecchasebok Dal, Mohila Dal, Sromik Dal, Chhatra Dal and Jatiyatabadi Samajik Sangskritik Sangstha.
They all wished Khaleda ‘happy birthday’.
“Our leader had crossed 68, we wish her long life today and wish the nation will pray for that,” said BNP leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.
He appealed to countrymen to continue the struggle for restoration of the caretaker system to hold national parliament elections.
Born to Eskander Majumder and Toiyba Majumder in 1945 at Feni's Sonagazi, Khaleda, nicknamed Putul, spent her childhood in Dinajpur.
According to her marriage certificate, her birthday is Sept 5, 1945 and in her first passport it is Aug 19, 1946. She put her date of birth as Aug 9, 1944 for registration of the matriculation exams.
But in a democracy, a citizen has the right to choose his or her birthday, regardless of when one is born -- and also has a right to celebrate it on wish.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's grandson Sajeeb Ahmed Wajed Joy has taken Khaleda apart for observing her birthday on the day much of his maternal family was liquidated in a military coup.
Awami League believes Khaleda's husband General Ziaur Rahman's role as 'mysterious' during that bloody coup.
Ziaur and Khaleda were married in 1960.
He was a Major in the Pakistan army and fought as a sector commander in the 1971 Liberation War.
But after the 1975 coup and several that followed, Ziaur Rahman managed to usurp power and emerge as the country's first military dictator .
He was assassinated five years after Mujib -- again by a group of military officers.