Tributes pour in for Sajeda Chowdhury as Hasina mourns ‘a true guardian’

Sheikh Hasina remembers the veteran Awami League leader as ‘a true guardian’

Published : 12 Sept 2022, 04:49 PM
Updated : 12 Sept 2022, 04:49 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is “deeply” saddened by the death of Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury as politicians have paid tributes to the veteran Awami League leader.
Sajeda, Deputy Leader of the House and a member of the ruling party’s policymaking body the Presidium, died at a hospital in Dhaka at the age of 87 on Sunday night after suffering from complications related to old age.

“Her demise is an irreparable loss for the nation. In her death, we lost a veteran politician and I lost a true guardian,” Hasina said in a condolence message, remembering the role Sajeda played for Bangladesh’s independence and in its politics.
Sajeda met Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during an election

campaign in 1954. Two years later, she joined the Awami League.
After the assassination of founding father Bangabandhu with most members of his family in 1975, Sajeda steered the Awami League through its most difficult times first as its acting general secretary and then as the general secretary.

The prime minister recalled the tremendous role Sajeda played in making Hasina, then in exile, president of the party in 1981. On Hasina’s return, Sajeda remained one of her most trusted comrades.

President Abdul Hamid issued a condolence message and sent flowers as thousands visited the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka on Monday to pay respects to the veteran Awami League leader.

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader led the party’s tribute at the Shaheed Minar. He recalled Sajeda Chowdhury’s contributions to Bangladesh’s independence.

During the 1971 Liberation War, Sajeda established and ran Gobra Nursing Camp in Kolkata. She also took part in the war. She earned Bangladesh’s highest civilian honour, the Independence Award, in 2010 for her contributions.

“She never left during times of trouble. She never compromised. The next generation should follow her ideals,” said Amir Hossain Amu, coordinator of the Awami League-led 14-Party Alliance.

Zafrullah Chowdhury, a trustee of the Ganashasthaya Kendra, described Sajeda as a key organiser of women. “When we were short of staff to run the hospital during the Liberation War, she sent the girls. I consider her the No. 1 female leader during the war.”

Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said Sajeda continued to support Hasina when many leaders left her side during the military-controlled caretaker government. “And she will be there in the history of Bangladesh, not just the Awami League.”

Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon said Sajeda’s firm stance to carry forward Bangabandhu’s ideals after his assassination inspired politicians from across the spectrum.

Sajeda’s son Shahab Akbar Chowdhury Labu said he was proud of what his mother did for the country and the party.

Shama Obayed, an organising secretary of the BNP, said Sajeda Chowdhury was a shining star in Bangladesh’s politics where she will be remembered forever.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher