We shared a deep bond: Hasina

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the Indian President’s wife; but the bond between Sheikh Hasina and Ms. Suvra Mukherjee went far beyond protocol and bilateral ties. “It was personal, deeply personal, a bond of 40 years, and Ms. Hasina would have attended her funeral even if President Mukherjee were not in office,” Bangladesh High Commissioner Syed Muazzem Ali told The Hindu.

The bond grew from the time a young Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana came to live in India after they were orphaned with the brutal assassination of their father and Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, their mother and all other members of their family by army officers. “The families knew each other, and there was a special connection as Ms. Suvra Mukherjee was born and raised until the age of 10 in Bangladesh.”

Later, say those who knew them at the time (President Mukherjee was a junior minister in the Cabinet of Indira Gandhi then), Ms. Mukherjee also took care of Sheikh Hasina’s children, who came to study in India.

The close ties endured through the ups and downs of both Ms. Hasina and Mr. Mukherjee’s public life. A special moment came in March 2013 when Ms. Hasina invited and arranged the visit of Mr. Mukherjee to Bangladesh. High Commissioner Ali recounted how Mr. Mukherjee and Ms. Mukherjee were welcomed in her ancestral home in Narail district when they made a historic visit there in March 2013.

“It was not President Pranab Mukherjee, but Jamai Babu or Dada Babu (son-in-law) who was given the welcome,” he told The Hindu.

Ms. Hasina will arrive at the Delhi airport on Wednesday morning, from where she is expected to go directly to Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet Mr. Mukherjee. Ms. Hasina will then go the Talkatora Road residence to pay respects to Ms. Mukherjee, before accompanying the convoy to the Lodi Road crematorium in Delhi.

Ms. Hasina will be accompanied by her sister Sheikh Rehana and her daughter Saima Wazed, as well as Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmud Ali. “The entire family looked up to Ms. Mukherjee as a guardian, as a mother figure to them. She was family.”

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 7:58:51 AM |

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