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“Bangladesh has achieved a unique place in the world as a nation of language movement and libration war”

Roquia Haider
Chief, VOA BANGLA
Voice of America

 

R

oquia Haider is a well-known figure to all Bengali-speaking people across the world. She has now been appointed the chief of Bangla language department of the Voice of America (VOA). She is the first woman to have joined the role at the radio station since 1958. Her news casts create an overwhelmed audience. Many news readers present their news on radio and television but it seems that there is a charisma in Roquia Haider’s voice which makes her extraordinary and brings fame for her.

News presenter Roquia Haider was born in 1946 in Kolkata. She grew up in Calcutta, India, where her father was a businessman. The family moved to East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, when Roquia was in high school. Still in high school, she married and had the first of four children. Nevertheless, at the insistence of her father and with both families helping to take care of the children, she attended Eden College from where she passed Intermediate  and graduated with a degree in political science.. Thereafter, she completed her Masters degree in political science and economics department in 1966.

Roquia Haider’s husband, who worked in a shipping company, was one of thousands of Bengalis and Hindus killed by West Pakistani troops in a military action beginning March 25, 1971 to quell a secessionist movement in East Pakistan. Roquia was only 24.

From the year 1968 to 1972, she stayed with her family in Chattogram. At that time, she worked as a news presenter in Radio Pakistan and Chattogram regional center. In 1968, she started her career in media presenting local news at Chattogram Radio. Though, she took part in drama, different kinds of cultural dances and songs during her childhood she never thought she would take it as a profession. She started presenting local news at Chattogram as she enjoyed it.

Roquia Haider used to present news for both Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television in 1974. For her sweet voice, the audiences then liked her very much. Thereafter, she went to the USA in 1981 after completing her final examination. Beginning her career with Chattogram Betar in 1968, the veteran journalist has been serving the VOA for three decades. Haider

had been holding the position of VOA’s managing editor of Bangla department since 2001.

Roquia Haider opines, she wouldn’t get such fame and respect from any other profession if she didn’t work at VOA as news presenter. She is very sincere to her profession and her only attention is about news items. She doesn’t only present news but also writes, translates and edits.

Roquia Haider had great interest in sports since childhood. As a result, she travelled extensively to collect news of Olympic, commonwealth games, worldcup football and cricket. In 1981, she covered news as a correspondent of Voice of America during World Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Bangladesh participated in this competition for the first time and flew its flag.

Roquia Haider’s journalism career is full of diversity. She has got huge fame after the appointment as head of Bangla Language Department of VOA. She feels proud for Bangladesh. She believes, the language movement and liberation war have established Bangladesh in a high position in the world. Bangladesh has become a developed and dignified country due to the resistance shown by Bangladeshis during the war of liberation. Once, the people of Bangladesh had to extend their hands asking for help to other countries but the situation has changed now. We have now achieved self-sufficiency in every sector, she adds.

Regarding empowerment of women, she says, Bangladesh has proved that if women are empowered, the scenario of economy can change. If women get proper opportunities, the country will set example as an economic power. Little educated rural women are the proud partners of development as industrial workers.

“I’m really grateful to God that I am here today, I can talk to the whole world through the microphone, and my children grew up as good human beings, which I wanted.”

Roquia Haider has stolen the hearts of innumerable people through her news casting.

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