Mr. Md. Zillur Rahman, was the 19th President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, was born in a respectable Muslim family under Bhairab Thana of Kishoreganj district on March 09, 1929. His father late Meher Ali Mian was a renowned lawyer, the Chairman of the then Mymensingh Local Board and the Member of the District Board.
Mr. Zillur Rahman started his academic life at the district town of Mymensingh. He passed Matriculation from Bhairab K. B. High School in 1945 and obtained Intermediate of Arts (I. A.) certificate from Dhaka Intermediate College. In 1954, he got his M.A. with Honors in History and L. L. B. degree from the University of Dhaka.
Mr. Zillur Rahman played an active role in the great Language Movement in 1952. He presided over a student gathering held in the historic Amtala (Mango grove) of Dhaka University on 19 February 1952 on demand of Bangla as the State Language. The work plan of 21 February was taken from here. Mr. Zillur Rahman was one of the prominent leaders among the 11 student-leaders who met at the pond-side between Fazlul Huq Hall and Dhaka Hall on 20 February 1952 and took decision to break the section144.
In 1953, he was elected as the Vice-President of Student Union of Fazlul Huq Hall of Dhaka University uncontested. The University authority expelled him from the University and snatched his Masters Degree due to his active participation in Language Movement. However, facing intense mayhem by the students, the university authority compelled to return his degree. At the time of Jukto-Front (United Front) Election in 1954, he was made the Vice-Chairman of Election Steering Committee of the greater Mymenshing district. He also performed his duties as the President of erstwhile East Pakistan Awami Sechchhasebak League. He was the founder President of Kishorgonj Awami League in 1956. He was elected General-Secretary of Dhaka District Bar Association in sixties.
Mr. Zillur Rahman came in close touch with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during his study in Dhaka Intermediate College in 1946, when he was engaged in publicity work on referendum in Sylhet during the British regime. He took part in all mass-movements including the movement against military rule in 1962, six-point movement in 1966 and mass-upsurge in 1969 as a close associate of the Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In 1970, he was elected Member of the National Assembly (M. N. A.) of Pakistan.
Mr. Zillur Rahman was one of the veteran organizers of our Liberation War in 1971. He was associated with the operation of the Sadhin Bangla Betar Kendro (a Radio Centre of Independent Bangladesh) and publication of newspaper named, JoyBangla, the mouth-piece of the then Mujibnagar Government . During the war of liberation, the occupying Pakistan Government sentenced him twenty-year imprisonment and confiscated his all properties by canceling the Membership of the National Assembly.
In 1972, just after our victory in the war of liberation, he as a Member of Bangladesh Constituent Assembly actively took part in formation of the Constitution of Bangladesh. He was elected Member of Parliament (MP) in 1973 and 1986 from his constituency. In 1996, he re-elected as MP in the 7th Parliament and became a Minister. He held the portfolio of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development & Cooperatives. Besides, he successfully performed the duties of Deputy Leader in the Parliament till 2001. Mr. Zillur Rahman further elected MP in the 8th Parliament in 2001.
Mr. Zillur Rahman led the party in a very crucial time with courageous and farsighted after the arrest of Sheikh Hasina, the President of Bangladesh Awami League, on July 16 following the promulgation of State of Emergency on January 11, 2007. During her 11 month- captive life in Special Jail and six-month staying abroad for treatment, Mr. Zillur Rahman played vital role as the Acting President of the Party to keep the Party united and to revive the Democracy.Bangladesh Awami League won the landslide victory in the 9th Parliament Election held in 29 December 2008. He became the Member of Parliament for the Sixth time. He has been playing pivotal role as the Deputy Leader of the Parliament before taking oath as the 19th President of the Republic.
In 1972, after the Independence, the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was elected as the President while Mr. Md. Zillur Rahman was elected as the General-Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League. He re-elected as the General-Secretary of the Party in 1974. He was the first General Secretary of Bangladesh Krishok Sramik Awami League in 1975. After the brutal assassination of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family in 1975, he was kept in prison for 4 years. In 1981, after the return of Sheikh Hasina, the elder daughter of Bangabandhu, from abroad to motherland, Mr. Zillur Rahman played important role as Presidium Member of Bangladesh Awami League. He was imprisoned again in 1986 while he was a Member of Parliament. He was elected as General-Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League both in 1992 and in 1997.
Mrs. Ivey Rahman, the beloved wife of the Hon’ble President Zillur Rahman and a veteran leader of Bangladesh Awami League died after two days following the brutal grenade attack on 21 August 2004 at a grand-rally of Bangladesh Awami League at Bangabandhu Avenue in Dhaka. She was the Ex-President of Bangladesh Mohila Awami League and Ex-Chairperson of Jatio Mohila Songstha. Until her death, she was the Secretary of Bangladesh Mohila Awami League. Mr. Zillur Rahman is blessed with a son and two daughters.
Mr. Md. Zillur Rahman sworn in of the office of the President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on 12 February 2009 as the 19th President.