A brief account of life and works of writer, educationist and women’s rights activist Begum Roquiah Sakhawat Hossain was presented through a recitation production titled ‘Mohiyosi Roquiah’ staged by Kanthashilan at Studio Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Saturday.
The production, compiled and directed by Golam Sarwar, comprised excerpts and references from books written by Begum Roquiah like Matichur, Oborodhbasini, Sultana’s Dream and Padmarag and her letters in which she had discussed her thoughts on issues like women’s education and empowerment, social and economic freedom of women, family, religion, language and so on.
It was staged marking the 137th birth anniversary of Begum Roquiah. Prior to the recitation programme thespian Lucky Enam spoke on legacy, achievements and contribution of Begum Roquiah.
‘Today’s women are indebted to Begum Roquiah in more ways than one. She played an important role in changing the fate of the Bengali women’, said Lucky Enam.
Thirteen Kanthashilan artistes, clad in the distinctive white saree that Roquiah used to wear, staged Mohiyosi Roquiah on the occasion.
The artistes recited Roquiah’s writings as part of the production. The recitations were accompanied by commentaries offering detail explanation of the recited segments much to the delight of the audience.
The production gave the audience a glimpse into the society of Roquiah’s time where religion
and the patriarchal society kept the women confined within the walls of their homes.
Begum Roquiah Sakhawat Hossain, commonly known as Begum Roquiah, was born on December 9, 1880 at Pairaband in Rangpur. She died on December 9, 1932.
Roquiah, through her writings, advocated that both men and women should be treated equally and for society to prosper women should have equal access to education with their male counterparts.
Roquiah established the first school for girls in Kolkata, India and went door to door persuading the parents to allow their daughters to attend school. She ran the school until her death and also worked for establishing women’s rights.
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