Today is the 17th death anniversary of eminent poet-activist Sufia Kamal.
To observe the occasion, different socio-cultural organisations are set to organise commemorative programmes in the capital.
Chhayanaut, of which Sufia Kamal was the founding president, is going to host a programme at its auditorium where members of the organisation will present songs of three great poets-lyricists – Atulprasad Sen, Rajanikanta Sen and Dwijendralal Ray.
Sufia Kamal, also the founding president of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, was an influential cultural figure in the Bengali nationalist movements of the 1950s and 60s and a civil society leader in the country after independence.
She was also a pioneer of women’s emancipation, having dedicated her life to fight bigotry and discrimination.
Sufia Kamal was born on June 20, 1911 at her maternal uncle’s home at Shayestabad, Barisal. Her father’s name was Abdul Bari and mother’s Sabera Begum.
Since she belonged to a conservative family at a time when women’s education was prohibited, she was deprived of formal education, but she did learn Bengali, Hindi, English, Urdu, Arabic, Kurdish and Persian languages from house tutors in her childhood.
Sufia’s first poem, Bashanti (Of Spring), was published in Saogat magazine in 1926. Her first collection of poems, Sanjher Maya (Evening Enchantment), was published in 1938 with a foreword by national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Poems of her other collections such as Mrittikar Ghran, Ekatturer Diary, Benibinyas Samay To Ar Nei, and Ekale Amader Kal demonstrate her skill as a romantic and socially conscious poet.
In 1931, she became the first Bengali Muslim woman to be a member of the Indian Women’s Federation.
Sufia Kamal had been very vocal in national and social issues, and was part of a movement protesting an embargo on Rabindranath Tagore imposed by the government of Pakistan in late 1960s.
She also renounced the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz award given to her by the government.
She strongly supported the mass uprising of 1969 and the non-cooperation movement in March 1971.
After the independence, she worked for punishment to the war criminals.
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