Widely known as a prominent Tagore exponent and researcher, Sanjida Khatun has made a long and arduous journey from being one of the first women to speak in public meetings to being under constant surveillance of the government of the erstwhile East Pakistan and its cohorts.
Born in Dhaka on April 4, 1932, Sanjida Khatun completed her MA in Bangla Language and Literature from Dhaka University (DU). In 1955 she attained a degree on Rabindra Sangeet with distinction from Visva Bharati University. Later she joined DU as a teacher and engaged herself in Chhayanaut Sangeet Bidyayatan. Born to a family that had-deep rooted traditional values, Sanjida was inspired by her father, the late Kazi Motahar Hossain, a famous cultural personality of his time and a dear friend of Kazi Nazrul Islam. Although renowned for her extraordinary renditions of Tagore songs, her first performance began with Nazrul Sangeet.
Courtesy of the untiring work of Sanjida Khatu and her husband Waheedul Haq, in 1961 Chhayanaut was formed and became the umbrella organisation for dancers, singers and musicians and achieved a symbolic status. Hers was a leading role in the observance of Rabindranath Tagores centenary celebrations in 1961, a time when Bangladesh, as Pakistan's eastern province, was under a stringent martial law imposed by General Ayub Khan in 1958. Together with the late Waheedul Haq, a reputed journalist and Tagore exponent, Sanjida Khatun played a prominent role in organising Bengali artistes for the cause of Bangladeshis' freedom before as well as during the War of Liberation in 1971. In the past many years, Sanjida Khatun has been instrumental in turning Chhayanaut into a focal point of Bengali culture.
She has been conferred with Visva Bharati University's highest recognition- Desikottoma.