Tomorrow is the 104th birthday of Poet Sufia Kamal, founder president of Bangladesh Mohila Parishad and also a pioneer of Bengali women's emancipation.
She was born on June 20, 1911 at her maternal uncle's home at Shayestabad, Barisal. Her father's name was Abdul Bari. Despite being born to a conservative Muslim family, she was taught Bengali by her mother Sabera Begum.
Bangladesh Mohila Parishad will celebrate the poet's birthday in a befitting manner. The celebration program includes memorial lecture, awarding Poet Sufia Kamal medals and cultural function.
The Bangla Academy has also undertaken programs to celebrate her birthday by organizing a memorial lecture titled "Literature of Sufia Kamal: Humanity and Status of Women" in its auditorium.
Chairman of Bangla Department of Dhaka University Prof Begum Akhtar Kamal will deliver the lecture, while the president of Mohila Parishad, Ayesha Khanam, will chair it.
Eight women will be given the Sufia Kamal honor this year. It would be followed by a cultural function.
Apart from her literary pursuits, Poet Sufia Kamal fought for women's emancipation, humanity's emancipation and restoration of democracy. She was also active in the Language Movement of 1952.
She was also involved in the movement to protest the embargo on Tagore imposed by then government in the late '60s. She was also involved in the mass-upsurge of 1969 and the non- cooperation movement of March 1971. She also renounced the" Tamgha-I-Imtiaz" award given to her by the Pakistan government.
She was an excellent organizer. In the politically charged atmosphere of 1970, she organized the Bangladesh Mohila Parishad. Earlier in 1956, she had organized the children's organization " Kochi-Kachar Mela".
She edited the women's magazine "Begum" before partition of the subcontinent in 1947. Her first poem "Bashanti" was printed in the "Saogat" in 1926. Since then, she has written prolifically: poems, short stories and travelogues. Her "Ekatturer Diary" tells the untold stories of the Bengalis in 1971.
Her struggle for a society free of disparity and her politics earned her over 50 awards including the "Ekushey Padak", "Swadhinata Dibash Padak" and "Bangla Academy Padak".
She played a crucial role in the emancipation of women in post-liberation Bangladesh. She was uncompromising about communalism and fundamentalism. The poet died on November 20, 1999. She was the first Bengali woman to be buried with state honors.