Thursday, October 20, 2011

Begum Sufia Kamal

Begum Sufia Kamal is a one of the famous female poet of Bangladesh. She is not only a poet but also writer, organizer, feminist and social activist of Bangladesh. He was born on June 20, 1911 in a Muslim family in Barisal district and died on November 20, 1999 in Dhaka. She was buried with full state honors and she is the first woman in Bangladesh who receives this honor. She is one of the most widely recognized cultural personalities in Bangladesh. Sufia Kamal’s fathers name was Syed Abdul Bari, who was a lawyer and her mother was Sabera Banu.
Begum Sufia Kamal became the first Bengali Muslim female to be the member of Indian Women Federation in 1931. She was also the first Chairperson of BRAC (1972–1980).

Sufia Kamal could not afford to get academic education because during her childhood, women's education was prohibited. But she learnt Bangla, Urdu, English, Hindi, Kurdish, Arabic and Persian language from her house tutors. She went to Kolkata accompanied by her mother where she came to meet with Begum Rokeya in 1918. After that, her family returned to Shayestabad. Begum Sufia Kamal was first married only at the age of 11 or 12 to her cousin Syed Nehal Hossain, who was a law student. They had one daughter and her name was Amena Kahar. Her husband encouraged his wife's social welfare work as well as literary activities. Mr. Syed Nehal Hossain died in 1932. Five years later, Begum Sufia Kamal again married Kamaluddin Ahmed. They had two daughters, Sultana Kamal and Saida Kamal; two sons, Shahed Kamal and Sajed Kamal. Besides this, she had three grandsons, three granddaughters and four great-grandchildren. In 1952, Sufia Kamal took part in the language movement. She was also actively involved in upholding Bengali Culture. She was influenced by Begum Rokeya, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Rabindranath Tagore.

Her short story was "Shainik Bodhu" and it was published in a local paper in 1923. Her first poem was Bashanti (Of spring) and it was published in the then influential magazine, Saogat in 1926. Begum Sufia Kamal published her first collection of short stories, Keyar Kanta (Thorns of the Keya tree) in 1937. Her first book of poems Sandher Maya (Evening Enchantment) published in 1938. It is her one of the best works in her life and in 1984, it was translated in Russian.

Sufia Kamal was the first editor of "Shaptahik Begum" and it was first published in 1947. She became the chairman of "Purbo Pakistan Mohila Committee" in 1948. She was involved in the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971. She worked to help women hurt by the war. Begum Sufia Kamal called herself a romantic poet but her work more and more reflected the struggles to preserve the Bengali language, culture and women’s rights.

Begum Sufia Kamal received many awards in her lifetime including Ekushey Medal (1976), Independence Day Award (1997), Bangla Academy Award for Literature (1962), Jatiyo Kabita Parishad Award (National Poetry Council Award, 1995), Deshbandhu CR Das Gold Medal (1996), Lenin Centenary Jubilee Medal (1970) from the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia Medal (1986), Begum Rokeya Medal (1996) etc.