South Asia's first women journo Nurjahan Begum passes away

South Asia’s first women journo Nurjahan Begum passes away


Nurjahan Begum, the first woman journalist in the subcontinent and the editor of the first women’s magazine the ‘Begum’ and the promotor of women renaissance, died in the capital on Monday. She was 91.
She breathed her last at the city’s Square Hospital where she was admitted on May 5 with geriatric problems and was kept under life support at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) from May 7 when her condition deteriorated.Soon after the demise of Nurjahan, the news spread among the dear and near with the pall of melancholy for her who dedicated her life for the emancipation of women in the subcontinent through her illustrated magazine.
Besides, President Md Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Jatiya Sangsad speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Bnp chairperson Khaleda Zia and different socio-political figures expressed their deep shock and sympathy for the bereaved family members at her demise.
President in the condolence message said, “Nation would remember the contribution of Nurjahan Begum forever for her contribution in women education and development. It’s an irreparable loss for the nation at her death.”
In a condolence message, the prime minister recalled with profound respect the contribution of Nurjahan Begum to the women renaissance in the subcontinent. “The nation has lost a great woman in her death,” she said.
Born in Chandpur in June 4, 1925, Nurjahan was the child of the renowned journalist Mohammad Nasiruddin who was the editor of ‘the Showgat’ magazine and he later introduced weekly magazine solely for the women named the ‘Begum’ in 1947 first published in Kolkata and later shifted to Dhaka in 1950.
Nujahan who throughout her career relentlessly worked to establish the freedom of Muslim women by helping them publish their articles on the magazine known for women’s voice ‘Begum’, became its editor of in November 1947.
For her tremendous effort as an editor and social worker, she earned various national and international prestigious awards including the ‘Ekushey Podok 2011’ and ‘Rokeya Podok’.
Nurjahan also participated at various social activities including relief work at 1946, by helping build camps for children during the riot in Kolkata and assisting the establishment of orphanage for Muslim Women and orphans in 1947.
In 1954 she who worked for under privileged women community of Bangladesh, assisted the creation of the first women’s club in Bangladesh for women writers and social workers named ‘The Begum Club’.
She was also member of various women’s organisations including the Wari Mohila Samity and the Narinda Mohila Samity. Through these organizations she further worked for education and activities of children. She also raised funds to help the victims of natural disasters and calamity.
She completed her matriculation from Shekhawat Memorial Girls High School in West Bengal in 1942 and Intermediate of Arts from Lady Brabourne College in 1944 and Bachelor of Arts from the same college in 1946.
In 1952, she was married to the founder of Kochi Kanchar Mela Dadabhai Rokonuzzaman Khan who helped her always in publishing Begum.
She left behind two girls and a host of relatives and well wishers to mourn her death.
Nurjahan was taken to her residence at the City’s Narinda area at noon for the last time and a Namaz-e-Janaza was held where cultural affairs minister Asaduzzman Noor, among others were present.
Later the coffin was taken to Central Shaheed Minar in the afternoon when people from all walks of life paid their last tribute to the pioneer of women’s emancipation.
Expressing shock at the demise of Nurjahan, leaders and workers of different political and social organisations paid their honour and remembered her in different ways.
Agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury said, “Women have learnt to read and write and cook and sew. Women have stood up with own dignity for her cause. She was in struggle since her early life to the last time.”
Secretary General of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Mirza Fakrul Islam Alamgir said, “Nurjahan Begum was a pioneer for the Bangalee nations for her contribution in journalism and woman renaissance. She had great contribution in woman empowerment.”
Finally the mortal remains were laid to rest at the Martyred Intellectuals Graveyard in the capital after the second Namaz-e-Janaza at the Gulshan Jame Masjid. – Staff Reporter


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