Empowering Girls through Education
Promiti Prova Chowdhury
Year 1964, a time when 'female education' was a social taboo and women's mobility was highly restricted, the late (Khan Bahadur) Abdur Rahman Khan laid the foundation of Central Women's College in the much conservative area of Avoy Das Lane, Tikatuli, Dhaka. However, the debut classes of this college started even before in the year of 1956. At that time 34 students, few honorary teachers and 26 thousand taka were the only resources of this college. But today it has grown into a reputed institute for female education with around 2500 students. On June 30 this year, the college celebrated its 56th anniversary with much merriment and festivity. It was a two day long programme, which started with the unveiling of a stone slab with the names of all the founding members of the college engraved on it.
The ceremony took place at the auditorium of the college, which was bustling with present and former students and teachers of Central Women's College. The chief guest of the ceremony was Professor Dr Nasrin Ahmed, Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of Dhaka whilst the special guest was Professor Begzadi Mahmuda Nasir, founder Principal of Central Women's College. The Principal, Jahan Jeb Akhter and the Vice Principal, Monoj Kumar Sen were also present on the podium. The college launched a souvenir and distributed among the crowd. Eminent writer, environmentalist and academic Dijen Sharma and his wife Debi Sharma graced the occasion with their kind presence.
The guests along with Heads of different departments at the event. Photo: Hasan Raza
Professor Begzadi reminisced how she sew the seed of her dream to enlighten the backward women at the time. She said, “There was no money, no land. The only thing we had was an honest willingness to do something noble. And the result is visible today.” She called up Dijen Sharma to the dais who was one of the initial faculty members of the college. He used to teach in this college voluntarily. He recalled his days in this college. He said that he made a garden in the college premises and is happy to see that it is on full bloom till today.
The principal described the strong line of extracurricular activities of this college, like sports. She shared her aspiration to see this college as one of the most desired educational institutions among the female crowd of the country. She stated, “Whilst other colleges look for talented students, girls with general IQ can get admitted to this college. These girls mostly come from middle class background, who cannot afford private coaching classes. Even then the result of this college is satisfactory. This is the uniqueness of this college.” Then one by one the former faculty members came on the dais to reminisce their days spent in this college. Souvenirs of greetings were handed to the staffs of the college who have worked here for more than 25 years.
The most attractive session was the cultural programme. The dance performance was directed by seasoned dancer and President of Bangladesh Dancer's Association, Laila Hasan, who is also an alumnus of the Central Women's College. Following that, a mesmerising recitation was presented by recitation artist Mahidul lslam. The programme came to an end with the performance of the Central Women's College Alumni Association where distinguished singer Shakila Zafar entertained the crowd with her melodies.
“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation,” said American spiritual leader Brigham Young. This is what the Central Women's College has been doing for last 56 years. Hope it keeps merging with all its accumulated values and visions.