Daily going through the ubiquitous stories of violence against women, each surpassing the horror and brutality of the preceding one, we have become accustomed to receiving bad news about them.
What marks a refreshing change of mood is the break with the stereotypical, a rediscovery of history studded with many sterling tales of women's glory. This is quite in character with the liberation theme of the month of March and 101 years of International Women's Day tomorrow.
Man's attitude to women has swayed from objectification through patronisation to enlightened recognition of their stupendous self-worth. A little condescending perhaps at the hint to man as 'recogniser', given the heights women have been scaling all throughout history. What remained for the icons and legends to vanguard has now entered the literature of extraordinary achievements by women with so-called ordinary labels.
Women's many-sided role in the liberation war as saviour, shelter-giver, purveyor of arms to Mukti Bahini, and as valiant fighters waging battles of resistance and avenging humiliation, torture and murder of marauding occupation forces -- all comes vivified through scholarship and research. As deeper recesses of women's minds and layers of their deeds are fathomed and unfolded, one is left amazed at the depths of analysis, knowledge generation, thanks to newer research and quest for truth. Many untold stories, unsung heroics are brought to light just as women's travails from rape to rehabilitation to old age and abandonment are traced.
We have extensively and intensely covered women's glories and her rights to self-fulfilment as the architects of the nation's future. The 'new nationalist woman' is the outspoken articulator of human rights and the fearless champion of resistance against injustice.
The hill women's falling victim to discrimination within their community and to oppression from extraneous sources is brought up including injustice through their complaints getting attributed to 'Pahari dissidents' and thus ignored by authorities.
The Indian patriarchal establishment's demonisation of Arundhati Roy for her unconventional but righteous observation on Kashmir provoked an ultra-chauvinistic swipe before the Supreme Court intervened to overrule any seditious imputation. This has led to a call for repealing the sedition law, the vestigial remnant of the British colonial era and evoked a comment: if a world famous woman like Arundhati can come under such a verbal attack, what might be the treatment to lesser mortals!
There is a historical flavour to the authentic remembrance of the dominant role played in the Mughal court by Nurjahan, the beloved wife of Emperor Jahangir, and his son's entombment of the memory of Momtaz Begum through Tajmahal. The historians have also ranked Gulbadan Banu highly through feminist lens.
In Bangladesh context, more women should emerge in decision-making role, we ought to govern migration and focus more on women's rights through the media to take the women further forward.