<%-- Page Title--%> Event <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 150 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

April 16, 2004

<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- 5% Text Table--%>




The Light of Ten

If ten people were chosen to be "people of the year", more often than not, nine of them would be men. Is it that women don't contribute to society at all? Or is it that they are not allowed to? Even when they are, are their efforts not overshadowed by the achievements of men in our highly male-dominated society?

Eleven years ago, <>Fortnightly Anannya<> magazine was the first to recognise the achievements of Bangladeshi women in different fields. Because it believed that a society could not run on the contributions of men alone, says Editor Tahmima Hossain. It acknowledged the fact that women have to overcome many more obstacles than do men in order to be successful, in order to give something to the society they are a part of and that they deserve recognition for this.

Ten such women were given the <>Anannya<> Top Ten awards this year: Selina Bahar Zaman, for publishing commemorative books. Dr. Hamida Hossain, for her contribution to law and human rights. Kumudini Hajong, for her bravery in the Tonk movement. Taslima Mansoor, for education, the first woman dean of Dhaka University, who studied law after her best friend was said to have committed suicide when she had actually been murdered. Rehana Kashem, who began her business with Tk.6000 as capital and now employs 800 people at Saatrong and gets an annual turnover of Tk. 80 lakh. Captain Shahana, South Asia's first all woman flight commander. Roksana Salam, internationally renowned fashion designer. Shimul Yusuf, who began her successful acting career with a recitation of "Brishti paure tapur tupur". Yasmine Kabir, whose documentaries have won a number of international awards. Aditi Mohsin, successful Rabindra Sangeet artiste.

At a ceremony held at Poet Sufia Kamal Auditorium at the National Museum on April 4, presided over by Tahmima Hossain, the ten women were handed over crests in recognition of their achievements by Chief Guest Professor Anisuzzaman.

Women have always had to overcome great obstacles to get anywhere, said Prof Anisuzzaman, just as they did when they wanted to sit for their matriculation exams for the first time in Kolkata, something unheard of at the time. But today, women doctors, pilots and others have greatly contributed to society. Yet, he believes, there are still those who want to keep women in submission. The evil that Begum Rokeya fought against still exists today.

The awardees received their honours with modest excitement, but the packed auditorium applauded their achievements with loud appreciation. Though the awards were individual, the contribution of the awardees was to the whole society, said Professor Serajul Islam Chowdhury, Special Guest at the event. These women would be winners in their own right, even if they were competing against men, he said.

In a society where few people could be looked up to as role models, the <>Anannya<> winners were bright examples, said Sultana Kamal, also Special Guest at the event. Bangladesh may be behind in many aspects, she said, but its women show endless possibilities. In a country rife with political, economic and social turmoil, the women carry on their struggle to survive and to achieve. Against all odds, they fight away for poverty alleviation and empowerment of women from their respective fields.

Nothing could be truer. In a male-dominated society such as ours, where women are continuously subjected to harassment and repression because of their sex, they continue to rise. It is <>Fortnightly Anannya<> Editor Tahmima Hossain's goal to spread the light of the stars of each year throughout the country. May their light find many more stars in the making that, put together, will bring light to our ever-darkening motherland.

Kajalie Shehreen Islam


(C) Copyright The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is published by The Daily Star.