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     Volume 2 Issue 12 | June 9, 2007 |


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From Kurigram
Shamsun Nahar's Battle

Abdul Wahed

A well-known woman of Kurigram has been working for women's rights for the last 31 years and wants to continue working for underprivileged women. Shanu Apa has done much for the advancement of women in sectors like education. Now she is bedridden and battling with cancer.

Shamsun Nahar Chowdhury Shanu, was born on March 16, 1956 in her father house at Bharbhery village of Halokhana Union under Kurigram Sadar Upazila. She is the daughter of Al-haj Ebarat Ali Chowdhury and Aftabunnesa. Her father worked for the government revenue department. Shanu was educated in various institutions due to the transferable nature of her father's job. She came into contact with, and learnt from Sir Jogesh Prashad Shah, Headmaster Shantosh Kumar Chakrabarttee and Bengali teacher Rakhal Chakrabarttee of Panga Rani Laxmipria High School and Headmaster of Kurigram Girls' School Pranballabh Karanjay.

Her elder brother Advocate Enamul Haque Chowdhury Chad is a progressive politician, president of the district Gono Forum and convener of the district conscious citizen committee of TIB. As a member of a political family she was involved in progressive politics.

After the Liberation War she was admitted to Rajshahi University and joined the Bangladesh Chhatra Union. There she was elected as Assistant Secretary of the Rajshahi District Committee and Vice-President of the University Unit. She also created awareness (in 1977-1978) with a hunger strike in the campus to remove the Vice Chancellor of the university A. T. Bari.

In 1974 she was involved with the movement of liberating women at Kurigram with the help of the famous poet Begum Sufia Kamal near the student movement. In 1981 she was elected as President of the district Mohila Parishad. She still holds that post.

In 1981, she joined the Kurigram Government Women's College as a lecturer in History. She has since been promoted to Associate Professor and also became the Head of the Department. At present she is an Associate Professor and Head of the History Department in Kurigram Government College.

She has been involved with various social development projects at Kurigram. For example, establishing Kurigram Law College, Kurigram Rotary Club, NGO Chhinnamukul, Solidarity, Udichi Shilpa Goshthee, Shilpakala Academy and the children's organization Khela Ghar may be mentioned here. Her writings have been published in various journals.

In private life she is wife of a freedom fighter Harun Ar Rashid Lal at Kurigram. She has one daughter named Ananno Barno who is a class eight student of Kurigram Government Girls' High School. Shanu's father-in-law was an organizer of freedom fighters in the district.

Shamsun Nahar Chowdhury Shanu has received various award and honors for contributions towards women's rights from various organizations. TIB recently recognized her achievements in the national conference in Dhaka and Kurigram Mohila Parishad, NGO Solidarity, NGO RDRS, and a local weekly journal Gano Katha separately honored her as a well-wisher of society.

Besides this she proposed some advice on the “problems and possibilities of Kurigram” in a round table discussion that was held in Kurigram Shadharan Pathagar Hall on March 23, 2006. The discussion meeting was organized by The Daily Star Reader's Club, Kurigram Unit.

In 2000 she was diagnosed with cancer and she underwent treatment. Four and a half years later, the cancer was found and treated again. In 2006 the cancer appeared in her body for the third time. Not much has been done by way of treatment, and she is now suffering.

In a recent interview Shanu said to The Daily Star, “I have been bounded by a promise to always fight for underprivileged women. But the place for women in our society has not changed much. They are neglected everywhere.”


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