Education is the precondition of the emancipation and empowerment of women. During the British regime, the women of the then Bengal were oppressed, suppressed and deprived because of their illiteracy. So, education was vitally important for them. The woman who first felt the necessity of female education in this region was Nawab Faizunnesa Chowdhurani of Laksham, Comilla. Some instances of her philanthropic activities for women will show why she was the pioneer in the movement of female education. Nawab Faizunnesa Chowdhurani (1834-1903) founded a school named Faizunnesa Eng. Girls' High School at the centre of Comilla Town in 1873. It is presently known as Nawab Faizunnesa Govt. Girls' High School which is one of the most reputed Govt. Girls' High Schools in the country. Nawab Faizunnesa Chowdhurani established this school before the birth of another enlightened woman Begum Rokeya. She also set up a hostel for the girls. Moreover, Nawab Faizunnesa gave monthly stipend to the residential female students. She set up a hospital named "Zenana Hospital" at Comilla in 1893 for the women who were deprived of proper treatment. She founded Higher Secondary Islamic College at Laksham which was turned into Nawab Faizunnasa Govt. College later. Besides, she established 14 more primary schools. This dignified lady, proficient in Arabic, Persian and Sangskrit, had much fascination for literature. She wrote a book of verses entitled "Rupjalal" which was published in 1876. She also wrote two lyrical poetries named "Sangeet Lohoree" and "Sangeetsar". Thus she emerged as the first Muslim Poetess.
Considering all these facts, Nawab Faizunnasa should be called the pioneer of female education as no Muslim woman before her undertook such activities.
Md. Abdur Rahim
Nawab Faizunnesa Govt. Girls' High School, Comilla
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