Wednesday, 25 May, 2022
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Women Empowerment and Kazi Nazrul’s Poem ‘Nari’

Mohammad Mozammel Haque

Women Empowerment and Kazi Nazrul’s Poem ‘Nari’

Popular News

Women in the world and in the Indian Subcontinent in particular are hardly treated as members of the galaxy of human beings. The condition of women in the society of the then Europe was so deplorable that only the priests were allowed to preach religious doctrines and theories. Women were treated as commodities whose, as it was thought, only duty was to please and obey man. The great philosophers who have immensely contributed to the existing values of life have paradoxically treated woman as an object to be used by man: she is God’s second mistake, said Nietzsche. To Aristotle, she is an inferior man. He again says that the female is female by virtue of certain lack of qualities. Machiavelli chooses to identify woman with fortune: fortune is a woman, and if you wish to master her, you must strike and beat her. Schopenhauer says woman is by nature meant to obey. Shakespeare too refers it as, Frailty thy name is woman and the same idea is mentioned in The Taming of the Shrew e.g., Thy husband is thy lord, thy keeper, thy head, thy sovereign. In Indian Vedic age Manu, the law giver of Hindu Dharma Shastra, clearly assigns woman a subordinate position to man: During childhood, a female must depend upon her father, during youth, upon her husband, her husband being dead, upon her sons; if she has no sons, upon the near kinsmen of her husband; in default, upon those of her father, if she has no parental kinsmen, upon the sovereign; a woman must never govern herself as she likes. Before starting the revolution for the women’s autonomy, their condition was so dreadful that they suffered from identity crisis as well as claustrophobic problem. As Anita Desai, one of those novelists in English who have tried to understand closely the predicament of their female characters, writes:

“There are those who can handle situations and those who can’t. And my stories are generally about those who cannot. They find themselves trapped in situations on which they have no control”. Plato, the Greek philosopher, has thanked God for not creating him as woman. Vishma, lying on his death-bead, told Jhudhisthir: ‘Women shouldn’t be believed as snakes shouldn’t be; to tell a lie to a woman is not a matter of sin; six elements are spoiled and destroyed if they are not kept in eye all the while, one of them is a woman’.

Education was totally away from the girls; they were not allowed to go to school for studies. It seemed that women don’t have any right to enter the territory of the literati.

The descriptions stated above tell us how the condition of women was till the first half of the 2oth century. The situation pictured here even defeats the picture of the girls during the historical Dark Age when girl children were graved alive in fear of feeding and clothing them. It is known to all that during the Dark Age, it was a matter of great dishonour for the parents to give birth a baby girl. The parents felt shame to come to public place if they became father or mother of a girl. Therefore, they graved their girls alive.

That the same condition prevails in our motherland needs no telling. But in comparison with other countries of the world, Bangladesh has remarkably gone ahead to give women what they deserve. In the post-independent Bangladesh, the women of the country have contributed a lot to the socio-economic development of our country. In his famous poem ‘Woman’ (Nari), Kazi Nazrul Islam says:

‘Everything that is great in the world,

All the works, beneficial and good,

Half must be credited to woman,

And to man half only we should.

All the great victory of the world

And all the grand voyages,

Gained grandeur and nobility from sacrifice of

Mothers, sisters, and wives, throughout the ages.

Victory hasn’t kissed man’s sword,

Because of the valour of man alone;

The inspiration and pride woman brought

To men, that should also be known.

While king rules the kingdom

And queen rules the king,

The misery and sadness go away,

Joy and happiness her grace does bring.

It seems that we now observe the reflection of these poetic lines of Kazi Nzarul Islam prevalent in our country. Let’s explore the activities of some women of our motherland:

Nazmun Ara Sultana, a woman who passed LLB from Mymensingh Law College in 1972 became the first District Judge in 1991, and in 2000 she was appointed as additional judge of High Court.

Next, Dr. Rabeya Bhuiyan is the first woman barrister in our country. She is also the first woman lawyer in the Appellate Division. Later on from 1985 to 1987 she was the minister of the ministry of Social-Welfare and the ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Dr. Shushan Geeti is the first Woman Major General in Bangladesh. She was the student of RMC. Moreover, Hosne Ara Begum was appointed as the first Woman OC in our country in 2009. In this way, so many women contributed and have been contributing to the gradual development of Bangladesh.

Specially mentionable, two leaders of the two bigger parties of our motherland namely Begum Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina were elected the Prime Minister of the country for several times. The present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who is the daughter of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has been running the government successfully for more than a decade. This is our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who boldly decided to include female members in her Council of Ministers. She chose late Advocate Shahara Khatun (former Home Minister), Dr. Dipu Moni (former Foreign Minister and present Education Minister), Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury (honourable Speaker of the Parliament) to be a part of those who are running the government. Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, the former Environment and Forest Minister, is now the Deputy Leader of the House of Bangladesh Parliament. Besides these, there are 50 seats in our parliament which are reserved for women. Now, so many women are working in various posts like Secretary, DC, SP, TNO, UNO etc. and thus playing remarkable roles to form the Golden Bangla.

This kind of examples of empowering the women is very rare in the whole world. It seems that the message of the following lines of the poem ‘Woman’ (Nari) by Kazi Nazrul Islam is being implemented in our independent Bangladesh. Kazi Nazrul says:

‘Gone

Is that age,

When man was the master

To enslave woman in his wish’s cage.

Not very far

Is that cherished day,

When with homage to man,

To woman also homage, the world will pay.

From this point of view, it can unquestionably be said that in our present Bangladesh, the condition of women is really developing. For the most part of this achievement, the credit undoubtedly goes to our honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. I hope and believe if the government takes necessary steps, women will enjoy more happiness and tranquillity. For instance, dowry is a curse in our society for which thousands of women are being indescribably persecuted every day. But since our Prime Minister herself is a woman, and so many women are members of parliament, the government can easily take necessary steps to uproot this curse (dowry) from the root level. And then the government will highly be appreciated and welcomed by the people of every religion, castes, and creeds. 

 

The writer is an Assistant Professor, Department of English, Northern University Bangladesh