Begum Rokeya Day is being observed today with due respect to mark the 138th birth and 86th death anniversaries of Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain, the pioneer of women’s rights in the subcontinent.
The Rangpur District Administration along with Rokeya Day Observance Committee has planned a three-day programme, starting today at her birthplace — Pairaband village in Mithapukur upazila.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave separate messages on Saturday on the occasion of ‘Begum Rokeya Day 2018′.
In separate messages, on the eve of the day, the President and the Prime Minister recalled with respect the contribution of Begum Rokeya, to social reforms and development of women.
They wished success of all programmes of the day and congratulated the recipients of Begum Rokeya Padak 2018.
“I welcome the initiative of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs’ to observe Begum Rokeya Day and distribute Begum Rokeya Padak-2018 on December 9. Marking the day,” the President said.
“Begum Rokeya was the pioneer of women emancipation, social reform and progressive struggle. I am paying rich tributes to the memories of Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain on this day. She managed to awaken women society through her progressive mentality, visionary thinking, logical opinion and most of all firm morale,” he said.
“The half of our total population is women and it is not possible to achieve sustainable development without equal partnership of men and women. The government is working relentlessly for women empowerment through involving them with overall development of the country. So the women are now working at all the professions including education, health, judicial service, administration and armed forces,” the President said.
The Prime Minister in her message said, “I am delighted to learn that ‘Begum Rokeya Day will be observed and Begum Rokeya Padak-2018 will be distributed on December 9. Marking the day, I am paying tributes to the memories of Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain.”
“Begum Rokeya was a renowned Bengali litterateur, educationist, and social reformer of 19th century. She was the forerunner of women renaissance. Begum Rokeya emphasized on necessity of women education, establishing equity-based society through her articles, stories and novels. She was a progressive personality in terms of her thinking and ideology,” she said.
Highlighting Bangladesh as the role model in women empowerment, the Prime Minister said the country has won United Nations’ “Planet 50-50 Champion”, “Agent of Change Award of Global Partnership Forum as recognition of women development.
“I have received ‘Tree of Peace’ from UNESCO in recognition of my contribution to the promotion of girls’ and women’s education. I am congratulating all the women who have won ‘Begum Rokeya Day 2018’ for their contribution to women development through their talent and work,” the Prime Minister said.
Meanwhile, different programmes have been chalked out at government and non-government levels across the country to mark the day.
Shomajtantrik Mohila Forum would place wreaths at 9 am at the sculpture of Begum Rokeya at Dhaka University Rokeya Hall.
Born on December 9, 1880, Begum Rokeya wrote novels, poems, short stories, science fiction, satires, treatises, and essays. In her writings, she advocated that both men and women should be treated equally as rational beings and the lack of education is the main reason of women lagging behind.
She died on December 9, 1932, which was her 52nd birthday. December 9 is observed as Begum Rokeya Day every year.