by Anas Khwaja
Women are flying to space and orchestrating combat operations in many armies of the world. Bangladesh is being ruled by two female PM for almost twenty years. Among DNF member, Zulekha Begum graduated at the dawn of the 19th century while Begum Shahbuddin and Begum Shamshunnar Ahsanullah served as members of parliament. Moulvi Abdullah Welfare Trust’s sister concern B association has been led twice by female president Begum Wasiuddin (incumbent) and Tahera Kabir (ex). B Association was blessed with services by many female members like Farhana Ibrahim, Imrana Huq, Qamar Ara Zaman, Mrs Tofayel (choti), Mrs Jamilur Rahman, Shahansha Zaman …. who contributed with their time and skill.
But when it comes to Nawabbari- and especially female beneficiary’s service on the Board of Trustee time has halted in medieval era. For some strange reason women have always been sidelined in electoral process of the Trust,
Going back to history, my grandfather K.M.Mosharraf (founding member of Trust) used to consult with Sultani Bibi in Mansul Castle seeking her sound advice on various intricate matters. Afsani Begum also from Mansur castle was famous for her swimming skills. Nawabbari was never short of female talent . It has produced many extraordinary female family members.Maraim from Chaman was a badminton legend who brought pride for the moholla by winning National championship. Girlie Arefa Dewan, Shamsha Begum and Syeda Salina Hassan won many district and school level championship in badminton. Taskin Halim in front of Bangladesh team in SAF games
Goli Begum (Razia Khanam’s daughter) had the honor to manage Maktab (Nawab Habibullah primary school) as the principal. School teachers like Begum Parul Ayaz and Begum Nasima Farid (Wills Little Flower) served the community spreading the gift of knowledge. To name a few professional graduates like Saria Hatef (architect) and Emrana Amjad (lawyer) are shining in their respective field.
In the sixties Dilara Begum played and won “Gold Ring Mandila Championship” sharing table with male counterpart. 50 long years have passed since then. But in Trust’s history a woman never attempted to share the table with male trustees!
Female beneficiaries have always supported their male counterpart during campaign. They chant slogans and seek vote door to door. If daughter Naila Keshwar and wife Qamar Bano Begum can work for late K.M.Keswar (elephant symbol) yesterday, why not stand for themselves today?
Fifty percent of the MAWT beneficiaries are women. Who can represent them better than a fellow female trustee? Some believe women as mother have more patience than men and in some cases proven to be more honest than the later. Besides that a female trustee can bring a whole different skill set and present their case from a different perspective.
We have to start thinking out of the box. It is time to emancipate ourselves from male chauvinistic mindset. We have seen the rest, now it is time to pick from the women’s best. It is up to the beneficiaries to give a second thought, search and find the competent female” To be Trustees”.
Trust is passing a critical juncture. Never before in history had Trust needed an honest, educated and dedicated member so badly. In light of the above I would urge the Trust to extend nomination filing date until good female candidates are found and persuaded to run for the office.