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Thursday, 20 June 2019

Sufia Kamal’s 108th Birthday

The search engine giant Google has created a Google Doodle—alteration of the Google logo— celebrating the 108th anniversary of the birth of renowned late Bangladeshi poet Sufia Kamal.

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It posted the doodle—which featured a picture of Sufia Kamal wearing a white sari—on its Bangladeshi homepage early on Thursday, paying tribute to her memory.

Google Doodles are created to celebrate holidays; anniversaries; plus the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.

A pioneer in the movement for women’s emancipation in Bangladesh, Sufia Kamal was born on June 20, 1911, into the Shayestabad Nawab family, in Barisal.

On the occasion of the poet’s birthday, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages paying tribute to the memory of Sufia Kamal.

Sufia Kamal was the founding president of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, and she played an active role in all progressive movements in the country, the president added.

“Her life and literary work inspires the new generations, and she will remain a source of inspiration for the youth forever,” President Abdul Hamid further said.

In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said: “I convey my profound respect to the memory of Begum Sufia Kamal—one of the pioneers of progressive, democratic, and women’s emancipation movements in Bangladesh—on the occasion of her 108th birth anniversary.”

The prime minister also said Sufia Kamal played an uncompromising role in every movement in Bangladesh.

Begum Sufia Kamal died in Dhaka on November 20, 1999. She was buried at Azimpur Graveyard with full state honors. Her work includes: “Sanjher Maya,” “Maya Kajal,” “Mon O Jibon,” “Shanti O Prarthana,” “Update Brithibi,” and “Diwan.”

Sufia Kamal’s 108th Birthday, Google Doodle Celebrates Today

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“I had an indomitable nature, and I crossed my limits to get a taste of all there was,” said Bengali poet and political activist Sufia Kamal.

Today’s Doodle celebrates the 108th birthday of a fearless advocate for Bengali culture who championed the women’s rights movement in her homeland of Bangladesh.

Raised in a well-off Muslim family, Kamal was not able to pursue the same education as her older brother. While boys went to high school, girls were expected to stay home until marriage.

“I was allowed to learn Arabic and a little Persian, but not Bengali,” she later recalled. Learning the local language from household workers, she used it in her writing and became an internationally renowned author.

Encouraged by her mother, Kamal educated herself in her uncle's extensive library. She published her first story, “Sainik Badhu” (Soldier's Bride) in Taroon (Youth) magazine at age 14. As she continued writing, she earned the respect of renowned authors like Rabindranath Tagore and had her work translated into English and Russian.

In 1947, Sufia Kamal became the first editor of Begum, a weekly magazine for Muslim women. Taking an active part in the Bengali language movement, she also founded the children’s organization Kanchi-Kancher Ashor and Chhayanaut, a cultural organisation for the preservation of Bengali culture. Her social work continued with the establishment of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, the country’s largest women’s organisation.

Recognized as one of the most celebrated figures in Bengali history, Kamal was honored in 2010 when the National Public Library in Dhaka was renamed the Sufia Kamal National Public Library.
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