She served the trust and humanity throughout her life and was recognized nationally and internationally for her efforts
Ekushey Padak-winning activist Jharna Dhara Chowdhury, who dedicated her life to the nonviolent ideologies preached by Mahatma Gandhi, breathed her last in Dhaka on Thursday morning.
Jharna was on life support at Square Hospital in Dhaka after her brain was diagnosed with internal bleeding. She had been suffering from various ailments including high blood pressure and diabetes, according to Raha Naba Kumar, director of Gandhi Ashram in Noakhali, of which Jharna was a trustee.
Born in 1938 to Pramath Chowdhury and Asha Lata Chowdhury in Lakshmipur’s Ramganj, Jharna was second-youngest among her eleven siblings.
In 1946, communal riots sent her fleeing to Assam with her family. Many of her relatives who stayed behind were killed and their houses burnt to the ground.
Mahatma Gandhi visited the area on foot in an attempt to bring about reconciliation and healing.
Jharna was inspired by the placating efforts of Gandhi, and joined his Ambika Kaliganga Charitable Trust in 1956.
Four years later, she joined Prabartak Sangha – an organization dedicated to rebuild the nation in the wake of the Partition.
During the 1971 Liberation War, she tirelessly worked to provide relief to the refugees.
In 1979, she returned to Ambika Kaliganga Charitable Trust, later renamed Gandhi Ashram Trust in memory of its founder.
She served the trust and humanity throughout her life and was recognized nationally and internationally for her efforts. She received numerous awards including the Ekushey Padak in 2005 and Padmashree in 2013 – the highest civilian honours in Bangladesh and India.