Brac University Prof Firdous Azim at a morning session of Dhaka Lit Fest discussed some of the cultural issues that still plague women in Bangladeshi society and politics.
At the session titled “Dhaka University looking back” Firdous said: “After independence from British colonial rule, women and children were not afraid to voice political issues, even when restricted to the household. Some female students even took part in movements and political activities.
Referring to the book “Memoirs of Dacca University” by AG Stock, she said: “In the book, Stock describes a student of Dhaka University, Nadera Begum, who was very active during the language movement.
“There was an incident when she [Nadera] had to run away from police to avoid arrest due to her political activities. She even removed her sari so that she wouldn’t trip!”
Firdous further said society and its outlook towards social issues and matters started changing during the Pakistan period.
When stock retuned to Bangladesh six years later, she found Nadera to be a changed woman, with children and no involvement in politics, the Brac university professor said.
“Nowadays, though the number of female students in classes is increasing, they are not vocal. They do not speak up,” she added.
Professor Fakrul Alam and Khademul Islam also spoke at the programme, among others.