Shakina Khatun
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Shakina Khatun 

A small girl admired by seeing the beautiful creation of the world, the flowers, the stars, the sky, the mountains, hills full of plants and the herbs, the birds flying with cheer in greenery earth said he above few lines spontaneously one day. Born in a conservative Muslim society the girl grew up cheerfully overcoming many obstacles, illuminating life with knowledge, became the prominent lady writer whose name is Shakina Khatun.

The forefathers of Shakina Khatun belonged to the district of Moimon Singh, East Bengal. Her grandfather was Late Hukum Ali Sikdar and grandmother as Late Amina Khatun. Daraj Ali Sikdar was the eldest son of Amina Khatun amongst her five son. He took the title of Sarkar instead of his father title Sikdar. During the time of his schooling his fathr died and facing some disaster they came to Assam for livelihood. After coming to Assam, they lived in a forest land cleared by them. The land is situated at the Western part of Hauli Subdivision, of Kamrup district. They named the village as Raipr, Late Daraj Ali was married to a girl named Sarbot Bhanu. Sarbot Bhanu’s father was Mahmad Munchi and mother was Nasrin Nesa. Reading up to Middle English school in Bengali medium, Sarbot was a good singer of Gazal and Zikir. As she was childless for a long time from marriage, her husband was bound to marry second one. But fortunately after few years Sarbot gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Amongst them one was Shakina.

In the year 1935, on 13th August, Sarbot Bhanu gave birth to Shakina whose nickname was Subha. She was named as Shakina by the Moulobi when she was admitted to the school. Shakina got her preliminary education at home from her mother. After that she was admitted to primary education. After primary education she was admitted to the Hauli High School. At that time a Muslim girl going to the school for reading was a shameful matter in the society. So Shakina had to face some obstacles to do so. She was the only Muslim girl to go to school for reading. She had to carry table and chair to the school for sitting. Moreover she had to listen some unbearable discussions for which she sometimes decides to leave the school. But her father, against the conservative society, a dynamic person consoled her to consume the insults and inspired her for continuous reading. Her father said to her that, “You are the person that show the ray of light for changing the society. There will be a day, when every girl forward equally with the boys. Now the society is ignorant of the education.” Thus she was braved and inspired by her father.

Accidentally one day her table and chair were broken by somebody and she gave up school as a token of sorrow. She started reading at home and in 1949, she passed Matriculation examination under Gauhati University at the age of 14. It gave a great jerk in Muslim society. It was known that in Borpeta sub division, Khatun was the first Muslim girl to pass the Matriculation.

The ex- President of India, Fakaruddin Ali Ahmed, was a close friend of her father. As both were politicians, so they were political friends and worked for the Congress Party. As a result of friendship Ahmed often visited her Raipur house and after getting the information of her success in matriculation examination, he wrote a letter in English to her with a valuable note. In his valuable advice one of the important lines was:

“Tumar ai siksha jen mathu tumar babei nahai, ai siksha samastha musalman samajar narir babe adarshar swarup hoi.”

Your education is not for you only, let it be an example for all Muslim women. After Matriculation, she was admitted to Handique Girl’s College for higher studies and for that she had to to stay in Satribari “White Memorial” hostel As that time there was no separate hostels for girls, so students of different colleges like Cotton College, Handique Girls’ College etc. were living together in that very hostel, and so the Hostel Superintend on the first day of her coming announced in the evening prayer that – “Only one Muslim girl has come to our hostel. This is our luck, be kind to her.” Fortunately eminent writer Alimoon Nesa also lived in that very hostel.  Moreover she met Dr. Lakhyahira Das, their outstanding singer Sudaksheena Sarma, Pranita Talukdar, Hiarnyamoyee Devi and so many as seniors. But unfortunately, she had to leave the hostel with sorrow as the Hindu-Muslim communal cash broke out all over the country. In that very time the houses of her families were pu in fie and they had to leave the place (Raipur) and settled at Hawali of Barpeta District. She starts ro read and write there alone with great courage. As she became a matured girl her father was discussing about her marriage. But she could not make herself ready to do so, because she was afraid of the Muslim society’s atrocities towards the in-laws of Muslim families.

But no one can change the fate of any body. Accidentally one day her father met a young man named Saifuddin Ahmeed. He was the son of local Assamese Muslim Late Jllaluddin Ahmed of Barpeta. Jallauddin worked as Maharin at Barpeta court. He had seven children out of whom Saifuddin was the third one. He was not a Government employee, but earned many properties through business and contacts. Though he was in literature, loved songs, finally he lost interest in these things and wasted money in parties with his other friends. Khatun was disappointed with these works of her husband and out of distress she had to leave her husband in 1961 along with her girl child Saniara (Smriti) She had to manage a job at Hauli High school, and took a rented house to live in. In the mean time, her husband married a second wife and her married life turned to be a miserable one. But as she was so brave, she could not break down and tried hard to bring up her child expert in reading, writing, singing, acting and literature also. She had forgotten her sorrows in her child’s success. Saniara gave her identity as a talented girl from early age of life and accordingly scored first class in M.A. Final Examination with Assamese as her subject. Khatun also arranged her daughter’s marriage with a educated groom of Madhya Pradesh without dowry. Saniara’s husband’s name was Muhit Khan, a master degree holder, doing job in a medical company. They are happy with two children.

Though Shakina was not happy in her married life, she did not worry about it. She took pen an paper as her ornament and proceeded her life with them with great courage,. She was a lover of nature since her childhood and admiring nature she sings like that –

“Seujia Suwani tumi

Nam tumar Asami-

Bhal pao tumak moi-

Tomakno pao kenekoi?

All her poems related to the nature collected in her poetic book “Kuhipator Sapun” and “Silpir Sapun”. Similarly many questions were arising in her young age as a result of her curiosity she write like this –

“ Kio Korile Sristi

Ai prithibi

Kio brihot eman

Ai Sristi?”

But after all she found that Almighty is the Power for the creation of the world and as such she says  that

“Hai Sristikarta tumiye biraji asa

Mayabi Bishwar sristi probahot

Tumar rupar sikha jolise sadai

Akash patal aru seuji dharat”

Facing many obstacles in her life, including the superstitious beliefs and rules of society basically negligence towards the life of woman, her mind became a protesting one and as such she writes like that –

“Hei asikhita bhani jagi ootha.

Akeloge kio thakibanu bohi,

Thakiba aru kiman din,

Kar much sai

Gabhir andhar sahi?”

Sakina also wrote in Bengali. She wrote a Bengali book named “Mon badhe ke.” But the book was missing after giving its proof for printing. Practically from 50th century, her writings were published in magazines, newspapers and bulletins. Another novel of her, “Udash Prithivi” was also missing, but fortunately it was found and given to the press for printing. Her first printed novel was “Keron” published in 1996. Normally we found the social problems, circumstances in writer’s stories. She was fully successful to reflect the society in her writings. In her view, for a peaceful human society there must be a cooperation, tolerance, patience, courage, deep thinking and research amongst men and women of the society. Without these, life and society will be paralysed. “Sanghat” a story belongs to “Keron” is a valued tragic story where writer depicts how a Bodo woman “Ulupi” shared her sorrow with her neighbour Amina and and Anima and discussed with them the social discrimination that took place during the time.

Similarly, in her story, “Keron” the writer describes the difference between the rich and the poor, the greediness towards property and its impact upon families which make them in severe trouble. “Fatema” was the main role in her story “Kerone”.

In the view of the literacy critics, literature is the mirror of the society. So the prime duty of a literature is to draw pictures of the society in his/her writings, so that problems can be solved and evils can be eliminated. There is no sign of imagination in her writings. She basically writes about the problems of women.The degraded position of woman in society, negligence are the issues of her novels. “Silpir Sapun” another novel of the writer, is a high level spiritual book related to the creation of God. How Adam and Eve, the father of human being had fallen from the heaven by eating fruit that was prohibited by God and suffered with so many diseases, are described in her writings. She expressed just like Sri Sri Madhab dev in Kirtan that-

“ Tumi Nitya Niranjan Narayan

Amio Angsha tumaro.”

Similarly, she expressed in her poem like this-

“Khhana janu nakara tumi

Tumar Angahak?”

Again she expressed in another poem like this-

“Tumi jadi prakit silpi

Antahin Kalpanar bhab.

…………………………………

………………………………..

Ashesh dukh ashaya jantana

Bukut saboti, manar ah

Pahari, bisare tuamakei

Santi paboloi.”

“Mon Nijara” is another book of Shakina Khatun. It is a book of songs. In her songs she describes about the beauties of nature, the Universe, the villages, the rivers, fountains, etc. Moreover, she also describes about the evil activity of woman that destroys the homes of people and as such she writes like-

“O Rupahi sora

Samratuhe boga

Naktuje Khoraa.

Khoj kahote bhori doliowa

Kothai poti ooth kopua

…………………………….

……………………………

Gopote thai nai,

Misate ofandi mora.”

Again she writes ironically like that

“Oh dhum koli

Eshopa rong ghohi ghohi

……………………………….

……………………………..

Ghorai laj pai

Hai tumar song bong

Rupahi huwar dhong.”

There is no man who does not love songs and flowers. People who do not like it, is cruel minded man. Shakina obsessed with songs, gets eternal peace in her broken heart. So her heart is full of song and as such she composed many songs of her own.

Song

Sun sore godhuli mon bhora gitali

Prakitir chande chande

Bananir randhre randhre

Jonakar dewali.

……………………………………..

……………………………………

Kar sabi othis rong dhari.”

Though her parents and family members were tolerant and considerable, her father and mother in laws were not considerate and she had to write at night time only. She was very desperate and performed her duties with courage. Her husband also give obstruction I her writings.

In 1985 her husband died. In the mean time, after 34 years of service she  got  retirement in 1993 and make herself  free to write continuously, solely. She was also busy by doing hand making objects like tailoring and embroidering clothe, etc. Moreover, she was busy in school works, meetings like Barpeta Zila Mahila Samittee, Lekhika Somaroh Samitee, Barpeta sahitya Sabha, etc. She also gave free home treatment to the poor.

Khatun also translated a children story book.  “The folktales Of Punjabi” from Punajami named as “Pnjabor Sadhu” in 1965. In 1976, she published a novel “Silpir Sapun” and in 1979 “Jibanar Pat.” She published “Kahipator Saapun” In 1988.

In 1991, her published collection of songs “Mon Nijara” and In 19993, collection of stories called “Kerone”. Furthermore her social novel is “Andhar Bhagi Jao” and collection of poems “Atmar Nishabdha krondon are at press for printing. Shakina Khatun’s stories, articles and poems are published in different papers, journals like “Jagaron”, “Satpat” (from Calcutta), “Bishwadut” (from Dhubri), “Sarathi” (from Dibrugarh), “Amar Pratinidhi” (from Guwahati), “Abgunthikaa”, “Lekhika”, “Sulekhika”, “Barpat”, “Borpith”,”Mejangkori” (from Kamrup), etc.

She published some articles in “Agradoot” and “Azir Asom”. The title of the articles were – “Bilasitar Dhout Manab Jatir Kokbokani”, “Jubamanashikota Sudha Korar Dayeetwa kar?”, “Madhyamik Starar Sikshanta parikahr tittinar har nimnagami kio?”, “Nari Sangathanor Dayeetya” etc.In this way the write tries to promote the society and refects her views  to the world. In her opinion, the things, which are universal, secular and  integrated will be acceptable by every one. We can see a mind having minute observation along with a feeling of nationalism in her writings

During the time of Assam agitation she wrote an article named, “Jui Jole Kio”? . The article gets a huge support from the people and Barpeta student union published  it like a bulletin.

There are many articles which are yet to be published due to lack of money. But she is waiting with hope and aspiration that a day will come when all her writings will be published . From the very young age Khatun had an inquisitive mind . So she always asked herself why there are struggles, fear, deprivation arises in society in society as well as in human life. Why there are humanity and beastly nature goes side in society. She was always in search of reason behind the creation of world, and the nature. She also asked herself about her past life and so writes like this-

“Ki palu jibanot

Hridoyor  klanata sat bahi,

Hisabor par khuji moru

Ulati chao akow

Bishal  atitoloi

Napaluwe ba ki?

Kolaguru Bishnuprasad Rabha in the preface of “Silpir Sapun” said that he was admired by her language and advised her not to be disheartened . He also advised her to give the real picture of her imagination with the help of her pen.

Lastly, we are hopeful about her continuity in writing and wishing her to make Assamese literature rich through her writings . At the same time we wish her a healthy and peaceful long life. God bless her all the way . We conclude the biography of Shakina Khatun’s with a poem of her own-

“Polasar ronga rangat

Santir sa dila,

Modaror rangat kio-

Jui jolala-?

Jadio sei jue

Prakitit jolai again,

Tothapi manuhar mukhat kio

Helar ukti

Modaror gun nai buli ?

 

 
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