Reminiscing Ekattorer Janani
Rama Chowdhury, the woman known as Ekattorer Janani, also a Birangana, has left us on September 4. She was 82. She suffered from diabetes and hypertension and other complications related to old age and recently fractured her hip bone after slipping on the floor at her home.
Rama breathed her last around 4:30am at Chittagong Medical College Hospital, said Alauddin Ahmed Khokon, her publisher and long-time companion. She was laid to rest at Popadia village in Boalkhali upazila, beside the grave of one of her sons. She walked barefoot most of her life as she would not step with footwear on the soil where her two sons and hundreds of thousands of Liberation War martyrs were laid to rest. Till last year, she walked on the streets of Chittagong selling her own books to make ends meet. Probably this hard life finally took its toll.
During the Liberation War, Rama Chowdhury's husband left her as she refused to leave the country. On May 13, 1971, Pakistani army men burnt down their house and raped and tortured her. None of her relatives or neighbours gave her shelter after her house was torched and she had to live in the open with three kids and often went hungry. Her two little boys, who fell sick due to living in bushes or in the open, died soon after the war.
After the independence, she took to writing and penned 18 books, including 1001 Din Japoner Padya, Bhab-Boichitre Rabindranath, Agun Ranga Agun Jhora and Ashru Veja Ekti Din. Ekattorer Janani (Mother of 71) details her memory of the nine-month war.
As her struggle never ended, it could have been much easier for her had she accepted any of the offers of financial assistance, including the one made by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2013. She preferred not to take financial help from others. When she met Hasina at the Gono Bhaban that year, the PM requested her to continue writing so that the people of the country could know the unknown stories of the Liberation War.
Rama was taken to the CMCH Freedom Fighters' cabin on March 25 this year after vomiting blood, reports UNB. She was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital on August 25 as her condition deteriorated.
Rama obtained her MA in Bangla literature from Dhaka University in 1961 and started her career as the head teacher of Cox's Bazar High School the next year. At the Shaheed Minar in Chittagong, her son Jaharlal said his mother dreamt of establishing an orphanage at her village in Popadia but failed to realise it. People from all walks of life gathered in front of Central Shaheed Minar in Chittagong city on Monday, September 3, 2018 to pay their tribute to the war heroine.