RP Shaha Award: 3 eminent citizens receive gold medals | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 14, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:46 AM, May 14, 2017

RP Shaha Award: 3 eminent citizens receive gold medals

Kumudini Welfare Trust of Bengal (BD) Limited (KWT) yesterday awarded “Danbir Ranada Prasad Memorial Honour and Gold Medal” to three eminent personalities for their outstanding contribution to the society.

The awards were handed over to the recipients -- Shaheed Dhirendranath Dutta (posthumous), Sir Fazle Hasan Abed and Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal -- at a programme in Bangla Academy's Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad auditorium.

Aroma Dutta, granddaughter of Shaheed Dhirendranath Dutta, received the award on her grandfather's behalf while Sir Fazle Hasan Abed and Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal were present during the programme to receive theirs. 

KWT presents the award each year in remembrance of the abduction of Danbir (great philanthropist) Ranada Prasad Shaha and his son Bhabani Prasad Shaha on May 7 of 1971 by the then Pakistani army with the help of local collaborators. The two had been missing ever since.

Danbir Ranada Prasad Shaha, popularly known as RP Shaha, donated all his wealth for people's welfare and education, especially for the women, said Prof Syed Manzoorul Islam, professor of English at Dhaka University, during his speech at the programme.

RP Shaha is the founder of various educational institutes including Bharateswari Homes and Kumudini College.

In 1938, Shaha opened Kumudini Hospital -- a charitable hospital named after his mother Kumudini at his native village Mirzapur on the river Lauhajang. The main inspiration behind founding the hospital was his mother who died a painful death from tetanus infection when he was only seven years old.

The death of his mother left a profound impact on the young mind of RP Shaha and he made a promise to himself that if his fate permitted, he would do something for the ailing mothers and women.

In the citation of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, it was said that the 1970 cyclone and 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh dramatically changed the direction of his life while he was working as a senior corporate executive at Shell Oil. He left his job and moved to London in the UK, where he helped initiate Action Bangladesh and HELP Bangladesh in support of the Liberation War.

Shaheed Dhirendranath Dutta was the harbinger of the Bengali language movement and he had made history on February 25, 1948 by demanding that Bengali to be recognised as one of the state languages of the new nation of Pakistan. He was killed by the then Pakistan army in 1971 during the Liberation War of Bangladesh.

Born in Sylhet on December 23 in 1952, Muhammed Zafar Iqbal is a popular author of science fiction and children's literature. He is a professor of computer science and engineering at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. He is also head of the department of electrical and electronic engineering at the same university.

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