In the last century, there were a few bold voices which called for awakening of women, urging them to boldly move forward. My mother, Anwara Bahar Choudhury, one of those voices, was born on February 13, 1919.
Having established a school for women in the 20th century, Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain requested my grandmother Mamlukul Fatema Khanum, to join Sakhawat Memorial School in Kolkata as a teacher. She took my mother along and admitted her into the same school.
After passing matriculation in first division with a scholarship in 1934, she was admitted into Bethune College of Kolkata where she finished her higher secondary school examination in first division, after which she obtained BA degree in first division in 1938. She passed BT, a graduation in teaching, from Scottish Church College in 1941. Thereafter, she became Assistant Teacher, and later, Head Mistress of Sakhawat Memorial Girls' School. For a short time, she was also professor of Bengali at Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata.
Anwara became Secretary of Anjuman-e-Khawatin-e-Islam, or the All Bengal Muslim Women's Association established by Begum Rokeya. After the partition, she became Head Mistress of Vidyamoyee Girls' High School in Mymensingh. In 1949, she was transferred to Dhaka as Head Mistress of Kamrunnesa Girls' High School. She also established a School of Dance and Music in Kamrunnesa School.
In 1955, she was named Special Officer of Women's Education at the Education Directorate. She believed that for women's education, there was urgent need to quickly expand primary education all over the country. After serving at the Education Directorate she went back to teaching and served as Head Mistress, Bangla Bazar Government Girls' High School.
Anwara was one of the founders of BulBul Academy of Fine Arts (BAFA), established in Dhaka in 1955. Later on, she was deputy leader of the cultural delegations to Iran and Iraq in 1961 and to the Soviet Union in 1963.
Anwara Bahar Choudhury was a writer and has written several books which include biographies, school text books and books for children. She was also a poet and her collection of poems, “Amar Chetonar Rang” was published just before she passed away.
One of the major achievements of her life was the establishment of Habibullah Bahar College in the name of her late husband in 1969.
After fighting with cancer, my mother passed away on October 27, 1987. My mother was a wonderful shining light that continues to illuminate our path, and the path of future generations.