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Nobody cares for widows in ÔÇÿWidow-PalliÔÇÖ

Zakia Ahmed, Staff Correspondent |
Update: 2010-09-18 02:56:12
Nobody cares for widows in ÔÇÿWidow-PalliÔÇÖ

SHERPUR: The environment was getting heavier with the melancholies of the ageing women in white saris here.  

“None cares for us. How we pass our days, in our shabby houses where rainwater comes through the cracked hay-roofs. Gusty wind trembles the tiny huts. We are not getting oil or soap to live a decent life,” says Jobeda Bewa, an around 60-year-old widow from Shohagpur.

“Pity on this life!” she said, and wiped her pale wet eyes.

The story was much the same about all the elderly women in the village who lost their husbands during the liberation war in 1971. With a total of 34 widows like Jobeda Bewa, the living witnesses of the nation’s bloody history, Shohagpur is well known as ‘Widow Village’.
The Pakistani military went on a mass killing in Shohagpur under Kakorkandi union of Nalitabari upazila on July 25, 1971, leaving a total of 187 men and children died.

The farmers met the tragic ends of their lives all on a sudden in their fields as the Pakistani military attacked on them being guided by local collaborators. Many received bullets while some were hacked with the bayonet. Most of the women lost their nobility and respectfulness of their life in the sinful hands of the killers.

The wrinkled faces of Nosimon Begum, Korimon Bewa, Umme Kulsum, Dinomoni and others like them were also unfolding the same odd part of their lives they face in 1971 that turned their lives upside down.

These ill-fated women began a new struggle after the liberation- a struggle for survival.

Joritan Bewa, 55, harmonized Jobeda with a down tone. She

mentioned about Matia Chowdhury, leader of Awami League and the present agriculture minister and said, “Our struggles know no bound. If Matia apa gives us a kind look, we might feel better.”

Local journalist Adil Mahmud Ujjal told banglanews that in 1996, Matia Chowdhury allocated Tk 1200 annually for each of them with the help of non-government organization BRAC. Besides, each got two goats, cloths, rice and Dal.

But the four-party alliance government stopped the allowance after coming to power.

During the last interim government the joint force and district administration initiated to allocate power tiller and introduced three projects on Mushroom plantation and forestation for the widows. But all the projects halted soon because of lack of monitoring.

These widows, losing husbands, kids and honor of life, are now living only with the elderly allowance and the Tk 100 grant from BRAC.

The poverty-bit widows want to have a three-course meal a day, some cloths to cover themselves and nothing more. But reality sucks them with scarcity every single day of their lives.

So they urged to the government with the deepest agony in their voices and eyes to resume the projects again and monitor those properly, so that they can have a tolerable life at least.

Jobeda Bewa, being the representative of all the sore of the women threw the question to the government, “ Won’t we get this least from you?”

BDST: 2037 HRS. SEPT 18, 2010 

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