By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Glowing tributes were paid to late Comrade Shanta Zaibunnisa for her services for the downtrodden society and specially tilling women on the occasion of her death anniversary observed at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi. The speakers on the occasion included comrade leaders, intellectuals, law makers, members of teaching community and people from various walks of life.
They hailed Shanta Zaibunnisa Bukhari as first comrade leader of South Asia who struggled her whole of life in advocating the cause of women particularly the downtrodden.
They pointed out that Shanta Bukhari launched her struggle for tilling women in her young age when there ‘satti’ tradition used to be followed in India.
The speakers described her role for working and downtrodden women as most important, particularly in organizing and motivating them to get them a respectful place in the society and putting forward the concept of freedom for such women of the subcontinent.
She struggled rest of her life in creating awareness and organizing the women working in factories, women working in bangles-making units, working in the field of garbage collection and sweeping, home maids and those working in the field of agriculture and domestic units.
The speakers admitted the big role played by Shanta Zaibunnisa and her comrade husband, Jamaluddin Bukhari. They said that history will never forget the struggle waged by Shanta for the welfare of women and their rights.
Noted intellectual, Dr Jaffer Ahmed, recalled that Shanta was a women who created awareness among working women for carrying out struggle for their rights and stood fast against extortionist forces.
He said this very awareness brought her close to Comrade Jamaluddin Bukhari and truned into Zaibunnisa from Shanta.
He said that our today’s society strongly needed such volunteers.
Noted social worker, Mehnaz Rehman, reckoned that Shanta enjoyed the status of a mother for communists and such personalities do born in centuries.
She said it was because of personalities like Shanta who created an awareness among women to come forward to lead the society and where they still face a discriminatory treatment.
Former Commissioner Karachi, Shafiqur Rehman Paracha, considered himself fortunate for having had the opportunity of meeting Comrade Jamaluddin Bukhari when he was serving as Assistant Commissioner Larkana and always followed Comrade’s advice in administrative matters during his different postings.
Jamaluddin had told him that government officials should always keep their doors open to help the helpless, he recalled and said that during visiting hours who would always come out of his office and meet the needy visitors.
Comrade Roochi Lal, advocate, disclosed that late Z A Bhutto would seek guidance from Jamaluddin Bukhari to learn the philosophy of socialism. He said history will always remember the services of Comrade Jamaluddin and his wife Shanta Zaibunnisa for the rights of tillers and working women.
Dr Tausif Ahmed described the struggle waged by Shanta Zaibunnisa for the release of her husband as an important chapter of history. Researcher Aslam Khawaja told the audience that he ddin’t find any instance with regard to the struggle except the one waged by Shanta for development of women of Sindh.
He asserted that there is need to carry out more research with regard to Shanta’s services and struggle for women of Sindh. Dr Riaz Shaikh noted that at the time when there existed the tradition of ‘satti’ in India, the women lacked the concept of equality in their rights and such an awareness was created by Shanta Jamaluddin.
Former Ambassador and retired DIG, Jamil Ahmed Kha, regarded late Shanta Zaibunnisa as a woman with great farsightedness and it was her vision that she raised voice for women at a time when they were only restricted within boundary walls of their homes.
Syed Munawar Bukhari, son of late Shanta Jamaluddin, said that her mother had dedicated her entire life in championing the cause of social welfare and particularly welfare of down trodden women.