By Khwaja Sayeed Shahabuddin
BEGUM FARHAT BANO, daughter of Nawabzada Khwaja Atiqullah and Begum Asghari Khanum, was born in Dhaka on 24th October 1902, and, at an early age, was married to her cousin, Khwaja Shahabuddin. She had no schooling, but, was taught to read and write English at home, by an Armenian lady.
Begum Farhat Bano was one of the pioneer Muslim women who, along with Begum Shaista Ikramullah and Begum Hakam, was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1936. She was the first lady from the Nawab Family to come out of purdah, and, ignoring raised eyebrows, accusing fingers etc., went forward to do social work for the benefit of the poor and the down trodden. Her dedication and selfless devotion to social service earned her the KAISER-E-HIND medal.
Mother of seven children – four boys and three girls – she brought them up to be good human beings. She was very fond of cats, and had several around her all her life.
She passed away in Dhaka on 11th September 1984.