Shamsunnahar Rahman Paran is popularly known as “Paran Apa” to the people of all walks of life in Bangladesh, especially in Chittagong, for her developmental works, and her relentless endeavours for augmenting empowerment of women.

Huehuetenango capoten y lactancia EARLY LIFE

Shamsunnahar Rahman Paran was born on 1 June 1940 in the “Maya Kutir” on Batali Road in Enayet Bazar area of ​​Chittagong city. Her mother was late Sajida Khatun and his father was Maulvi Amir Hossain Majumder. Paran Rahman was the daughter of an aristocratic family of Sonapur village in Jagannath Dighi union of Chauddagram Thana of Comilla district. Her father was chairman of the then Debt Arbitration Board and a member of the Honorable Jury Board. Her father was a humble gentleman, altruistic in nature. Her mother, Sajida Khatun, was also philanthropic, visionary, erudite, development-loving woman.

Mother’s social entrepreneurial attitude and the keenness for social service have greatly influenced Paran Rahman. Her mother Sajida Khatun passed away at an early age. She was a very socially conscious and prudent woman. She was the eldest of eleven siblings. Her younger sister was only four years old then. She raised ten siblings with her mother’s affection. Her mother’s death at a young age brought a big change in her mind. This is the main reason why she later committed herself to work to prevent maternal mortality. Shamsunnahar Rahman Paran had received social and moral lessons from her family from a very early age.

Her husband, the late M. Lutfur Rahman was a renowned income tax advisor in Chittagong. The late M. L. Rahman is the son of an aristocratic family of Niamatpur village in Niamatpur upazila of Naogaon district. They have four daughters and one son who are all established at different sectors.

Eldest daughter Parveen Mahmud FCA. Parveen Mahmud is the first woman president of ICAB and is currently the managing director of Grameen Telecom Trust. The only son Aftabur Rahman Jafri is the CEO of Ghasful, a national level non-governmental development organization. His daughter Yasmeen Ahmed is a successful female entrepreneur.

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As per the old cultural practise of the past, Paran Rahman got married in 1954 while studying in 6th Grade and she became irregular in her studies. She was a student of Aparnacharan Girls High School. Due to her indomitable interest in education, she completed her primary education in the same school. She passed matriculation in private despite being a mother of four. She later graduated from Chittagong College with a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Bengali from Chittagong University (1969-1971). Later, while studying MA at Chittagong University, she acted as the student representative of the first syndicate.

Paran Rahman received her Diploma from CEDP in Washington, USA, which played an important role in the institutional management of Ghasful in her later life. She later received a scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in “public health” at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, but was forced to give up his desire for higher education for the sake of his young children.

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Shamsunnahar Paran actively contributed in organizing and unifying during Bangladesh’s Liberation War and participated in the procession in the Language Movement of 1952. Shamsunnahar Rahman Paran received gun training and first-aid training in Chittagong in 1971 as a part of preparation for Liberation War, and she devoted herself to provide self-defence and first-aid training to the rural women of Comilla to prepare them as capable individuals during the crisis of warfare.

She used to travel from village to village, with the spirit of a fighter, and inspiring the youth saying, “Come forward and join our Liberation War! Rather than silently accepting your brutal death in the hands of Pakistanis, go and fight! Either die and become a martyr or achieve victory and be a proud warrior.” 

In her own family, two of her brothers are freedom fighters. A heroic Major General Sayeed Ahmed BP, PSC (Retd.). He fought in Mukandapur, Rajapur and Akhaura, Sector 3, Comilla under the supervision of General Safiullah and another war wounded freedom fighter Abul Kashem Majumder. He fought in Sector 2 under the supervision of Brigadier Khaled Musharraf. Freedom fighter Abul Kashem Majumder was severely wounded by the Pakistani army in a fierce battle on the battlefield of Bilonia.

FORMATION OF GHASHFUL

Shamsunnahar Rahman Paran became self-motivated in building the country after the war of liberation and devoted herself to social service. With the benevolent motive of providing social services and establishing women’s development in a war- ravaged country, she established the first registered NGO in Chittagong, named “Ghashful” in the year 1972. She was eager to be beside the neglected, disadvantaged people in the society, especially the poor, the victimized women and the starving children. She started the developmental works of the newly formed NGO Ghashful through the relief works in Chittagong.
She named the organization “Ghashful” as a symbol of the downtrodden and disadvantaged people. Ghashful means the grass-flowers. Just as the marginalized grassroots people of the society are trampled for no reason, and they do not get human dignity even if they are born as human beings, similarly, the grassflowers are mostly trampled and are constantly ignored as flowers even after having all the characteristics and beauty of being a flower.

In the midst of all the difficulties of a newly formed country, ‘Ghashful’ continues to work relentlessly in the slums of Chittagong city. As a result of continuous efforts, the organization got registration from the Chittagong District Family Planning Department in 1986 and with this the organization achieved the recognition of being the first registered NGO of Chittagong Division.

The humanitarian and development work of the organization drew attention at home and abroad. Ghashful received a subvention grant from the Ministry of Family Planning in 1972-73 to strengthen its activities. In 1990, Ghashful was registered with the NGO Affairs Bureau. From then till now, the journey only accelerated forward with an increased scope of developmental works throughout Bangladesh.

PROFESSIONAL POSITIONS

No.Name of the organizationDesignation/Contribution in position
1Ghashful (a private development organization), ChattogramFounder (1982) Executive Director: (198 – 31 July 2003) Chairman: (August 1, 2003 – June 30, 2011) General Body Member: (1 July 2011 – 16 February 2015)
2Chittagong MunicipalityNominated Ward Commissioner – 197
3Prison Inspector, Chittagong PrisonNominated in (1st time) – 1977 Nominated (2nd time) – 1990-91
4Chittagong Working Women’s Cooperative SocietyPresident 1989
5Bangladesh Mahila Samiti, ChittagongPresident 1989-93
6National Family Planning CouncilMember 1992
7“Education for All” South and Central Asia Regional MeetingMember 1992
8Bangladesh Federation of University WomenPresident 1993-95 and Life member
9Lions Club of Chittagong ParijatPresident 1995-96
10Sajida Palli Sangstha and Palli Unnayan Palli KendraLifetime President
11National TB Association (NATAB)Life member
12Bangladesh Family Planning Association (FPAB)Life member
13Writers Association, ChittagongFormer President and Life Member
14Red CrescentLife member
15Patient Welfare AssociationLife Member and Executive Council Member
16Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust (BLAST), ChittagongAdvisory and Executive Council
17Bangladesh Fund Rising Group (BFRG)Executive Council Member
18Bangladesh Child Rights Forum (BSAF)Executive Council Member
19Maulvi Amir Hossain FoundationFounding Chairman
20Bangladesh Veterans Rights ForumCo-President
21Krishnachura K. G. SchoolFounder Teacher
22Ghashful Educare K. G. SchoolFounder and Honorary Principal (2002-2015)
23Ladies Club, ChittagongLife Member
24Lions Club of Chittagong Parijat EliteFounding President (2006-2015)
25Bangladesh Neem FoundationAdvisor
26Chittagong Maternal and Child HospitalLife member
27Chittagong Samiti, DhakaLife member
28Veterans Welfare Association and Zara Science InstituteLife member
29Bangladesh Betar, Chittagong CenterPresenter/Director. In the 60’s she conducted the program ‘Khelaghor’ for children and was a presenter of developmental talk show on Chittagong Betar till her death

AWARDS AND ACCOLADES

No.Name of the Award/RecognitionContribution
1Presidential Population Award, 1990In recognition of their special contribution to the implementation of family planning programs.
2Chittagong Divisional Award, 1994Recognition by the Department of Health for the success of the expanded immunization program.
3Best NGO in the field of family planning, 1997“Ghashful” received a medal from the then Prime Minister as the best NGO in the field of family planning.
4Maulana Moniruzzaman Islamabadi Gold Medal Award, 2002In recognition of his special contribution to the development of the society
5Gold Medal by Chittagong Literary and Cultural Council, 2003In recognition of his special contribution to writing
6Principal Abul Kashem Sahitya Academy Gold Medal, 2004In recognition of their special contribution to the development of women and children
7Mathrubhumi Padak 2004, Mathrubhumi Social Organization, 2004In recognition of his special contribution to the development of the society
8Maulana Moniruzzaman Islamabadi Gold Medal, 2006In recognition of their special contribution to the development of children’s quality of life
9NGOs working in Chittagong, in respect and remembrance, 2020In recognition of his special contribution to the development of the society
10Begum Rokeya Padak 2021For outstanding contribution to women empowerment and socio-economic development

PUBLICATIONS

No.Name of the Award/RecognitionContribution
1একটি ফুলকে বাঁচাবো বলে (Short story about the Liberation War)March 26, 1993 Location: Chittagong Nahar Publications
2সুবচন সংগ্রহ (Collected)May 1993 Location: Chittagong Nahar Publications
3উপলব্ধির আঙ্গিনায় (Short story)21st Book Fair 2001 Venue: Chittagong, Ghashful Publications
4সৃজনে মননে পরাণ রহমানJanuary 2013 Venue: Chittagong, Shabdachash Prakashani
5তৃণমূলের রমণী               August 1995 Location: Chittagong, Ghashful
6সেলাই সহায়িকাJune, 1990 Venue: Chittagong, Ghashful Publications
7ছোটদের লেখা শেখাUnpublished
8ছোটদের বর্ণ শেখাUnpublished
9ঘাসফুল বার্তাFounder Editor, 2002 to 2014
10একঘর বাঙালীAdvisory Editor 1989-1982
11জায়াEditor
12মর্মরEditor

DEATH

In 1996, Paran Rahman was diagnosed with Cancer. She bravely fought cancer for the next decade and successfully carried on all her activities. During this time, she tirelessly engaged herself in various activities of Ghashful and multifarious social services in the midst of chemotherapy.

At the age of seventy-five, she drew the curtain of a colorful history on February 17, 2015. She left Ghashful to follow her trail to keep her legacy alive through humanitarian works.

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