Advocate Nahid Sultana is a renowned lawyer of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is currently the President of Rajshahi University Law Alumni Association (RULA). He was the treasurer of the Supreme Court Bar Association. She is a lawyer, organizer and housewife at the same time. Silently playing a role in social activities. Another identity of hers is that she is the wife of Bangladesh Awami Juba League Chairman Sheikh Fazle Shams Parash. He dreams of bringing the country’s lawyers on the same platform. I want to lead the bar again to work for the establishment of the rights and dignity of everyone in this profession. Lawyers are his meditative knowledge. I want to continue with them on the path of cherished dreams. In an exclusive interview, he told various stories of family, profession and politics. Kaler Kantho’s Special Correspondent Haider Ali and its own correspondent Joynal Abedin interviewed
Kaler Kantho: First of all I want to know about your personal life. How were your childhood days?
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: I spent my childhood in Pabna. SSC, HSC in Pabna. Then I studied at Rajshahi University. Pabna is a beautiful city. As a child, I grew up in a beautiful environment in Pabna, with no worries. Childhood understands. We two sisters had a nice little family of one brother. I lived in my grandfather’s house. I used to call my grandmother mother. Mother was a housewife. My father Professor Abu Saeed used to teach at Edward College, Pabna. Later he retired after serving as the principal of Naogaon College. The people of Pabna are aware of his ideals and principles. Who was made to stand in the line of death in the war of liberation. Like that day, he survived a shift in the Pakistani army. I am proud to be the child of such a father.
Kaler Kantho: Any university event that still haunts you …
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: Then I was in my first year. A few were standing and talking. Suddenly I see a lot of children running. Later I heard that Chhatra Shibir had occupied our hall. They cut the veins of seven or eight people and killed them. It was only 100 yards away from us. The barbarity that I saw in front of that first eye. The Chhatrashibir boys then went to Rajshahi from Chittagong University and took shelter in nearby houses. After a few days he would attack the university. Then they were very dominant, many of them had their fingers cut off, their wrists cut off, their leg veins cut off.
Kaler Kantho: The handcuffs of your politics at Rajshahi University. How challenging was that as a woman? Any obstacles from the family?
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: I have worked as the Legal Secretary of Chhatra League in Rajshahi University. There was no such thing as an obstacle. In fact, Chhatra Shibir was so violent and dominant at that time that most of the time the university was closed. But I got inspiration from my family to do politics. There were no obstacles.
Kaler Kantho: Was there any specific reason or purpose behind coming into the legal profession?
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: Coming into the legal profession is absolutely pointless. Today’s boys and girls decide their future by thinking a lot. In our time there was no such thought. But I wanted to be a doctor. That never happened again. Rajshahi University was nearby. I also got the opportunity. And without thinking seven or five, I got admitted in the law department. I came to Dhaka in 1983 after finishing my studies. In the beginning I got the opportunity to work with Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq. Which was a very helpful environment for me. Everyone used to ask whose daughter I was. I mean, you can’t come here without someone’s daughter. In those days, people used to line up to meet Rafiq-ul-Haq. I was with him for about five years. I have not learned anything else, I have learned manners, discipline and honesty from him.
Kaler Kantho: How did the challenge to lead the Supreme Court Bar Association come to mind?
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: I actually liked to take challenges from a young age. I have always been vocal about the rights of lawyers. I talked to them all the time. In 2001, I worked so hard that I didn’t have to ask for a nomination. I was nominated for the post of joint editor by the Awami League of Lawyers. Earlier in 2000, our Awami League leader, the late Advocate Sahara Khatun (former Home Minister) gave encouragement. At that time he said, ‘Girls have to take the challenge.’ With that one word, the challenge entered his head better. In 2006, policymakers nominated me as treasurer. In that election I won by a margin of about four and a half hundred votes. The gap in my vote with the rival candidate was to break the record in the history of the bar.
Kaler Kantho: What was your role in the one-eleven political crisis and the liberation movement of Awami League President Sheikh Hasina?
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: The day the leader was arrested, I called many of our senior lawyers for help. Then I see their different character. Their behavior seemed very mysterious. Then some of them said to me, ‘There is a case in your name too, you stay away a little.’ Yet their faces floated before my eyes. However, I went to the judge’s court with a colleague. We had a lot of arguments with the police. Then we saw the leader sitting there. Awami League leader Bappi and Mehedi were also with me then. We were all waiting for a verdict from the court. At one point we learned that the order did not happen. That’s when we started running. Let’s start a protest movement. We continued the movement till the release.
Kaler Kantho: How did you get the courage to protest?
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: I have always been a defendant. This is my father’s teaching. He taught me to protest from a young age. Dad himself was a very rebellious man. Besides, the issue of protest actually comes from within. And when Bangabandhu Kanya was arrested, we used to hold processions and meetings and give slogans. A judge told me, am I doing these things right? Then I would say sorry and start again later. Sorry but not from the heart, we were adamant in our protest. We believed that nothing would happen to Bangabandhu Kanya. He must be released. Sheikh Hasina’s political philosophy is our inspiration. We are the people of the ideology of the liberation war. The more I see Bangabandhu’s daughter, the more I get strength.
Kaler Kantho: Do you want to lead the bar in the future?
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: Honestly, this is a place where it is very difficult to survive without a predecessor. I didn’t have one. I have come so far on my own merits. Many junior colleagues are now in big positions. I always thought of my lawyer siblings. I have stood by them in their perils. I have tried to say the words of deprivation of their rights. For them I want to work on a larger scale. My fight is for them.
Kaler Kantho: Being a woman in the workplace, do you have to face any special challenges?
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: I am a woman, this is a big obstacle. Step by step we have to face various challenges. As I said at the beginning, after coming to the legal profession, many people wanted to know whose daughter I was. But no boy has to face such questions. Especially women in the legal profession have to go through various tests. I think we should move forward with the ball in the chest. I will be able to এগিয়ে if we move forward with this belief, the door of possibility will open one day.
Kaler Kantho: Your husband Sheikh Fazle Shams Parash is acting as the chairman of Juba League. How do you rate him?
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: It is true that Parash never did politics. But he was born into a political family. His rise to see politics. The son of an ideal leader and the successor of an ideal leader Bangabandhu family. Politics is mixed in his blood. As a result, he knows the pros and cons of politics. He has radically changed the organization after coming to the charge of Juba League. When Hon’ble Leader Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu, gave him this responsibility, she took it as her vow. He always takes care that the respect of the leader is not disturbed in any way. He is so sincere about the leaders and workers of the whole country, it is unthinkable. He has a list of leaders and activists from all over the country, There is biodata. He kept inquiring about it. Corona did not sleep at night, especially during the epidemic. He used to search for the leaders and activists all night long. He has about one and a half thousand biodata on his table. Surprisingly, he memorized everyone’s names and backgrounds.
Kaler Kantho: What will be your role in getting children involved in politics?
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: They will actually decide about the children. But I think Parash is saying that our children should move away from ‘I hate politics’. Barrister Naeem, Barrister Fahim, they have sons and daughters. We are all a family. Let our children study and become highly educated and come into politics, let us take the country further, this is our expectation.
Kaler Kantho: Your advice on newcomers to the legal profession …
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: There is no such thing as a shortcut in the legal profession. But the reality is, now all the newcomers believe in shortcuts. Wants to be rich overnight. Five years here is actually nothing. If they dream of becoming rich in a very short time after coming to this profession, I would say that they have chosen another profession. The advice for the new generation is discipline, respect for seniors, work with honesty. Must be dedicated to work. I don’t want any remuneration for working. If I don’t, my concentration on work will decrease, that’s not the case. I will say one thing to the new generation, keep working, just keep working.
Kaler Kantho: Thank you for your valuable time.
Nahid Sultana Yuthi: Thanks also to Kaler Kantha for especially evaluating women