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Begum Sufia Kamal (Bengali: সুফিয়া কামাল) was a poet, writer, organizer, feminist and activist from Bangladesh.

She was born to a Muslim family in Barisal, Bangladesh. She is one of the most widely recognized cultural personalities in Bangladesh. When she died in 1999, she was buried with full state honors, the first woman in Bangladesh to receive this honor.


Sufia Kamal was born to Shayestabad's Nawab family in Barisal. Although raised within strict purdah, that denied her of academic education, she was self-educated in Bengali, the ostracised language of the nawabs, with the encouragement of her mother, brother and a maternal uncle. While stealing into the literary works of Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Begum Sara Taifur and Begum Motahera Banu, at the safe haven under the beds of the nawab palace, the young Sufia aspired to be a writer herself.

Although her first writing “Sainik Badhu” (Soldier's Bride), published in Taroon (Youth) magazine in 1923, was a short story, Sufia became known more as a poet. She received acclamations from both the maestros of Bangla literature Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam. In fact, it was the progressive Nazrul, a strong believer of women's emancipation, who, after coming across Sufia's work assisted and encouraged her to write poems regularly for Saugat, a renowned magazine from Kolkata.

“A wave of joy swept through our house, as she entered. Once she was done asking after everyone, she would al..
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