Kumari Jharna Dhara Chowdhury

  • 1998
  • Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Promoting Gandhian Values Outside India

Took over the reins of Gandhi Ashram with its headquarters at Jayag village in Bangladesh. In 1946, Gandhiji had set out on a unique peace mission to Noakhali (in East Bengal-now Bangladesh) to restore Hindu-Muslim harmony. The Noakhali mission continued since then in the name of Gandhi Ashram looked after by 85 years old Shri Charu Chaowdhury. The mission passed through various vicissitudes including the murder of its inmates and looting of the property of several of them.

As a result of an ordinance passed by Sheikh Mujibur Rehman after he took charge of Bangladesh, the Ashram received financial assistance for its various projects undertaken in pursuance of the Gandhian philosophy of peace, non-violence and constructive work.

The Gandhi Ashram selected a cluster of 21 villages carried on effectively the following activities: setting up thrift funds, promoting small business, cottage industry and handicrafts, animal husbandry, poultry, housing and rural sanitation, rural development programmes, an improved fishery project, training in constructing fuel efficient smokeless chulhas, a nursery under the afforestation programmes, formal and informal education, in streams like pisiculture, health and hygiene, leadership and organization, women's rights and development, development of skills, maternity and nursing, and relief work during the 1993 tornado when thousand families were affected.

Kum. Jharna Dhara Chowdhury's initiatives in eradicating social evils among Muslim women like burqa and triple Talaq system have been exemplary. This is nothing short of a mini-revolution in an Islamic State like Bangladesh.

Government of India invited her for a study-tour. The Ashram is coducting itself with perseverance and effectiveness. She is a living example of. how much closer could anyone get to the Mahatma without ever meeting Gandhi.S

Gandhi Ashram Trust,
P.O. Jayag, Begumgonj,
Tel: 03221 - 8083
Fax: 0088 – 03221 - 8007