Hasna Hena Qadir passed away in 1999 waiting for her missing Freedom Fighter husband setting an example of love not so common in this world.
Young and beautiful in 1971, she had hardly left the prayers mat, counting beads and the holy Koran until the day she left behind her children suddenly on 12 November 1999.
She held close the memory of her husband, Lt. Colonel M. Abdul Qadir of the Army Engineering Corps, and would remember him daily in one way or the other.
She had told one of the family friends that “I often think that the doorbell will ring and when I open it, Qadir will be standing there. He is alive somewhere.”
This she believed and told the Imam Sahib on 17 April 1971 each year on the day Col. Qadir was arrested and went missing, to pray for his “early return.”
I would ask her often “why do you love Papa so much” and she would remain silent, sometimes breaking down silently. Only the tears told the world how pained she was without her love and how much she wanted Allah to return him to his family.
Hasna Hena, my loving mother, also sacrificed her life for her three children as she fought alone the struggle to survive with dignity in this world which dramatically changed after 1971.
She never asked for anything in kind or cash as “Shaheed Family” (Martyr’s family) from the army or the state because she lived and taught her children to live with dignity. Except for Allah, she never bowed her head even in the most difficult times with none around her except for some of her husband’s colleagues.
She would always say “without dignity, you are not a human being. Your character is the most important thing in life. Keep it right.”
My friends remember her as a tough mother and nicknamed her as the “Chief Martial Law Administrator” and as an “elegant lady with a very good taste.”
She challenged all to give her children the best education just the way when her husband was next to her and thus for me, my achievements are due to her teachings and support. She refused my request to get enrolled in the Engineering University using quota opportunity given to martyrs’ children and chose International Relations for me when I got enrolled in Dhaka University.
When I forced myself to choose journalism as a career to her great objection, she had tried her best to offer other opportunities as a better career. Eventually, she gave in but worried when I was out covering street violence or wait for me with dinner late into the night until I returned home almost daily.
She refused my advice to take food on time as otherwise, she would fall sick, but she ignored. There were no mobile telephones in those days and she would call my office to find out when will be back home.
For me, Hasna Hena was not only my mother but a friend and guide too. We had no secrets which for me has been a great strength.
I used to tell her I would not be able to live a single second without her, but I have survived 21 years since she left me to join her loving husband in heaven.
My friends say it is the prayers of parents that has kept me going and I have been able to make achieve in life despite many obstacles.
Thank you Ammu for your prayers, but I not only miss you but feel pained when I think about your struggles. Why you had to go through such struggles?
You left the world as a “half widow” — not knowing whether your Qadir is alive or not, but believing he will return to embrace the family.
May you rest in eternal peace with papa in Heaven and be with me always. Love you Ammu.