This is the inspiring story of Marufa Akhtar, a talented cricketer who rose to prominence. It is a commonly known fact. She hails from the remote regions of northern Bangladesh. Being in the spotlight in Dhaka feels like a dream come true.
Marufa was born into a strict society in Dhelapir, Syedpur upazila, Nilphamari. That is also in a financially disadvantaged family. I am desperately struggling in the sea of poverty. At first, the ambition of a farmer’s daughter named Aimulla to play cricket appeared improbable.
But when a dreamer is fearless. Who can dare to stop them? Marufa’s success story is spellbound. Don’t give up. She did not hesitate to admit how farming with his father instilled in him the seeds of strength and courage.
Fast-forward to July 16 this year, Bangladesh achieved their first ODI win against India. The 18-year-old Marufa’s four-wicket haul, aided by three scalps from teammate Rabeya Khatun, laid the foundation for the Tigresses’ 40-run victory in a rain-hit Shere-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
In 2018-19 when the financial crunch prevented Marufa’s admission to BKSP, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) stepped in after the news broke in the media.
BCB recognized that it had a cut gem on its hands, as proved later when she became the highest wicket-taker in the Women’s Dhaka Premier League and, despite being only a tenth-grader, rightly won the best emerging-player award. As a result, Marufa was left out of the 15-man squad for the Women’s T20 World Cup qualifiers.
In the 1960s, confinement was common among women in Old Dhaka, for example, veiling in rickshaws while commuting. In today’s Bangladesh, however, Marufa continues to break the remnants of the shackles of choice as he acts with a burning determination; Our women gained a kind of bravery through the liberation war.
Women have long been denied equal opportunities in the name of social norms or customs, or religion. Begum Rokeya, the pioneer of women’s awakening in Bengal, expressed how patriarchy oppresses women in her writings. “Whenever a sister tried to raise her head, she was gunned down in the name of religion or scriptures. At first, we did not force it, and then we accepted it in the name of religious orders. To keep us in the dark, men preached those scriptures as God’s orders.”
In a still patriarchal society, Marufa is a wonderful symbol of women moving forward and breaking barriers, An endless source of inspiration.
Women in this country are achieving success in various fields of work – administration, teaching, banks, NGOs etc. Our huge garment industry features girls who come from remote villages regardless of social stigma to enrich the country’s economy.
Let our achievements in sports and culture transcend national boundaries. May you go forward like a cheetah, and spread like a light, Marufa sister.