Sunday, February 25, 2007


Heroes are hard to find, but sometimes you find them in unexpected places. For me, my Father is one such hero. Only two days ago, my Aunt (Mejofufu - who is much older than my Father) refreshed my memory about his involvement in the 1952 Language Movement. He was a student in Dhaka University, and was staying at my Aunt's house. One morning he wanted to go to school in a hurry. "Give me daal bhaat, or whatever is cooked" he asked my Aunt, "I have a long day." Yeah, long because we was demonstrating for Bangla with the other students. But then he got clubbed by the police and passed out on the street. He was taken to Dhaka Medical, and later an Ambulance brought him back to my Aunt's house. Luckily he recovered.

My Father rarely discusses this episode of his life but to those who know he is a true Bhasha Shainik. Who knows, maybe one day he will get recognition for his sacrifices.

There is also my Mother who passed away too soon. In her short life her grace and kindness touched everyone who met her. She was the pivotal point for our extended family to remain united. She was also an amazing cook who trained my tastebuds and gave me my taste for elegant food. She had helped so many people in so many ways that I am sure their blessings will carry the day for her.

Among my contemporaries, there is Dr. Qader, who supervises the Intensive Care Unit at the Children's Hospital. There were many opportunities in this talented doctor's life when he could have taken a job abroad (or a more lucrative one at a private place in Dhaka.) But his goal in life seems to be saving children's lives - specially those who don't have any alternative. An unsung hero, but one who has made a huge difference in many many lives.

Another contemporary, Ali Ishtiaq, worked in Silicon Valley and had a luxurious lifestyle there, which he traded-in three years ago to be with his ailing parents in Dhaka. He has taken incredibly good care of them, moving them to an airy, open apartment and looking after them in every possible way. His mother passed away three days ago. She breathed her last with her head on his lap as the car was speeding to the Emergency. Few of us get (or make) this kind of opportunity to take care of our parents.

On the public front, there is Dr. Yunus. Let's hope his political venture works out best for him and the country. There are two others I respect. One is Shykh Siraj, whose TV show Hridoye Maati o Manush has revolutionized agriculture in Bangladesh by giving ideas, courage and inspiration to the nation's farmers. The other is Magistrate Rokon-ud-Dowla whose tireless hunting for food adulteration has exposed many nasty food businessmen.

Well, the list goes on, but I want to mention one other person who passed away today. I met him very late, after he had fallen ill, but I was always touched by his soft-spoken manners and by his kindness. He was a pioneering civil engineer of Bangladesh, a founder of The Engineers, who not only built many structures here but also overseas. He was Mr. Manzur Husain and I hope that his soul finds peace.

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