The Symphony of our Times
Getting admitted at Dhaka College
Sadullahpur struck us as bigger than all market places that we saw in the past two days. Even then it did not have a tea shop. So, we had to have bananas with plain and simple water. The darkness of the evening descended as we left Sadullahpur. Fresh trouble faced us as the bicycle lamps did not work. There was nothing to do but to wheel onwards without the lights. The road was wide with darkness enveloping both the sides, trees and bushes stood upright in eerie silence. There was no moon in the sky--only innumerable stars shown in the infinite dark. There was no seeming end to our journey. Khuku became exhausted almost beyond his limit of tolerance and started asking how far we had got to go?
To make matters worse, as we were barely two miles from Gaibandha, a tyre of my cycle sprung a leak. So, we walked on holding our cycles by hand into the centre of the town. I spotted Baba in a jeep in front of the Das Bakery. I ran towards him and told Baba all about our adventurous journey. The father-in-law of the principal of the VAID Institute, Uncle Taluker was in the jeep. Both of them were amazed and appreciated our zeal and enterprise. Baba told us to go home.
I found that Ma and elder sister Regina had gone to the VAID Institute to attend a function. Younger brothers and sisters were immensely delighted to see me and worked up a joyous uproar. I instantly related to them the details of our wonderful journey. Then I went to the neighbouring house, Khuku's residence, to return the mosquito net and get back my clothes which were in Khuku's bag. There also I narrated the titbits of our travel to Khuku's Ma and elder brother Khokan. I saw Khuku sitting on the bedstead, completely exhausted.
At home, the time until midnight was replete with stories of the cycle ride to Rangpur and back, our maiden teenage adventure. Coming back home was like the return of a fish to water. The mind was full of inspired encouragement: we have done something worthwhile. We have shown ample proof of our courage, tolerance and skills. After dinner, I lay down on the neatly made up bed and fell asleep. After three challenging days of adventurous travel has come the quite hour of peaceful rest.
Four days of Dhaka College: 1957
If the colour of childhood is innocent, pure and white, then adolescence is multi-coloured like a rainbow. Our life in Dhaka College during the late 1950s like that of many other was an irresistible time. Characteristics of early youth. This is a wonderful time when adolescence has completely faded away. Youth has not yet stepped in; yet, like the sun-light of early morning, youthfulness throbs in the blood.
The two years in Dhaka College between 1957 and 1959 constituted for us the virtual incarnation of that wonderful time of hope unbound. The recollections of our days in Dhaka College were noted in 1957 in my daily diary, spanning the days between November 30 and December 4; etch the happenings and feelings of those times in their raw, natural colour.
Many of us who passed the Matriculation Examination (SSC) in early 1957 from St Gregory's High School came to Dhaka College. Among them were Shahed Latif, Aziz Faruque Sarker, Jamilur Reza Choudhury and ASM Md Faruque. Shahed Latif and Faruque have departed from this world. Shahed Latif, a distinguished member of the erstwhile Civil Service of Pakistan from late 1970 to the late 1990s, was an international civil servant mainly serving the UN ESCAP in Bangkok. He was also an eager poet and a skilful columnist. Faruque who was the first boy in the St Gregory's School became a chemist in a multinational corporation.
Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury is a celebrated engineering expert, the present vice-chancellor of the Asia Pacific University, former vice-chancellor of BRAC University and dean of the civil engineering in Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He is also the past president of the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh. There were many others. Their names and work are mentioned in the daily recollections. Of course their achievements in later years have been mentioned as there was no way of foreseeing what they would be half a century later.
In college life, we got the fresh taste of freedom and flexibility something which was unimaginable in school, particularity in rigidly disciplined missionary school like ours. We not only had the pride of sharing the joy of first comers in the impressive newly built mansion like facilities of the new campus of Dhaka College near the New Market but also got the touch of the wide world.
It was here that we get fellow students not only from other schools of Dhaka but from those of the outlying districts and subdivisions. Many new friends came into my life. Among them was the late Mia Mohammad Nuruzzaman, an outstanding orator and politically conscious student. He was a member of the noted Zaman family of Gopalganj (then in Greater Faridpur). His father, the late Fayekuzzaman, was the brother of the commerce minister of the erstwhile united Pakistan. After passing out from Dhaka University, Nuruzzaman became a distinguished student leader and was killed by assassins during the independence war in 1971.
The author, founder Chairman of Centre for Development Research, Bangladesh (CDRB) and Editor quarterly "Asian Affairs" was a former teacher of political science in Dhaka University(1964-1967) and former member of the erstwhile Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) (1967-1980) and former non-partisan technocrat Cabinet Minister of Bangladesh (1990).