Boga Mia: A leader for the masses
48th death anniversary today
Published : Thursday, 25 February, 2021 at 12:00 AM Count : 539
A politician is defined as one who is actively involved in politics and plays a central role in ensuring people's well-being. A good politician is one who represents the focused efforts of all people to improve their respective localities. A noble and trustworthy politician is delighted to serve the people and considers himself as a servant to the people's plights. He nurtures the hopes, aspirations and the interests of every person of the locale.
Abdur Rob alias Boga Mia was such kind of politician and had every components of above features. He was a Freedom Fighter, Liberation War organiser, socio-political and cultural activist, businessman and former president of Pabna Zila Awami League during the pre-Liberation War period. He is regarded as one of the most influential figures in Pabna during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971, owing to his leadership and organising capability. He united the various political and civil forces that supported Bangladesh's independence in 1971. He was involved in various social and political activities.
First and foremost, the best quality of Boga Mia is his honesty and love for the people without any worldly interest, and completely free from any urge to show off power, corruption and unlawful activities.
Boga Mia was an MP (Member of Parliament) and a very close associate of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It has been learnt that Bangabandhu visited Pabna 17 to 20 times during his lifetime. Most of the times, he received the hospitality of Boga Mia's family. Bangabandhu rested, took foods and met leaders of different sections at the house. It has been mentioned that when Boga Mia died on February 25 in 1973 in a tragic car accident during an election campaign, Bangabandhu went to Pabna to condole the grieving family. Bangabandhu felt saddened and overwhelmed with shock. The next day when Bangabandhu addressed a public meeting, he started his speech with the words - I lost my friend.
Boga Mia was the first to hoist the flag of independent Bangladesh in Pabna district in 1971. He played an active role in the Bengali Nationalist Movement in the 1960s and was also a Freedom Fighter during 1971. He was a secular, soft-spoken and true patriot by nature.
Boga Mia was born on November 10 in 1916 - the day when Carmichael College (Rangpur) was established. His parents were Sabkatuddin Ahmed and Mohitun Nessa from Shibrampur, Pabna.
Like his father, Boga Mia also studied in Kolkata, and once worked for India's Tata Group. Due to his father's influential background, Boga Mia got opportunities to live a comfortable life in Kolkata and mingled with great personalities in the city. As a simple, humble and mild-spoken person, Boga Mia became very close to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. After developing the friendship, he remoulded himself into a dedicated organiser from an activist of Awami League.
The house in Kolkata was sold and Boga Mia used majority of the proceeds for the political activities of PabnaAwami League. He remained a general secretary of the district committee for a long time. Boga Mia's wife Jahanara Rob was also a politician and became a lawmaker in independent Bangladesh. The couple had a son and five daughters. The Abdur Rob Boga Mia road from Pabna to Pakshi bears testimony to his contributions for general mass.
During the early years in his political life, Boga Mia was a young leader and he met Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy in 1933. Suhrawardy liked him and gave him a father's love. This was possible because Boga Mia had organising power and capability to become a great leader. From the tender age, he could easily mingle with the people from all sections of the society.
Boga Mia returned to Pabna during the Partition of Bengal in 1947. He had a good amount of cash, which he got from selling his father's house in Kolkata. After returning to the country, he had spent a large amount of money for politics and the rest of the money he used for business. Boga Mia owned the local dealership of Caltex (Caltex is a petroleum brand of Chevron Corporation operating in 29 countries in the Asia-Pacific region), and ESSO.
Since the formation of Awami League in 1949 till 1971, Boga Mia was intricately involved with Pabna Awami League. His distinctive qualities were integrity and technical skills to handle any challenging assignments, policies, plans, ideas and initiate solutions to problems. Integrity is consistency of actions, methods, measures, values, principles, expectations and outcomes. It is doing what is right, both legally and morally all the time even when no one is looking.
As a Freedom Fighter, Liberation War organiser and politician of Awami League, Boga Mia's immense contributions to Liberation War will be remembered by the people of Pabna. After getting directions from Bangabandhu on March 7, the Awami League leaders went to all the 18 thanas of Pabna in order to motivate people to participate actively in the resistance movement. The leaders told them that it would be a long war, and that they would have to take up arms in the nationwide fight against the Pakistani oppressors.
Boga Mia was a real sports buff. From his childhood he was a devoted sportsman in his locale. It is known that once he played football for Kolkata Mohammedan. During his lifetime, he took many development initiatives for sports in Pabna. He was an earnest tennis player in the 1960s and 1970s. He used to collect branded tennis rackets and balls and enjoyed distributing them among his friends. During that time, it was rarely found that a diehard politician would spend enough time practising tennis. He was the president of the District Sports Association of East Pakistan. After the Liberation War, he was a member of the executive committee of the National Sports Association. He was also a member of Awami League Central Committee.
The writer is an art critic
and cultural curator