River erosion is the number one problem of Sandwip and cross dam is the only remedy to protect this problem, said Mohammad Shahjahan BA, Chairman, Sandwip Upazila Parishad in an exclusive interview with The Guardian.
In this context, he informed us that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already ordered the concerned ministries and authorities to take necessary steps about cross-dam and, accordingly, the feasibility study is going on. He, as a matter of fact, mentioned that recently he went to the concerned ministry and found a notable progress of this matter, and he is expecting to give good news soon to the people of Sandwip about cross dam.
In reply to a question, the Chairman said that law and order situation in Sandwip is better than ever before and, due to this, social security and peaceful situation is remarkably prevailing in Sandwip. In this context, he said that the reason behind is that he has been able to establish the political coexistence and communal harmony in Sandwip, which was his commitment before upazila election and he has fulfilled his commitment, though it was impossible before.
In reply to another question, he mentioned that infrastructural development scenario of Sandwip is worth-mentioning. In this context, he said that in the tenure of this government, lot of roads, culverts, and cyclone centres have been built than anytime before, adding that the Prime Minister while her visit to Sandwip declared of providing two new ships for the route of Shadaghat to Sandwip, which are also under implementation.
When asked about his links with the people of different walks of life of Sandwip, Master Shahjahan said he always tries to be in contact with those people of Sandwip who are in high position in different parts of the country and abroad and seeks their cordial assistance for the development of Sandwip and also urges all Sandwipees to come toward to participate in the development of Sandwip, wherever they stay, at home or abroad.
In an exclusive interview, Mr. Shahjahan replied to several questions, covering different issues of challenges and development of Sandwip including his personal and family life. His deliberations are simple but interesting and educative as well. The excerpts of his valuable interview are presented here for The Guardian readers at home and abroad.
The Guardian: Please tell us something about your ancestors, especially about your parents and your own family.
Chairman: My father’s name is Alhaj Taher Ahmed and mother’s name is Bibi Moriom. My father was living in America and mother was a housewife. I have four sons and one daughter.
The Guardian: Tell something about the academic institutions you attended and the scenario of academic environment at that time.
Chairman: I completed my primary education from RahimaPrimary School and then admitted into SandwipModelHigh School in Sandwip. After passing SSC Exam, I got myself admitted into Najirhat College, Chittagong. After passing my HSC from that college, I completed my graduation from Satkania Dgree College, Chittagong.
The Guardian: When did you join politics? Please give us a clear picture of your long-political career.
Chairman: I started my political career with Bangladesh Chhatra League in 1963 when I was a school student. In 1970 I played a vital role on behalf of the Awami League candidate in the national and provincial elections in Sandwip. I competed in the Parliament election from the constituency of Sandwip in 1979 as the candidate of Bangladesh Awami League.
Since 1981 to 2002 I successfully led the Sandwip Thana Awami League as party’s president. After a decade, in 2011, I have been re-elected the President of Sadwip Upazila Awami League and discharging my responsibilities effectively.
The Guardian: We came to know that recently you have written a book named ‘Sandwiper Awami Rajniti: Otit Bortoman.’ Politicians of Bangladesh are generally not seen to write books. Of course, this is a noble task you have done. Would you please tell us something in brief about the contents of the book and also tell whether you will write more books in future?
Chairman: In my long political life I observed a lot of political phenomena which happened in Sandwip. I tried to write it down gradually and later it has been published. The overall political scenarios of Sandwip are the contents of the book. I am yet to think whether I’ll write book in future.
The Guardian: We heard you played an active role in Liberation War. Would you please tell us something about this?
Chairman: During the liberation war in 1971, I organized the freedom fighters by forming Awami Mukti Parishad in Sandwip. I was the convener of the parishad and rendered all sorts of logistics and facilities to the freedom fighters.
The Guardian: You earned name and fame as a teacher. Would you tell us when you joined the teaching profession and some experience of our teaching life and the reasons behind your leaving the teaching profession?
Chairman: I have a deep attraction for teaching. I served as an honorary schoolteacher in Bauria G K Academy and I tried my level best to contribute much to the restructuring of Bauria G K Academy. Later, I joined a renowned girls’ high school as headmaster and discharged my responsibilities of headmaster for a few years.
In 1986, I established a high school named ‘SandwipIdealHigh School’. Finally, I couldn’t continue teaching profession due to my full involvement in politics.
The Guardian: What are you now doing to spread education in Sandwip?
Chairman: To spread the light of education in Sandwip, I have taken some bold initiatives. I am deeply monitoring the educational conditions of every school by arranging meeting with the teachers and governing body of each school frequently.
The Guardian: You were also a good sports organizer and a player and also earned name and fame as referee. Please tell us something about this.
Chairman: Yes. My fascination for sports is notable. As a referee I have been hailed by the audience of the play ground in several places and times.
The Guardian: In this context, would you say what role you are now playing in encouraging sports in Sandwip?
Chairman: I do believe that to keep our young people aloof from drugs and other destructive activities, sports and education are a must. Keeping this important thing in mind, I always pay my attention to arrange inter-school tournaments from primary to high schools.
The Guardian: We also heard that you were a drama-actor and a reputed drama-director. Would you tell us something about this and say what you are now doing to inspire the young generation towards the cultural activities in Sandwip?
Chairman: I was involved in social and cultural activities from my boyhood. I directed so many stage dramas in my locality and performed as well. I always encourage our young generation towards social and cultural activities.
The Guardian: We heard even your arch rivals also praise you for your extraordinary organizing capacity. You are not only a political organizer in Sandwip but also a good organizer of a lot of social, cultural and academic institutions in Sandwip. Would you tell us something about this?
Chairman: Keeping myself above from narrow political interest, I always try to work for the interest of people. When I organize people for any reason my thinking constitutes of universal interest. Because I give priority to the greater interest of the country as well as of Sandwip and I work uncompromisingly. That’s why I get huge response from the multitude.
The Guardian: It is said that when you first become chairman in your union your name and fame spread from one end to the other of Sandwip as a model of fairness, justice and honesty and for that during General Zia’s regime of Martial Law you were offered with good position to join his party but you declined that covetous offer because of your loyalty to the ideals of Bangabandhu Sheik Mujibur Rahman and his party Awami League. Would you please tell us something about this?
Chairman: It may be a covetous offer but my ethics and loyalty to the ideals of the Father of the Nation Banghabandhu Sheik Mujibur Rahaman never gave me the chance to think about that offer of General Zia. As a result I declined the offer of joining his party.
The Guardian: We saw some photoghraphs that you were accompaning Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Sandwip. Probably as a very close person to her, you were accompanying her to different places in Sandwip. Would you please tell us something about this?
Chairman: It’s my pleasure to explain that our Prime Minister and the chief of my party Sheikh Hasina visited Sandwip 5 times while I was the president of the party including the recent one. I went Urirchar with her in 1986 for helping flood affected people. Last, she came to Sandwip on February 18, 2012. It’s true that she is very cordial to do something good for Sandwip.
The Guardian: Since your leader Sheikh Hasina is in power, you have huge scope to do something special for Sandwip, especially for construction of Sandwip Cross Dam, an issue of life and death for Sandwpees and also a long time demand of Sandwipees. Would you please tell us something about this?
Chairman: In my consideration river erosion is the number one problem of Sandwip. Cross Dam is the only remedy to protect this problem. Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already ordered the concerned ministries and authorities to take necessary steps in this regard. Accordingly, the feasibility study is going on. Recently, I went to the concerned ministry and found a notable progress of this matter. I hope soon we will be able to give good news to the people of Sandwip about cross dam.
The Guardian: In this context, would you also inform us what development activities and projects have been implemented and are being implemented in Sandwip since you assumed the office of Upazila Chairman till date? In this context, would you also reflect the present socio-economic condition, law and order situation, peace and social security and infrastructural development scenarios of Sandwip and keeping this in mind, what is your thinking for the future of Sandwip?
Chairman: The law and order situation in Sandwip is better than ever before. The reason behind is that I have been able to establish the political coexistence and communal harmony in Sandwip, which was previously impossible. It was my commitment before upazila election and I have fulfilled my commitment. By dint of which social security and peaceful situation is remarkably prevailing in Sandwip. Besides, infrastructural development scenario is worth-mentioning. In the tenure of this government, lot of roads, culverts, and cyclone centres have been built than anytime before. In addition to this, our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina while her visit to Sandwip declared of providing two new ships for the route of Shadaghat to Sandwip, which are also under implementation.
The Guardian: You know many of Sandwipees who live in defferent parts of Bangladesh and abroad have earned high name and fame and dignified positions from financial and professional status. Can you take a step to utilize these dignified persons for the interest of Sandwip?
Chairman: I always try to be in contact with those people of Sandwip who are in high position in different parts of the country and abroad. I seek their cordial assistance for the development of Sandwip. Through The Guardian, I want to deliver this message again that every one should take part in the development of Sandwip from his respective position, standing together in the same platform.
The Guardian: In the end, would you please give you valuable message for the people of Sandwip?
Chairman: I would urge all Sandwipees to come toward to participate in the development of Sandwip, wherever they stay, at home or abroad.