Brig Gen M A Mohsin, Professor and Former Head of the Department of Pathology, Kumidini Medical College
Professor Rafiqul Islam, popularly know as Vice-Principal Rafiq, is no more. He breathed his last on 25th May this year. He died of a disease he used to dread most. So often he used to say about the plight of the victims of such a disease – rectal carcinoma, one of whom he saw in the formative years of his life. His mortal fear and remains have been interred into the grave but his memory survives in those of us who saw him from a close quarter.
I came to know him in 1953, when we both entered Sandwip Model High School as a seventh standard student. Quite a few of us joined the class in that year; only a few survive to tell the stories. We were in our adolescence, i.e. teen. To remember clearly Rafiq, Mostafa, Fazlu and myself – this quartet were closely knit and maintained relations all along. But alas! I am the lone survivor. The three have left for the land of no return – leaving me to reminiscence the golden days of the olden time. What a time it was! My other friends also figure prominently but due to lack of communication with them their images have become fuzzy.
I remember Rafiq clearly because he was different from others. A handsome well-attired young man, son rather scion of a traditional family of Sandwip, he used to come from Sandwip Town, just one kilometre away from our school. Most of us used to come from villages far and away. He was different also because he was free from the vices of teen age like smoking, indulging in rendezvous, going for jatra, visiting tea shops, etc. He was a good student and a model boy at that. His village homestead was threatened with river erosion, so his family moved to Sandwip Town in an idyllic location.
While passing by their house I used to look admiringly at it. It was picturesque: a few tin shed bungalows surrounded by ornate garden of flowers and fruit trees. A few times I saw him come out of the house – he looked so princely – which he was- he was a very handsome man indeed. Naturally, he evoked admiration and envy. Those were the days, when the scenarios were a little different. Education was the preserve of a few and students used to draw admiration and they were centre of hopes only for the family but for the neighbours also. Be that as it may, coming back to Rafiq he was distinctive in more than one ways. On completion of school life in Sandwip, we drifted – I went to Chittagong College and he to Feni College where he lodged with his elder brother.
After college he went to Dhaka University and I to Dhaka Medical College. We used to meet not as frequently as expected probably because of diversity of our profession. But whenever we met it was all warmth and glow as ever. He was sucked into leftist student politics. I also used to subscribe to it but not as intensely as he did. He was the Common Room Secretary of DUCSU.
However, after his master’s degree, he joined Haji AB College, the first-ever college established in Sandwip. He served there for a long, long time, excepting short stints in Hatiya and Chittagong. I don’t know how long he served in Sandwip, but his contributions were enshrined in the memories of the people of all walks of life there. Last time, we visited Sandwip together it was in 2011- after a long interval for him as his second home in Sandwip also was devoured by the river Meghna. He was out of Sandwip physically but he was so much enmeshed with the heart and soul of Sandwipees that I noted with admiration and envy that wherever he went he was thronged by people. What recognition of the service he rendered to the poor and hapless people of Sandwip as a teacher, a social worker and a journalist.
Sandwip a landmass surrounded by waters having glorious past and still figuring prominently for its education culture and history- is a God forsaken place for its geographical isolation from the mainland. Well-to-dos leave en-masse leaving the not well-to-dos to suffer the deprivation and neglect. But Rafiq stayed with them in his hey-days, keeping the authority abreast of the plight of the Sandwipees through his despatches as a premier journalist of The Daily Ittefaq. He played a very vital role during the liberation war in organizing the freedom fighters and it was louded and alluded to by the survivors of the war of liberation as was narrated to us when we visited Sandwip last time together.
Time flows, event follows one another, one generation recedes into another, millions and billions of people appear and disappear on the suirface of this earth, only few lives in the memories of a few, fewer are still those who have niches in the memories of many. Rafiq lived to stay in the minds of many for a long, long time as a source of inspiration for the ideals for which he lived.Hailing from a small island not connected with the mainland- he saw the lives of the hapless people from a close quarter, shared their sufferings and got involved in ameliorating their condition not caring much for his own good.
Everything has a beginning and an end. Time rolled on, he had to leave Sandwip because he had to retire from his service, also because his hearth and home was washed away. He had to look after his family, see to his childern’s education and settlement in life. That’s when; we came closer again at a time when similar situation I had to face. We used to meet oftener than before, we became old pals again and shared common feelings. He was a wonderful soul- so much concerned about family, friends and country. A conscientious person as he was- oddities, abnormalities and wrongs prevalent in the society used to pain him a lot.
He was a family man par excellence. The good of the family used to weigh heavily on him to the denial of his own well-beings. He was suffering from a disease which had better facilities for treatment outside the country. He did not opt for it, thinking of the expenses involved as that might leave his family members financially unprotected. What a sacrifice! Even at death bed, his concern for family and society was uppermost. Unfortunately for him, his wife who survives him also suffered from cancer. He afforded the best of the treatment and care for her; his sole concern was to see her well as before but he did not care much about his own well-being.
He used to write very, very well but he was shy of publicity. In fact his modesty prevented him from taking up writing as a vocation. He was all humility regarding his ability.
He was an active member of Sandwip Development Forum. Duties assigned to him he used to execute meticulously all by himself- sparing others the pain. His dedications to the service of the people of Sandwip were exemplary indeed. A couple of Rafiq would see a different Sandwip.
Limiting Rafiq to Sandwip only would be unjust and unfair. In fact the sad spectacles in different fields of our national life were a bitter cause of his unhappiness. So, often he used to speak about moral degradation of the society as a whole and the younger generation in particular- because in his good days he was involved in shaping them. The downward slide of the values he inherited, preached and practiced caused him immense pain. He was always in search of the panacea for it. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to do the things to stem the tide.
I came across many students whom he taught. They are eloquent in praise of him as a teacher and as a human being. He never used to borrow money from others and he used to live within his means. A modest man, he was nevertheless a very generous host. He was an epitome of hospitality to the friends and strangers alike. He had a magnetic personality and used to draw people to him. He had good knowledge in history particularly of Sandwip. Ask or refer anything or anybody about Sandwip- he had an instant answer. But unfortunately he was shy of chronicling them.
Rafiq cannot be described in few pages. He and person of his genre are rare and efforts to study them will be rewarding in moulding the present and future generations of young people for the dreamland we aspire to achieve.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: A true lover of Sandwip
ABM Sddique Chowdhury, Retired Government Officer and Writer and Researcher on Sandwip
Professor Rafiqul Islam, a former student of Dhaka University as well as a former leader and active organizer of DUCSU, was born in a respectable Muslim family at Baowa village under Batajora Union on 21 September, 1941 and died on 25 May, 2013. Late Abdus Sobahan contractor was his father who worked as a contractor under the Noakhali District Board and late Riaz Uddin Talukder Forazi was his grandfather.
Professor Rafiqul Islam was the youngest among his three brothers and one sister, including him. His father was much known as a devoted social worker and a humanitarian worker at the whole Swandip during his lifetime. Many renowned guests from home and aboard would receive hospitality at his residence.
His grandfather was also a social worker and politics loving person. During the Forazi Movement his grandfather was the district organizer and coordinator of the then Noakhali district. This is why, the word “Forazi” was added to his name. His maternal uncle was Badsha Mia, a son of famous Mia Bari under Batajora Union.
Professor Rafiqul Islam’s eldest brother is late Abdul Hai who was a District Adjucnent of Ansar. His next brother is late Maksudur Rahman. His eldest brother married a daughter of Mofij Ullah Muktar. His next brother Maksudur Rahman married a daughter of Khanbahadur Khobirul Haque.
Prof. Rofiqul Islam’s education life started at Swandip High School. He passed his matriculation exam in 1957. To receive higher education, he got himself admitted into Feni College from where completed his higher secondary education in 1959.
While a student at Feni College, he was the General Secretary of United Progressive Party (UPP). After completing B.A. course under the University of Dhaka, he also completed his M.A. in Bengali from the University of Dhaka in 1965. While a student of Dhaka University, he got associated with the politics.
While a student of Dhaka University, he was an active member of central committee of East Pakistan Students’ Union. Side by side this, he was also General Sectary of Dhaka Hall (presently Shahidullah Hall). At that time, Shaheed Asadujaman (Asad), the great hero of Mass Movement of 1969, was the Assistant Secretary of the Dhaka Hall. During the academic year from 1963 to 1954, securing huge votes, Professor Rafiqul Islam was elected Common Room Sectary in Dhaka University Central Students’ Union. The Vice-President (VP) of this Union was elected present Minister Rashed Khan Menon, the head of the Workers’ Party. Present Agriculture Minister who is known as Ogini Konnka was elected the General Secretary.
In 1963, under the leadership of this student Union, movement against the then miliitary ruler Ayub turned into a mass movement. In 1964, the entrance of the then governor Monaum Khan, a comrade of Ayub to the Dhaka University premises on the occasion of Dhaka University Convocation was prevented through a flame of movement. Then to take revenge on the students, some leaders of DUCSU, East Pakistan Students’ Union and East Pakistan Students’ League were arrested, and some were banned for entrance from two years to five years into the university compass. Even, hard earned M A degrees of the two renowned student leaders namely Fajlul Haque Moni and Asmot Ali Shikdar were cancelled.
While this was the situation of the students’ protest, Rafiqul Islam and Kazi Jafor Ahmed were arrested the night before the convocation. One day after, Abdul Aziz Bagmar and late Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, later who became Minister and Secretary General of BNP, were also arrested. They were all involved with various complicated, false and criminal cases like treasury against country, anarchy, murder and etc.
Rafiqul Islam along with others was released after three months. Late Zillur Rahman, Former President of Bangladesh, then advocate of Dhaka District Court, provided them with legal assistance for release.
From his early life, Professor Rafiqul Islam took teaching as his dream and profession. In 1965 after completing his MA from the University of Dhaka, he joined the teaching career. At first, he joined Satkania Degree College in Chittagong. He served there from 10 August, 1966 to 22 September, 1968. Then he joined Feni College as a lecturer and served there from 24 September, 1968 to 06, May 1969. On 18 July, 1969 he joined Haji A B College as Vice-Principal and continued the post of vice-principal till 06 May 1979. After nationalization of the college, as per government policy, his government service as Lecturer in Bengali was started from 07 May, 1979 and promoted to the post of Assistant professor of Bengali on 17 July, 1992. After serving long thirty-four years as a teacher, he retired from Government Haji AB College on 20 September, 1999.
On 1st March 1970, Prof. Rafiqul Islam married Jinnat Ara Begum, a daughter of Haji Foruk Ahmed Buhiyan of Boalia Village under Union Number 04 Moradpur Village of Sitakundo Upazilla. Jinnat Ara Begum failed to pass B.A. exam from Feni Govt. College. Her name became Jinnat Ara Islam after her marriage. Late Foruk Ahmed Buhiyan was a respectful person of Sitakundo Upazilla. All people of this area knew him very much. He was the president of Muradpur Union from the year 1952 to 1957. Foruk Ahmed Bhuyan’s father was Moklesur Rahman Bhuyan. He was a big landlord.
The match-maker of their marriage was late A K M Rokibullah Chowdury, a renowned politician in Bangladesh, later who had been MP from Sandwip. The whole family of Rafiqul Islam started to live at Swandip Town after breaking of their house by the river Meghna. His father died in Sandwip Town residence. While living in Swandip Town he and his wife were associated with various social activities. His wife was secretary of Swandip Branch of Bangladesh National Women Organization.
Professor Rafiqul Islam is blessed with one son and two daughters. His son Rajiul Islam Sumon is a B. Com. and presently living in Sidney, Australia. His wife Rarhana Amin is an M. Com. and living with her husband in Sidney. His elder daughter Rifat Nasrin is an M. A. (English) is living with her husband Mahbub Ullah Chowdury in Australia. Mahbub Ullah Chowdury hails from Noakhali. He is a marine engineer.
His second daughter Farah Israt Tania has completed her MBA from the University of Dhaka. She is now a Lecturer at Premier University, Chittagong. Her husband Shamimul Islam is an MBA. Father of Shamimul Islam is M Nurul Islam, a renowned industrialist and businessman in Bangladesh.
Prof. Rafiqul Islam was operated at Somrita Hospital, Dhaka for cancer treatment. Then he returned to his home. Again, he was admitted to Bardem Hospital as his physical condition was seriously deteriorating after operation. He breathed his last at 1.30 am on 25, May 2013. He was buried at Kalsi Graveyard situated at Pallabi in Mirpur the same day after Johar prayer. Many renowned persons of Swandip living in Dhaka and locals were present in his Janaja.
Side by side performing his duties as a professor, Prof. Rafiqul Islam served the country, especially Sandwip as a journalist. He was Sandwip Correspondent of The Daily Ittefaq and The Daily Purbodesh (presently stopped). He was Sandwip correspondent of The Daily Ittefaq from the year 1969 to 2003. The founder of The Daily Ittefaq Manik Mia gave him the appointment letter.
He highlighted the history with picture of the sorrows and sufferings of Sandwip. Besides working as a journalist, he wrote a lot about Sandwip. Many of his writings and articles were published in “The Daily Ittefaq” and other periodicals. His writings were also published in Sandwip Model High School at Seventy Years (published in 2004), Sandwip Model High School at Seventy Five Years (published in 2008), Sandwip Shikhha Somikhha (published in 2012), Maulovi Mohammad Ali Akbar BA BT Sarokgrohanto (published in 2013), Dwiper Chiti in Volumes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Prof. Rafiqul Islam was Vice-President of Sandwip Model High School Ex- Students’ Association in 2003, a member of the celebration committee of seventy years of the school and a member of the editorial board of the Book of Seventy Years of Sandwip Model High School. He was also a member of Sandwip Model High School Ex-Students’ Association in 2008.
He was a member of the executive committee of Sandwip Development Forum from 2000 to 2002, Vice-President of the executive committee of the forum from 2007 to 2008 and advisor of the executive committee of the forum from 2009 to 2010, 2011 to 2012, 2012 till to his death.
He was the editor of Dwiper Chiti Volumes 3 and 5. Besides, he was a member of the advisory committee of Maulovi Mohammad Ali Akbar BA BT Sarokgrahanto., A book in the name of “Sandwiper Itihas, Somaj and Sanskrity, written by Dr. Rajib Humayun was published in 2012. At the beginning of this book of 331 pages, pictures of 24 renowned persons of Sandwip were placed. Prof. Rafiqul Islam is one of those 24 renowned persons.
It is to be mentioned here for attention of the readers that in the same name, a book of 400 pages, edited by Dr. Rajib Humayun was published by Sandwip Education and Cultural Society, Dhaka in 1987. Dropping some information and data of this book of 1987, with some new inclusions it was republished in 2012. Life sketch of Prof. Rafiqul Islam was also published in the book “Hundred personalities of Sandwip,” edited by Abul Quasem Haider and published by him in 2012.
Prof. Rafiqul Islam besides serving as an architect of nation’s backbone for more than thirty four years, he has contributed a lot to the welfare of the society. He was one of the pioneers in establishing a college in Sandwip. Establishment of a college was a long awaited demand of the people of this area. In 1966, a committee was formed in this regard.
Late Muksudor Rahman, brother of Prof. Rafiqul Islam, was general secretary of the committee. He made a design of establishing a college in July 1966 and went to meet the provincial governor along with others including Late Advocate ADM Moahedul Mowla known as Zamshed Ukil, then member of provincial assembly. The date was fixed for the interview. But he died of heart attack on the day.
As a result, advancement of establishing the college slowed down. In 1969 when the issue of the establishment again restarted, Prof. Rafiqul Islam was selected a member of the organizing committee. After a lot of endeavour of various persons of Sandwip, especially Haji Abdul Baten Sowdagor, a prime donor of Hazi Abdul Baten College started its journey on 15, July 1969. Prof. Rafiqul Islam was requested to shoulder the responsibility as the principal-in-charge of the college and he took the responsibility of organizing the college.
After launching the activities of the college, he requested Professor Asoque Kumar Chatterjee, his colleague at Satkania Degree College to shoulder the responsibility of the principal of the college and Profeesor Chatterjee joined the college as the principal. After requesting him several times, he took the responsibility of vice principal, leaving the Feni College. He, however, according to the service rule of the government, retired from Govt. Haji AB College in 1999.
We, many admirers of Prof. Rafiqul Islam feel his absence with much respect and love. Prof. Rafiqul Islam was a man with moral values, a good husband, an affectionate father, dedicated social worker, an active student leader of Dhaka University, a man who played a vital role in establishing Sandwip College and, above all, he was a true lover of Sandwip.
Vice-Principal Rafiqul Islam: An enthusiast about social and literary works
Md. Abul Qasem, Chairman of Rupali Credit Cooperative Limited and Former General Secretary of Sandwip Development Forum Limited
Vice Principal Rafiqul Islam was born on 22nd September 1941 and expired on 25th May 2013. In his student life Vice Principal Rafiqul Islam directly participated in student politics. He was general secretary of UPP, a left wing student organization of Feni College and he was also GS of Chatra Union of the then Dhaka Hall of Dhaka University. He was elected common room secretary of DUCSU in the year 1963-64. He was arrested in the year 1964 for participating in the anti Ayub-Monem regime movement. He obtained post graduation degree in Bengali literature from Dhaka University in the year of 1965.
After completion of his student life he served in the then National Bank of Pakistan and Family Planning Department for a short period. But he passed maximum period of his service life in the teaching line. He served in Satkania Degree College, Chittagong, Feni College and Haji AB College, Sandwip as teacher. He served as Vice-Principal in Haji AB College for a long period and was engaged for organizing newly established college. Vice Principal Rafiqul Islam was associated with the Daily Ittefaq from his very student life and continued as local representative for Sandwip from 1968 to 2003. He was also involved in various social and literary works. As a dedicated teacher, journalist and social worker he served Sandwipees in particular and nation as a whole.
Vice Principal Rafiqul Islam was senior to me for 4 to 5 years. He matriculated from Sandwip High School in the year 1957 and I passed Matriculation Examina-tion from South Sandwip High School in the year 1961. During his college and university life I had no opportunity to be acquitted with him. During his service in Haji AB College as Vice Principal I heard his name. In the year 2000 in a meeting of Sandwip Unnoyan Forum, Dhaka I was first introduced to him personally. It is to be mentioned here that some distinguished persons of Sandwip residing at Dhaka, who formed Sandwip Unnoyan Forum in the year 1990, felt that the then management of Sandwip Samity of Dhaka was using Sandwip Samity as their political tools.
In the year 2000 or before Vice Principal Rafiqul Islam might have settled in Dhaka. I saw him very much enthusiastic about various social and literary works. He was made member of Executive Committee of Sandwip Development Forum Limited in the year 2000 while I was the general secretary of the Forum in that term. I was grateful to him for his effective help in preparing various papers, souvenirs, etc. in connection with various meetings, seminars, etc.
As journalist he had close connection with the press. So we could easily publish press notes, statements, etc. on behalf of the Forum in the daily newspapers through him. His death is a great loss for his family members as well as for Sandwipees. May Allah grant peace on his departed soul.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: A devoted educationist
Md. Shafiqul Islam, General Secretary, Ex-Students’ Association of Sandwip Model High School and Senior Volunteer of VAB
Professor Rafiqul Islam was born in a respectable Muslim family on 22 September, 1941. Late Abdus Sobahan, a contractor by profession was his father and late Riaz Uddin Talukder Forazi was his grandfather. Prof. Rafiqul Islam was the youngest among his other two brothers and one sister. His other two brothers were well established in their respective work fields.
His brother Abdul Hai was Answar Adjutant, another brother Maksudur Rahman was chairman of union parishad and their only eldest sister was the first wife of late Moulvi Abdul Mannan, who was a renowned educationist and headmaster of Sandwip High School. As Rafiqul Islam was the youngest in the family, so his parents affectionately called him Khokon. So, Khokon became dear and affectionate to his family members, to the relatives and even to the villagers living at Bouwa-Batazora.
He passed the days of his childhood and youth in a village by the name of Bouwa totally grabbed by the river Meghna. His birthplace Bouwa is an ideal locality of Sandwip. About forty years ago from today, when the river grabbed everything of Bouwa, he left the place and reached Sandwip town in 1974 with his family members to live there.
It was a matter of great sorrow that fate did not permit him to live there. This time the river again had its revenge upon Sandwip. So, Prof. Rafiqul Islam left Sandwip and reached Mirpur-10 in Dhaka where he started to live at his own apartment by the name of Mirpur Lodge, where he breathed his last days.
He passed the days of his student life in studying various famous institutions in his locality. He completed his primary education from Bouwa Primary School. Then, he got himself admitted into Batajura Junior High School. In 1954, he got admitted himself into Swandip High English School in class seven. He passed his matriculation exam in 1957.
To receive higher education, he got himself admitted into Feni College. Staying at the house of his brother Abdul Hai, he passed his intermediate exam. After completing B.A. course, he got himself admitted into M. A. course in Bengali Literature at University of Dhaka and obtained his M.A. degree in 1965.
While a student of Dhaka University, he got associated with the politics of Leftist. So, he was sent to prison for his role against Ayub government. He also shouldered the responsibility as a Common Room Secretary as well as an active member in the Menon-Motia Cabinet of DUCSU from the year 1962 to 1963.
He was very close to renowned politician present minister Rashed Khan Menon and agriculture minister Motia Chowdhury. Prof. Rafiqul Islam was a member of central committee led by Kazi Jafar-Haider Akbar Khan of Chhatra Union. By dint of his able leadership and skill, he became Secretary of Dhaka Hall Students’ Union of the Dhaka University, presently named Dr. Shahidullah Hall.
In his student life at Dhaka University, he was a university reporter of Ittefaq. He started his career as a lecturer in Bangla at Satkania Degree College in Chittagong. He served there until 1968.
In 1969, he joined Haji A B College as first Vice Principal. Late Tofazzal Hossain Manik Mia, founder of The Ittafaq, had great affectionate for him and appointed him as a special correspondent at his popular national daily. He became senior reporter of The Ittafaq and served there for 35 years and got complimentary copy of the daily even after his retirement. Not only that, in his time he was the first reporter in a national daily from Swandip.
The predecessors of Prof. Rafiqul Islam were very inclined to education. Late Riaz Uddin Talukder Forazi, grandfather of Prof. Rafiqul Islam, was an active leader in the anti-British movement. He served as a co-coordinator in Noakhali district.
In 1920, Riaz Uddin Talukder Forazi donated three kanies of land in front of his house and thus he established Bouwa Model Primary School. To ensure residential facilities for the headmaster and his family, he built a house and dug a pond adjacent to the school. The school playground, which was in front of the school, was of square size and level playing field. Babu Jogesh Chondra Chattarji who came from Jalokathi served there as a head teacher in the school until his death in 1960.
Prof. Rafiqul Islam flourished himself in extra-curricular activities. He also indulged in Islamic studies, culture and games and sports. He was also associated with many social welfare organizations. Side by side all these activities, he even devoted himself to serve in the masjid. At the call of Bangabandhu Shiekh Mujibur Rahman, he played a vital role in our war of liberation in 1971 by serving as an organizer in the war in Sandwip.
In March 1970, Prof. Rafiqul Islam married the daughter of Mr. Korok Bhuiyan, a renowned social worker in Shitakundo. The Rafiq couple has two daughters and one son and one grandson and five granddaughters. Their eldest daughter and son live in Sydney, Australia with their respective families. Their eldest daughter completed M.A. in English from Dhaka University. His son is a graduate. His youngest daughter who completed her BBA and MBA from Dhaka University lives in Chittagong and now is a lecturer in a private university in Chittagong.
Prof. Rafiqul Islam was an advisor of Sandwip Development Forum. He also took active part in various development activities, especially the development of the mosjid adjacent to his residence at Mirpur. He was also a devoted educationist. He took part in various functions of various schools in his locality. He also gave his responses to the Student Council of Sandwip Model High School. He joined a function there with much eagerness where he distributed awards among the students and delivered valuable speech. The function was attended by famous personalities like Brigadier General Prof. Dr. M A Mohsin, renowned industrialist and social worker Nurul Islam, Mr. Shajahan B.A, upazilla chairman and others. Volunteer Association of Bangladesh (VAB) organized the function.
He also joined the function of S S C Sultan Ahmed Memorial Scholarship where he distributed awards among the students and his valuable speech inspired the students to go a long way in future. This function was also attended by the renowned persons including teachers, guardians, political leaders and local people. Pouro Mayor Jaffor Ullah Titu and Abul Hasem, editor of The Guardian were present among others.
He was very well-known and popular to each and every dweller in his area. This famous son of Sandwip is no more with us. But his memory is still vivid in the hearts of thousands of people in Swandip as well as the people of Sandwip living in Chittagong and Dhaka. We regret his sudden death. We hope his soul may rest in peace hereafter. May Allah grant him peace and Jannat.
Profile of the writer
Shafiqul Islam, son of late Abdul Khayer is a dweller of Bouwa. He had been an faithful company of Prof. Rafiqul Islam for a long time and a close relative to him. At present, he holds the position of Secretary General of Swandip Model High School Ex-Students’ Association. Besides this, he is now a senior volunteer of Volunteer Association of Bangladesh (VAB), an NGO conducted and registered by both Bangladesh and America.
He has ensured the providing of scholarship for sixty students from Sandwip Model High School and Katgar Golam Nabi High School. Besides those social activities, he has also taken effective measures for infrastructural development of Sandwip Model High School. He has ensured training facilities for the teachers of some other schools also. Presently, he resides at Basundara residential area. He is blessed with two daughters. He is also an organizer of the war of liberation of Bangladesh.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: A person like him rarely seen in present age
Saleha Begum, Biography Writer, Currently Managing Director of Grameen Byabosa Bikash and Vice-Chairman of Sandwip Development Forum Limited
Professor Rafiqul Islam is an eminent son of Sandwip. He earned his Master’s Degree from Dhaka University in 1965. At that time it was rare for some for a disconnected Island like Sandwip to come to Dhaka University. Professor Rafiqul Islam was a perfect follower of comrade Muzaffar Ahmed, the communist leader of Indian subcontinent.
When a college was established in Sandwip he immediately joined the college to repay the debt of motherland and stayed until retirement. He took the personal initiative to educate many children of poor families. Many such students are now industrialist and holding higher posts of the government.
At that time there was a great opportunity to be a civil servant and political leader but he chose the teaching profession for the purpose of making enlightened people. He did not raise his offspring in a condition of so called civil society by living in the town like other educated people.
Professor Rafiqul Islam did not limit the spread of knowledge to the people by only through teaching profession during his life in Sandwip from 1969 to 2003. He tried to enlighten the people of Sandwip by various activities like library, daily newspaper and magazine for expansion of knowledge. Among those initiatives, the mass development library, Sandwip public library and Sandwip town hall was remarkable. He worked as a spokesman of distressed Sandwipees for helping them during the period of flood, storm and cyclone through publishing news at home and abroad to save the people. He worked over three decades as a reporter of the Daily Ittefaq.
He joined the progressive politics from his college life. He was the General Secretary of United Progressive Party, when he was reading in Feni College in the year of 1957-58. He was the member of Central Committee of East Pakistan Students’ Union of Dhaka University and General Sectary of Dhaka Hall (now Dr. Shahidullah Hall). His Joint Secretary was Shahid Asaduzzaman (Asad), who was the great hero of mass movement of 1969. He was elected as Common-Room Secretary with huge number of votes in the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (DUCSU) election in 1963-64. Mr. Rasheed Khan Menon, currently Chief of Workers’ Party, was elected Vice President of that Cabinet. Current Agriculture Minister Begum Motia Chowdhury, who was renowned as the daughter of fire, was elected General Secretary.
He was one of the main persons of the movement when Mr. Monayem Khan, the governor of dictator Ayub wanted to enter into Dhaka University campus for the occasion of convocation of Dhaka University in 1964. During this student movement, Rafiqul Islam and Kazi Zafar Ahmed were arrested on the night before the convocation. After one year, Professor Rafiqul Islam was released from jail with others. Late Zillur Rahman, the former President of Bangladesh and then lawyer of Dhaka District Court, had provided him legal help.
Professor Rafiqul Islam was the one of the organizers of the freedom war of Bangladesh. The independent Bengal Mukti Parishad was formed in Swandeep at the very beginning of freedom war in 1971. Mr. Obaidul Haque was selected as a president and professor Rafiqul Islam as a vice-president of this committee. Professor Rafiqul Islam was actively engaged during the entire nine months of freedom war. He used his home and adjacent school as the shelter for freedom fighters. He gave all kinds of help to the freedom fighters like food, shelter, keeping arms and ammunition etc.
Under his leadership, there was a gathering of 15,000 people on 16th December 1971. He hoisted the national flag in the gathering. Two daughters of his elder brother Maqsud Mukter sang the national anthem in that gathering. He was overwhelmed with joy in the day and the moments of winning freedom and arranged food for over 500 people.
A portion of land was rising from the sea in North-Western side of Sandwip in 1971. At that time Professor Rafiqul Islam and other important persons of Sandwip visited that area and conducted survey. As a result of their efforts, the new land named Urichar was included with Sandwip. He wrote a report in Ittefaq and the headline was “Counting down the moment of death standing half drowned in the water” during 1991 tidal wave which caught the eye of the nation.
I heard the name of Professor Rafiqul Islam for first time when I was a student of Chittagong Government College. At that time he had joined Haji AB College, Sandwip. But I got the opportunity to work with him in 2003 through Sandwip Development Forum. He and Dada Engr. Abul Kalam requested me to be a member of the working committee. Because, at that time there was no female member in the working committee. From that time I had an opportunity to work with him closely until his death.
Professor Rafiqul Islam was the first registered member of Sandwip Development Forum and engaged various social and cultural works. All the quality of an ideal teacher was prevailing in him. He did all the works in full for the betterment of human beings living in Sandwip. He always tried to make Sandwip Development Forum a politics free organization by involving all and inspiring them to be likeminded.
Writing was the real favorite issue of journalist Professor Rafiqul Islam. He was the main initiator behind the publication of “Dwiper Chiti” which is being published by Sandwip Development Forum. He was directly involved with the publication of Dwiper Chiti, from volume one to five. He was the editor of Dwiper Chiti, volume three and five. He has tried his best by taking the life risk for publishing the Dwiper Chiti, volume-3 to hold the deadline during continuous hartal and political violence in 2006. He had worked until night 2.00 O’clock of 24th December with publishers for publishing of the Dwiper Chiti within the stipulated time, the 25th of December. It is rarely seen in current age, a devoted person like him.
Professor Rafiqul Islam himself was an honest, friendly and active person. He always performed his duty cordially, any kind of duty what has been given to him from Sandwip Development Forum. Punctuality was a major part of his life. He was always present in the meeting on time. He always performed his duty in the right way. He was an open hearted and moderate person. He had an open and loud laughter. He always talked with louder voice. He never had any ill motives. He hated such kind of people. He was really a devoted person for giving honour to the honoured persons from Sandwip Development Forum. However, we could not give him due honour from Sandwip Development Forum, because of his sudden death.
He liked people who were talented, brilliant and learned and gentle and who are socially established by dint of their talent and honesty, as I have seen in my last ten years. But he did not like the people who were dishonest, cheat and full of duplicity. He always protested the dishonest work, no matter who disagreed with this point of view.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: A thoughtful and perfect man
Ali Haider Chowduray, Freedom Fighter, Essayist, Secretary General of BAIRA and Former General Secretary of Sandwip Development Forum Limited
Professor Rofiqul Islam was born in a respectable Muslim family at Batajora union of Swandip. Aristocracy of his paternal and maternal families can be found in his body and mind. I came in contact with him while he was serving as vice-principal at Haji A. B. College in Sandwip. Though personally I had my studies in Chittagong, I had very close association with various social and cultural activities at Swindip. Though I had family ties with Professor Rafiqul Islam, due to the difference of age between him and me, I had a little companionship with him and for this deep relation did not grow with him.
In his long career of teachership, he was a professor of Bengali Literature and as recognition to his wisdom, he became a reporter of “The Daily Iteefaq”, a widely circulated and famous newspaper of Bangladesh. So, the people of Swandip became able to read this widely circulated daily and it brought much pleasure for them and they felt pride of Professor Rafiqul Islam for this.
He was a progressive political minded person. The politics of Bengali Nationalism influenced him much. As a result, during our pre-liberation period, he became much associated with Swandip Songram Parishd. So during our liberation period, we had active role in our last operation at Batajora. By our contribution we were able to reach at the verge of our final victory. Thus, we had played a vital role in our liberation war. While at battlefield, he kept himself busy in taking care of us. I feel that though the little amount of work he has done for us at that time it was equal to the activities what I did as an organizer.
In fact, since then I developed much respect and he also became very affectionate to me. As a conscious person, now and then he played a vital role by associating himself with different Swandip-based organizations. Greed and boasting could never touch him. So, he was very simple but was a man with morality, nobility and working for rebuilding the society.
I do not know why Professor Rafiqul Islam loved me much and why he became very affectionate to me. While working for Swandip, especially at Swandip Development Forum Limited, he made me associate with this organization and afterwards from my being General Secretary to before his death, he took decisions after consulting with me. Even, he put much importance to my thoughts and ideas.
Professor Rafiqul Islam would become very shocked at the sorrow and suffering of the people of Swandip. Side by side, he would become very happy at the good news of Sandwip or at the good news of any man or any group of men in Swandip. This is why, he will leave in our hearts for ever.
Life goes away and leaves behind deeds. Life is temporary but deeds remain permanent. Consequently, his fruitful thoughts, mindful acts and generosity for humanity remain to be a symbol of beauty of life for us. Professor Rafiqul Islam will remain an inspiration for ever in our ways of life.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: A leading figure of his time
Md. Ibrahim Khalilullah, Managing Director, SI Textile Limited and Social Worker
Professor Rafiqul Islam was born in a renowned and respectable Muslim family in Sandwip. He received his high school education from Sandwip Model High School and college education from Feni College. He got his Master’s degree in Bengali Literature from the University of Dhaka in 1965.
During his student life in Dhaka University, he was a member of the East Pakistan Students’ Union and was the general secretary of Students’ Union of the then Dhaka Hall, at present Dr. Mohammad Shahidullah Hall. At that time Rashed Khan Menon and Begum Matia Chowdhury were the central leaders of the Students’ Unoin. Professor Rafiqul Islam was also Common Room Secretary of DUCSU, while Rashed Khan Menon was VP and Begum Matia Chowdhury was GS of DUCSU.
Professor Islam was one of the founder organizers of the freedom fighters in Sandwip during our great liberation war of 1971. He was also an active organizer of different socio-cultural organizations in Sandwip. In his time he was a leading figure in Sandwip.
Education is the backbone of a nation. Taking this spirit in mind, he chose his profession as a teacher and thereby he joined as a teacher in the newly established Haji AB College in Sandwip in the year 1969. He also had a prominent role in the establishment of this college.
Professor Islam played a notable contribution to spread the light of education in his motherland. Today, many of his students are now working in the dignified positions in public and private organizations at home and abroad. Among his students, currently there are a number of government secretaries, renowned media personalities, educationists, bankers, physicians, engineers, businessmen and politicians who have earned name and fame in their respective fields.
In addition to his teaching profession, he played very significant role in journalism. He worked as a Reporter of Sandwip in The Daily Ittefaq- a vernacular daily of the country for a long time. Through his writings, prolems and potentials of Sandwip drew the attention of policy makers and the people at home and abroad.
Professor Rafiqul Islam was a very pious man. He used to perform five-time prayer in time. In the end, I pray to Almighty Allah for his eternal peace.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: My dear teacher
Md. Liaquat Ali, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh and Social Worker
I am a student of Professor Rafiqul Islam Sir. I realized in that day morning at the telephone call of his affectionate daughter how much he loved me. Oh, what a sad news! In the voice of a daughter the death news of her father, I understood that my Rafiq Sir is no more. He would never call me, “Hey Liquat, why didn’t I see you? And so on.”
How deeply I regarded him, I felt after his death when I have only his memories to overwhelm me with sadness. After the completion of Janaja and burial of his remains into the grave, my mind cuts me to the pain. My sorrow is that inexperience of writings I could not express the memoirs of my dear teacher, which bear in my heart. I pray may Allah grant him Jannat.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: A dignified personality
Taher Ahmed Chowdhury Badal, Senior Vice-President & Head of IT, First Security Islami Bank Ltd and An IT Expert
Love and death are two uninvited guests.
When will they come nobody knows.
But both have similar effects.
One takes the heart and other takes its beats.
Professor Rafiqul Islam is an exceptional teacher with a sound personality and dignity. A professional teaching qualification does not make you a professional, in the true sense of the word. Belonging to a particular profession does not automatically guarantees that the service you provide is a professional one. Hence, teaching as a profession is a hard thing to do because it encompasses many roles to be done well. Read this article to find out how you can stand out as a true professional in your field: the classroom and larger school community. The dignity of Professor Rafiqul Islam should be measured in the following dignities and integrities of his personality.
Inspire the trust of the students and parents. Prof. Rafiqual Islam has created a good first impression from day one of the academic year.
Dress like a professional. It is important for teachers to dress tastefully. Revealing clothes are the number one “no-no” for female teachers. Male teachers should remember that a tie and jacket worn to work, can easily be removed, should the need arise. Teachers should arrive at work, looking the part. Professor Rafiq was always well dressed in his class that focused his test to the students.
Always be on time for work. A professional teacher understands the need to start the day well, every day. Truly professional teachers will make sure that they arrive at least ten minutes before the first bell rings, so as to prepare themselves mentally for the day ahead.
Be prepared. Check your diary the night before and plan the day ahead. Professional teachers plan thoroughly too for every lesson and class. They stick to their work programme and assessment schedule, to ensure that not only syllabus content is covered, but also the necessary skills for their students’ longer-term success in their specific subject or learning area.
Follow procedures and the protocol expected at your school. Professionals embrace the corporate identity and values and model these for the clients – in this case, the children they teach.
Take charge of your classroom. Manage your students’ behaviour. A professional teacher will not keep running to school management for assistance with classroom discipline, for example.
Take pride in the process and product. Make sure your notes and handouts are professionally presented. Professional teachers should never have to be asked to re-do a piece of work because its presentation is shoddy.
Never miss a deadline. Professionals keep their work up to date and plan ahead. Amateurs leave work until the last minute.
Keep up to date with your marking and grading of students’ tasks. A three-day rule of thumb should apply. If you take too long to hand back class tests and so on, the students will have lost interest in the task and their results by the time you return their work.
Treat your colleagues and supervisors with respect. Model respect for authority for your students and gaining their respect will be much easier for you.
Be passionate, positive, and enthusiastic about your work. A professional teacher will not create negativity in a staff room or engage in mindless gossip and the spreading of dissent.
Embrace change. A professional teacher will not be a doomsayer and throw cold water on new ideas or suggestions for positive change. A professional will not vocalise negative thoughts like, “That will never work at this school.”
Take an interest in every child. The better you get to know your students, the more influence you will have on their attitude towards your subject and on their lives in general. Remember the adage: “Teachers touch eternity; they never know where their influence may end.”
Treat your students with respect. Follow the maxim “Do unto others.” Never publicly humiliates or belittles your students. Do not discuss their results or grades in front of other students. Don’t personalize issues with students. Leave their family, background, religion, behaviour, and personal circumstances out of public disciplinary processes and discussions.
Be a mentor not a friend. Model responsible adult values, exhibit self-control, choose your words carefully and consider the impact they may have on a particular student or group of students.
Maintain confidentiality. A professional teacher will use students’ personal information to assist in helping a child to reach his or her potential. Confidential information will not be disclosed over tea during recess, or used as a weapon against a student. Confidential information such as the content of staff meetings too will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
Consult parents. Try to include parents in the educational process and encourage their support of the school’s disciplinary processes and procedures. Be polite and calm when dealing with parents. Keep reminding them that every discussion about the child needs to be undertaken with the child’s best interests in heart.
Put safety first. Remember that as a professional teacher you are offering a service to the students and the school community. You are duty-bound to take your “in loco parentis” role seriously. Explain why certain rules are in place and follow all institutional risk management procedures Support your colleagues and school management. Walk the talk. Put the needs of the institution above your own. Remember you are one person in a group of professionals who share a common goal and vision.
Let excellence be your aim. Constantly provide benchmarks for improvement for your students. Praise when it is due, lots of it. Draw gently alongside those who are in need of help and find creative ways to assist them to improve their grades.
Take responsibility for your students’ results. As a professional teacher, the grades your students achieve are a reflection on you. Bear this in mind, in all you.
On remembrance of Professor Rafiqul Islam I put across my feelings. Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss.
Our thoughts are with you and your family forever.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: From the pages of my memory
Mosharef Hossain Joglu, Senior Personnel, Dubai Oxygen Est and Social Worker
Professor Rafiqul Islam is a well-known name in Swandip. Beside serving as a professor for a long time, he discharged his duties as a correspondent of The Ittefaq at Swandip. He also remained associated with various social and cultural organizations.
It is a matter of great regret that this renowned figure left us forever on May 25, this year in Dhaka. Country’s influential magazine The Guardian, published from Dhaka, has taken an initiative to bring out a special issue on Professor Rafiqul Islam’s life and works. Mr. Abul Hashem, honorable editor of the magazine, has told me to write something for the issue.
What I shall write about Professor Rafiqul Islam I can’t think. He was my very dear person, my close relative, my cousin. In his absence when I think of him I fall in nostalgia. These are long stories and long memories; I have to tell about him. All these cannot be possible to tell by writing in a short paper. Now I can tell this simply that I was very affectionate to him and he was my inspiration in each and every moment of my life. After leaving Bangladesh, we had a good communication through letters and telephone.
A week ago before his death, he talked to me over telephone about thirty minutes. While talking to me, he had a very low voice. He had no condition to talk to me for his physical weakness. In spite of that, he spontaneously expressed his worm love and affection for me.
Professor Rafiqul Islam is no more with us. Frequently I remember of his letters and of telephonic conversations. With the development of information technology, sending and receiving letters have taken its departure from us. But, letter as a media of communication is taken its permanent position between him and me and in our hearts. It will remain immortal in the leaves of my memory.
I remember the letter which he had sent after the death of my beloved father. I will never forget the words of this letter. This letter infused a light of hope in my sorrow-overwhelmed heart during my lone-expatriate life in UAE. In the letter, he wrote:
“My affectionate Joglu, ………… I came from Chittagong yesterday. By the very pity and blessing of Allah, I reached to Chittagong one day before uncle (Mama) died. I feel very fortunate to be present in appropriate time, along with your sister-in-low.
I will never forget the love and affection given to me by uncle. As we had been in Chittagong and grave was done in Chittagong, I have been able to join you and others. I always pray to Allah that may Allah grant him Jannat.
I also pray that may Allah give you much strength to bear the loss of the sudden death of your father. What you have done as a son of your father is great. The love, devotion, duty and respect towards your parents you have done is rare today.
This is our condolence that Almighty Allah has taken uncle with peace and respect from us. You know uncle was a very honest and ideal person in life. That is why Allah blessed him. Many people have attended his Janaja. Mawlana Ihsan performed his Janaja.
I was very shocked at his death. All our relatives one by one are taking departure from us. And we are being depraved of love and affection of our elders. Take care of your health. Bring strength in your mind. May Allah bless and help you all the time.”
Today, Professor Rafiqul Islam is no more with us. His memory appears in my mind frequently. I cannot forget his cordial love, affection, suggestions. I cannot forget this man of rare personality. A food-witty who had no greed, no passion for luxury, no envy, but a quite simple and helpful man who had love for all, Professor Rafiqul Islam will remain immortal in our hearts. May Allah grand him Jannat. Ameen.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: An ideal teacher in my memory
M. Fasiul Alam, Administrative and Finance Specialist, Improving Food Safety Programme in Bangladesh, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Dhaka, Bangladesh
During the period 1975 through 1976, I was a regular student of HSC in Hajee Abdul Baten College after coming out of SSC in 1974 from Cargil High School under Comilla Board. Professor Rafiqul Islam was the Head of the Department of Bengali Literature and at the same time he was holding the position of Vice Principal of the college.
Mr. Islam was really one of the ideal teachers in the college. To me, an ideal teacher is the one whom we respect from our heart. He/she serves as our friend, guide, educator, confidant, and a blend of all the good qualities. Such a teacher shapes the entire life of the students. An ideal teacher leaves a life-long impression on his/her students and impacts their mind in a positive way. If everyone in this world gets an ideal teacher, he/she won’t have to look back in his/her life ever and we found the same rare quality in Mr. Islam.
Of course, students have a tendency to assume that their teacher will come up with a solution for all their problems. This is the toughest test of a teacher-student relationship. Teachers are largely responsible to solve the problems of their pupils, without expecting anything in return.
It is also very important for a teacher to understand the psychology of his/her pupils. Every student is different from the other and will react differently to situations. All students cannot be equated and therefore, need individual attention. An ideal teacher knows where the students lack and what their requirements are. He/she never fails to comprehend the needs of students and tries his/her level best to fulfil them. Mr. Islam successfully had overcome all these situations by dint of his extraordinary quality.
Children of a certain age trust their teachers, even more than their parents and not only that even exactly at my 57 years old presently what I had found in him it was simply not explainable but only matter of feelings. At the end of December 2005, I had started living with my family beside him at Mirpur 10, Dhaka 1216 which is a walking distance from each other and afterwards continuously we had maintained each other a very harmonious and close relationship and I led my life following his constant guideline what he gave me from his great heart without any hesitation. In fact, he was always there by my side, at the time of need.
Lastly, while he was becoming very sick, I assigned my nephew (son of my youngest sister) in order to look after him on a regular basis along with my personal car for taking him to his physicians and/or other check-up purposes but once he left all of his beloved ones and this is the reality. It may be mentioned here that where he was finally buried that graveyard is close to the grave places I have already bought for me and other members of my family.
I urge all who might have known to him to graciously extend their forgiveness and pray for eternal peace of his departed soul.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: A very popular person in his time
Md. Bashir Uddin Zindigir, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Rafiqul Islam Sir was our favorite teacher. Sir took Bengali class when we were the students of Haji AB College in the early eighties of the last century. Gradually, we came to close contact with him and saw him and his activities from a very close distance.
Professor Rafiqul Islam was born in a respectable Muslim family at Baowa village under Batajora union of Sandwip upazila. He was the most popular person in his time at Sandwip both as a professor and a journalist, for being a reporter of the country’s most leading daily Ittefaq, side by side his teaching Bengali Literature in Haji A B College. He was also involved with social works, cultural activities and a large number of associations in Sandwip. He played a vigorous role in establishing Haji A B College.
During his long career as a journalist and a teacher, he made huge contributions to Sandwip and its people by his writings and spreading education. Many of his students are now staying at leading and dignified positions in different professions. As a man and a teacher, he was a very simple and a smiling person.
Before some days ago I met Sir in Dhaka in a condolence meeting of Late Advocate Mozammel Hossain. Sir asked me how I was and what I was doing. I said him that I was working as an Advocate in Bangladesh Supreme Court. He became very pleased to me and about my profession and position. He told me that he would come to my chamber in connection with his some personal affairs. That was the last meeting with him and later I came to know he has gone forever. Hearing this, I felt grieved. I pray to my Allah in order that his soul may rest in heaven.
In memory of Professor Rafiqul Islam
Shamsuddin Ahmed, Senior Executive Officer, Sonali Bank Limited
Bawa was a model village in Sandwip. Batazora union consists of Bawa, Batazora Kazirkhil, Satgoria and Safinagar. Paddy field is in the middle of the village, surrounded by government road. Late Haji Reazuddin Talulkder’s house was situated in the northern side of the village. Late Haji Abdus Sobhan Ahmed was the son of Late Hazi Reazuddin Talukder Farazi. Mr Farazi was a co-coordinator of anti-British movement of Noakhali. Prof. Rafiqul Islam was born on 22 September, 1941 in the house of late Haji Abdus Sobhan.
Rafiqul Islam’s father Haji Abdus Sobhan had three sons. First son late Abdul Hai was District Ansar Adjutant. He was familiar in the district of Feni. His son and daughter are established.
Second son late Maksudur Rahman was known as Maksud Muktar. After passing Matriculation examination in 1944, he got himself admitted into Ahasan Ullah Engineering Institute. He was sent to jail for student politics against Ayub Government. Then he changed his profession into law. He was elected chairman of the Batazora union parishad in 1960. But, because of ill luck, he died in 1966, leaving behind 2 sons and 2 daughters. The inhabitants of Batazora i.e. people of Sandwip condoled his death for his invaluable contributions to the society.
Professor Rafiqul Islam was the third and the last son of late Hazi Abdus Sobhan. Professor Rafiqul Islam was famous for his constructive, philanthropic and patriotic devotion to the society as well as for the country.
He passed Matriculation Examination in 1957 from Sandwip Model High School and passed M.A. in Bengali from Dhaka University in 1965. He was taken into jail for student politics against Ayub Movement.
In 1963-64 he was elected common room secretary of “DUCSU”. Professor Rafiqul Islam was the member of the East Pakistan Central Committee of Student Union (Kazi Zafar-Haider) and general secretary of Shahidullah Hall of Dhaka University.
Late M A Aziz was the president of Chittagong Awami League. M A Aziz played an active role in inspiring and supporting the people of Sandwip for Cross-Dam in 1969. Professor Rafiqul Islam directly worked with him since then under the leadership of M A Aziz. A cross-dam week was observed in Sandwip during that period. After getting Master’s degree, he first joined the Satkania Degree College of Chittagong as a lecturer in Bengali and then Feni College.
Being inspired with love for Sandwip, Professor Rafiqul Islam joined Hazi A.B. College, Sandwip as First Principal-in-Charge on 14 July, 1969. He was a member of the organizing Committee of the Haji A.B. College before joining the college. He managed eminent English teacher Professor Ashok Kumar Chatterjee for becoming principal of the college. After the joining of Prof. Ashok Kumar Chatterjee, Prof. Rafiqul Islam continued as Vice-Principle. He retired from Haji A.B.College at the end of his job.
Prof. Rafiqul Islam had wider identity and reputation as a journalist out of teaching profession since 1968. He was the Sandwip-Sitakunda correspondent of the Daily Ittefaque in a time when to be a journalist was a very tough choice. In 2003, he retired from the Ittefaque after 36 years of his long journalistic career. He had kept huge contribution to the development of Sandwip by writing series stories on the problems and prospects of Sandwip during this long span of time, especially about Sandwip cross-dam and the time of liberation movement. No doubt he was living history of Sandwip
His ancestors were the lovers of education. In 1920, his grand father late Haji Reazuddin Talukder Farazi donated 3 Kanis of land for establishing Bawa Model Primary School in front of his house. There was a government big dighi, wide road, community centre, a standard bazaar, government charitable hospital and post office in front of the school, which thus became a small modern city. These are direct contributions of Prof. Rafiqul Islam’s family.
Prof. Rafiqul Islam has two daughters and one son. First daughter is an M.A. in English and second daughter is an M.BA and his son is a science graduate. In 1948, Kaid-e-Azam Club was established in Prof. Rafique’s drawing room under his active initiative. Later, circumstances compelled to change the name of the club and then it was named Jana Kallyan Parishad. He was the president of the club from 1961 to 1973 and contributed to the society with name and fame.
Late Abdul Mannan, a social worker, was the first secretary of Jana Kallyan Parishad and then late Mohammad Hossain became the secretary of the Parishad. Later, I was the secretary of this club and tried my best to uphold the dignity and commitments of this club in pursuit of the ideals of Prof. Rafiqul Islam. This club was open for the public to read and write in newspapers, magazines and books for the interest of society.
In liberation war, the young generation of Bawa took part. Responding to the call of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 7th March, 1971, the people of Bawa were united by the leadership of Prof. Rafiqul Islam and established the Mukti Parishad to struggle and fight for the freedom of the country. Prof. Rafiqul Islam was the president of the Parishad. Naiyek Obaidul Hoque was the trainer. The youths of the area received training under his command.
On 16th December, 1971 Prof. Rafiqul Islam and BLF leader Rafiqul Islam jointly hoisted the Bangladeshi national flag in our Bawa School Field. Thousands of people gathered to see and enjoy it.
Cultural function and theatre were staged for long time from January, 1972 by Jana Kallyan Paridshad under the presidentship of Prof. Rafiqul Islam in our school ground. He successfully did the function of Janna Kallayan from 1961 to 1973. In 1973, cruel Magna washed away the whole area of Bawa village. So, all furniture, books and articles were handed over to the Sandwip town public library.
After then he lived in Dhaka. He was busy with the development of Sandwip and people of Sandwip. At last, he was the editor the Deper Chiti-5, where joint editors were Mrs. Saleha Begum and social worker Shafiqul Islam, published by Sandwip Development Forum in 2010.
A kind hearted man, social worker, educationist and journalist, Prof. Rafiqul Islam died on 25th May 2013 at Dhaka (Innalillahi Wainna Ilaihi Raziun).
Though he died physically, he remains immortal through his outstanding contributions to the phenomenal development of our society. His glorious legacy of philanthropic activities will certainly illuminate every tier of society. We are immensely indebted to him.
We pray to Allah so that his soul may rest in peace.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: A real organizer
Md. Alamgir, Addl. Managing Director, Rupali Insurance Company Limited and Social Worker.
Professor Rafiqul Islam was born in 1941 in Batajora union of Sandwip. He was a student of Sandwip High School. He joined as a Professor at Satkania Degree College in Chittagong when he completed his MA from Dhaka University in 1965. Teaching was his dream. He loved Sandwip so much. He played a prominent role in solving many problems of Sandwip through his writings in the Daily Ittefaq, the most leading Bengali daily newspaper of his time in Bangladesh.
He became popular as a journalist side by side teaching. He also played an important role to establish Haji AB College. He served as Vice Principal in this college until his retirement. Prof. Rafiqul Islam was an organizer of Freedom War and also worked as adviser of many organizations in Sandwip.
After retirement he lived in Dhaka. I met him many times in social programmes in Dhaka. He discussed different problems of Sandwip with me and I also discussed with him how to draw the attention of the government. He was an amiable person and so much cordial about Sandwip. He died in Dhaka on 25th May this year. I attended with other residents of Sandwip for his Namaj-e-Janaja in the mosque where he prayed five times everyday.
He established an Islamic Library in this Mosque. In a true word it is to say that he was a real organizer. We, the residents of Sandwip, are deeply mourned the death of this great man, who had many more good qualities. I pray May Allah grant him Jannat. And I also express my sympathy for his family members.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: A great patron of freedom fighters
Hedayetul Islam Mintu, Businessman and Social Worker
Professor Rafiqul Islam was my dear person. I remember him respectfully. The residents of Sandwip lost a great person at his death. He touched all of branches of society and performed activities like education, culture, sports and games, writing, publication and also entertainment. As a journalist he was so sincere. He became my next-door dweller when his house of Batajora fallen into river. For that reason, we were close one another. The smiling man, whenever he saw me, asked me how you are, Mintu.
Professor Rafiqul Islam was indulged in music and games. I directed two dramas in the bank of river Meghna, Batajora. I always ran to him when Sandwip Shilpakola Parishad arranged any cultural function. I could not be able to organize the staging of Seraj-ud-Dowla /Tipu Sultan in 1976 in the Haji AB College playground if he did not help me.It was a very memorable event in my life. These two dramas were directed by me and Anwar Hossain, Anowara and also many other renowned artists like Safale Gosh, Kanta Nande joined the drama function.
Professor Rafiqul Islam used to attend all of national or local functions. Haji Abdul Baten College could not be established without him. In 1971, during the war of liberation war he organized the Swadhin Bangla Mukti Parisad at Sandwip thana and was the chairman of the Parishad. He was a great patron of freedom fighters. He involved himself to social works and had a special intension to write about Harispur town after the town fallen into river.
Once, he told me that many have written the history of Sandwip but there was no individual history of Harishpur. “Mintu, please you start, I will see,” he said to me before his death. But, by this time, he left us for ever and went into the silent place from where no one ever comes back. I pray may Allah rest his soul in heaven.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: As an educationist and a journalist
Prof Muktader Azad Khan, Editor, Weekly Alokito Sandwip; Secretary, Bangladesh Manobadhikar Commission, Sandwip Branch; Central Publicity and Publication Secretary, Shikkhak-Karmachari Oikkojot.
Vice Principal, Journalist Rafiqul Islam was born on 22nd September 1941 in the village of Baua of Batajora Union, Sandwip and breathed his last at Bardem Hospital of Dhaka at 25th May 2013. His dead body has been laid for eternal rest at Mirpur Graveyard following Janaja at the premise of the mosque close to his flat Lodge A-4 at Mirpur, Dhaka.
His father and mother were late Sobhan Mia and late Ameda Begum respectively. He has acquired his primary Arabic education from his village and completed primary education from Baua Model Govt. Primary School, the best erstwhile primary school of Sandwip. In January 1952, he got admitted into Sandwip High School and passed Matriculation in 1957. Most notable among his schoolmates are Brigadier General (Retd.) Abul Mohsin, Industrialist M Nurul Islam, Advocate A. B. M. Mostafa and Agricultural Scientist Fazlul Haque and many others.
While studying in Feni College he has been elected General Secretary of the student wing of the then United Progressive Party (UPP) and subsequently, at the time of studying at the University of Dhaka, he has been elected General Secretary of East Pakistan Students’ Union of Dhaka Hall (presently, Dr. Shahid Ullah Hall) Unit of the university. At that time, Assistant Secretary of the same unit was valiant student leader Martyr Asaduzzam. He has been elected Common Room Secretary in DUCSU election of 1963-64. His contemporary Vice-President and General Secretary of the DUCSU were Rashed Khan Menon, MP, and Matia Chowdhury, MP, who is renowned as Agnikanna.
In 1964, he has been arrested for his active participation in mass movement against military ruler Ayub Khan and raising mass demonstration against the arrival of Monayem Khan to join the convocation of the University of Dhaka. At the same time, police also arrested Kazi Jafar Ahmed, former Prime Minister and the president of erstwhile East Pakistan Students’ Union. Late Jillur Rahman, who had been the President of Bangladesh, played the role of advocate in many of the cases filed against him and others. In 1965, he started his professional life as a lecturer in Feni College after successful completion of his graduation from Bangla Language and Literature from the University of Dhaka.
In the early 1966, he joined the Department of Bangla of Shatkania Degree College. Being convinced at the pressure of family members and well-wishers, he joined the Dhaka office of the National Bank of Pakistan as an officer but resigned shortly. After that, in 1966, he joined the first batch of Thana Family Planning Officer and had been transferred to Sandwip Thana as the first ever officer. But once again he failed to continue and went back to his desired profession of teaching in the Feni College.
At that time, he involved with many socio-cultural organizations of Feni town. In 1969, the process of establishing Haji AB College, Sadwip has been started and he has been selected as an active member of the management committee of the college. At long last, the College started its glorious journey of academic activities on 14th July, 1969 and Rafiqul Islam was appointed as the Acting Principal. But he could not be satisfied with the limited span of activities and a very few number of students of the newly established college and went back to his old work station, the Feni College. Meanwhile, as a result of his negotiation with the college authority, his colleague, talented teacher, Ashok Kumar Chatterjee was brought to take the charge of the College as the Principal. But the then committee of the College remained tenacious and sent advocate A. D. M. A. Mowla to Feni and managed him to come back to the College.
At that time, the post of Vice-Principal was not available at the college but the college committee on a special arrangement created the post of vice president and appointed him on that post. He was involved with the Daily Ittefaq during the time he was a student of the University of Dhaka. Later in 1968, he once again got involved with the same newspaper and worked for long 35 years as Sandwip Correspondent. He has also worked for The Daily Purba Desh, what has been closed later in 1975, and was also involved with Weekly Dwip Kotha, published from Sandwip. Being involved with newspapers and journalism was his passion.
During the liberation war in 1971, the first Shadhinata Songram Parishad was formed under the leadership of M Obaidul Haque (Member of Erstwhile Provincial Parishad) and him as President and Vice-President respectively. He also organized Mukti Parishad. The school in front of his house has been used as the planning place of the freedom fighters during the time of liberation war of 1971. He was involved with Dwip Shahitta Gostshi, Kochi Kanchar Ashore, Bichitra Forum and many other socio-cultural organizations centered at the proposed Sandwip town or the Arts Building. Upto the last moment of life, he worked as the Vice-President of the Sandwip Development Forum, Dhaka, and has also been writing for The Guardian. He was also involved with editing the Dwiper Chithi, a regular publication of the Sandwip Development Forum, Dhaka.
In the personal life, he is a proud father of a son and two daughters. His elder daughter Rifat Nasrin and only son Raziul Islam Sumon have migrated to Australia and been settled there while younger daughter Farah Islam works as a lecturer at the Premier University, Chittagong.
Professor Rafiqul Islam: A heart and soul Sandwipee
AKM Shahjahan, Writer and Former General Secratary, Sandwip Development Forum Limited.
Professor Rafiqul Islam was bron in a very respectable Muslim family of Sandwip. He was a Professor of Haji Abdul Batten Govt. College at Sandwip for a long time. Sometime he worked as Principal of the College in absence of Principal. He has many students who are now holding very good positions in the country and outside. Among them, I can mention here the names of Mr. Abul Hashem, Editor of “The Guardian” in Bangladesh, Mr. Jasim Uddin Badal, Dy Secretary and Mr. Abul Kashem,, an Emerging Tiger in business.
Personally I saw him on 26th November 1978 in their compound in Sandwip town in a marriage ceremony of his niece. I was not deeply connected with him due to living far away form each other. For professional sake I was in Dhaka and he was at Sandwip. However, after the formation of Sandwip Development Forum he has became Member of the Forum. Since then I had the opportunity to know him personally till his demise.
He was a man of principle. He was always strict to his opinion and never bowed down his head to anybody. He always considered himself right. He gave importance to other’s opinion only when the same resemblance to his opinion. He was successful teacher, a good father, a good husband and a good social worker. He was attached with many social organizations. He was reporter of “The Daily Ittefaq” from Sandwip.
He was an Advisor of Sandwip Development Forum Ltd. for many times. He was Editor of Dwiper Chiti-3 and Dwiper Chiti-5 which were published by Sandwip Development Forum Ltd.
Sandwip Development Forum Ltd. as an exceptional and non- political organization in Dhaka has got maximum help from Professor Rafiqul Islam in many ways for which Development Forum expressed its gratitude to his departed soul. Development Forum held a condolence meeting and prayed Almighty Allah for his rest and peace.
He was a heart and soul Sandwipee; he spoke as Sandwipee, he thought as Sandwipee, he behaved as Sandwipee and, above all, he loved Sandwip very much. He was a very strict and upright type of person. He was very sensitive, if somebody differed from his opinion and ideology, then and there he protested and rejected. He always thought that he was right which may or may not be correct. He could not accommodate himself with each and everybody. He had selective persons with whom he had maintained good relationship. He was a good educationist, sincere, honest person and also a good social worker. We pray to Almighty Allah for his peace in the heaven. May Allah grant him peace.