ShahidulNews

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The Last Goodbye

She would put on a burkha every morning so that choto chacha, my dad’s younger brother, could drop her off at her parents. He would take her to her college instead. That was how Quazi Anwara Monsur graduated. Dadi didn’t want her daughter-in-law to be getting an education, but Amma had the full support of Abba, my father. Her in-laws probably knew what was going on, but as long as Dadi’s authority was not directly challenged, Amma was quietly allowed to complete her studies.

amma-chul-bandhche-low.jpg Amma by her garden

Amma had made a mark upon her arrival from Kolkata to her in-laws in Faridpur. Word had gotten round that Monsur’s wife knew how to shoot a gun. She had many other skills too, and being a school teacher was also able to support the family. When Phupuabba (my father’s brother-in-law) died, the orphans were split up. Bhaijan and Rubi Bu came to live with us. Only my sister had been born then, and overnight a one child family became a three child family. They were difficult times. The family had come over to flee the riots in Kolkata and my father’s low paid government salary was simply not enough. Particularly as Abba and Amma insisted that all the children should have a good education. Amma’s teaching job, plus the extra income she made from marking exam papers wasn’t enough to keep the family going. She would buy wool from the market and knit sweaters to sell for extra income. Later Khaled Bhai was born and no other children were planned. In Amma’s words, I was an “accident.” Dadi, who had always been against her daughters-in-law going to work, saw the value of what Amma was doing and later it was Amma she used as an example to encourage her other daughters-in-law to get jobs.

harmonium.jpg Singing along with Amma

Mera Sunder Sapna, the song Amma loved to sing

Once they moved to Dhaka, Amma wanted to setup a school in Azimpur colony. No one was supportive, but that never stopped her. Buying a tent from Rafique Bhai for ten taka, she pitched it in the middle of Azimpur playground and set up Azimpur Kindergarten. Later, in its new name of Agrani Balika Biddalaya, the school and the college went on to become one of the finest educational institutions for girls in the country.

azimpur-school-low.jpg Amma teaching in the tent

New classrooms grew alongside the tent. There was a large classroom “The Pavilion” which even had brick walls. When a storm in sixties blew away the bamboo classrooms, Amma sat crying in the mud floor that remained. A guardian saw her from the veranda of their house and came over to comfort her. “Do you think it is only your school” he had said. “It belongs to all of us, and we’ll rebuild it.” They did. The guardians and the teachers and the children had organized cultural shows and other fund raisers. This time they were determined there were to be no more bamboo walls. Each classroom had a tin roof but the walls were made of bricks.

Many years later, Amma felt she needed qualifications in psychology to run her school better. She managed to get herself a scholarship to go to Indiana University, and eventually got herself a PhD in child psychology. That was the nature of the woman. Less than five feet tall, once this diminutive woman had decided on something, there was little that could stop her. This did not always make it easy on her children. Her standards were high, and those who failed to meet them, or like my brother Khaled, who felt there were other things to life, felt the brunt of her wrath. The dedicated teacher was not always the compassionate mother. Her public contributions won her the Rokeya Padak, a state award, but with the death of her son Amma paid a terrible price. The night before he took his life Khaled Bhai told me, “I am making things easier for you.” I had not understood the implications then. I was 14, he had just turned 21. It was a price we all paid.

khaled-bhai-low.jpg Khaled Bhai

His death had mellowed Amma, and I got away with much that my brother would have been chastised for. Having lost one son, she became hugely protective of the other. After the 1971 war, Amma and I went over to Kolkata to smuggle my sister and her family out of the country. It was my first taste of India and Amma and I used the opportunity well. Kolkata was the cultural capital of India and we would see three films a day, and the occasional play. On our return to a free but unsettled Bangladesh, we found things were dangerous, and there were no set rules. Once, when I needed to negotiate with some hijackers who had stolen our car, this tiny woman insisted she would stay with me and be my bodyguard.

amma-rahnuma-5867.jpg Amma and Rahnuma by Khaled Bhai’s grave

Her protectiveness had its own problems, and as an adult, when I rejected her choice of a homely bride and found a partner of my own, she did all in her power to break up our love. Rahnuma and I stuck together despite it. Though Amma later relented, our relationship had been severely tested, and came precariously close to breaking point. Amma was strong and feisty, and didn’t take being challenged too lightly. Plucky, headstrong, and hugely energetic, she nurtured whatever she loved with a passion. Till she was 80, she would go to college everyday, ensuring that it ran smoothly.

I had gone to UCLA for the Regents Lecture. It was in LA that I got Rahnuma’s message that Amma had been taken to hospital. Apamoni, the ever dutiful daughter, now a retired doctor in London, had rushed to Dhaka to nurse her. She told me that things were stable, and I needn’t hurry back. I went on to Florence where I was conducting a seminar. Rahnuma’s second message said Amma was slipping. It was a very long flight back. My nieces Mowli and Sofia got a last minute Emirates flight and we met up in Dubai. An hour’s delay at the airport, the delay at the luggage belt on reaching home and the rush hour traffic became unbearable as we wondered whether we would see her alive. Amma wasn’t going to give up that easily. She wanted us around, and her face glowed as she saw the three of us. Fariha, my youngest niece, arrived the next day.

fariha-in-south-shields-6229.jpg Fariha

amma-sofia.jpg Amma at Sofia’s wedding

amma-mowli.jpg Amma and Mowli

amma-david.jpg Amma and Sofia’s husband David

My nieces got out the family album, and through the pain, she peered through the photographs. As she looked at a picture of me, Fariha asked “Who are you looking at?” The face broke into a smile. Frail, but distinctly a smile. It is wonderful how the tiniest of movements transforms a face. She whispered my nickname “Zahed”. Later as she strained to lift her hand to stroke me, Fariha joked, “Grandma, pull his beard.” Another smile and a whisper, “Beard?” Later when she stroked me again, Fariha repeated her joke. Another impish smile and the word “Pull?” Those were the last three words she ever spoke.

apamoni-rahnuma-o-amma-0384-low.jpg Apamoni, Rahnuma and Amma

amma-dulabhai-3207.jpgAmma and Dulabhai

Apamoni had toiled ceaselessly to take care of her. Rahnuma had run ragged with errands, her grandaughters stayed up all night giving her water, changing her clothes, checking the oxygen pressure, coaxing her to eat and put on the nebuliser. Hameeda and Zohra both knew Amma well. They bathed her, combed her hair and nursed her, trying to interpret every gesture. Delower, whom Amma saw as a son, was omnipresent and kept the ship from sinking. Dulabhai, my brother-in-law, also a retired doctor, kept vigil from afar. But it was me that she longed for. This was not the time to dwell on patriarchal politics. I was losing a person who loved me beyond reason. With all my traveling, I had always wondered where I might be, when the time came. I needn’t have worried. Amma waited till I returned.

After many rainy days, with Chittagong in a deluge, the sun shone through this morning. Amma didn’t like 13. Saturdays were bad. Thursday was the best day of the week. At 8 this morning, Thursday, the 14th June, carefully sidestepping a 13 and a Saturday, with the sun glistening on her favourite champa tree, Amma chose to say goodbye.

She was 83. In those last few days, I saw my mother in a way I hadn’t before. I knew the softness of her skin, every little mark on her face, the shape of her tiny feet, the wrinkles on her fingers. As I carried her to the wheelchair, or moved her up the bed, I felt her weight against my body. I knew how it felt to be lovingly stroked by a hand that had barely the strength to move.

abba-and-amma-with-laptop-1.jpg Amma and Abba

Her janaja was at the Takwa Masjid in Dhanmondi. My colleagues at Drik and Pathshala, our Out of Focus children did all that was needed. They would have borne my grief if they could. Many years ago, I had stood in the same mosque during Abba’s janaja, on an Eid day. We then went to her school. As the long line of students, teachers and well wishers from all over Azimpur walked past to take one last look at their beloved Boro Apa (big sister), I walked across to the classroom where I had studied. Through my tears, the benches and tables looked tiny now. Sitting on the bench and looking up at the blackboard I could hear Boro Apa’s footsteps on the corridor.

The grave in the New Azimpur Graveyard, had been bought in 1970, when Khaled Bhai had died. We had then bought three plots, for Amma, Abba and Khaled Bhai. The plot in the centre had been empty. I lowered Amma into the grave. She herself had bought the shroud and had it washed with Aab e Zam Zam, the holy water from Mecca, in preparation for this moment. The white shroud glistened against the dark clay. Our relatives and friends, Ammas students spanning sixty odd years, my own students and Amma’s numerous admirers were there. They carried the wooden Khatia, lit the incense, scattered rose water. They shared our loss.

I remembered the finality of the knot at the ends that I myself had tied. Neat rows of bamboo stakes were placed diagonally across the grave, shielding her body from the earth that was going to cover her. Bamboo mats were folded over the stakes that sealed her in. Then we all took turns to cover her with earth. After the munajat (prayers), as I walked away, I imagined my mother in between her husband and her elder son, reunited in death. I could hear them calling out to me ever so lovingly. “Zahed”.

Dhanmondi, Dhaka

14th June 2007.

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June 16, 2007 - Posted by | Personal

125 Comments »

  1. I can touch your feeling bhaiya….The last day i wasn’t there but after reading your article this, i can feel 14 jun i was there.

    Comment by Rabeya | June 16, 2007 | Reply

  2. Dear Shahidul

    My deepest condolence at the passing away of your mother who will remain
    not only in the memory of those who know of her achievements , in
    spite of sea of odds , but also in the actual work that she has done ,
    particularly in the field of education. May she be blessed in heaven .

    Shahid you probably won’t recognize me but perhaps we used to study in
    Shaheen School once and I was a year junior to you. I had seen your
    photographs later but couldn’t recognize you until this email which
    links you to your mother.

    My name is Anis Ahmed. After teaching in Chittagong and Dhaka
    universities , I moved on to broadcast journalism and joined BBC World
    Service in London and at the end of my contact with BBC , I joined VOA
    in Washington and has been working here since June 2001.

    Although, perhaps, this is not the right occassion to ask for your
    interview over phone , but I am sure we will keep in touch in near
    future through telephone and emails. I would be grateful if you could
    please mail your phone number .

    And , if you’re not the same Shahidul that I am referring to , I would
    still love to keep in touch with you and interview you at a more
    convenient time.

    Thanks

    Anis Ahmed
    Broadcast Journalist & Web Editor
    VOA Bangla Service

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  3. Shahidul,
    You have Barbara and my deepest sympathies. I’m very sorry for your loss.
    You’ve
    written a beautiful and true testament to your mother.
    -Kerry

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  4. Dear Shahid,

    Although I read all your messages – I have been remiss in not writing back.

    But this wonderful tribute to a remarkable human being, your mother – and
    your acknowledgment of your love and your loss – have moved me deeply.

    I just wanted to say my thoughts are with you – hope you are dealing with
    this parting with courage.

    And hope too that your work is going well.

    Our countries are all in such a state of crisis – for different reasons –
    but yes, still in crisis. I have been recently elected as Board Chair of
    Greenpeace International – and that takes up a lot of time and energies. The
    rest of the time – apart from the village education work – is spent
    fighting our predatory govt and the corporate sharks who want to take over
    our land in this rural area in the name of the dreaded SEZ – so called
    special economic zone.

    Warm Regards,

    Lalita

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  5. Dear Zahed, Our very sincere condolences. The loss of a mother is truly an
    irreparable loss. May her soul rest in eternal peace. Nasrin and farooq

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  6. Thank you for making us all remember to think twice before taking our
    mothers for granted.

    Saira.

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  7. Shahidul:

    I was saddened to read of your mother’s passing, though touched by the
    narrative you wrote to tell us of it.

    Good to know you embraced the best possible memories of her life and your
    role in that.

    Best of luck in coming to terms with being an orphan.

    David H. Wells

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  8. Dear Brother Shahidul

    It was indeed a great delight to read “The Last Goodbye”. I read it three
    times and then insisted that my daughter, Shazia, listens to it as I read it
    laud. She is in her full term of pregnancy and I shall be Nana for the second
    time, Inshallah, any day now. She loved the story and when Nabeel, my
    son-in-law came home, Shazia wanted me to read it loud again for Nabeel. In reality
    it
    was an excuse for her to hear the story again. Shazia can read. She has a
    post-graduate degree, but has always enjoyed my ready stories for her ever
    since she was a baby. To be, honest, she is still a baby for me.

    Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration to many, including myself.

    Best wishes

    Afzal

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  9. Dearest Shahidul

    Just read your last goodbye — thinking of you and sharing your pain
    but that won’t lessen it.

    Two deaths — one still from birth and the other lived to the full but
    the tears flow freely. I am gald you were there…

    love

    C

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  10. Dear Shahidul,

    I’m so very sorry to hear that your mother passed away. You talked
    about her when you were here, and I remember the relief with which
    you had spoken of her apparently recovering.upon seeing your
    sister’s face. I suppose she wanted to see you all one last time and
    I’m heartened to know that, at least, you were there with her at the
    end. You have my deepest condolences.

    Keep well,
    Vinay

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  11. Hi Shahidul,

    What a touching and beautiful story. A real (and
    unsentimental) tribute to an amazing woman.

    I’m in Addis Ababa now—have b een for the last 3
    years. Still working as a graphis designer, but also
    as a photographer, doing books for the british Council
    and Save the Children. Also still working in my free
    time on the book I started before we left Bangladesh.
    Reading this made me really long to be there again—and
    to finish my book. Ethiopia is fantastic, but i have
    to say, it is Bangladesh that captured my heart.

    What are you up to? What’s on the course schedule at
    Pathshala?

    With all best wishes,
    kelley Lynch

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  12. i met her many times. mostly right after the opening of an exhibition at drik gallery.i noticed her becoming “old” over a few years, for in the early years she looked much more energetic..i noticed your resemblance with your mother…i also noticed her resemblance with my grand mother…
    i did not get the news. if i had,i would certainly go to
    meet her one final time…

    may her soul rest in eternal peace…

    Comment by shafqat | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  13. It really moistens our eyes.
    This profoundly sad piece.
    I myself have lost both my parents at a comparatively younger age!
    (I lost my mother at 30 and father at 33…this year)…
    So I do understand the pain.
    I pray solemnly for her soul to be laid in eternal peace.
    Audity.

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  14. Alam Bhai,

    Its a very sad news the She is passawaya. We all loss a motherly person.
    I was in Agrani School long befor for only few days, I got her blessings.
    After became a photographer again i got her wish few times.
    I can not tell you more.
    Nobody can tell anything to a son who lost Mother.

    May Allah be kind to her.

    Mir Shamsul Alam BABOO*

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  15. What a beautiful piece of writing. I enjoyed every word and could feel the emotions.
    Thank you !!!
    Mrs Aliya Tebawi
    Kuwait

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  16. Dear Shahid bhai,

    I express my deepest sorrow and grief at the sad demise of your mother whom
    I knew personally because of my Chacha Late Dr. Quazi Motahar Hossain. I
    know this loss can never be ful filled by anybody but then again we have to
    accept the reality that all of us have to follow the same path today or
    tomorrow. I lost my father in 1973 and my mother in in 1994. I can realize
    the pain of this loss.

    I am sure all her good memories with you will keep you happy and lead the way.

    I am praying to Allah for the salvation and peace of her soul.

    Regards,

    Rownaq

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  17. Dear Shahid,
    I read the news of your mother’s demise in the newspaper and was planning
    to call you soon. However, your email has given me this opportunity to use
    the internet to convey my sincerest condolences. Your mother was not a
    woman nor a teacher. She was an institution by herself- an institution that
    will leave till eternity. Thank you for sharing so many private aspects of
    her life and in the process life in your family too. Everyone in Bangladesh
    (also in the then East Pakistan) knows all about Dr.Anwara Monsur and her
    hardwork in setting up one of the best schools in the country for girls.
    “Agrani” was not just a name but a movement for quality education for
    girls. During her very long stint as an educationist she has shaped the
    lives of so many “future” mothers that hers is a life which Allah
    recognises as totally committed to “Sadqa e Jariah”- charity that will now
    benefit her. She had plowed the soil, planted crops after varieties of
    crops and now she will harvest those in her eternal resting place. That is
    the true reward of any muslim. She has earned these rewards which she so
    richly deserves for the life long unselfish service to the cause of
    humaniy. I shall pray for her as a duty even though I know she does not
    need our prayer when her wordly deeds are surely with her to make her
    eternal abode one of peace and happiness as repeatedly stated by Allah in
    the holy Quran.
    Passing away of near and dear ones in painful. Its much more painful when a
    mother passes away. In your case I can see you were much more attached to
    each other for understandable reasons. Its tough time for you. I pray that
    Allah gives you and all the other members of your family strength to bear
    this loss with courage and fortitude. I am sure thousands of former and
    present students of Agarani school will pray for their “Boro Apa” and her
    surviving family members.
    Allah hafiz.
    Muyeed

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  18. Dear Shahidul,

    I know there can be no words to console the loss you had, however, she was
    immensely successful in giving more than her share of gifts to others. She
    will live in her students and in the fine school that she established. She
    will also live in the achievements of her worthy son.

    Your account of your amma would sure touch anyone’s heart. May Allah give
    peace to her soul and her due reward. May Allah give you the strebgth to
    bear this loss.

    Rabbani

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  19. Prio alom bhai,

    Very sorry to know about Khalamma’s passing away. I only came to know about this
    through your blog. I know how much she was associated to Drik. I am feeling really
    bad. When Khalu died, I was there at Drik. I know its always difficult to cope with
    the loss of nearest and dearest ones. But with each single demise, we learn many
    things. I remember when I used to talk to Khalamma, she used to use a word very
    often about you, ‘zahed, bhuter moto kaj korey’. Those were my first days with Drik
    so I couldn’t capture this strange analogy. But later obviously one of many things
    that I learnt from you, hard work and diligence has no alternative. Sameera, Delowar
    bhai also told me many times, Khalamma is equally a committed a person, otherwise
    setting up a girls school at that time was could be next to impossible. Pray her
    soul rest in peace. Ami Bytes for all o ekta message korbo.

    Stay well alom bhai,

    Partha

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  20. Dear Shahid,
    Its useless to pretend to try to console you. Your Amma will glow like an
    eternal flame in our memory and inspire others who will follow us. I am
    sure you have the strength to withstand the grief.
    Best regards
    Shams

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  21. Sir

    I am a passionate fan of yours and DRIK. We have done at least three photo
    sessions in DRIK as well. Presently I am in Canberra for doctoral research.
    The news of your mother’s demise and your emotional write up brought tear
    drops to a person who for genuine reasons has forgot to weep beyond own loss.
    After all there are some lives worth setting examples impregnable for oblivion
    to take over. Your mother’s is such a one.

    It is not really great to be great by achieving something that was never done
    by something. It happens every now and then. But to sacrifice to an extent
    where subtle line between losing everything and reaching your goal is so
    dangerous that many fail to dare is really great. I hope your mother will be
    rewarded generously in the life after.

    I lost my father when I was nine and I know there are no words that really
    condoles loss of the near ones. I only want to let you know that I am mourning
    together with you.

    May Allah bless your family with strength

    Faham Abdus Salam

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  22. Dear Shahidul,
    I share your grief as everyone else. I salute the spirit of this most brave
    and outstanding lady. Certainly the best among many many of us. She
    pioneered a path that we, even with all our advantages are hesitant to
    follow.
    Thank you for the beautiful write up. It has touched the heart of all those
    who took time to read it.
    Warm regards,
    Shaheen apa

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  23. dear shahidul

    many, many thanks for writing this beautiful story through your grief, and
    even more for sharing it with us. i am in tears reading it, but partly out
    of huge admiration – what an incredible person, a true life-changer. so,
    so sorry for your loss, and we send all best wishes to you and all your
    family.

    all the very best
    love antonia

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  24. Dearest Alam Bhai,

    I cannot say I am sorry Auntie passed away. Somehow I feel she lived such a full
    life. My father died in similar circumstances in USA. I was in Dhaka, when my
    younger brother called me to announce diagnoses of cancer, he said that doctor
    told dada, “Mr. Noorani, you have two months at most”. It took me a long time to
    get my Dadi a visa to go to US and finally when Dadi and I reached, he had two
    days left. When he finally passed away, my younger brother Shakil said, “Shukar Al
    Hamdulillah”

    I alway called you mom Auntie. She was sucha great and loving person.

    Shehzad
    Kabul, Afghanistan

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  25. Zahed sorry to hear about Chachi. Indeed she was a remarkable woman. I remember the
    days in Azimpur school where we both attended. I remember when in Class three I came
    first after you left, she had the teachers double check my papers so noone could say
    she favoured her relatives. As I received the prize I still remember her smile.

    As I was leaving on my last visit I was wondering whwether I would see her again on
    my next trip. What gave me ease is that my belief allowed me to be content, that
    surely that day will come.

    Anyways losing one parent I know now that only time will heal. Hopefully your
    guide(Rahnuma ie what it means in Arabic) will be your comfort. Hope to see you
    longer God willing next time.

    Bolto

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  26. Dear Zahid Bhai,

    Thank you for sending us this moving tribute to a great person. I pray for
    the peace of your mother’s soul. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

    Bala

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  27. Shahidul… how sweet, how personal, how touching, how wonderful a story, all
    the more so that it really is yours. Hugs from a friend in New York who
    shares Amma’s loss.

    David B

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  28. Dear dear Zahed,
    Thank God for “Accidents!”

    Love
    Meghna

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  29. Dear Zahed mama,
    You’re a brave man, and to be able to write something of this sort at this point in time is truly admirable. The article pays proper homage to my grandmother’s remarkable twin sister, and rightfully expresses the obstacles she gracefully overcame in her exemplary life. I showed this to Amma and the article and accompanying images promptly flooded her mind with memories of your mother and father which she proceeded to share in vivid detail with me over an hour or so. Inshallah this has helped me to remember that if I had but a fraction of the drive or character of my parents and grandparents, my path in life would be distinct and righteous. I wish you the best and may your parents’ souls rest in peace inshallah.

    – your nephew Raiyán

    Comment by Raiyán Ahmed | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  30. Dear Mr. Shahidul Alam:

    My sincere condolence for the loss of your mother. Thank you for sharing your grief
    with us.
    Regards,
    Afroza

    Afroza Anwary, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor
    Department of Sociology and Corrections
    113 Armstrong Hall
    Minnesota State University, Mankato
    MN 45001

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  31. simply beautiful and moving Shahid. Wonderful! Bravo!

    Best, M

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  32. Dear Shahidul,

    I am deeply sorry for the loss. Your write-up was so good that I had to
    hide and dry up my tears, being in office. I salute the achiever and
    pray for her soul to rest in piece.

    Best Regards

    Debayan Ghosh

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  33. May Allah Rest This Noble Lady in peace, who has enlighted the society with
    sheer dedication and bravery

    – Amin

    Allah Hafiz
    Minhaj Alam
    Program Manager – HRP
    Democracywatch

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  34. Dear Shahid:

    I, like all your other friends, share your grief. As a
    globetrotter you always had the anxiety that you
    should be close to your mother when the time came for
    her to bid goodbye to this mortal world. She passed
    away on a Thursday, a day she preferred, and more
    importantly she could see you and utter your name and
    even come close to pulling your beard before said
    goodbyes

    I always thought you were a very talented and well
    groomed man. Now I know where it all comes from.

    I am a great advocate of girls’ education. Last week I
    was in Tanore near Rajshahi and by chance visited the
    Tanore Mahila Degree College and met the founder and
    principal Mr Ishaq. There are 400 students in
    Intermediate and bachelors courses – all of them
    provided with free hostel accommodation, food and free
    education. I was touched by the vision of the man.
    When I came out, I was touched to see all the faculty
    waiting to greet me and about 60 students lined up in
    two rows as if to give me a guard of honour. Only
    instead of rifles, they had flowers in their hands.

    I am pleased to know that Amma had started such a
    revolution long long ago. I am sure her life and work
    will continue to inspire generations to come.

    Arun
    [Subbiah Arunachalam]

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  35. Dear Shahid Bhai:

    I only came to know about your ‘Amma’ through this mail – and while going through
    your write-up I simply could not hold my tears!!!!

    I shall keep ‘Bara Apa’ in my prayers that her grave becomes a part of “Jannat” and
    finally she finds a place in “Jannat-E-Ferdous”.

    May Allah bless you with His devine love and affection through the Mother Nature to
    cover the short fall due to physical absence of ‘Bara Apa’.

    Regards,
    Masum Billah

    Comment by shahidul | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  36. Dear Zahed, dear Dipu Apa

    My sincere condolences at the sad loss of Ranu Khala. She was such a remarkable person.

    Imran

    Comment by Imran | June 17, 2007 | Reply

  37. Shahidu….Oh I am so very sorry ..i wrote to you yesterday without reading
    the contents..something made me write to you when I saw your name..put aside
    the contents thinking it was a journalistic piece that i would read later.

    I just went through your heart wrenching account of what you experienced,
    wept reading at the most beautifully expressed piece..full of love, your
    grief and pain pouring from every word. Your mother sounds like an
    incredible woman and now i understand where you got your genes from.

    We love you very much, take care of yourself.

    Lots of love, please accept Akeel and my condolences.

    Noorjehan

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  38. Alam bhai/ Rahnuma,

    Eshob shomoye to bolar ar kichui thake na. Ashombhob shundar lekhata and
    apurba tribute..
    Amar baba mara jabar pore apnar babake niye lekhata pore ektu shanti
    legechilo.

    Amar shomobedona roilo…apnader kotha bhabhchi amra.

    Asif

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  39. prio alom bhai,

    asha kore bhalo achen. apnar ammar beoge ame bathito. unar desher jonno
    obodan shoron korche.

    alom bhay apnar bortoman obostha ame khub bhalo motoy onubhob korche…karon
    goto februarer26 tarekhe ame amar abba k hareache.

    apneto ta o apnar bon k peyachelen.4 din bolte gale ame eka abba k neya
    c.c.u chilam. kobor dear
    shomoy kothito kichu atteo chara kono bhay bon(choto bhay o boro bon
    australia theke ashte pare ne) pay ne……tokhon neje k khube eka mone
    hoyeche. ame akhono bujhte parche na amma k neye shamner din gulo kibhabe
    jabo.

    tarporo cholte hoy….k jano bolechilo…..
    “jokhon ekte sheshu jonmay, tokhon sheshute kade prethebe hashe. ar jokhon
    shey manushte mritu boron kore, tokhon manushte hashe prithebe kade.

    Bhalo thakben,
    Anwar Sadat

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  40. Dear Shahidul

    My sincere condolences for your loss. What a wonderful letter in honor
    of your mother, her life, her struggles and accomplishments. I’m
    sending you my warmest wishes in this time of grief with the hope that
    your memories of her, your brother and father will bring peace and
    solace.

    A big hug from New York;

    Adrian

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  41. Dear Shahidul Bhai,

    I’m very shocked and I pray to Almighty with folded hands for absolute peace
    to her departed soul.

    I’m very poor in my ability to express and find no word to console you.
    Instead, I’m very touched by the way you expressed your shocks.

    I lost my parents too and I’m aware of the pains and losses.

    Very personal regards to you.

    Tarik, UNDP

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  42. Hi Shahidul,

    Your memory of you mother and her passing was very moving and beautifully
    written. I had tears as I remembered my own mothers passing some years
    ago: sadly I was not there but in Pakistan.

    I do enjoy being on your mailing list.

    Regards,

    Ken Lussier
    Chiang Mai

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  43. Dear Shahidul Bhai

    Thanks for the informative note about khala which we were not aware off. I
    have forwarded this mail to my friends and family members abroad who know
    khala very well. Now it is the fact that Khala is gone and gone for ever.
    Praying to god to give you the strength to move forward with peace and
    happiness all through your life. You also know very well that always khala
    will be with you even if she is not beside you physically.

    All the best.

    Afroz

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  44. In your bereavement we offer our sincerest condolences and hope you and the
    rest of the family will bear this grievous loss with courage and fortitude.

    I.K. Shukla

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  45. Dear Shahidul,

    Sincere condolences,

    and thanks for a beautiful story.

    As ever,

    Niek Biegman

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  46. Zahed Bhai,

    I’m very sorry to hear about your loss. I remember meeting aunty at
    your place many times. I did not know that she was active till she was
    80. They sure don’t make ‘em that way any more.

    By the way, that was a beautiful letter, I could not hold back my
    tears as I was reading it. I can’t hold them back as I write to you
    now. May your mother find the peace she deserves after a fruitful and
    busy life. May you find the strength to bear the pain of your loss.

    Sincerely,

    Zarre Omar
    Director
    Access Telecom (BD) Ltd.

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  47. Zahed,

    My heartfelt condolences. May you find strength and peace.

    Babui

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  48. Dear Mr.Shahidul,

    There is no words to say anything but only wants to thank you for sharing
    your shahidulnews with us. We all now that we cannot do much to ease your
    sorrow, grief (whatever you say) but this only we know that, we all have to
    go through this process with everyone’s family. May Allah give you and all
    your family members enough strength to bear this loss.

    Thanking you,

    Yasmeen Ahmed
    Thai Airways International PCL, Dhaka

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  49. Dear Shahidul Saheb

    Please accept our sicere condolences on the sad demise of your mother.
    My wife ,our daughter and I were very apppreciative of this
    illustrious lady. My wife was a teacher at Agrani and my daughter was a
    student. Her whole life was dedicated for enkindeling the minds of
    young boys and girls with the light of knowledge.

    May her soul rest in peace.

    Ramendu Majumdar

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  50. great tribute to a mom

    abbas.

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  51. Dear Zahed Bhai,.
    As member of Service Civil International (SCI), we have had many occasions where we used to receive love, affection and guidance from our respected Apa (Quazi Anwara Monsur). We still remember those good days from her the then residence at outer circular road, Magbazar when she was the tresurer of Service Civil International-Bangladesh where we used to receive her affection, guidance, support, whenever needed.
    On the eve of her sad demise, we pray for peace of her departed soul. May God rest her in iternal Peace.
    We also pray to the almighty to give you strength so that you can sustain the greatest loss of your family.
    Best regards
    Nasir uddin Ahmed
    Director
    Gono Unnayan Prochesta (GUP)

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  52. dear shahidul,

    you have been most fortunate to have such a wonderful
    woman as your mother. thank you for sharing this with
    me. latha jishnu, delhi

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  53. Dear Zahed,

    Thank you for that moving tribute.

    No matter how old parents are and no matter how prepared one is that they will leave one day, one is really never prepared. My deepest sympathies.

    Niaz

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  54. Alam Bhai;
    Amar o amader pakshya theke apnake o apnar paribarer sokarta sobaike antorik somobedona. Amar khub dukhkho hochchhe je ami gotokaler age jante parini Ma chole gechhen. Gotkal ami phone korechhilam eta dhore niye je apni ager porikolpona moto Kushtia gieyechhen kintu pore Anis shaheber kachhe janlam Ma ar nei. Zahok eta bastob, ami bishwas kori apni apnar probol manoshik shokti diye shok katiye uthben.
    ‘Sarbe satta sukhita hontu sarbe satta niramaya’.

    With thanks and regards
    arup
    Arup K Biswas
    Senior Adviser, Development Affairs
    Royal Norwegian Embassy, Dhaka

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  55. Dear Bro
    You have had a GOD’S GIFT.
    Your Amma must have been a satisfied person for her achievements.
    GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
    Arun More

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  56. Dear Zahed Bhai,

    Sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

    Regards,

    Ehtesham (Shumon)

    Comment by shahidul | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  57. i feel deeply sorry for you. your mother was the principal of the school i went to. she didn’t actually teach our class. but she was one of those rare personalities who fill the space surrounding them with a warm and quiet presence.

    even though i was always too shy to go and tell her how much i admire ner, maybe she can hear me now, now that she is in heaven.

    Comment by sanjida shaheed | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  58. Dear Shahidul,

    Sincere condolences from myself and also on behalf of my family.

    She sounds like a great woman.

    Love and wishes to you.

    Comment by Asheq Akhtar | June 19, 2007 | Reply

  59. Dear Shahidul
    Deeply sorry to hear the passing of Amma. I am relieved that you were able to reach Dhaka on time to see her before the end. Please accept both Syeda and my sincerest sympathies and condolences. Our love to Rahnuma and your sister and other members of your family. We are in Chicago visiting family and will write to you afyer we return to LA.

    Robin

    PS I am copying other LA friends

    Comment by Robin | June 20, 2007 | Reply

  60. Dear Shahidul and family,
    I am sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. Your tribute shares with us who didn’t know her what an inspiring woman she was and her memory will give light to the future. Thank you for sharing her life with us.
    with respect and warm regards for your mother’s memory—
    Mary Kao

    Comment by Mary Uyematsu Kao | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  61. A very loving tribute. Your mother was certainly strong, protective, and obviously loved you. You are lucky to have experienced so many years with her and to be with her on that last sunlit day.

    Thanks for letting us know about your return and this important turning point in your life.

    Russell C Leong

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  62. Dear Shahidul:
    We met briefly several years ago at a conference in Malaysia. We shared a drink together with another women, a colleague/friend of yours I believe. I was attending as a staff person with IMPACS a nonprofit in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Attached is a picture of my young daughter and I in case that helps you remember.

    Over the years I have cont’d to receive your emails. I’m writing to share my sympathy at your mother’s passing. Your words are very moving.
    Ah, the pain and the beauty of love, family, living.

    My best to you,
    Michelle Pante

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  63. This is the most beautiful and loving obituary I’ve read.

    Dina Mahnaz Siddiqi

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  64. MY SINCEREST CONDOLENCES
    ” ZAHED ”

    ANWAR HOSSAIN

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  65. Straight from the heart, a tribute to a great woman, mother of us all.

    I K Shukla

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  66. dear shahid

    i had kept this to read later and finally decided to read it while having my lunch today.

    i am so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. i had of course never met her yet your words made my eyes most, having lost my father when i was 18 i got transported to that very sad period of my life.

    this is a very difficult time for you and i dont expect a reply. just know that someone who considers you a friend will be thinking of you.

    take care of yourself shahid. u will need a lot of time and that is the only cure – not to forget but for the grief to lessen and acceptance to set in.

    best
    altamash

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  67. Dear Zahed,
    It is truly courageous of you to have written this.
    Long ago, when we used to live near rd 24, dhanmandi,
    i remember I think seeing ur father,( beacuse my dad
    used to say thats dr mansur) the house , now drik,
    going up, brick by brick. If i am not mistaken, he
    told my dad, that he was doubtful about the regular
    bricks used in buildings back then , and wanted to
    have his treated in a certain way. Wonder if my memory
    serves me right, and strange what odd things we
    remember.I dont remember much else, but plants and
    trees in the plot. I didnt know about your brother.She
    really was a tough woman.
    So are you and rahnuma for standing up for ur love and
    what u believed in.
    This has been an incredibly hectic week, sabha,
    samiti, this that.The day of the kul khwani, i went to
    see my chachi who was lying inert in birdem after 10
    yrs of suffering and immobility from arthritis, and
    then finally now, cancer. After that i picked up
    another sick friend from birdem and reached her to
    savar where she lives so she cud avoid a bus
    trip.Naturally my thoughts were on death and the
    suffering that human flesh is heir to. On the face of
    it, my chachi who looked exactly like hasan’s brother
    habib who died of cancer, at 40, seemed to have wasted
    away. Habib, however had had a full life as painter
    and friend and husband and father. My chachi? Alone,
    her son away for decades in the us, her husband always
    away somewhere, no career, few friends, nothing beyond
    watching tv and gazing out the window. A once
    beautiful woman , aged at most 70.My chachi’s elder
    sister however by the grace of God, is still lovely
    active and one of the people/women i most admire. she
    too loves me for reasons i cant fathom, and has the
    ability to spread a sort of ‘grace’. Some lives can
    be rich, and others not so much.
    Now, down with flu and fever, i am responding to ur
    letter with the first thoughts that are coming to
    mind. We are lucky if in this very sad world: our
    lives are active, rich , full; we are surrounded by
    near and loved, loving ones for the greater part and
    at the time of leavetaking ( cant utter the other word
    somehow); and if the end is…as one says in bangla,
    ‘sheshta jeno hoi sundar’.
    Best, sonia

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  68. I feel for your lost. My thoughts are with you and your family. As my thoughts are every day with my father who passed twelve years ago. Best, Jude Jansen

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  69. Dear Shahidul

    Lyndall has told us the sad news about your mother – I am so, so sorry and wanted to send you my deepest sympathy and condolences. I have read, in tears, what you have written and she was obviously an extraordinary lady who loved you with all her heart. My own parents have both passed away and I truly believe that they choose their time when they have done and said all that wanted to, as your mother did.

    With love

    Sarah

    Sarah Molloy
    Head of Communications
    Concern Worldwide (UK)

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  70. Dearest Shahidul

    I am so sorry to hear of your great loss – If you were here – I would hug you and kiss you on both cheeks and say I wish you a long life , this is always said to the bereaved by Jewish people to those who are left behind, who in the midst of pain and loss, must continue to embrace life.

    Your beautiful honest and moving account of your Mother, was a privilege to share and my thoughts are with all your family at this sad time. Your Mothers strength kept her going till you returned to her, and I give thanks that you could share her last moments with your family and loved ones.

    Please do not worry about your visit, all other things can wait for now.

    Deepest sympathy and much love

    Lyndall

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  71. My dear Shahidul

    I cannot tell you how deeply touched I was to read your tribute. What a life!
    What it must have been to be so close, to have so much between you!

    I share your grief.

    Warmly

    Vickram

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  72. I am deeply moved by your loss and a story of courage and convictions borne so simply on frail shoulders of mothers of another generation. We in these high times of plenty and indispensable technology can hardly aspire to stand alone and be counted. I am happy that you grew up with your mother’s beliefs and strengths. Look after yourself and my best to your family in these passing days of sadness and reflection. All good wishes, monisha

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  73. Allah khalamma k Beheste nasib karun, amin!

    Ahsan Chowdhury

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  74. Dear Shahid Bhai

    I was very sad to learn that your mother passed away on 14th June. I read your musing twice and was thinking how lucky you were to have jsut an amazing woman for a mother.

    June is also the month that took both my parents away from me/us. I lost my father on 13th and mother on 18th June 1998.

    The loss is not something I overcame or accepted but learnt to live with. I refuse to think my parents are gone, especially my mother, so I reach out to her in many ways.

    I hope you have the strength to bear this loss and can reach out to her.

    I am back in Dhaka and will come and see you when it is convinient to you.

    Farah

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  75. Dear Shahidul – very moving & a fitting tribute . . .

    This is what I compiled in tribute to my father when he passed away, somehow finding the strength to stand before all the in-laws & out-laws to pay tribute to him at the funeral:

    for Lt. Cdr, Donald ‘Bobby’ Thomas Watts, RN Retd., 1921 – 2001

    To bid farewell to Bobby – devoted husband to Marjorie, a generous father, the ‘funnest’ of grandfathers (as one of our children so fondly described him), elder brother and, to so many, a good friend.

    Over the last ten days Marjorie has received many thoughtful letters of condolence and tributes, and I would like to read two to you which provide some measure of the man.

    The first is from John Mardon, a school chum from Barking Abbey days in the 1930’s . . . .

    “I shall always remember with gratitude the friendship that Donald gave to me, John Penny and Harold Valentine and to many others – Donald was always full of energy & fun. However, his honesty and integrity were perhaps what we valued most of all”

    & from ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie Robertson, a junior shipmate in HMS Warrior where my father served as Fleet Navigator in the 1950’s:

    “ ‘The Navigator’ was somebody quite special to us. How on earth he managed, in addition to his many more serious duties, to educate, inspire, watch over and generally demonstrate so much thoughtfulness and kindness to a bunch of green and somewhat undisciplined young midshipman – that every one of us thinks of him with both admiration and affection is something of a miracle. Our subsequent operation and cruise was the experience of a lifetime, and Donald was an unforgettable part of it for me personally”

    My father, or ‘daddy’ as he preferred to be called, was a man of extraordinary self will and great courage – none more so than in these last two difficult years of his life whilst fighting cancer. He was a man who demanded the highest of standards – standards which, unfortunately for those of us closest to him, we rarely met.

    However, my fondest memories of Bobby are of a man who was at his best in good company, with his quick wit & humour and seemingly endless number of stories from a long, active and interesting life – it is for this, as in so many other things, that Bobby will be sorely missed.

    In contrast my father was a very private man, modest in his achievements and never one to burden others with his troubles, pain or fears.

    And so, in closing, I would like to read to you a poem which I discovered last week amongst his papers, a poem that he wrote during these last two years and which was published in a local anthology called ‘Songs in the Silence’ (United Press Ltd. East Anglian Edition ISBN 1-902803-15-9).

    In this he introduces himself as . . . ‘an elderly naval officer whose entire working life and long retirement have been spent on or by the sea; this and my extended family have had the greatest of influences upon me. Memories of Coromandel, a beautiful part of the North Island of New Zealand inspired “an old crustacean fossil” to put pen to paper and leave something of a romantic inner self behind.’

    COROMANDEL (OR ROMANTIC THOUGHTS)

    Coromandel!
    That name
    Tugs at the heart,
    Evocative almost to tears,
    Redolent of sun and surf and silver sand,
    Of sea-wreck, shells and sweet samphire.
    And the fragrance, oh! The fragrance
    Of the magical, mystical margins of sea & shore,
    Heady as strong wine,
    That gripped me first in boyhood
    And held me fast till now,
    When the tide of memory comes flooding in
    Searching out every creek and cranny of the mind.

    Donald Watts, King’s Lynn

    Of further interest is the fact that, whilst Donald served in the Royal Navy during the second world war, he spent time on an escort ship working the Russian Convoys. The first headland that he would see upon returning to Britain after each dangerous voyage would be that where the Old Hunstanton Lighthouse is to be seen today. At the time he said to my Uncle, John Sturgess, ‘when this is all over, I would like to live there’ . . . . . . some 30 years later he was able to fulfil this dream when he and my mother bought Coastguard Cottage in Lighthouse Close, living there for the rest of his days

    . . . . and to think I did not hear of this until after he had left us!

    Best, Rowan

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  76. Alom Vhai,
    Prithibite olpo kichu manush tahke jara ter kajer modhe beche theke, amader ridoye beche theke. Khalamma tader modhe onnotomo.

    Naymuzzaman Prince

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  77. prio shobai,

    shokal belai Amin er phone, Alam bhai er ma mara gachen.uni osusto chelen ami jantam na, ami janlei ba ki hoto. ses bedai er jonno motorcycle neya chutlam Drik-a.
    Mon kharap kora porebesh. shobai kamon jano chupchap.Drik jano ak mora-bari.Khalam-mar
    ses jatrar kichu chobi nerobe tulte thaklam. Moti bollo,” das hajar taka (10,000) deya wheel chair kena hoyachelo kinto khalama sai chai ar babohar kora holo na.
    Shahidul alam tar ma,r Lash(dead body) khadha neya bareya aslen drik thake. Khalammar ai bareya asa choro din er jonno ar kono din ferben na Drik-a.
    Takooa mosjid er sur jano vesha uthlo “subahanaka innela-e-laha yellah-anta ye kuntum menaj joyalamin . . . ”

    -monir

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  78. My Dear Shahidul,

    I have had a very hectic week and have only just managed to read your blog. Your post about your mother’s demise made me feel so sad. I wish there was something I could do to make it easier for you. There was a time I used to tell friends who lost a parent that I couldn’t possibly relate to how they felt because no-one could possibly imagine the pain of losing someone as special as a father or mother. I no longer say that.

    My mother passed away just over 4 years ago and although I was fortunate enough to be with her every moment of her last days in hospital, I can still remember how completely alone I felt when she died. No-one gives you the kind of unconditional love that a mother does. My mother was such a sweet and special person. She was there for us at every stage of our lives offering solace, celebrating our successes, sharing our joys and shedding tears and offering support when she saw us in pain or anguish. Even with the passage of time there isn’t a single thing that happens in my life that doesn’t bring her to mind. She continues to live in my heart and she always will.

    Reading your account of your mother’s life and the special moments you shared prior to her death, shows me what a special and accomplished woman she was and how proud you were of her. The heartbreak of losing her must be tearing away at you. All I can say is try and celebrate her life and that will perhaps make it a little easier to bear her death.

    When I am at my lowest, I try and remember the good times I had with my mother – and there were many. I try to remember the jokes we shared, the stories we exchanged, the discussions we had, the special moments that brought us closer and kept us close. These thoughts bring to mind her happy and peaceful face and it makes me smile and gives me some peace.

    My thoughts are with you at this difficult time in your life. You are a wonderful caring person and your mother must have been so proud to have a son who made a difference in the lives of so many people around him. She will continue to live in you and in the people she helped through her work.

    Take care of yourself.

    Affectionately yours,
    Jehan Ara

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  79. Alam bhai

    I never read such a great tribute by a Bengali son to her mother. I ralmost cried reading The Last Goodbye.

    With regards,

    Shafiqul Alam
    Correspondent

    AFP, DHAKA

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  80. Priyo Shahidul,

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your mother. Your essay about her loss was touching and warm — a suited tribute to a mother’s love. She would be proud and pleased to have read it.

    Warmly and with all my sympathy,
    Sarah/Sally/Shelly


    S. L. Bachman
    POB 627
    La Honda, CA 94020

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  81. Inna lillahe wa inna elahey rajeoon!
    [We belong to God and indeed to God we return!]

    Dear Shahidbhai and all your immediate and extended family members:
    Please accept my condolences on the sad and (always) untimely demise of your beloved mother.
    May she rest in peace!
    And may God give you (all) patience and fortitude to endure the loss.
    Aameen!

    With Best Wishes, always …
    Mahdi (aka: JIA)

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  82. priyo Shohidul,

    14 tarikh ratey Khalamma’r dehanter khobor pai. Dhaka theke phone kore janan ekjon.

    02 June apnar jonmodiner porei ekta shubhechchha-barta pathanor kotha mathai chhilo. hoye otheni. khanikta apnar byastotar kotha bhebe. khanikta amar internet option prai nei bollei chole shejonno. er modhye ei khobor peye apnake likhtei chaichhilam. kintu konorokom bhasha khuje paowa duruho chhilo. er modhye worldpress network-e apnar lekhata email-e pelam. Khalamma ke niye lekha. onek rokom tukro smriti nara dichche. asha kori apni shob kichhu shamle niye nijer kajer modhye achhen. jemon ta chhilen eto gulo bochhor.

    bhalobasha janiye

    microwave (Manosh Chowdhury)
    Devi Park, R.Gopalpur, Kolkata [Uttor 24 Pargana], India

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  83. Dear Shahidul

    I remember meeting her on my trip to dhaka..there’e
    not much one can say, but your friends are with you

    love

    tehmina

    Tehmina Ahmed

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  84. Dear Mr.Shahidul Alam:

    I would like to recall the services offered by Principal Anwara Manur at Azimpur Kindergarten School to use Veranda and courtyard during holidays for Azimpur Kachi-Kanchar Mela. It was my pleasure to include her in the advisory board of the Kachi-Kanchar Mela.From this Mela Papya Sarwar, renowned Rabindra Sangeet Shipi and Abdus Salam, presently Chief Architect of the government of Bangladesh, came out. Both of them were budding artists in 1962.
    Last I saw Anwara Mansur as Chairman of Shishu Academy.
    Possibly I met you at Drik some time in 90’s.

    I am deeply saddened and shocked to hear the death of Anwara Mansur. May Allah grant her peace on the departed soul? My prayers are with the members of Anwara Mansur’s family.

    Sincerely,
    Mohammad Amjad Hossain, former Bangladesh diplomat residing in Virginia,USA

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  85. Dear Shahidul,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. I remember meeting her at one of our board meetings in Colombo — she was such fun and such a spirited lady! You will miss her immensely, but I guess all of us have to face this someday even if it doesn’t make it any easier. My deepest condolences to you and your family….
    Lots of love,
    Mitu

    Mitu Varma
    Director, Panos Institute India

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  86. Dear Mr Shahidul/

    I know how little the words of an outsider mean to you just now-but I must
    tell you how deeply I sympathise with you in your great loss.


    brgds.
    Mizanur Rahman Pavel
    Spouse of Nasrin Khandoker/Anthro-JU

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  87. Dear Shahidul,

    I’m very touched by your words. Your mother was a very important person and it’s certain that she has left a lot behind.
    I would like to express my deepest condolence to you.

    With love
    Simon

    Simon Haller

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  88. Shahidu….Oh I am so very sorry ..i wrote to you yesterday without reading the contents..something made me write to you when I saw your name..put aside the contents thinking it was a journalistic piece that i would read later.

    I just went through your heart wrenching account of what you experienced, wept reading at the most beautifully expressed piece..full of love, your grief and pain pouring from every word. Your mother sounds like an incredible woman and now i understand where you got your genes from.

    We love you very much, take care of yourself.

    Lots of love, please accept Akeel and my condolences.

    Noorjehan

    Noorjehan Bilgrami

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  89. Dear Dr. Alam,

    I finished reading the piece about your mother and I am still crying while I write to you. It reminded me of my mother who died on May 01, 2004.

    Thank you for making us aware what a great lady your mother was.

    Regards

    Tanvir

    (Dr. Tanvir A. Khan
    Registrar
    IUB)

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  90. Dear Shahidul

    Very much appreciated your tribute to your mother – so full of love
    and understanding, and also a story of woman-power. It explains a lot
    about who you are and why you are. I really enjoyed getting to know
    her, even if only posthumously and from a distance. She reminded me a
    little of my own dadi – tiny, but very powerful – and disapproving of
    my father’s choice in marrying my mother, who eventually did win her
    over.

    bhalo!
    love
    beena


    Beena Sarwar
    Fellow
    Carr Center for Human Rights Policy,
    Kennedy School of Government

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  91. Dear Shahidul,

    I have seen your mother on several occasions and once or twice I had a chance to talk to her. I am very much moved by your description and it took me to my own memory lane…..
    Please except my heart-full condolence.

    Best regards,

    Fuad

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  92. Dear Alam Bhai,

    Your Shahidulnews just reached my hand.My condolences to you and to your family members.We knew how much your mother ment to you.

    Mustafa Bhai called on Thursday and informed about passing away of your mother.He also
    informed that her Namaz-E- Zanaza is going to be held with in 45 munites.I rushed though Dhanmondi Mosque but could not join her Zanaja as it already been performed before my arrival.

    Last month Mustafa Bhai & I went to Drik to see an exhibition.When we were coming back,
    Mustafa Bhai knocked at your office and came to know that you are not in Bangladesh. Then Khallama invite us for a cup of tea.She expressed many things about her and her family.She told us she likes the backyard graden to spend her morning there.She was
    a strong women at the age of 89 .Her thoughts and beliefs ware a clear sign of that.

    We can do nothing but pray for the departed sole.May Allah be kind enough to allow
    her in Jannah.

    Thank you & take care.

    Best regards

    Rashed Ahmed
    photographer

    Comment by shahidul | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  93. Dear Shahidul
    I only just heard about the loss. And this is a very touching tribute.
    When the memories are so rich, no one truly leaves.
    Kunda

    Kunda Dixit

    Comment by shahidul | June 23, 2007 | Reply

  94. Shahidul,

    I was very moved by this. You have been much in our thoughts and prayers over the past few days.

    David and Rosanne

    Comment by shahidul | June 23, 2007 | Reply

  95. My deepest condolences. May God give you and your family the strength to withstand this loss.

    Comment by Rezwan | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  96. i wish every son can love his mother this much.

    Comment by russel | June 24, 2007 | Reply

  97. Dear Zahed chacha,

    Boro dadi was the mother figure baba had since Rubi fuppi and he moved in with boro dada and dadi. With 4 younger siblings, he was only 10 years old then. Most of baba’s childhood stories I have heard are from the times he was living with Dipu fuppi, Khaled chacha, Rubi fuppi and you. Boro dadi was also the closest mother-in-law figure amma had. I remember the ritual of going to meet boro dada and dadi every Friday morning with baba, when I was in school. Every body I know who have been nurtured at boro dadi’s household are remarkable human beings. Her memories and inspiration remain within all her children, grandchildren, and numerous lives she helped.

    Shobhon.
    Melbourne, Australia.

    Comment by Shobhon | June 25, 2007 | Reply

  98. Dear Dipu Phuppi/ Zahed Chacha,
    So many of my childhood and teen age memories are associated with Boro Dada/Dadi and their’s and your homes. And all those memories are good memories. Thank you all for your love and the time you spent with us.

    Many of my cousins were afraid of Dadi- afraid if they wore some fancy dress/makeup/high hills! I never heard one harsh word from her. I think somehow she treated me special. When I got admitted to BUET, she gave me one of her own jewelry, a very nice, 1/2 cm thick gold chain, with design that we dont see any more. I have that chain with me, and each time I wear/see it, I fondly remember Dadi.

    Boro Dada/Dadi will always be part of me. I hope and pray that their good souls find eternal peace.

    Tumpa
    Houston, TX, USA

    Comment by Nawshaba Rahman (Tumpa) | June 25, 2007 | Reply

  99. apnar post porar por amar ma-yer kotha monay porlo.

    “They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
    Though they go mad they shall be sane,
    Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
    Though lovers be lost love shall not;
    And death shall have no dominion.”

    Comment by Muhamad Lodhi | June 25, 2007 | Reply

  100. Dear Shahidul Bhai,
    We are deeply sorry to hear the passing of your Amma. Please accept our sympathy and condolences.Our love to other members of your family.

    ” To Allah belongs what He takes and to Him belongs what He gives.And there is a set time by Him for everything. Do exercise patience and expect reward(from Allah).”

    Take Care,
    Zeba and Zubair

    Comment by shahidul | June 26, 2007 | Reply

  101. Gabriel Garcia Marquez used to say this for those who had passed away during out lifetimes. “Do not cry because they have gone, be happy because they were here.” Never before has this quote been better used.

    You know the rest.

    En Paz,
    Carlos Cazalis

    Comment by Carlos Cazalis | June 26, 2007 | Reply

  102. Dear Shahidul bhai

    I’m very sorry to learn about your irreplacable loss. She had been a remarkable lady. Through your beautiful story, I now learned so much more about her. May Almighty bless her and she rests in peace.

    I know my condolence is coming rather late, June’s away, she usually updates me how you’re doing. It’s been sometime since I last you, I hope you’re doing well.

    Take care

    Nazzina

    Comment by Nazzina | June 27, 2007 | Reply

  103. Dearest Shahidul,

    Just to send my best wishes to you, your sister and your family. It is wonderful to read your mother’s life story again, having heard it from her, and also having enjoyed her company not only at DRIK but also in the airport on our return back to UK after Chobi Mela 3. I only met her when she was older, but I thought your mother was rather remarkable – no doubt obstinate and determined, but those are often good qualities (especially in patriarchal cultures). I can see her now, entertaining me to tea in her bedroom – all that you had left her of her house as everywhere else was (is?) full of young photographers, exhibitions and enthusiasts.

    Oddly, your email got caught as bulk mail, which I check from time-to-time, but had not done so for a couple of weeks. Hence, of course, my email a couple of days ago re. the Dublin conference. I wasn”t being insensitive, I simply didn’t know. Perhaps you have had to withdraw; or perhaps you are going on with everything as usual….would that be what your mother would have done?

    Anyhow, this is really to wish you and Rahnuma well. Perhaps Rahnuma would email me to let me know how you all are – assuming that you are as busy as usual.

    My very best wishes to you both.

    Liz

    Elizabeth Wells

    Comment by shahidul | June 30, 2007 | Reply

  104. bhaiya — eta tor best lekha. kichhui bolar nai, except that I know how you
    feel. bhalo thakish, onek ador nish. ruma.

    Comment by shahidul | June 30, 2007 | Reply

  105. i read the touching piece the day it was published. your mother was a mother
    and a teacher the nation is proud of. last time i saw her was in bangabhavan
    the day you accompanied her and met the hon’ble president. may allah keep
    her in peace in eternity and strengthened you to endure the grief.
    momen

    Comment by shahidul | June 30, 2007 | Reply

  106. Dear Shahidul,

    Really sorry to hear (via Arpan just a few days ago) that your mother passed away this month. You had an incredibly progressive and determined woman for a mother who I had the honor to meet a few times. The obituary you wrote about her was very touching and I realized that she will always be with you, to quote the poet TS Eliot:

    ” ……… when I look ahead up the white road
    There is always another one walking beside you……”

    I thought upon my own mother who approaches her 80th year – every day a little more frail – I am in Dhaka mid December to see her, lets try to catch up.

    Shantih,

    Bhashon

    Comment by shahidul | June 30, 2007 | Reply

  107. ses bar 3bochor age Italy jawar age dadur sathe kotha bolte perechilam.3bochor por ese dadur mukhta ontoto dekhte perecilam.aj taro sujok nai.aj dadur baranday gie khub kosto lagcilo.
    aj vison mone porce 95 saler dike hortaler din ami falan mirpur theke hete Dhanmondi asi.pore dadu amader Anaros r bual mach-er torkari die vat khaycilo.ahh.. ki moja ajo mukhe lege ache se sadh.
    khub mone porce………….

    Comment by iqbal | July 2, 2007 | Reply

  108. Deeply touched by the rich tribute to your mother which she rightfully deserves. Stired a few memories of my own

    Comment by Saqueb Mansoor | July 2, 2007 | Reply

  109. Dearest Zahed,

    It made me very sad to read your news. I had so much respect for your mother, one would wish that such a person would live for ever, providing her strength and example to the world at large. I am sure that much in you comes from her strength and vision, in that way you are like a living homage to her as well.

    I will share your blog with some of the friends you made in Mexico. I am sure they will want to read it.

    Your pictures are in the form of written words.

    Please let me know if you received this, I have indeed written to you several times.

    Love
    Pedro

    Pedro Meyer

    Comment by shahidul | July 8, 2007 | Reply

  110. Dear Shahidul,
    Pedro forwarded to me your email about your mother… you made me weep
    the tenderness the love the understanding who your mother was the realism.
    It made me sad. The reality we all address in our lives of constant loss and time
    passing and change and yet while embracing change the theory the struggle with
    all these things in life.. Your humanity is what shines always Shahidul, I send you
    a very warm hug and love at this huge moment in your own life… I always know
    you and your banyon tree are out there and some how your poetry always touches
    and feeds the soul… there are not enough Shahidul’s in our world.

    kisses
    trisha

    Trisha Ziff

    Comment by shahidul | July 8, 2007 | Reply

  111. Dear Shahidul,
    My deepest sympathy. I’m really sorry to hear about
    your mother’s death. She does seem to be a remarkable
    woman and I’m sure you all will keep her alive in your
    memories and all that she taught you to do.Take time
    out to grieve for her passing.Write back when you are
    able.
    Regards
    Manisha

    Comment by shahidul | July 11, 2007 | Reply

  112. Shahidul,
    I have been too busy to read your wonderful news e-mails. But Rahnuma told me about your mother, and sent me your moving piece about her. Oh Zahed, it must be very difficult — and deeply sad. I am so sorry and we are sending you love and big HUGS from Canada. I still have both my parents, and cannot imagine how hard it must be. Mary still struggles with her mother’s death. Sigh.

    We moved to Ottawa a few weeks ago. Do you ever come here? When will we see you? We’ll be in Ithaca NY Jan to May.
    Sending LOVE and commiserations and kisses like the little tiny white “forget me nots” that grow by our dock on our tiny clean fresh lake (with many happy turtles and fish and loons).
    Love
    Eva (and Mary)

    Comment by Eva Mackey | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  113. Dear Shahidul,

    Being a recent recipient of ShaidulNews, I was browsing through the Drik site and was marvelling at the drive, energy and vision behind Drik.

    Reading this beautiful tender tribute to your mother, it made perfect sense. There is no doubt that her spirit lives on.

    My deepest sympathies on your loss.

    Yasmeen

    You probably do not remember me – we met, rather briefly in Colombo a GKP meeting last year.

    Comment by Yasmeen Ariff | July 27, 2007 | Reply

  114. My deepest condolences to you and to your family, The tribute you wrote to your mother brought tears to my eyes, She is an inspiring personality who has changed countless lives for better people like her live for ever as all those who she touched and inspired will follow her footprints to keep her alive in their hearts for ever.

    Comment by Jamash | August 7, 2007 | Reply

  115. Dear Shahidul.
    Thanks for many things: for visiting us in LA, sharing your ideas and images (not to mention the exquisitely vibrant textile as house present–I love looking at it while it temporarily rests against the back of a chair until I decide on its more permanent place), inviting us to visit DRIK, and directing us to this tribute to your late mother. I do hope to visit and now regret that I won’t be able to meet such an extraordinary elder woman, but I feel sure that her spirit is in the foundations of DRIK as well as you and these words and images help me better understand some of the sources of your inspiration & energy & vision. With best wishes & love until we meet again, Sally (Stein)

    Comment by Sally Stein | October 10, 2007 | Reply

  116. thanks you side my house ad azimpur lalbage i live italy

    Comment by liton | March 6, 2008 | Reply

  117. […] to a Bloody Birth Keeping the door ajar, so she wouldn’t get accidentally locked out, Amma stood waving at the doorstep of 1, Birkdale Road, long after the taxi was out of her view. I didn’t […]

    Pingback by Midwife to a Bloody Birth « ShahidulNews | November 4, 2008 | Reply

  118. Shahidul,
    It was by mere accident that i came onto this page but after looking at the beautiful photography i felt compelled to read the story that captioned these memories.

    I cannot explain to you how deeply touched and moved i am – beyond words. I found myself mourning for a women i have never met, and that my friend, is very special indeed.

    From someone of Bengali decent, born and brought up in the West i find that the more i grow older the more i want to learn about my past, and my family’s past. Although you are not my family (i don’t think?) I have felt a deep connection to your story.

    You are a very gifted writer. I encourage you to continue this.
    May Amma rest in heaven and i pray that Allah protects her, your beloved Abba and Khaled Bhai.

    Peace be with you.

    Comment by Fariha | December 17, 2008 | Reply

  119. I am an x-agrani girl and I miss her sooo much..

    Comment by sopan | February 14, 2009 | Reply

  120. I am deeply touched by this news. She was my inspiration as a little girl to this date. May Allah rest her in peace.

    Comment by Zeeshan | May 21, 2009 | Reply

  121. Mr. Shahidul Alam,
    I read your blog only today, while searching for Rahnuma Ahmed.
    I am proud to be an Agrani girl. Even more proud to know Boro Apa and Tulu Apa. They have always been a source of inspiration for me. Agrani balika Biddyalaya has been my solitude for a very long time. While studying in DMC, whenever I felt despair, I used to go to school to meet my teachers , to have a glimpse of Boro Apa or Tulu apa. After a certain time I realized that they were changing. I selfishly wanted them to be the same image I had of them in my mind.The more I found them to become old, the more lost I seemed to be. The thought dawned that someday they wouldn’t be there. I was afraid. I could not bear the thought , how could I handle the truth? How did you handle the loss? I am sorry.

    Comment by Samia Israt Ronee | March 12, 2010 | Reply

  122. Dear Zahed ,

    Deeply saddened to learn ab the death of your beloved
    mother , my beloved teacher baro apa as well as all others
    mrs q a mansur. I read your blog only this evening while I
    wanted to see any infos i can get from my ex sweet school
    azimpur kindergarten ! may god bless her and I am sure god surely will .

    I did my first 4 years of my life at azimpur kindergarten.
    We used to live in azimpur , not far from yours and I remember khaled bhai as well . My parents used to know your parents very well. My dad who was a medical Doctor had regular contacts with your dad though your dad was my dads
    teacher in medical college life !
    I remember tulu apa , mamun sir , siddique , rabeya apa , halima apa , 2 european teachers ( forgot their name ) ,
    our guard bhudda with silver hair !
    After my MBBS from DMC , 1982 left Dacca the same year and since then residing here in Oslo , Norway ! 28 years !

    I was deeply touched by your lovely written tribute to your
    mother who was our great teacher with so much love and affection for all of us . Her dedication to our nation would be there for ever .

    Her spirit lives on ,

    Imtiaz , Oslo , norway

    Comment by Imtiaz Hossain | November 4, 2010 | Reply

  123. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. I’m really sorry and shocked to hear the death of our
    Boro Apa’s. She is an inspiring personality. I am an x-agrani student who spend my whole school year in Agrani (1989). I still remember her smiling face. In 1986 my younger sister had burned she was so kind that she went to see my sister in Holyfamily Hospital and we all student made a prayer in schoolyard. I am proud to be an Agrani girl. May Allah peace upon her.

    Comment by Shanaz | August 24, 2011 | Reply

  124. May Allah bless her with Jannat-ul-Ferdous! She was our Boro Apa and we always respected her for her integrity and dedication for the school and it’s students. I didn’t know many of her personal stories, shocked to hear the death of her son at such an early age – I can not imagine how she went through this trauma! Thanks for sharing it, our heartfelt sympathy for you and your family for the loss.

    Comment by Semiha | August 25, 2011 | Reply

  125. imp source

    Comment by Willie Uxa | November 17, 2012 | Reply


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