Bangladesh: President Md. Abdul Hamid –The face of a people’s politician

He is hard proof that master politicians are capable of making things run not just more efficiently, but nightmarishly as well.

by Anwar A. Khan

“We recall the joy and excitement of a nation that had found itself, the
collective relief that we had stepped out of our restrictive past, and the
expectant air of walking into a brighter future.” – Nelson Mandela

( January 12, 2018, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mr. Md. Abdul Hamid is the 20th and current Honourable President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. For his dedicated struggles against the military dictator president Ayub Khan’s regime during our pre-independence time for the just cause of Bangladesh’s people, he was rusticated from all colleges or universities in the-then Pakistan. Pakistani police and its spy agencies carried out massive drives to put him into custody and inflict unlawful punishment. Most of the time of his college life, he had to remain on the run, but still then, he could not be stopped; rather, he was brave enough to carry out his political acts against the Pakistani establishment behind the screen. He had a huge supporters, loved him deeply who put through all actions instructed by him to carry on the on-going movement. He has been always a loud voiced public orator against the Pakistani oppression on our people.

I recall when we were high school students in 1967 or 1968, a staunch pro-Pakistani S.H. Khanmajlish, an EPCS officer and SDO, Kishoreghanj, was given a farewell reception at our school premises before he would take his charge as ADC in Mymensingh. While delivering his speech, he un-necessarily cited Mr. Hamid’s name with a hateful tongue and used some very indecorous words against this very popular student leader, “I am telling Hamid to give up politics or otherwise, I shall put him upside down in the litchi tree in front of the Kishoreganj Sadar Police Station, beat him unmercifully and then allow the stray dogs to eat his flesh and blood.” Some of our friends then became very furious about such foul-mouthed words and a student could not resist himself from protesting this mendacious behaviouur which prompted him to say, “This mendacity is unpardonable” on front of him. We all applauded him in a louder clapping. A few minutes later on, this rat-bag left the scene.

James A. Garfield wrote, “A brave man is a man who dares to look the Devil in the face and tell him he is a Devil.” In early 1969, when the anti-Ayub regime movement rose to its peak, Mr. Hamid, the-then student leader suddenly emerged from his hide-out by a lucky stroke botching the hawkish eyes of police forces to join a public meeting, he roared many words like a lion against the Ayub regime and in an emotional outburst, he said, “In 1962, I passed my HSC Examination, but this is the year of 1969, I still could not complete my B.A. Degree……I don’t need my graduation degree unless and until we can oust the ignominious and autocratic Ayub regime.” All people present at that meeting including this writer welcomed his speech with loud spatting. He then vanished from the meeting spot hastily thwarting the attempt of arrest by police personnel. He is such a dauntless person.

Many myths centred round him during his student life in Gurudayal College (now Government Gurudayal College), Kishoreganj. When we were senior school students, he was the founder of Chhatra League in the-then Kishoreganj Sub-division (now District), its first President and very active in students’ politics. He was a perfect rebel against all political movements against the ignoble Pakistani rulers. He was put behind the bar in many times. Sometimes he went into hiding because the Pakistani government issued warrant arrests against him. Police Department always kept him in a flurry. Rothkhloar Math (Rothkhloar Ground) is still a historic place in Kishoreganj Town because it is the cradle of all political movements in the Kishoreganj District. In politics of Kishoreganj District, he has always been a legendary figure. He has learnt the morals, manners, and caring aptitude and has been using them while delivering his duties towards the common people.

He was was born 1st January 1944 and reached at his 74 years on the 1st January 2018. Previously he served as the Speaker of the National Parliament from January 2009 to April 2013. Before that, he was also the Deputy Speaker of the country’s National Parliament. He was the acting President after the death of former President Zillur Rahman in March 2013, and he was elected as President on 22 April 2013 of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. He was also the Chairman of Working Committee, Standing Committee for Rules and Procedures, Standing Committee for Special Rights and Petition Committee of the Parliament.

After having passed B.A. from Gurudayal Government College in Kishoreganj, and obtained his Law Degree, Mr. Hamid became a practising lawyer in the Kishoreganj Judge Court. He was appointed the President of Kishoreganj Bar Association several times. He joined Chhatra League in 1959 whilst a student in Kishoreganj, as the Vice President of Gurudayal College (now Gurudayal Government College). He was also elected the Vice-President of Chhatra League of Mymensingh District Unit in 1966–67. At the end of 1969, he joined the Awami League. In the 1970 Pakistan general election, Hamid was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mymensingh-18 constituency; and he was then the youngest person elected. In the general elections of 1973, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2009 he was elected as Member of Parliament for Kishoregonj-5 constituency as a nominee of the Awami League. For his contribution to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, he was awarded the Independence Day Award in 2013.

Mr. Md. Abdul Hamid is an ardent social worker and a patron of education and culture. He established a good number of schools, colleges in his constituency including MithamoinTomiza Khatun Girls’ High School, Mithamoin Hazi Tayeb Uddin Boys’ High School, Mithamoin College, Astogram College, Alongzuri High School, Itna Girls’ High School, Baribari High School, Abdullahpur High School, Abdul Wadud High School, Kishoregonj Girls’ High School, Dhonpur High School, Shohid Smrity High School, Mohantala High School and Ghagra Abdul Goni High School and many other junior level Schools.

As a member of Sustainable Development Committee of Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU) from 1997 to 2000 and the member of the Executive Committee of IPU from 2011 to 2013, Mr. Hamid played his due role. He was also the member of the Executive Committee for Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) for two terms from 1999 to 2001 and from 2009 to 2012. He is the Life Member of Kishoregonj District Public Library, District Shilpakala Academy, Red Crescent Society and Kishoregonj Rifles Club respectively. He is also the honourary member of Kishoregonj Press Club and associated with many other philanthropic organisations.

Mr. Hamid was arrested by the then Gen. Zia’s autocratic military regime during 1976-78 and excruciated in the jails inhumanely to support Zia and join his political party. Every time, he flatly refused to accept such an offer with disdainfulness. He has always been a truehearted supporter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Teddy Roosevelt said, “We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage” and he has that much of powerboat in his inward soul.

He is hard proof that master politicians are capable of making things run not just more efficiently, but nightmarishly as well. This bears testimony to his skillful art of conducting business in the National Parliament, first as its Honourable Deputy Speaker and then as Honourable Speaker. He was highly successful in performing his jobs so meticulously with all integrity and power of delivering…..More importantly; the insightful and thorough Mr. Md. Abdul Hamid could bring people from different walks of life together. A widely travelled person, Mr. Hamid visited many countries of the world to uphold the causes of Bangladesh. He has a luminous political trajectory.

He is one the men for his times, with a dignity and bearing that personified what a President should be. President Abdul Hamid is fondly canonised as ‘Bhati Shardul (Tiger of Haor domains)” in greater Kishoreganj District. Like him or them, we are no angels, because it is simply easy to turn a blind eye to human suffering, whether you are a president or a citizen. It may sound like a false equivalence that lets them off the hook, because with great power should come from great responsibility. ….But this presidential paragon strives to wield that power as responsibly as possible within his milieu, and has created not just the ideals but also the logistical foundations for democratic governance standing beside his paisanos in the country. Expecting our finest presidents to be spotless idols is otiose. Nevertheless, we should demand they evolve, and strive like their forebears to wield their epochal power with reasonable sensitivity and sustainability.

The world changes every day. People are born and people die everything and yet, life goes on. But in this everyday normal thing of life, sometimes, people who have a different flair and ability to influence a whole lot of other people are born. These are some gems because of their sheer presence and charisma and whether or not these people use their talent for good things has always been a nature versus nurture debate. But the world has seen many great leaders in all the parts of the world but some of the leaders have had not only an influence on their own countries but on the world. President Md Abdul Hamid is one greatest leaders of all time of Bangladesh. He will always be a legend – remembered for his leadership, his kindness, and friendliness. His lifestyle speaks louder than many words.

He has walked that long road to freedom. He has tried not to falter. He has discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. He has taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds him, to look back on the distance he has come. But he can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and he dares not linger, for his long walk is not yet ended. Ronald Reagan said, “The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave” and President Md. Abdul Hamid has always been a courageous and patriotic people’s politician in Bangladesh. He is widely admired for his calm and marked by tact in dealing with sensitive matters or people’s welfare skills. He leads a very simple life. Words can’t praise him enough. An absolute hero!

-The End-

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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