Vol. 4 Num 45 Fri. July 11, 2003  

Lest we forget
Humayun Rasheed Choudhury

He was a senior diplomat, international personality, held posts such as Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Speaker of the Bangladesh National Assembly. He was elected to the Parliament thrice. His credentials were impeccable:

Born on the 11th September 1926, eldest son of Late Abdur Rasheed Choudhury and Begum Serajunessa Choudhury of Sylhet. He was educated in St. Edmunds in Shillong. At the time his father was a Member of the Indian Provincial Assembly (Assam) and later to become a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Delhi. He was given his first insights into politics by being encouraged to attend Legislative Assembly debates during his school holidays. His mother Begum Serajunessa Choudhury was elected a Member of Pakistan National Assembly and was one of the most outstanding woman entrepreneurs and philanthropists of her time. Humayun Rasheed Choudhury graduated from Aligarh Muslim University, studied for the Bar at the Lincoln's Inn, London. After entering the Diplomatic Service, he did his post-graduate studies at the famed Fletchers School of Law and Diplomacy, USA and trained at the British Foreign Office, Quai D'Orsay in Paris. His first posting was in Rome, Italy.

A career diplomat turned politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs for six years, 41st President of UNGA, recipient of Gandhi Peace Prize, recipient of U-Thant Peace Prize (only four people have received this award -- Mr. Nelson Mandela, Mr. Gorbachev, Mother Theresa and Humayun Rasheed Choudhury of Bangladesh). He was Member of the World Council of Foreign Ministers (along with luminaries such as: Dr. Henry Kissinger, George Schulz, Cyrus Vance, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, I.K. Gujral, Edward Schevardnaze, James Baker, Jean-Francois Ponchet, Siddi Santshsila, Vahit Halefogly, and other distinguished names that headed the international diplomacies -- considered a "think tank" in searching for global solutions to problems affecting peace, security, human rights and environmental protection), Founding President of the Commonwealth Association of Bangladesh and Member of the working committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Special Member of the Millennium Preparations Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Union, Founding Member of the World Council of UNGA Presidents, Founder of Asian Parliaments for Peace (now presided by China and soon to handed over to Turkey).

Humayun Rasheed Choudhury was a national and international personality, who brought accolade for his country and people. He loved his birthplace Sylhet and the Sylheti people. He joined politics to assist in development of the area. His first "success" to Sylhet was the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. He has made innumerable roads, highways, bridges, health centers, schools, colleges and brought electricity, telephone exchanges to all of his constituencies. The last remnant of his love for Sylhet is the railway station, which he insisted upon and now is in the process of being constructed.

Had he lived, Sylhet would have been turned into a garden city...He turned Companyganj, a cluster of villages with no electricity or roads under his constituency, into a small town with all the amenities including a small digital phone exchange.

He was the Bangladesh candidate for the post of SG of OIC (Organization Of Islamic Conference). Due to complex reasons, the post was retained by Morocco for the second term. However, the post was assured to Bangladesh and Humayun Rasheed Choudhury. But he is no more.

Humayun Rasheed Choudhury died on the 10th of July 2001 very suddenly leaving his wife son and daughter to mourn the vacuum in their live...

Nasrine R. Karim is daughter of late Humayun Rasheed Choudhury.