|Volume 6 | Issue 07 | July 2012 ||
Outspoken Campaigner: A Postscript
SHAH HUSAIN IMAM delves into his memories to pay tribute to Prof Muzaffer Ahmad, the crusader against corruption and environmental degradation, who passed away on May 22, 2012.
Tributes having been paid profusely to the memory of Prof. Muzaffer Ahmad by his eminent colleagues and contemporaries, virtually nothing of public importance remains unsaid.
Yet, obituaries on the likes of the late lamented professor and pioneering campaigner for public good can never be more of the same, there has got to be something new to the versatility of his character and works discovered and felt as days go by. Time can only endear him more.
This is one reason why after having paid homage to his memory through an editorial in The Daily Star, we in Forum feel obliged to pay this rather belated tribute to him. What, however, principally propelled us to write this postscript is the realisation that men like him, a vanishing breed as they are, dawn with greater relevance on social consciousness when the sequel to their demise gets a little longer.
Prof. Muzaffer Ahmad had won people's hearts and minds with his single-minded pursuit of purpose and mission he set before himself to be of service to the masses of the people. Without being a political leader he has done to his people what could be the envy of many serious public figures. The genuineness of his commitment to public welfare, the courage of his conviction and his integrity as scholar and man of action set him apart as a truly inspirational figure for the younger generations.
In the world of culturally raging '60s of which the then East Pakistan was a politically convulsive part, a few politicians and economists were known among the journalist community for their ability to give 'good copies'. Fewer became their number in the post-liberation era -- thanks to the macabre news breaking sprees sweeping the people off their feet. But Prof. Muzaffer would be one of the few who could still reel off newsy stuffs. I am sure my journalist colleagues would vouch for me.
I met him first in early '90s to converse with him on the prevailing politico-economic situation. He was then the chair of the Institute of Business Administration on the DU campus. BNP were a couple of years into power following restoration of democracy in 1990. Although Prof. Muzaffer had been a technocratic adviser during the Zia regime, which he was to quit when Zia would take the mantle of a political leader by floating a party, the professor waxed completely objective in his assessment of Khaleda Zia-led BNP rule halfway through its tenure.
The professor used to be concerned more with the system rather than with individuals, which is why he developed an analytical framework to reach conclusions and make deductions on contemporary developments, be they negative or positive.
He was not only outspoken with intellectual integrity but also clear-headed with an analytical bent of mind. Equally articulate in both Bangla and English he was refreshingly a highly competent communicator.
The few times that I would put in a request with him to contribute to our special supplements he would be pleasingly obliging. Even when he expressed inability to meet a deadline due to preoccupations -- he led TIB, Paribesh Andolon and Sujon -- he would be winsomely courteous. Then when he was going through health problems which I later came to know of being very serious in nature, he would still endure the pressure of requests for articles or comments from newspapers or electronic media channels. All his work was quite clearly a labour of love and a natural response to a higher calling he had embraced as an article of faith.
A deeply religious and family person, he was a workaholic, pioneering and reformist in pursuit of public purposes all at the same time. He has created a deep impression on the public mind with his powerful voice against corruption and environmental degradation still reverberating. Equally salubrious has been the effect of his championing the Sujon's cause with Badiul Alam Majumder by his side on keeping the electoral process above reproach. Purely as a citizens' movement for an effective public sensitisation about the need to choose honest and competent candidates as their representatives, be it in local body polls or national elections, the cause has acquired a depth and dimension.
The work he has initiated in concert with like-minded civil society leaders needs now to be taken forward. That is the cross the protagonists bear now.
Finally we suggest that his writings and outputs in seminars along with any unfinished manuscripts he may have left should be anthologised in order to keep his memory and work alive.
With this we have the pleasure of carrying an article he wrote for a Daily Star special supplement on the vital topic of financing political parties.
© thedailystar.net, 2012. All Rights Reserved