Major Mirza Ahmed Syfur Rahman, PPM
Saleha Akther with her high achieving sons.
It is easy to define determination but difficult to find an individual who can display it with authenticity. Those who have come across Saleha Akther of Ziapur House, South Thakurpara, Comilla, will realise that she is a perfect example of a person in whom courage and determination have merged together. I feel proud to mention that I am the youngest son of Saleha Akther, a recipient of the Ratnagarvha Ma Award- 2008.
My mother is now in her 70s and is staying with me. We have a small family of four members including my mother. Even though with all the modern amenities and facilities at home, at times I become perturbed to run this small family. Sometimes I really wonder how my mother could run a family of 20 members while she had to cook by herself with firewood and had to look after her aging in-laws. She had to give equal attention to all the members of the family, apart from entertaining the huge number of guests visiting the house every day. She always used to be the last person in our family to take her meal after feeding everyone and had to follow all the orthodox rules prevailed during that time. It's a wonder how my mother could undertake such difficult tasks single-handedly. She used to do things so neatly and perfectly that she is still remembered in our family with great respect. She is also remembered by our neighbours for her social welfare activities.
It still remains a wonder to everyone how she could give time to her five sons after maintaining a big family like this and I can tell you that it was not only the time she has given but it is also an example of how a mother's devotion can help to educate her children.
In 1952 at the age of 15 she was married to the third son of Waiz Uddin Ahmed, a renowned educationist of Comilla. In the same year my grandfather went onto retirement. So it was my father, Shahid Uddin Ahmed who had to involve himself into business to run this big family. Being engaged in business it was difficult for him to look after our education but my mother happily took over this task.
In a family where the father has to give full time for his business and the mother has to involve herself fully in all the family matters, it is quite possible for the children to get derailed. But in this case it was my mother who could miraculously spare time for our education and got us admitted to renowned schools and colleges.
She used to visit the school regularly to monitor the progress of our studies, which was not at all a usual thing for a woman in those days. She used to get the best teachers from different institutions to give us proper coaching and closely kept a check on us to bar our involvement with bad company.
I have seen her crying and praying to Allah for hours together for us. At night she used to remain awake till we finished all our studies. She always kept hot tea and milk ready to energise us during late night studying. She even maintained a dairy farm in our backyard to ensure fresh milk for us everyday. It was not only our health and education she looked after, she also had her equal contribution in our lives to get good jobs so that we may stand on our own feet. Our mother taught us how hard work, honesty and determination always pay off and for that we will be indebted to her all our lives.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009