The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Friday, November 29, 2013

Sample Header adiv

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lest we forget

A wonderful teacher

Professor Noman

I do not find it an easy task to write on Noman Bhai. He had been a person larger than life. The most fascinating thing about him was that, all his life, he had hidden himself behind such a noble shroud of simplicity that even those who knew him from the closest proximity could hardly scale his stature. He had an inherent hypnotising power -- an amazing force of character, a spellbinding aura.

Once you are bound by the spell, you get to know and feel the overwhelming warmth of his nobility. As one cannot measure the height of a mountain while standing on the same mount, one needs to move a distance back to get a realistic view of the vastness of its size. Noman Bhai was the living embodiment of such a great mountain; and those of us who happened to have the privilege of reaching close to him during his lifetime could not measure the vastness of his noble soul.

Today, we are awed by the vacuum his death has created, and we are getting closer to an awareness of the great soul that Professor Noman was.

Noman Bhai dedicated his life for others' causes. Never did he bother about self-seeking pursuits. Following the death of his father, Noman Bhai took the responsibility of the fairly large family. He did not let his brothers feel the pain of bereavement. In the pursuit of this noble cause he found a very able and trusted comrade in Moslema Noman, his wife. She took care of the entire family while Noman Bhai, the teacher, dedicated his whole self for enriching and enlightening the finer faculties of the students.

He allowed his students unlimited time, in the classroom as well as at his own residence, for deliberations on both curricular and extra-curricular pursuits. To his students he was a trusted friend. Nowadays, when education has become a commodity, Noman Bhai, the great teacher, was never known to have calculated what profits he would derive from giving away the most precious thing on earth; knowledge.

In himself, Noman Bhai was a serene oasis of peace. He was the last person to have lost any ground to nerves on any issue. He remained calm and composed in all circumstances. That's why we always looked at him as the safest of ports where we could seek refuge during stormy weather.

As a brilliant student of literature Prof. Noman used to navigate across the vast waters of world literature with utmost ease. He had command over the classics of English, Bangla, French, Russian and ancient Greek and Roman literature. His literary deliberations, enriched by this sound base of knowledge, attracted the listeners to his responsive mindset. The extraordinary depth of his finer faculties had added a unique blend of creativity in his reviews of world literature. Prof. Noman was like an idol to his students. He was equally loved by his younger colleagues, with whom he used to mix naturally.

I was proud to have the privilege of working with Noman Bhai as one of his younger colleagues on the Dhaka College faculty. It was a memorable phase, when Dhaka College was at the peak of fame as a centre of educational excellence, and Noman Bhai was the central figure of the younger section some celebrated teachers.

Professor Noman became the head of the department of English at Dhaka College following the death of Professor Rafiquddin. For me it was the joy of a lifetime to have the opportunity and honour to work with him.

Dhaka College was a huge chapter in Prof. Noman's life. He worked here for the most part of his teaching career. His tenure there culminated in his becoming the principal of the college. Upon retirement from government service he joined as treasurer of Jahangirnagar University, where he was Vice-Chancellor for a brief tenure. At the fag end of his life Prof. Noman was honoured by the state with the Ekushey Award in recognition of his outstanding services as a teacher.

Despite having been busy with the heavy responsibilities of the high profile positions he held, Prof Noman was never known to have run short of his charms of friendship. In fact, he was much above all the worldly positions of pomp and glamour.

Noman Bhai had a very significant hand in building the leadership in this part of the world. Most of those now leading the different sections of our national life are his students. They fondly treasure the memory of Prof. Noman as a glowing symbol of inspiration. Death has failed to separate him from his students and admirers: he remains enshrined in our hearts. He will always be remembered by the nation as a patriarch of education and learning, as a symbol of national pride.

Dr. Mohammad Haroon-ur-Rashid is Professor, Jahangirnagar University and former Director General, Bangla Academy.

Share on


Rate the story

readers rating 3 / 5

Leave Comment

Comment Policy

Respected Haroon Sir,

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.

I am very proud having your extra ordinary testimonial for having my job with Save the Children/USA which is the silver lining in dark clouds of my life and career.


Gopal Sengupta

ex student of University of Chittagong

: Gopal Sengupta, McGill University, Canada
more comments (1)






The Daily Star

©, 1991-2013. All Rights Reserved