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A Granddaughter's Tribute
Remembering Prof. Dr. Nawab Ali Ahmad

October 11, 2008. Nearly the end of another long day. The sky outside is gradually darkening. So many days like these have made up these seventeen years of my life. Though the sky outside was same on all those days, I'm sure each day was unique in its own way. Every single day must have held a special memory that never came again or would never come again.

When I was younger, on overcast days like these I used to gleefully run up to the rooftop holding my grandfather's hand. Getting wet in the rain has never been the same since then, especially since Dadabhai left. No other rainy day has ever come close to being as wonderful as those childhood days.

Suddenly the Azan from the mosque brings me back into reality from the past. Even the signal for Muslims all around to start praying reminded me of Dadabhai and how I use to follow him up the stairs singing religious rhythmic verses.

Dear Dadabhai,
Do you remember me like I so often recall you? Do you know that I think of you everyday, especially during those tough decisions and rough times?

How are you, Dadabhai? I hope you're okay. I won't lie by saying we are all totally fine- the actual truth is that we were all so much better when you were around. I have so much to tell you; so much my heart is yearning to let you know.

Firstly I want to tell you how proud I am of you, how honored I am to be your granddaughter. I never got the chance to say this to you, because I was so little when you were here. Why did you have to leave my life so soon? Did you know then how proud we would be of you? Did you foresee me slowly learning more about you- my heritage, my pride, and the strongest of my roots, my inspiration?

Dadabhai, the pride I have for you gives me confidence I thought I never had. If I am your granddaughter and if the very same blood runs through both of our veins then surely I can also succeed if I follow in your footsteps and work hard. You are my inspiration; your accomplishments are my encouragement. The way you struggled and worked with your utmost effort to study at Calcutta Presidency College and Calcutta medical college and the way you finished your medical studies from England to become one of the most renowned surgeons of Bangladesh will always be my greatest inspiration to keep on trying in life. You're a legend; you're our family legacy.

None of us will ever be able to measure up to your accomplishments- how in the late-fifties you were the first in Bangladesh to write books on public health in our mother tongue and how you were the last to oversee the treatment of our national martyr Barkat in the 1952 language movement. You were the doctor who issued the late martyr's death certificate. I am forever astounded by your magnificent accomplishments in the medical field. I am so proud of how millions of doctors across the country remember you as one of the pathfinders and greatest assets of the medical scene in Bangladesh.

Dadabhai, I miss calling you Dadabhai! You were like the glue that kept our family together. Do you know how we are all growing up so fast? Each day passes and each of us take a step forward in life…even little Rubana and Nazia. So you see, the world hasn't stopped for a second since you left. Time has whirled past in its own ruthless way, forcing us to grow up. You would be thrilled to know that the work and achievements you left have spread wider to create new boundaries as well. The organizations you started have also grown to become incomparable accomplishments of the nation. Do you remember how you were the first president and one of the founders of the 'Society of Bangladesh Surgeons'? That organization has now become one of the most widely spread associations!

Everywhere we go something or someone is always there to remind us of you. Every single person, including employees and your students, interns etc have shown nothing but praise and admiration for you. That is what makes me proud of you the most. Because at the end of the day, we are not how we say we are, but how people say we are.

Just as you have left your touch and impressions on so many people, you have also left your memory in many things around us! We are constantly reminded of you in this way! Like the way every time I see a private medical college, I am reminded of how your contribution in establishing Bangladesh's first private medical college was unparalleled. You have left us countless things to cherish you by! Moreover, your very own clinic, established by yourself continues to help countless people who have less. It's amazing how you've helped to make so many peoples' lives so much better!

Don't worry about us all Dadabhai. We miss you terribly- but we will keep on moving along the paths of life, clutching your memory at heart and all you taught us in our souls. Our vows to you are that we will keep you, our family legacy, forever alive through the many generations to come. We, your grandchildren will aspire to uphold your name and follow your example in every obstacle we come across in each of our lives. We will always be a part of you and you will always be a part of us. Wherever each of us head to in the future, we will always know that you are watching over us all.

So, that is all for now, my dear Dadabhai. Take care. Some part of me-the childish part of my soul will dream of a reply to this letter…I promise to write again soon.

Your granddaughter
Rubaiya
(My Dadabhai, Professor Dr. Nawab Ali Ahmad, left us on October 12, 2001 bringing a shadow over the family since then. He was an extraordinary human being. These few lines are a mere attempt to remind everyone of Dadabhai and to tell everybody about what a legend he was, both in our family and our country.)

By Rubaiya Murshed


Chhotu and the magical tree

Long ago, there lived a farmer and his wife. They had two sons called, Braham and Chhotu. Braham was very lazy, selfish, greedy and would always lie. Chhotu was very hard working, kind to all and truthful by nature, and often got into trouble because of his brother's misdeeds.

One day, the farmer got very ill and called Braham and Chhotu. When they came to the farmer, the farmer said to Braham, “Braham, my son, I am very sick and anytime I will die. I know you are my wisest son. I am giving this plant to you and this plant will help you a lot.” Then the farmer died. After some days Braham and Chhotu's mother became ill and died. Braham thought to himself, “How can a plant help me? I should give this to Chhotu and throw him out of my house.” At night Braham gave the plant to Chhotu and kicked him out.

It was dark everywhere and Chhotu could not find a place to spend the night. Finding a big tree by the river, he drank some water from it, watered his plant, and then went to sleep under the tree.

In the morning when Chhotu woke up he was surprised to see that the little plant had grown into a big tree. When he looked at the leaves, he was astonished. It was filled with all kinds of fruits. Then he saw that there was a hollow in the trunk and it was filled with gold and silver things. Chhotu thought he would build a big house, which he did. The house was very big and beautiful and he put the magical tree in the garden. Whenever he needed anything from the tree, he would send a servant to bring it.

In the mean time, Braham, Chhotu's elder brother, became very poor and had lost all his property. One day Braham saw the magical tree and tried to take a fruit. When he was about to take an apple, the tree said, “when your father gave me to you and you thought that I was worthless and you gave me to your brother who took good care of me. That is why I only serve Chhotu. This house also belongs to him”. Braham ran inside the house crying and begged Chhotu. He said to Chhotu, “Chhotu, my brother, I did a very big wrong and injustice to you. Please forgive me”. Chhotu said, “It's OK. I forgive you Braham”. Braham told Chhotu “I have lost my house and everything. Can I stay with you? Please help me”. Chhotu said, “ Yes my brother. It's my pleasure and you are my brother also. You can stay with me. You can stay here for as long as you can”. After this, they lived happily ever after.

Moral: Always help everybody and never be selfish and cruel.

By Syeda Shehzadi Habib


By the Riverside

By the riverside I lay down my heart
And on the water I write your name,
The waves ripple like your sleek lustrous hair
Rain drops glitter to say
You are listening.
I rest my head on the bosom of the grass
Dews like your hands cradle me
Silent stars lend their ears
For my songs that you are listening.
Here am I by the riverside,
Where my footsteps are breathing
I will hold you in my eyes,
Chant your name, till you come running.

By Adnan M. S. Fakir


 

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