The Departure of a Hero
Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. - Albert Einstein
Death is the inevitable conclusion of life. Yet for a nation mourning the loss of one of its greatest assets, death is one term so difficult to discern. And courtesy of the death of Azam Khan, June 5, 2011 is one date Bangladesh will try to forget as quickly as possible.
When this generation was at its infancy, the singer Azam Khan was well past his prime. His relentless pursuit of music had finally taken its toll on his body. And his songs no longer topped the playlists like before. Yet to everyone irrespective of age, he was always the guru - the man whose exotic additions had enriched local music. Years later a Banglalink ad introduced another identity of Azam Khan few of us knew about - as a young man Azam Khan had taken up arms to free his country from the grasps of an oppressive Pakistani regime. In recent years, for those of us who cared to turn on the tube and watch BTV, his performances in Ittyadi were exhilarating and entertaining to say the least.
His end was also noticeable. We were shocked to find out how oral cancer was devouring our beloved pop guru from the inside. Newspapers dedicated special pages for him and with the love and support of his fans; he mounted one more fight back against the seemingly invincible cancer. Defeat though seemed inevitable when he was admitted to CMH and it was only a few days later that we were queuing up in front of Shaheed Minar to pay our last tribute to this iconic musician.
However, death only managed to silence his voice. For his songs can never be muted. And fortunately for the youth of today, a group which have missed out on seeing Azam Khan perform at his prime, there is more to learn from him than his music.
Azam Khan was always the king of pop in Bangladesh. A musician of his stature would be expected to go in pursuit of money, fame and glamour. Yet materialism never attracted him and he lived on the basic amenities of life till his last days. The simplicity with which he lived is in sharp contrast to the lifestyles of other celebrities.
To say that he was humble would be an understatement. He played cricket with children and to everyone in his neighbourhood he was simply 'Azam bhai' - a neighbour and a friend. It is debatable whether this gifted musician was ever given his due recognition from the state. But Azam Khan never complained and instead was always content with whatever he already had.
As a valiant freedom fighter he inspired us with his courage and confidence. He treated oral cancer as just another battle in his life full of struggles. Even though he regretted the current state of the country as something he did not fight for in 1971, he always wanted to do something for the wellbeing of Bangladesh and its people.
Death will deprive us of his lively performances but the youthful vigour of Azam Khan and his lyrics shall live on in the memories of every Bangladeshi citizen.
By Nayeem Islam
Willes Little Flower School & College
Willes Little Flower School and College authorities organised a two-day Study Tour-2011 to Mymensingh. Titled, "Know Your Country," the fantastic tour offered an opportunity to the students to have a first hand knowledge about the country.
Being students of Standard-VIII, we got an opportunity to become the participants. Participants were divided into several groups, with ours being named 'Journey to Heaven'.
We arrived at the school auditorium by 7:00am on 3rd May, 2011. The guide teachers handed us writing pads containing the programme outlines and tour venues.
Our honourable principal and other responsible teachers gave important briefings about the tour. Prayers were held seeking divine blessings for a safe and sound journey.
Six buses were hired for around 350 participants to make the journey comfortably. Our principal visited each and every bus before departure for Mymensingh to give some last-minute instructions.
We embarked onto a spacious bus where we were delighted to see Nazim Sir, Selim Sir, Hafiza Miss, Shahanur Miss and Neaz Sir. They distributed our breakfast to us.
Finally, the journey started at about 09:30 in the morning. We sang and danced. Our dear Nazim Sir made the atmosphere enjoyable by singing popular songs. I, along with the others, joined in the chorus.
At about 02:00 P.M. we reached Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin Sangrahashala Gallery (art gallery), Shaheb Quarter, Mymensingh. There we saw the famous art works of the celebrated artist. The arts included "Famine," "Two cows," "A face," "A Japanese girl," "Paintings" and "Sketches". We also saw photographs along with the bed, optics and painting brushes of the artistic genius.
We spent a few moments roaming around the garden in front of the gallery. We also took a few snap shots. Then we went to the bank of the Old Brahmaputra beside the gallery.
Afterwards, we started for Bangladesh Agriculture University (BAU) campus where our lodging was arranged at the dormitories. On arrival at our dormitory, we had our lunch. Some of the participants said their prayers. Then we took rest for a brief period and played soccer afterwards.
This was followed by distribution of snacks. Another soccer match was held which was led by our beloved Nazim Sir and Selim Sir.
In the evening, we came to know that a pre-scheduled cultural function was cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances.
We requested Rehana Miss to give us permission to watch a late night soccer match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. She gladly gave her nod and made an arrangement for watching the match.
In the evening, we visited the university campus on board a bus. We had lots of fun on the bus. Students and our teachers sang songs. Teachers recalled memorable moments of student life and also shared jokes with us.
Then we had dinner with the teachers and went to the guest house of the university to watch the soccer match. We spent the rest of the night sharing jokes among our fellow classmates.
Next morning, Nazim Sir and Selim Sir took us to the bank of the Old Brahmaputra River. A photo session was held there.
We also visited a large library of the agriculture university. From there we went to the botanical garden. Despite a light shower, participants enjoyed observing and learning about various kinds of trees.
Then we visited Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA) to know about the usage of nuclear power while producing new varieties of crops. We returned to our dormitory where we rested and then went for a grand feast and later enjoyed a cultural programme at the auditorium.
Finally, we started for our return journey to Dhaka.
The memory of the study tour will remain ever fresh in our minds for the whole life. It seemed as if we took refuge in a heaven from the monotony of day-to-day life.
We are grateful to our principal for organising such a memorable event.
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