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     Volume 1 Issue 1 | July 8, 2006 |


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Cover Story

True to Life, True to Dreams

By Md Hossain Seraj from Magura

A life-long dedicated teacher, a committed social worker and an enlightened person, Mr. Khan Ziaul Huq, has kept the life force of his home town Magura pulsating with his energetic presence and endless dreams for almost the last fifty years. His commitment to life has helped him turn most of his dreams into reality, but not all. At eighty, he now feels pained at the state of anarchy and exploitation that he sees around him. Yet, with his strong faith in the goodness and power of the youths he believes that the younger generation of today will soon be able to make positive changes and turn the society into a better place to live in.

If you are in Magura and you ask anybody, “Do you know Mr. Khan Ziaul Huq?” the obvious answer would be, “Of course. Who doesn't know Katu Sir?” However, not too many people outside Magura know the story of 'Katu Sir' who has retained an indomitable spirit even in his eighties and manifests the vigour of youth in all his activities. In the midst of all the crises, social, political or moral that our nation is passing through today, he dreams of an enlightened Bangladesh, free from the curse of illiteracy, communalism, poverty, and exploitation of all kinds.

Khan Ziaul Huq, popularly known as 'Katu Sir', is the fourth child of Late Abdul Kashem and Begum Fulzannesa of Bhaina area in Magura town. After passing his Matriculation from Jessore Zilla School, he got himself admitted into Jessore Michael Modhusudan College. It was during this time that he first realized his commitment not only to his studies, but also to the welfare of his fellow students and the people around him which got him involved in activities beyond academic studies. He was elected the General Secretary and later the Vice-President of the college Students' Union. In 1952, he was put into prison for his active participation in the Language Movement of our people for the recognition of Bangla as a state language in the then Pakistan.

Mr Huq addressing a Rovers' Convention

After doing his B.A. in 1953, he decided to start his career as a journalist and joined The Daily Azad. Later he also served The Daily Insaf as a sub-editor for a little while. In 1956 he joined the government service as an Inspector of Schools. He, however, was soon repelled by the routine life and frequent transfers of the government job. Foregoing the attraction of a secure and lucrative job, he soon resigned from his job and returned to Magura, his birth place, to serve his own people and joined Magura Model High School (Now the Govt. Boys' School) as an assistant headmaster.

He thus engaged himself in the noble profession of teaching with the aim of educating and bringing up the young boys and girls there as enlightened people. Within a short time, Mr. Huq alias 'Katu Sir', got profoundly attached to the local people and won their sincerest love and respect. For his outstanding contribution in the field of education, cultural activities, games and sports he gradually attained tremendous popularity among the pupils and guardians of the whole area.

In 1962 'Katu Sir' joined Abdul Gani High Madrassa as its Headmaster and spent the rest of his teaching life there. Thanks to his commitment and hard labour the institute has over the year earned a high reputation and prestige.

While in Abdul Gani Madrassa, he joined the teachers' movement to realize their demands. He was elected the General Secretary of Jessore district unit of Teachers' Association and later was also made the Vice-president of the Central Teachers' Association.

In course of time Mr. Huq felt that Magura was not advanced enough in female education. He took initiative to set up the girls' high school named 'Magura Dudmallic Girls' High School which is now one of the most reputed schools in the district. He didn't stop there. After some days, he felt the necessity for establishing a women's college and played a vital role in setting up one which till today is the only Govt. women's college in the district.

Katu Sir giving away prizes at a children’s function and Katu Sir at work

Again, when Shaheed Suhrawardy Govt. College was having a great problem admitting new students because of accommodation shortage, Katu Sir immediately started working for establishing another college named Magura Adarsha College. Now it is also one of the best colleges in Magura.

Ziaul Huq also founded the Profulla Chandra Ayurvedic Medical College which is the only one of its kind in Magura. He is also the founder of Govt. Primary School no.3 in Magura town and one of the founders of Atharokhada-Niznanduali Girls' High School.

The educational history of Magura can never be complete without the mention of Khan

Ziaul Huq. However, he acted as the district commissioner of scout for a long time, and accelerated the scout movement in the region for which he received the highest award of scout, the 'Silver Tiger Medal'. Presently he is the vice-president of Khulna Regional Scout.'

Besides being an educationist, he is also a renowned socio-cultural personality of Magura.

He has played a key role in the cultural advancement of Magura through his long personal involvement with the Lalitkala Academy, Shilpokala Academy, Naboganga Shahityo Goshthi and Shishu Academy. His involvement with the cultural activities of the town has been multifaceted. He had been the general secretary of the traditional cultural institution, Magura Town Hall Club, for long twenty-two years. Quite a number of plays directed and acted by him were also staged here. Besides, being a reciting artist, 'Katu Sir' has been involved with poetry recital since his childhood.

As a social worker also, Katu Sir has made his mark. Still at the age of eighty, he is the Vice- President of Patient Welfare Association, the life member of Red Crescent Society and an executive member of Magura Foundation.

“My endeavour was to reach the common people, and I've always tried to work for the greater cultural advancement of the society. But I feel proud mostly of being a teacher.”

“It isn't easy for a single person to do so many things. I have been able to do whatever I've done only because of the cordial cooperation of Magura people”, he said. Relevantly Khan Ziaul Huq opined that he was blessed by all classes of people at the time of taking any noble initiative.

The octogenarian looked a little sad for a second as he continued, “At present we are

Katu Sir with grandchildren

passing through a troublesome time. Yet I am hopeful about the youths of the new generation. I firmly believe that they will be able to bring about a change in the present state of affairs and free the country from illiteracy, poverty, exploitation, anarchy and militancy.”

Personality : Khan Zahurul Huq “I lost my father in my childhood. From then onward he brought me up with the affection of a father. He was a Customs Superintendent but he was above all corruption and dishonesty; it fills me with pride.”
Lord Baden Powell“Founder of scouting, Lord Baden Powell advised everyone to try to make the world a better place to live in. His advice inspires me to dedicate my life to social work.”

My Favourites
Personality : Khan Zahurul Huq “I lost my father in my childhood. From then onward he brought me up with the affection of a father. He was a Customs Superintendent but he was above all corruption and dishonesty; it fills me with pride.”
Lord Baden Powell“Founder of scouting, Lord Baden Powell advised everyone to try to make the world a better place to live in. His advice inspires me to dedicate my life to social work.”

Poet: Jasimuddin “Whenever I read Jasimuddin, I feel myself immersed in the beauties of rural Bangladesh.”

Book: Good Earth “The relation between the earth and human beings, and the linguistic excellence of the book greatly attract me.”

Singer: Lata Mungeshkar “Though a non-Bengali, she touches my heart with her melodious voice with which she has sung so many Bengali songs.”

Film: Pather Pachali “The book Pather Pachali when visualized by Styajit Ray as a film has become more life-like. I find the characters of Apu and Durga in 'Pather Pachali' unforgettable.”

Actors: Khan Ataur Rahman “His performance in 'Jibon Theke Newa' and 'Abar Tora Manush Ho' is quite different from traditional acting.”
Suchitra Sen “Her expressions, her dialogue, her movements, in fact, in every sphere of acting she was superb. I was particularly moved by her 'Shaptopadi'.”

Awards Silver Tiger Award, 2005 ...... The highest award in Bangladesh for brilliant performancein scouting.
. National Social Work Award, 1988 ...... by The Ministry of Social Welfare, Bangladesh.
Silver Hilsa, 1999 ...... the second highest award in Bangladesh in scouting.
Green Ribbon National Award, 1974
Abdul Huq Gold Medal, 2004 ...... for contribution in Education.
Best Headmaster in Magura district, 1991.
Harish Dutta Natya Padak, 2002 ...... by Udichi.
Theatre Unit Natya Padak, 2002.
Naboganga Shahitya Goshthi Padak, 1986

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