We miss you ' Your Lordship'
A personal tribute to Justice K.M Sobhan Sir
Sharin Shajahan Naomi
Young lady, a gentleman always respects a lady' - that was his first sermon to me which instantly made me his admirer. I am talking about Justice K.M Sobhan sir - a phenomenon in legal domain who left us last December and created a void which can never be filled up.
I first met him in 2004 in Comilla Bard and at that time I was an amateur law student not knowing much about him. When he first arrived at the event, my senior brothers became so concerned about his comfort that I had to ask, “Is this gentleman a celebrity for whom you all are so concerned?” In reply I was told, “If being a law student, you don't know who justice K.M Sobhan sir is, then you should give up studying law.” Then I remembered hearing about him that when the mosque of the Ahmedia community was being attacked, Justice K.M Sobhan stood up to protest against this atrocity; when a girl from a minority group was raped, Justice K.M. Sobhan rushed to console the victim and so on.
That day I was lucky to have been given the responsibility to take K.M Sobhan sir on a tour of the area. While we were walking, we found a stair going up a hill. Sir said, “You go first.” But I said, 'Sir you should go first, you are our Lordship ( according to the custom of the court, judges are addressed as ' Lordship' in the court room). Sir smiled and said, “Ladies first.” I replied politely, “Sir, I believe men and women are equal.” Sir refuted me with his ultimate speech, “Young Lady, a gentleman always respects a lady.” I had no option but to abide by his verdict.
After that, I interacted with Justice sir (we used to call him Justice sir) on different occasions, whenever I was involved in a research work and wanted to have discussion on legal matters. Sir always welcomed me cordially with an affectionate smile, “Young lady, tell me how can I help you this time.”
Today, I feel really honoured when I think that whenever I used to go to his house, he himself used to come out to the gate to welcome a minor law student like me. He even used to make coffee for me, walked with me to my car to say good-bye. Through such small incidents Justice K.M Sobhan sir is personified as a true gentleman in my eyes.
In the 8th Human Rights Summer School, I got him as my judge in moot court competition and with his marks I achieved the 'best mooter' award (the best pleader). This is the award I have been craving for since I learnt mooting, even the awards from Delhi or Japan for my mooting could not quench my thrust.
I got the news of his death on 31st December, 2007. I know like me, that day arrived in the life of many law students and teachers with tears and grief for Justice Sir. As he was very special in my life in his own way, he was an idol and source of profound inspirations for many law students and teachers of our country. On behalf of all the law students of Bangladesh, I want to tell you sir wherever you remain, how far you may go from us, in our every attempt at establishing Human Rights in Bangladesh, we shall remember you ' Your Lordship'.
Thank you very much for including Ms Zannatul Lamea's piece on Amitav Ghosh's reading from "The Shadow Lines" at the R.C. Majumdar Auditorium, University of Dhaka (Star Campus, March 9, 2008). However, some clarifications are in order.
Mr Amitav Ghosh was invited to Dhaka by Indo Bangla Cultural Initiative and Independent University, Bangladesh. The lecture at DU was organized by Indo Bangla Cultural Initiative and the Department of English, University of Dhaka. Mr Ghosh's visit was supported by the Indian High Commission, The Westin, Dhaka Bank, HSBC, New Age and Words 'n Pages. Professor Kh. Ashraf Hossain, Chair, Department of English, University of Dhaka, presided over the event. Dr Niaz Zaman, Professor, Department of English, University of Dhaka, and Adviser, Department of English,
Independent University, Bangladesh, did not preside over the programme, but was present as representative of Indo Bangla Cultural Initiative and thanked everyone who had helped to organize the event.
I hope you will kindly insert this clarification in next week's issue of Star Campus.
Professor, Department of English, University of Dhaka