GOLAM Mostaqim, a former secretary to the Government of Bangladesh passed away on July 11. He was 61. Mostaqim was extremely accessible, friendly, candid, honest, and unpretentious. Coming from a middleclass family of Manikganj, he could empathise with the difficulties the ordinary citizens of our country usually face in government offices, therefore he was always prompt and transparent in the disposal of business. He never left his office keeping files unattended.
Mostaquim studied English literature in the University of Dhaka and developed a liking for Dr. Samuel Johnson who influenced him profoundly. He was a tireless talker and a habitual walker. While in college, he joined the Liberation War at the age of eighteen.
He was somewhat impulsive, moody, and outspoken. But those who could read him well liked his childlike simplicity and enjoyed his association.
Mostaqim was also noted for his sparkling wit and fine sense of humour. Quick intelligence was his forte. He excelled in making witty remarks that would educate his peer audience.
Mostaquim visited many countries in various capacities to represent Bangladesh very effectively. It is still not clear to me why he developed a kind of fascination for a particular country, Germany. He visited Germany at his own cost, taking leave from the government. His favourite novelist was Ernest Hemingway, from whom he used to quote very frequently. Whenever he found us in a depressed mood for any reason he would invariably cite lines from Hemingway.
Mostaqim had been fighting for life for the last one year without showing any tangible sign of recuperation. That gave us the signal that he was poised for departure from this mundane world. Sir Thomas Browne says in his classic work Religio Medici: “We all labour against our own cure, for death is the cure of all diseases.” Mostaqim's disease has been cured by his untimely death.
The writer is a former Secretary to the Government of Bangladesh.