Syed Hasan Imam: The errant school boy | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 30, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 30, 2010

Childhood memories

Syed Hasan Imam: The errant school boy

Hasan Imam

When he was young, Syed Hasan Imam often drew the ire of his elders. The amiable veteran actor goes back in time to recapitulate his mischievous childhood days.
“I was born on July 27, 1935 in Bardhaman in my maternal grandfather's house. My native village, Ronobijoypur, is in Bagerhat, Khulna. The village is of historical significance because the shrine of Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali is located there. People from far and wide visit the area, where massive crocodiles swim around in a huge pond.
“Our house was situated right beside the shrine. My grandfather Syed Sultan Ali was a renowned lawyer in Bagerhat. In my childhood I spent my days mostly in my Nana's (maternal grandfather) house. Not just me, all our cousins were born there. Strangely enough, my elders told me that a huge tropical storm blew the day I was born.
“I lost my father when I was hardly two. Before he passed away he expressed his desire that we should be brought up in Bardhawan. Schooling as such was much more advanced in Bardhawan in those days. My earlier days with my uncle proved worthwhile since they all topped the list in schools. So my school life began in Bardhawan.
“I passed my Matriculation from there. I did my Intermediate from Bardhawan Raj College. I was a sports freak; I was keen on both football and cricket. I even played for the provincial team from Bengal School. But I never neglected my studies. Much to my dismay I later had to put sports aside due to a knee injury.
“I began my education at Bardhawan Town School. There is a very interesting story about my school admission. Since we lived in a joint family, around 12 girl and boys from our home used to go to school together. I was first admitted to a girl's school with my aunt who was the same age as me! There was co-education in the school till class five.
“During my admission test, when the teacher asked me to write ABC, I thought she had asked me to write only the three alphabets and I earnestly submitted that to her. She thought I had not learnt my alphabets and recommended that I should be admitted to Class I. This upset me, as I was could not be in the same class as my Puthli khala. So I broke down in a pool of tears.
“Then I was taken to the Town Hall school where after my test, our headmaster Bepu Babu said that I should be admitted to Class III!
Much to the dismay of my elders, I was very errant during childhood. There are several instances when I fractured my legs and hands. One day our teacher caught me by the ears and took me straight to my mother. She was so frustrated at my behaviour already, that she told him that he shouldn't have come all the way, but should have taught me a lesson then and there.”
Sharing another interesting anecdote, Imam says, “During class, one day, out of sheer curiosity, I lit a cigarette, that also at my friends' prodding. Guess what happened next? One of our neighbours saw me and once again I was dragged by him to my uncle. My uncle rebuked me and from that day onwards I have never taken a puff.”

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