In remembrance: Alamgir M. A. Kabir
On November 25, a hundred years ago, the fourth son was born to Late Khan Bahadur A.K. Kabiruddin and Late Sajeda Khandker. His parents or maybe his father was enamoured of the Mughal Emperors who ruled the then India and as such named his offspring in their honour.
Late Mr. Alamgir M. A. Kabir joined the Indian Police Service but after the partition of India opted to join the Police Service of Pakistan and rose up the ranks to become the Inspector General of Police in the mid-sixties. He was also a member of the first caretaker government after the fall of the autocratic regime of General H.M. Ershad in 1990.
He passed away to the Land of No Return on January10, 1996, after having given much to the helpless, disadvantaged people of the country. As the Inspector General of Police, he initiated the Polwell Market for the welfare of the police force; the Family Planning Association; Association for the Correction and Social Rehabilitation of Bangladesh, which was founded by his late wife, Tahera Kabir; Swarnivar Bangladesh; Lions Club; Society for the Welfare of the Intellectually Disabled; and Human Development Foundation, and co- founded the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh, to name a few. It may be noted that late Mr. Kabir was a man of high principles -- so much so that when during his tenure as the IGP, he was instructed to use the police force during elections in favour of the ruling regime, he refused and was therefore removed from office.
Late Mr. Kabir was married to a renowned social worker, Tahera Kabir, eldest daughter of Late Khwaja Shahabuddin.
Mr. Kabir was a very organised person. He kept on record all his papers meticulously, even to the small chits of papers. He was also very conscious of any outstanding obligations and would take all initiatives to see that nothing was left incomplete or pending. At this stage, I would like to share an incident here to show Mr. Kabir's sense of responsibility and integrity. During his last days, when he was on life support in the ICU of BIRDEM, he tried to tell us something. He was getting very agitated that we could not understand his words. He then attempted to write in the air with his fingers. We deciphered his writing and asked him to confirm whether he wanted us to pay Tk.25 to the Family Planning Association. He nodded vigorously and after he passed away, we paid the outstanding dues of T.25 and thus he repaid what he felt was a big burden to him.
When we were small, we would come to Dhaka to visit our grandmother who used to reside with him most of the time (when she was not visiting her other sons and only living daughter). We also stayed with him wherever he was posted -- I specially recall Battali Hills in Chittagong and Peelkhana, in Dhaka where we, as small children, made make-believe incidents into reality. We slept in tents in Peelkhana and dug tunnels in the hillsides of Chittagong. We really enjoyed ourselves very much satisfied with small gifts of God, as my very dear friend, Shireen, always says.
But then, he was also a disciplinarian and had certain rules for his children and nieces and nephews. One of the rules that we had to observe most diligently was lights off at ten o'clock at night when we were not allowed to read or talk but sleep. So, we used to talk in whispers and if we remembered any funny anecdote, we had a hard time trying not to laugh out loud for fear of Mr.Kabir's anger. Once, while we were in bed at ten p.m. supposedly sleeping, we recalled something funny and his elder daughter, Nasreen, burst out laughing, She tried desperately to hide under the bedcover and what resulted was a very loud snort that caught the attention of her father. Well, dear readers, I leave the rest to your imagination.
Mr. Kabir's sense of humour is well known amongst his friends, acquaintances and family. His humour cut across age and class, and this quality made him a loved person to be remembered for all times. Today is November 25, 2011 -- 25 years into eternity, yet he remains very close to our hearts. Yes, readers, you must have guessed by now that Mr. Kabir was someone very close to us. He is none other than our dear Noa Chacha (my father's immediate elder brother). On his 100th birth anniversary, I pray for peace to his soul. Amen.