It is hard to believe that Professor Momen sir is no longer with us. He left us on May 10, 2016. Professor Momen was a wonderful human being and an empathetic social worker. He was an upright person all his life and was amiable and affectionate towards the people around him.
As a teacher, he was a pioneer, a maverick, and an uncompromising campaigner for strengthening ethics in teaching and contributed to elevating it to a newer height. Professor Momen founded the College of Social Welfare and Research (CSWR) and later became its Director to shoulder the big responsibility with a level of efficiency that earned him great honour and fame. His outstanding quality was to keep his students rapt even on an ordinary issue by presenting it in an extraordinary way with practical examples. His presentations were rich in merit and logic. Students in his class were intrigued by his spellbinding lectures. His commitment to the noble profession had led him to accept the offers of supernumerary and an honorary professorship at his beloved alma mater until his last breath.
As a human being, Professor Momen lifted himself to the level of an ideal person. The strength of his character had a unique touch of friendliness in his being that invariably impressed students, colleagues and friends alike. He was never known to be harsh to anyone. Yet, he had a very strong personality. His empathy for the disadvantaged people was unparalleled. He used to say, a man may apparently be educated by academic knowledge while a good human can only be made of the richness of his/her soul. He taught us that one’s love for their fellow human beings is what helps one rise to the level of the greatest creation among all living beings.
The last time I met him at his residence was when I had just returned after finishing my studies in Australia. He received me with such warmth that I would never forget. I was exceptionally lucky as he told me about some of the milestones of his eventful career on that day—including his untiring initiative to set up the CSWR (later ISWR), his cutting-edge leadership in founding SOS Shishupolli, Underprivileged Children’s Educational Programme (UCEP), and Bangladesh Manabadhikar Bastabayan Sangstha (albeit he left that later on). Professor Momen had the admirable quality of leadership, efficiency, honesty, and transparency in organising people to achieve difficult goals with tremendous ease. He left his distinct footprint wherever he worked during the course of his long professional career. He founded the Social Welfare Alumni Association and was its president until the last day of his life.
Professor Momen is no longer with us—yet he remains a lighthouse for us. The values and ideals that he had disseminated throughout his life will always inspire us. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Md Shafiul Alam is First Secretary, Bangladesh High Commission, London.