My brother Ghyasuddin Ahmad

Rashiduddin Ahmad

It is a difficult task to write a eulogy or an appraisal about someone who is so near and dear as your own brother, especially more so when you think he was a particularly exceptional person. Therefore I shall begin with quoting Dr. Rafiqul Islam of Bangla department of Dhaka University- “The most talented teacher of the department of history of Dhaka University Mr. Ghyasuddin Ahmad did not leave the country even after the ferocity of March. He made arrangement for his younger brother neurosurgeon Dr. Rashid to pass across the border, but he himself didn't avail of that opportunity. That was because he had a lot to do inside the country and he silently behind people's eyes continued to perform his duties with dedication. He decided to continue with those works which he took upon himself as his duties during the war of liberation until the day he was killed.''

Bachchuda, as he is called in the family, was three years older than me and we both matriculated from St. Gregory's High School. He stood eighth in the matriculation examination in 1950 and tenth in the I.A. examination in 1952. Even though three years in school days is a big difference we had a very special relationship, both as an elder brother as well as a close and good friend. From our school days we used to play many games like chess, bridge (cards), basketball, tennis together. In the University days Ghyas was chess champion and captain of basketball team of S. M. Hall. We were once pitted against each other in a match of the D. U. Inter College Basketball Tournament. He led the S.M. Hall team, while I captained Dhaka Medical College team. We played with all seriousness and commitment.

Bachchuda graduated with Honours in History and did his M. A. in 1957 and then after a brief period as a teacher at Jagannath College joined Dhaka University as a lecturer in the department of history in 1958. He was in LSE (London School of Economics) from 1964-67 and did honours in International History. Ghyas could have done a PhD with the same Commonwealth scholarship but he did not. The reason was that he considered an Honours of LSE would give a much broader base of learning which would be more suitable for teaching in Honours and M.A classes back at home than a PhD which is really a very focal narrow pointed research work. He had foregone his personal achievement and necessity for the cause of his students' teaching. That was the measure of his dedication to his students' welfare. He had to pay for it later on by losing out in the promotion ladder to his juniors who had PhD. But he did not bother about it at all.

I shall not elaborate on why he was brutally murdered by the fiendish Razakars and Mir Jafars impersonated by some of his own colleagues and students of the University, because many other prominent people had written about them elsewhere. It may suffice to say that he used to help the Freedom Fighters inside Dhaka directly on a regular basis arranging clandestine shelters, supplying them food, medicine and medical help (involving me) and even financially. Begum Sufia Kamal also used to do the same and wrote in her memoirs that on one occasion in the dead of a night she heard a gentle knock on her door and opening the door found Ghyas, standing there in a Lungi and Fatua with a sack of rice and other provisions for the freedom fighters(!).

I cannot finish without giving some examples of the impression of his immense character imprinted in the minds of his colleagues, friends and students. These were of encounters of relatively recent years, a long time after he left this world. One was with Mr. M. I. Khan (later a chairman of the Income Tax Tribunal) whom I had to face at an Income tax appeal that I applied for against the Tax Department. When I went to his office, Mr. M.I. Khan (who never saw me before) looked at me for a while and asked me “Are you by any chance a relation of my favourite Sir Mr. Ghyasuddin Ahmad?” when I told him that he was my brother, he said,”

After that day we became best of friends for the rest of his life.

Another was related with Barr. Ishtiaque Ahmed whom I engaged for a writ petition I filed in the High Court against the PSC. Everybody knows how much can be the fee of Barr. Ishtiaque. I only want to mention that Barr. Ishtiaque Ahmed did not take any fee from me, not a single paisa, because I was Ghyasuddin's brother. I can't relate some more incidents like these but for lack of space. However I want to just mention that all over in Bangladesh many distinguished persons including President of Bangladesh, Chief Adviser and other advisers of caretaker governments, many ministers, top bureaucrats, lawyers, and lot of other elite persons know me as Ghyasuddin's brother and I feel proud for that.

One more point I like to express before I finish is that our family and many other such families like ours still mourn and cry for the lost dear ones who made the supremest sacrifice for the country, but alas, no government, no authority ever did anything to bring those murderers to book for their wanton brutal murders. Whereas in many other countries, over three quarters of a century later, the second world war criminals, if found even today, are put on trial, because there is no legal time bar for the offence of murder.

My sister Farida Banu, Professor of Mathematics Dhaka University, initiated a court case some years ago for our brother's murder but nothing has happened even after seven or eight years.

It is more sad to see that today those who are believed to have been Razakars, and opposed the emergence of Bangladesh and alleged to have been related with such murders have lately been members of the government of this very country(!)