Dada- this word represents an ordinary man, a father, who was also a freedom fighter and an overachiever. He was the embodiment of a selfless man, who came to this world with nothing, and left in the same manner without ties to any materialistic thing.
When he passed, he had an account in Pubali Bank Limited, Shahbag Branch, where his salary from the ministry was deposited, which he used to help people in need. No one from his family was allowed to access those funds. \
From the time he was appointed as the minister of the first cabinet of independent Bangladesh till the day he passed away, he left behind only Tk300. Remembering him today on his 48th death anniversary, I would like to share a story from his many endeavours.
When he took responsibility as the labour minister, he started working on reforming labour laws and passed a bill in parliament that would ease the difficulties of business owners, help them create sustainable business models, and allow owners of industries to have a more compatible relation with labour associations.
During that time he attended a seminar in the labour ministry, where all government employees were present. There he comes across an individual who was the deputy director sitting in the last row.
During the Pakistan regime, he had filed several cases against my grandfather under the labour act, as he was a labour activist around the 60s. My grandfather had received a jail sentence and was imprisoned.
The deputy director, with his fears on how the honourable minister might react went and sat in the last bench, trying his best to hide and not make eye contact with my grandfather. At the beginning of his speech, my grandfather asked the deputy director to approach upfront and take his designated seat.
During his speech he said to him "In the past, you have fulfilled your duty as an officer of the Pakistan regime, now you are an employee of the Bangladesh government, you must fulfil your duty to this nation".
The gentleman was shocked by the minister's mercy on him. After that incident, he became my grandfather's loyal colleague, and worked very closely with him. He also got promoted and worked with integrity.
I share this story because this incident was quite amusing to me. If I was in his position, I don't think I would have reacted in the same way. Today's generation, I believe we tend to lack empathy.
However, this incident humbles me and gives me the strength to face various situations in life with more patience and understanding. It is the betterment of our nation we must dedicate our mind towards, not our personal gains or vengeance that benefits no one.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.