Teachers are regarded as the guardians of civilization since time immemorial. They are being honoured and respected by their students who love them from the core of their heart. Paying tribute to his teacher Aristotle, Alexander the great said, ‘‘to my father I owe my life and to Aristotle the knowledge how to lead my life.’’ We had among us a teacher of an extraordinary genius who taught us at Cumilla University and later on, we found him as our Chairman and Dean of School of Arts and Social Science at Britannia University, Cumilla. He is none but Professor M Matiur Rahman. He joined this department on 24 June, 2013 and finished his contractual service on 15 October 2019. He also worked as the Vice-Chancellor in charge besides being the Director of IQAC (Institutional Quality Assurance Cell). We, the teachers and students of the department were greatly moved at his sudden departure. He was our guide rock and mentor as a senior most colleague. Teachers and Students of our department organised a farewell ceremony in his honour on 09 November 2019. His departure would be an irreparable loss for the department and the University that will never be compensated by anyone.
It is said that the King goes and the King comes but that experience does not return. He was in the university form its beginning while it was like a fledgling bird and rendered valuable service to it. He endeared himself to all staff and board of trustees as a Vice-Chancellor in charge. Moreover, as a professor of English and Dean he was very popular in the University with a lot of fans and well-wishers in Cumilla. On that day, in the evening not only the teachers but also the students expressed their profound love for him and recognised his contribution to the department and the University as well. Tears rolled down from our eyes while recollecting the memory of those days he was working with us. As a matter of fact, life is full of memories that sometimes make us weep. That is why Alfred Lord Tennyson said,
Torturing silently the rest of our days.’’
In his life he worked in many big colleges like Cumilla Victoria College and Bogura Azizul Hoque College etc. He successfully conducted CELP (Certificate of English Language Proficiency) and BELT (Bachelor of English Language and Teaching) as tutor, under Bangladesh Open University. He was the Principal of Chagalnya Govt. Degree College, Feni and Cumilla Teachers Training College from where he retired and afterwards joined Cumilla University as a part-time Professor of English.
After completing Bangladesh Masters Training Programme from the College of ST Mask and ST John he worked at Khulna and Dhaka Regional Sources Centres as an English Language Teachers’under ELTIP Project jointly sponsored by the UK and the Government of Bangladesh. Besides, he completed TOT (Trainer of Trainers) programme from NAEM under TQI project and trained many secondary school at Cumilla and Feni Teachers Training Colleges. In the HSTTI Cumilla he also took part in many training sessions of private college teachers and principals. Even though he was a university teacher, he did not hesitate to train all the teachers of Cumilla Grammar School at the invitation of Professor Jamal Hussain, Chairman of the Board of Directors with all his formal colleague of Cumilla Teachers Training College. In his youth as a student he was a great scholar. He obtained DFID Scholarship to study in the UK and later on after receiving British Government Award he visited many countries of South Asia to gain experience about English Language Teaching and Resource Centre Management. On the other hand, the speeches he delivered on different occasion at our University and other conferences bear testimony of his great genius and profound learning. He has written many English and Bangla poems. He also translated a few English poems into Bangla. His poem, ‘‘Thoughts on Leaving ST Mask and ST John’’ earned for him the name of a poet by Englishmen at the International Education Centre at Plymouth, England. His famous article, “A Visit to Stratford: The British Plays of William Shakespeare’’ was highly appreciated by Rod Bolitho the Director and International Professor of INTEC. Some of his valuable articles were also published in the international journals.
All his articles published in the Daily Sun are outstanding and I am very much fascinated by reading them such as,‘The living memory of Shakespeare’ at Stratford, ‘How to Study Shakespeare Plays.’ A comparative study of Tagore and Shakespeare as World Famous Authors TS Eliot and Modernism etc. They are rich in thought, ideas and contain valuable information.
Now-a-days a talented teacher like him is rare. In his personal life he is simple, modest, hard-working and friendly. His power of writing spontaneously on any topic is very astonishing to me. His knowledge is not confined to English but he is equally versatile in other subjects of studies.
Finally, we will miss him in the Department but we will cherish his memory with the fondest love and reverence as our dearly beloved teacher. May almighty grant him long life of peace and happiness!
The writer is a Lecturer in English and assistant proctor at Britannia University, Cumilla. Email: [email protected]