He had been in indifferent health for quite a while and once words had even been passed around that he wasn’t going to make it. A friend Swapan circulated a post on messenger seeking God’s blessings for his recovery and I posted it. But then he improved and his daughter Sonia Kristy, my colleague of almost a quarter century, said that he was getting better. It was such a relief.
Yet last night at midnight I suddenly wanted to check up on him but thought that it was too late to call. The next morning was the message from Kristy saying he had passed away. This is not a public figure dying, it’s somebody close I know and respect. It hit me like a brick. I have lost a person close to me in so many ways.
The Freedom Fighter
Many are driven by their conscience but not all act upon it. Mubassher bhai didi and in 1971, the newly married person left his bride and went to war. Not many from his class and generation did. But then he was always different from others in this respect. He was in every sense, a man of conscience.
I hate to say this but some freedom fighters of his kind took advantage of the situation once the war was over. In 1972, from street looting to occupying abandoned houses , was common and many gave in to temptation. I know of an FF who took away a decorated fancy set of sofa from a house he was protecting. Knowing such matters means there were those who fell from their own grace.
And this is one aspect which made me respect Mubasshar bhai more than others. Not an inch of dirt ever smeared his hands. His 1971 war was almost a personal affair about establishing his and his people’s integrity. He stood taller than others, a man who could claim he had never touched dirt with his hands in his life.
The missionary man
Mubasshar bhai was an architect and designed some of the most innovative buildings in the city including the Grameen Bank one but that was almost a secondary activity. He was always busy serving his conscience and prodding the same of others. He wanted a fair and just society where force would not be used to gain anything. In particular, violation of rights in the built environment of Dhaka and the open space were his major concerns . Sometimes his work was successful , often not but he kept walking , a man truly possessed of and by his conscience.
He never ran out of missions because violations are so many and he was indefatigable because for him , nothing else mattered. He was not just doing what came naturally to him and that was his reward. Nothing else mattered and till the last day standing, he fought on.
He was often on TV and I have sat with him several times in the same panel. He was the same relentless person there, arguing for rights without any concern for personal gain. Most people knew him as the fearless one on TV talk shows but he was fearless everywhere. He never made tea and coffee with his 1971 badge to distribute to others but just to his guns on right and wrong and just kept firing away. The battlefield, the protection of space movement and the talk shows were the same , a place to say and do what is right and condemn what is wrong.
So Mubasshar bhai , keep going , keep going, just don’t stop. See you!