Mujibul Huq: As I knew him

Mujibul Huq: As I knew him

On 13th January, I learned with great sadness former Cabinet Secretary Mujibul Huq had passed away in Dhaka. He was 83. I knew he was seriously ill and bed-ridden for some time.

He was a former VP of Salimullah Muslim Hall and in the language movement in 1952 he went to prison for his direct and active involvement. Huq was a “Bhasha Shainik (languager fighter)“ and was awarded with the “Suhrawardy Award” for his role in the language movement.

First I knew him in early 50s as our teacher at the Dhaka University. From the very beginning, he caught our eyes for his demeanour and his gentle approach to students. He was not intimidating to students like other teachers. He had his own style of teaching and we were impressed.

He joined the Civil Service of Pakistan ( CSP) in 1954 and discharged his duties ably in various administrative posts in the districts and secretariat in former East Pakistan..

Later when I was posted in Islamabad in late 60s, I met him there as he was posted as Joint Secretary of the Central government. During that period it was a very senior position and his decision represented the Pakistan government.

He had a good sense of humour and very sharp eyes. He was a great story-teller and attracted many guests in his house to whom he was very hospitable and entertained with tasty meals all the time.

Wherever he went he made an impact on other people, and was able to win confidence, respect, affection and hearts of all kinds of people including his junior colleagues.

After independence, he was the Defence Secretary and Bangabandhu had full confidence in his ability to perform the duties at a critical time.

When I was Additional Foreign Secretary in 1986, I again met him in meetings as the Cabinet Secretary. We had a regular meeting on each month on matters of administrative and promotion of officers.

I worked with him closely and it was a pleasure. I found in ideas, he was ahead of his time. He could get to the causes of an administrative problem—not only the obvious ones but also the hidden ones. He was very good to conceptualise and fathom things as he confronted them.

He was unruffled and also unhurried person. He always presented as a person with plenty of patience in listening to the views of his junior colleagues. He was highly receptive to the thoughts and ideas of others and he was anxious to shape the future in preference to dwelling on the past.

He was a tough boss and set the highest and most demanding standards. He knew how to make things actually happen. His contribution to public service and public administration is immense and will be remembered.

In between meeting we often discussed with our social issues. His comments were always on society penetratingly analytical. His interpretation of social values is very liberal and enlightened. He was against any restraint on liberal thinking and believed in women’s empowerment.

Huq had retired in 1988 as cabinet secretary, .He had no affiliation with any political party and both the Prime Ministers Begum Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina appointed him as the Chairman of the National Pay Commission during their tenures.

He had worked as a special advisor to UNICEF and Chairman of the earlier Grindlays Bank, now Standard Chartered Bank.

He was a lover of books. His books included philosophy, history, law, economics, and other related subjects. He was a collector of books and wherever he visited he bought books on a variety of subjects.

He had a social conscience and after retirement he devoted his time and energy in many humanitarian organizations..He was awarded Bangladesh’s highest civilian award “Swadhinata Padak” in 2005 for his contributions in social work

Let me say how many people like myself benefitted from having an opportunity of knowing Mujibul Huq.. He generously shared his knowledge with us.

Although he passed away, he lives on because he imparted certain values and principles in life to all who came in contact with him. This is the cherished legacy he had left.

We all pray to Allah for eternal peace for his soul. While extending our sincere condolences to the members of his family, we hope they may have the courage and fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.

Finally let me quote Shakespeare: “ He gave his honours to the world again, His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace”( Henry VIII)..

Place your ads here!

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment