Dhaka,  Wednesday
29 May 2024

20th death anniversary of Dr. Golam Mohiuddin

Published: 08:26, 16 April 2024

Update: 14:41, 16 April 2024

20th death anniversary of Dr. Golam Mohiuddin

Photo : Messenger

On April 18, 2004, Dr. Golam Mohiuddin passed away. Twenty years have passed in silence. He was associated with many organizations other than teaching. I would first like to recall his contribution against gas exports during the gas crisis of 2004. He was the member-secretary of the ‘National Committee for Protection of Oil-Gas-Power Ports in National Interest” till his death. When Finance Minister Saifur Rahman himself said, ‘What is the benefit of gas rotting under the soil’, he wrote about ‘Gas Export Production Sharing Contracts and Globalisation for Public Awareness’ – which was published in booklet form. He went to various district cities and held meetings alongside Engineer Sheikh Md. Shahidullah and many others.

In 1970, he joined the Rajshahi Engineering College as a lecturer after securing the 5th position in the first class from the mechanical engineering department of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). He came to Comilla on foot after the tragic night of March 25, 1971. From 1972 to 1987, he served as an engineer and Additional Director of the Ministry of Food in the Bangladesh Civil Service. Afterward, he joined the Department of Industrial and Production Engineering at BUET.

After Mohiuddin’s death, Professor Dr. A.M.M. Shafiullah of BUET, who was a part of the Civil Engineering Department and then later became the Vice-Chancellor of BUET, to later on join Ahsanullah Engineering University as VC, wrote a memoir after his death. Today he has also passed away, deep respect for him. He wrote, ‘I didn't get a chance to be very close to him during my university life. First, I was at the Institute of Engineers Bangladesh (IEB) and later, after joining BUET as a teacher. His busy life, selfless work, love for people and nation and progressive outlook deeply attracted me. Mohiuddin was involved in many activities. A review of his life will show that he did not covet any government post but struggled, sacrificed and worked hard throughout his life to organise a civilised and professional society. The members of these organisations also had great confidence in him. An example of this is his popularity. That is why he has been elected to various important positions in the IEB by huge votes at various times.

For example, he was Vice President (Academic) of the IEB, Chairman of the Dhaka Centre, Member of the Central Council and Dhaka Council for many times, Chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Departmental Committee, Chairman of the Equivalence Committee, Editor of the Multi-Disciplinary Journal, Member of the Professional Engineers Registration Board and BAETE. He was the member-secretary. Most recently, he won the post of Honorary General Secretary of IEB by a landslide. Outside IEB, he was associated with various organisations and popularly active. For example, he is a member of the National Council of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, a lifetime member of the Bangla Academy, the vice president of the Bangladesh Association for Advancement of Science. Member Secretary of the National Oceanographic and Maritime Institute (NOAMI). He has been elected to important positions in many other organisations and has made important contributions, which are not mentioned here locally. From these identifications, one cannot fully understand Mohiuddin as a person; those who are with him didn't mingle or work in person. His great personality will remain undiscovered unless it is revealed.

The exemplary role he set in his work will be a path for our future generations. The Institution of Engineers in Bangladesh is divided into 5 divisions to promote professional activities such as mechanical, electrical, civil, chemical and agricultural. The rule of electing a committee with a chairman through the vote of the members to manage these divisions was introduced in the 1990s. After the introduction of this practice, Dr. Mohiuddin from the Mechanical Department in the first election. Dr.Mahbub ul Haque (late) from the Electrical Department and I was elected as Chairman from the Civil Department. From the very beginning, with Mohiuddin's enthusiasm, we set out to implement how these divisions could be promoted. Publishing an international-quality journal in a new format was a big challenge. Because usually engineers are very sensitive about writing. Another problem was that during the annual conference of the IEB, technical sessions were held along with various programs. Many engineers wanted to participate in it. But due to lack of time, these programs could not be done properly. To solve this problem, Dr. Mohiuddin was the first to organise an annual 'Paper-meet' outside the annual conference. Later, it became an acceptable custom for every department. Later, the 'Annual Paper- Meet' was also taken to the stage of the 'International Paper Meet'. Each 'Paper-meet' is considered as an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas among the members of a department. It is a great contribution from Mohiuddin, whose fruits we are enjoying now. Moreover, Mohiuddin was excellently involved in preparing the budget and work program of the departmental committees.

During my tenure as the Chairman of the Departmental Committee, I observed that for the selection of the theme for the annual conference of IEB and the selection of the theme for the national seminar and the speaker for the memorial lecture, all had to rely on Dr. Mohiuddin and his close friend Dr. Mahbub ul Haque (late). They were very enthusiastic about this. They attended national seminars with great interest and contributed significantly. In every annual conference, the program for future engineers i.e., students, Mohiuddin used to work hard and gave time. His leadership in this regard is commendable. In a word, behind each convention,  Dr.Mohiuddin has worked selflessly and shares the credit for their success. Dr. Mohiuddin always tried to make an accurate assessment of the happenings in the national and international context and when he saw the possibility of something happening against the national interest, he tried to present it to the engineers and countrymen by creating an opportunity for discussion in the IEB. Many of you know that he used to think a lot about the challenges of globalisation and the Engineer's Mobility Forum (EMF) in the context of our country. He has done a lot of work on this. He played a leading role in the struggle for the country's oil and gas for the national interest.

The establishment of the 'Bangladesh Professional Engineers Registration Board (BPERB)' under the initiative of IEB, Mohiuddin was an active worker. Soon after its establishment, he took the exam to become a Professional Engineer (P.Eng) and passed. To get membership of BPERB in the Engineer's Mobility Forum (EMF), he went to New Zealand with BPERB President Prof. Iqbal Mahmud as member secretary of BEATE and spoke in favour of getting membership of Bangladesh in the EMF meeting. The efforts of Professor Mahmud and Mohiuddin made Bangladesh be accepted as members. It is noted here that for a country to be a member of the EMF, the engineering degree of that country must be recognised by an accreditation body of that country and that accreditation body must be a member of the Washington Accord agreement. Our accreditation body is BEATE, which is not yet a member of the Washington Accord. However, to become a member of the Washington Accord, engineers will remember Dr.Mohiuddin's efforts with reverence.

I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Mohiuddin as Member-Secretary of the National Oceanographic and Maritime Institute, abbreviated NOAMI. At that time, Professor Dr. Deepak Kanti Das was the President of NOAMI and I was one of the three vice presidents. The organisation was somewhat stagnant before Dr.Mohiuddin joined it. After he joined, his labour restored the institution to its former state.’

Although the quote is long, I think an expert's assessment is more persuasive. As a wife, it is better to talk less, but something needs to be said. He served as the Director of Continuing Education (DCE) at BUET. Dr. Golam Mohiuddin also thought about education. So, every year, he wrote about the education budget in the monthly educational journal ‘Shikkha Barta’. He used to keep and write international news. So, he wrote 'Education Privatisation Experience in Latin America', 'Education Privatisation and Teacher Movement: The Gujarat Experience', 'Educational System and Transnational Corporations in Namibia', 'Educational System in Bangladesh', 'Employment Rights and Duties of Teachers', etc. Previously, discussions with bureaucrats about the employment rules for teachers is not very visible. Not only education, he was also involved in cultural movements. He served as the president of the city committee and the vice president of the central committee of the Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Group- then the president was the Theater personality, Syed Hasan Imam. Udichi's siblings donated blood and offered various kinds of help during the cancer treatment of Dr. Mohiuddin.

Mohiuddin's teacher Professor. Dr. MD. Anwar Hossain, who later became Vice-Chancellor of the Islamic University of Technology (IUT), at one point wrote, 'Mohiuddin was a very open-minded teacher. He had a keen interest in infusing new content into the curriculum, introducing new subjects. Everything was done thinking of the department, thinking of the students, keeping in mind the jobs of the graduates in the present free market. For this, he sometimes had to face many obstacles. Yet he went ahead with his reformist, progressive activities. He was very popular among the students. He could stimulate them greatly through open discussion.'

Here is the achievement of a teacher. He was a successful person. Deep respect for him.

The writer is a former teacher at Notre Dame College and Editor at Shikshabarta.