English Department alumni back to DU campus to relive a slice of golden past
Moinul Hoque Chowdhury, Masum Billah, Tapan Kanti Roy, bdnews24.com
Published: 2017-01-27 18:17:58.0 BdST Updated: 2017-01-28 19:13:40.0 BdST
The dust on memory lane is swept away and familiar faces from the golden days beam with pride.
Such was the rejoicing of the hundreds of alumni of the Department of English of Dhaka University, brought together by the English Department Alumni Society (EDAS) at their old haunt – the Teacher-Student Centre (TSC).
The former students returned to that small part of heaven where they spent the best days of their lives amidst a tidal wave of memories for the 30th anniversary of the first reunion.
Students from as far back as 1951 and as recent as the class of 2016 returned to relish a slice of the history they shared.
The Friday could not have been better spent, as old friendships were renewed and revitalised by the warmth of new discovery, tea and pithas while the shutterbugs went clicking away on their mobile phone cameras.
EDAS President Wazir Sattar (extreme left), General Secretary Toufique Imrose Khalidi (2nd left), poet Mohammad Nurul Huda (3rd right), Finance Minister AMA Muhith (2nd right),theatre activist Ramendu Majumder (extreme right) at the table.
Syed Badrul Ahsan (right) is all smiles with his old friends.
The Department of English started its journey in 1921, the same year the university was established.
The revelry was cranked up several notches for the 30th founding anniversary of EDAS.
Recalling that event, Prof Anwarul Haque said, "I convey my deepest gratitude to everyone for organising this. In that event hardly 100 turned up. Today many have come and have contributed much."
Registration was made available to alumni at the entrance of the TSC. The department’s young turks were in attendance to welcome the former students.
At one end of the green courtyard was the stage, on the other an assortment of delicacies to savour. Hundreds of tables and chairs in between provided the perfect venue for old timers to meet and reminisce.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith (left) and theatre activist Ramendu Majumder (right) in the midst of a walking gab.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, the most senior alumnus, laughing his heart out.
The mood was set by the slogans written on the stage - "Yesterday once more" and "Glorious 30 years".
The celebration was dedicated to the memory of Prof Ahsanul Haque, who had passed away on Oct 2 of last year. A minute's silence was observed in his honour at the start of the meet at 5pm. He was remembered fondly by the speakers, who commemorated his contributions to the formation of the alumni association.
A memorial corner for the beloved professor had been set up at the event. The corner showcased a photo story board based on one of his poems and the books he had written.
EDAS outgoing President Wazir Sattar said it was under the guidance of Prof Haque that the body began its journey in 1986.
He spoke of how the membership of EDAS has crossed 500 during the three decades of its journey.
Professor Anisur Rahman (centre) and former additional secretary Abu Saleh (right) at the EADS reunion.
The alumni rejoicing with old friends.
Sattar observed, "Thirty years is by no means a short time. A child born in 1986 probably has a job, is probably married, maybe even has a child."
"But our EDAS is forever young, like our English department – it may be 96 years old but still has tremendous youth."
EDAS General Secretary Toufique Imrose Khalidi remembered the contributions of several people to the organisation’s past 30 years.
The journalist also urged members to allow the young guns to take the lead in moving EDAS forward.
"Five consecutive terms as general secretary and several years as member prior to that, I think, is a bit too much. That's 11 years, and I don’t think I should continue and I believe new leaders should take over," he said.
But the collective desires of the EDAS members overrode his comments and Khalidi was once again chosen for the same position in the new body.
The department's Chairperson Professor Dr Rubina Khan (centre) and poet Gultekin Khan (2nd from right) posing for family photo.
After so many years! Many found their old friends during the reunion.
However, former caretaker government adviser Rasheda K Choudhury has replaced Sattar as President of the new EDAS executive body formed during the end of the event.
Muhith, one of the two most senior alumni in attendance, handed out crests to retired teachers who had once been students of the department, such as Husniara Huq, Prof Syed Manzoorul Islam, Prof Sadrul Amin, Prof Anwarul Haque, Prof Kaiser MH Haq and Prof Nafisa Jamal.
The list also included Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury, Prof Niaz Zaman, Prof Shawkat Hossain and Prof Kashinath Roy, who were abroad and were not able to attend the event.
"I'm touched," said Husniara Huq after receiving the honour. Muhith had hailed her as his Masters classmate during the ceremony.
She used the opportunity to recall the first days of her work, "There were fewer students in my days. So the attachment was stronger. I called all of them by their first names."
Comptroller and Auditor General Masud Ahmed (centre) has been included in the search committee to make recommendations for the next Election Commission.
Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam is also in discussions after his inclusion in the EC search committee.
Prof Syed Manzoorul said, "On receiving the honour, I've realised my time has passed. But I will come back, again and again, till death do us part."
Poet Mohammad Nurul Huda, who received the crest as a vice-president of the outgoing committee, said, "Prof Manzoor said his time is over. I'll say I'm waiting for mine to begin."
Those old days
Fauzia Chowdhury arrived on campus before the day’s programme began at 3pm.
The alumnus from the class of 1976 said she could not bear the wait. “It has been 41 years since I have been here. I wanted to see my friends and seniors,” she said.
More walked in for the celebration as she spoke. Esteemed guests included Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, who had first entered the department in 1951, received his Bachelors degree in 1953 and completed his Masters in 1955.
Poet Nurul Huda arrived early and was soon joined by advertising industry entrepreneur Ramendu Majumdar, top government bureaucrat Hedayetullah Al Mamun and journalist Syed Badrul Ahsan.
EDAS President Wazir Sattar told bdnews24.com: "We have actually made arrangements to pass the time in tittle-tattles with winter cakes and cultural functions."
Sahara Banu (left) and Monika Devi Barua (right) recalled going to protest programmes in the turbulent 1970 when they were studying in the department.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, the oldest alumnus present who did his MA in 1955, hands a crest over to retired professor Husniara Haq.
Ramendu and Hedayetullah rushed to escort him. "You've chosen the wrong seat; you'll have to take the table in front for the speeches," said a smiling Ramendu.
Muhith, laughing, said "But I am here to sit."
He then joined the others at the table.
There were around six persons at the table. The finance minister inquired about the department and other issues.
"I always try to join this event if I have time. It feels very good to be here. I can see many at a time, meet the old and the new. It's a good initiative," he told bdnews24.com.
EDAS General Secretary Khalidi greeted Muhith for his recent birthday.
'Legendary' friends Monika Devi Barua and Sahara Banu arrived at the event together.
RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed smiles while chatting with friends.
Many took selfies and ussies.
Asked what they were doing, Sahara told bdnews24.com, "Taking a stroll down the memory lane, what else!"
She has retired after teaching English for many years at a private college. Her friend Monika, after teaching English at several government colleges, took up the position of principal at Bharateshwari Homes.
"Those were the golden days on the campus. The sweet moments are flooding the mind again."
Sahara remembered the mass uprising of 1969, the struggles during the Liberation War and the political upheaval that marked her student years between 1968 and 1972.
"The day the flag was flown is still fresh in my mind."
Former diplomat Azizul Haque, a class of 1976 graduate, told bdnews24.com, "It feels really good. Can see old faces and old friends."
Many took selfies and group photos.
The former students enjoying the time with old friends.
Toufique Imrose Khalidi addressing the reunion.
Journalist Badrul Ahsan was busy making the most of the adda. Taking a brief pause for bdnews24.com, he said, "This is an extraordinary event. It is through this event that we can meet everyone. "
Poet Nurul Huda was back after many years and caught up with long lost friends at the event.
The crowd was electrified by the entry of EC search committee member Syed Manzoorul Islam. Camera shutters became frenzied, no one wishing to pass up a photo opportunity with him.
Another search committee member and CAG Masud Ahmed also proved quite the crowd-puller.
"I see many here, our membership has also gone up. It's a nice feeling. The event will only get bigger in the future, that's what we hope for," he told bdnews24.com
RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed smile while chatting with friends, "We feel great coming here. We get back the old memories."
He told bdnews24.com, "This is a unique initiative. I feel good finding many familiar people."
Former student Gulketin Khan told bdnews24.com, "Today I only want to stay with friends and have adda with them and nothing else."
The department's Supernumerary Professor Sadrul Amin told bdnews24.com, "Feels great to be here. The old and the new are of course here but we are the eldest. The dear campus is coming alive with addas between the dear ones. Very delightful."
Minhaz Ahmed from the class of 1999 has never missed the event.
"Every year I keep waiting for the day. Friends will come, the old ones will come. It is a different kind of a joy."
The cultural event went on well past 7pm, though the event itself began in the late afternoon.
The new executive body was announced near the end of the programme.
Any unauthorised use or reproduction of bdnews24.com content for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited and constitutes copyright infringement liable to legal action.
- India invites applications for new courses
- RUET teachers start strike to protest student demonstrations
- Old friends from DU English Department return to campus
- Dhaka University English Department alumni reunion on Friday
- Pro-AL Blue Panel nominates alleged war criminal's brother Rafiqul for DU dean election
- DU pro-AL teachers object to reappointment of alleged war criminal's brother as dean
- Student found dead in Dhaka University residential hall
- Dhaka University teacher loses job for sexually harassing student
- SUST reopens after students block the VC’s office for 21 hours
- Poll materials taken to centres in Narayanganj City
- Former Indian army veterans all praise for Bangladesh para-commandos
- Rain sinks Sri Lanka hopes after Mendis century, Taskin hat-trick in Dambulla
- Bombs turned Atia Mahal into a death trap, says army after Operation Twilight
- Autopsy done on bodies of two militants killed in Sylhet
- Police get control of Sylhet’s 'Atia Mahal' as army ends 'Operation Twilight'
- Visitors barred at Dhaka airport terminals to beef up security ahead of IPU Assembly
- Security forces raiding two militant hideouts in Moulvibazar
- No cause for satisfaction over 'successes in a few anti-terror raids', says BNP chief Khaleda
- Bangladesh information minister backs controversial Section 57 of ICT Act
- Messi banned for four international matches