A Brilliant Mind
Remembering Dr. Mizanur Rahman Shelley
Mahabubar Rahman :
["Kullu Nafsin Jaikatul Mowt" (All living being has to embrace death.)- Al Quran]
Despite humans know the meaning and spirit of the above verse of Holy Quran and inevitability of death, they never welcome death and instead yearn, if not for attaining immortality, but to live long healthy.
With numbing grief and deep anguish, I bear in my mind the shocking news of sad demise of Dr. Mizanur Rahman Shelley which equally came to me as bolt from the blue on the holy day of Eid-ul-Azha of August 12, 2019.
Born with a gifted kind heart within, at Kushumpur ... a small hamlet of sublime beauty under Munshiganj, Dr. Mizanur Rahman Shelley had brightened the house of his parents Principal B.M. Rahman and Rizia Begum on January 02, 1943. With exceptional brilliance and impeccable simplicity Dr. Shelley grew up with the pace and rhythm of nature to gradually shape him a man of mind in the long journey of life in waiting for him.
In terms of chronological time, Dr. Shelley lived only 76 years in this fragile world which is not even equal to a fraction of trillionth second in cosmic time and successfully acted with pomp and grandeur in the drama of life staged by the great Playwright.... the Grand Designer and the Lord of all creations.
Having successfully accomplished his part in the ever moving stage of life, the curtain of the stage, wherein he was duly set in, finally fell with his passing away on Eid-ul-Azha day of August 12, 2019 living his kith and kin, friends and colleagues and innumerable admirers and well-wishers in the deep sea of grief and anguish. His sad departure from the parlour of this phenomenal world did not, of course, cause any dent to his undying soul which has only left the cage of his mortal physical stature to the unknown destination of the eternal home of peace to meet his creator face to face. Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote: "For though from out our bourn of time and place/ The flood may bear me far/ I have to see my Pilot face to face/ When I have crossed the bar". Dr. Shelley has crossed the barrier of space and time to live in his eternal home with transforming into perennial flower that returns to bloom in the multiversity or otherwise we call it afterlife as the theory of biocentrism and unflinching religious beliefs suggest; under the Mercy and Benediction of Almighty Allah, yet his sad demise has brought about a shock-wave with deep scar in the minds and hearts of many of his friends and colleagues and admirers who had interacted with him in the heydays of long journey of life in this temporal world.
It was in mid 1960s, when I was merely a college sophomore, I heard Dr. Shelley's name as a most brilliant man in the corridor of the university and became one his avid admirer. If my fading memory does not betray, before he became a CSP officer, Dr. Shelley along with his another bright friend named Dr. Khosruzzaman Chowdhury wrote a guide book for those who were preparing to appear in Central Superior Service (CSS) examination in those days. With a very brilliant academic career and having peerless self-esteem and confidence in him, Dr. Shelley was known to have declared that no candidate in all over Pakistan should cherish to top the list in CSS examination when Shelley appears in the CSS exam in 1967. Members of the board of recruitment in CSS presumably took note of Shelley's challenge and eventually Shelley was accorded with the prestigious second position in the CSS examination in all over erstwhile Pakistan in 1967 and became a proud CSP officer.
Years after mid-1960s, after I came to his close acquaintance; on one occasion, I casually asked Dr. Shelley about the episode that became talk of the town and created storm in the tea-cup, in those days, to men who followed the CSS result and its impact on burgeoning university graduates and masters who were preparing for prestigious CSS examination. In all humility Dr. Shelley told me that the candidate from West Pakistan who topped the list was equally brilliant and deserving one.
Having had a checkered career for only few years permeating fragrance in the corridor of civil bureaucracy as a bright CSP officer, Dr. Shelley very prematurely walked away from the pantheon of elites in service only to be betrayed by a regime who promised to give him a ministerial position and declined at the end of the day. After passing through a tumultuous situation of trials and tribulations over the years, at last with his enviable brilliance and bright career, he could make himself a technocrat minister in successive Ershad government's cabinet in mid-1980s. Dr. Shelley, by dint of his rare talent reshaped the information ministry that he headed and contributed greatly.
After serving public offices for many years, Dr. Shelley had returned to the world of writings and other intellectual exercises diligently that he was originally designed for. With writing dozens of books in Bangla and English that included novels, fictions, short stories, poetry and essays on the subjects of varied interest, Dr. Shelley had entered the new dimension of life and proved himself to be an ambidextrous literary talent. Of late, side by side with his regularly writing columns and articles in numbers of national Bangla and English dailies, he started penning his autobiography 'Symphony of Time' with his lucid reminiscences meticulously laced with candid observations which was published in piece-meal basis until recently in Daily Observer before he went under medication with critical illness and eventually passed away living his autobiography unfinished. It is learnt that his publishing house Academic Press and Publishers Library (APPL) will publish the book with title unfinished autobiography of Dr. Shelley.
By nature Dr. Shelley was endowed with a kind heart and that made him to stay always helpful to others. In one of my book launch program at Dhaka Club in 2008 Dr. Shelley took all the pains to make the programme a success. As a prolific and creative writer, side by side with other literary works, Dr. Shelley composed a score of poems in Bangla and English on various occasions and duly deserves to wear the accolade of a poet. As a family type man, he had great love and affection for his posterity and have had the occasions of composing few poems centering on his grandchildren. Equally, on my own grandson's first birth anniversary in 2011, with adequate love and compassion, he composed and presented a poem in Bangla and another in English. The English one was later alongside his other collection of poems was published and gracefully found a suitable place in his poetry book 'Phoenix in Flight'. By showing his magnanimity in that respect, he left me in the bondage of deep gratitude in deed.
Level of his intellect was unique and towering of its kind. His dear friend and colleague Mr. Ahbab Ahmad (ex. CSP officer), who is equally bright in all respects, once made a sincere and honest admittance that level of Shelley's intellect was far above than that of his and other friends and colleagues. In good humor Mr. Ahbab Ahmad admitted that in debate competitions in the university he could never win over Dr. Shelley except on one occasion and after that he never faced Shelley in debate in the creeping fear of losing and also retaining his record of winning over Dr. Shelley once in his life time.
Having taken over the baton of presidency from another veteran ex. CSP officer Mr. Shamsur Rahman Khan (Dr. Johnson) Dr. Mizanur Rahman Shelley served as president, Dhaka Club for a term and during his tenure he manned the affairs of the Club with his all acquired administrative skill and acumen. In Dhaka Club, a corner with a round table was conventionally designated for many years for retired veteran CSP officers like Mr. Azimuddin Ahmad, Mr. Nasimuddin Ahmed, Mr. Ahbab Ahmed, Mr. Masoom Ahmed Chowdhury, Mr. Waliur Rahman, Mr. Abdul Hamid Chowdhury, Khondkar Asaduzzaman, Dr. S.A. Samad, Dr. MizanurRahman Shelley and a few more of their likes who used to occupy and grace the corner regularly in every evening and immersed in all lively discussions and discourses on the subjects of varied interests. Dr. Mizanur Rahman Shelley used to play a lead role in the enlightening discussions where I have had several opportunities to make a room for me and listen to seniors' lively and vivacious discourses blended with intellectual charm and grandeur.
I spoke to Dr. Shelley for the last time only a couple of months ago after he was back to his work having received a month-long treatment in a hospital. I found him, as usual, in good spirit while talking to me over phone although his health was breaking. I requested him to write a forwarding for my book to be published by his publishing house Academic Press and Publishers Library (APPL) after a couple of months. Alas! My wishes for receiving a forwarding for the book remains unfulfilled. Death has taken him far and far away from us.
With his sad demise on holy Eid-ul-Azha day of August 12, 2019, a void will be obviously created in the minds of those who loved and respected him in his life time; but his shadow will surely continue to reflect and loom descending from the astral skies, he is apparently carousing amidst distant starts under Almighty Allah's unfettered Mercy and Benediction.
May Allah rest his departed soul in eternal peace and grant him with the everlasting comforts of Jannat-ul-Ferdous. May Allah also grant his bereaved members of family with enough strength and courage to endure the irreparable loss. Amin.
(Mahabubur Rahman is a former Civil Servant)