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Wazed Miah: An ever-shining lighthouse

Shoeb Chowdhury

প্রকাশিত: ১৭ ফেব্রুয়ারি ২০২০  

Timeless Russian author Leo Tolstoy once said, "There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth." I recalled these words while thinking about Wazed Miah. Yesterday was his 79th birthday which was celebrated in a very modest way. On February 16 in 1942, Wazed Miah affectionately called 'Sudha Miah' was born in a respectable Muslim family of Laldighi Fatehpur village under Pirganj upazila in Rangpur district.

In 1961 he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in physics and in 1962 he finished his Master of Science from Dhaka University. He completed a diploma course in 1963-64 from Imperial College London. In 1967 he received his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in physics from Durham University, England. His thesis was on bootstrap hypothesis in theoretical particle physics, and he worked under the supervision of Professor E.J. Squires.

Wazed Miah was a successful and decorated nuclear scientist of Bangladesh. He was Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's husband. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman could ascertain the talent of Wazed Miah which is why Bangabandhu got Sheikh Hasina married with Wazed Miah on 17 November 1967.

The wedding ceremony of Wazed Miah and Sheikh Hasina was held in a very ordinary manner in 1967. Adverse political circumstances were prevailing at that time while Bangabandhu was inside jail.

One day after their marriage, Bangabandhu blessed the newlywed couple at jail gate. Bangabandhu gifted Wazed Miah a Rolex wristwatch. Wazed Miah preserved this gift all his life.We can see the reflection of Wazed Miah's merit, simplicity and integrity in the personality of his children Sajeeb Wazed Joy and Saima Wazed Putul.

Sajeeb Wazed Joy is at present ICT Adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina whereas Saima Wazed Putul has been working for autistic children both on domestic and international turfs. I met Sajeeb Wazed Joy and Saima Wazed Putul quite a few times.

Their humbleness and intellectual depth amazed me. Wazed Miah believed in simple living and high thinking. He never boasted about being Bangabandhu's son-in-law or being Sheikh Hasina's husband. Wazed Miah made us proud with his wisdom and fame.Wazed Miah died on 9 May 2009. There are a lot of things to learn from him. He is still regarded as an ever-shining lighthouse. His life and works should be studied for the nation's enlightenment.

A nuclear scientist of international repute, Wazed Miah is best known more for his professional magnificence in scientific arena, but his close friends and contemporaries were familiar to his role also as a student leader during the climax of Bengali nationalist movement in 1960s.

Wazed Miah's outstanding qualities earned him the position of the vice-president of Fazlul Haque Hall while he was always under the affectionate shadow of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

But his academic excellence and the knack for academic pursuit made him a nuclear scientist, eventually installing him at the helm of the country's Atomic Energy Commission during his long career as a researcher and fellow at scientific institutes and organizations in different countries, including Germany and India.

Wazed Miah joined the then Pakistan Nuclear Energy Commission on 1st April 1963. In 1969 he was associated with the Italy-based International Research Project. Between 1975 and 1982 he had been engaged in research work in the Delhi Laboratory of Atomic Energy Commission of India.

After his return from India in 1982, Wazed Miah joined the Atomic Energy Commission of Bangladesh. He retired from service in 1999 as Chairman of the Commission. Wazed Miah contributed a good number of research articles on science to foreign and inland newspapers and journals.

His noted publications include Fundamentals of Electromagnetics (1982), Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (1988), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibke Ghirey Kichhu Ghatana' O Bangladesh, Bangladesher Rajneeti o Sarkarer Chalchitra etcetera.

Vikrampur Sir Jagadish Chandra Basu Society awarded him Sir Jagadish Chandra Basu Gold Medal in 1997 for his contribution to the field of science.Nevertheless, it hurts me to see that Wazed Miah was not selected for Ekushey Padak or Independence Award despite his superb contribution in the scientific growth of the country.

While concluding, a few words of Steve Jobs can be quoted, "Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."The writer is a diplomat, entrepreneur, author and Chairman of Editorial Board of The Asian Age.

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