Meeting with Dr. Wajed Mian at the hospital

 Ajoy Roy

 

An Hour with Dr. Wajed Mian at Lab aid hospital

I felt very sad when I learned from the newspaper in the morning of July 18, 2007 that Dr. Wajed Mian, known to the public as husband of AL Chief Sheikh Hasina fell ill and was taken to Lab Aid Hospital, Dhanmondi. He is a cardiac patient for the last few years and living a quiet life in Sudha Bhaban. Many perhaps do not know that Dr. Wajed Mina has his separate distinct identity by his own right. He is a theoretical physicist obtaining Ph. D degree from Imperial College, if my memory does not betray me, under London University. He served Bangladesh Atomic energy commission at Dhaka centre as a theoretical physicist and finally became the Chairman of the commission just a few years of his retirement. He was a dynamical personality. The AL government under Sheikh Hasina did not extend his service although many assumed that Sheikh Hasina would extend her husband’s service in the commission. But this did not happened. Many opportune-seekers tried to induce Dr. Mian to press for it. But Sheikh Hasina did not oblige those people nor Wajed pressed for the extension. He was neither placed at any semi-government organizations, which the then PM could have done easily for her husband, but she did not. This is an example the then PM set. Dr. Wajed Mian on the other hand has never been an obliging husband giving Hasina an OGL, rather on many issues he had critical views.

And what a difference we witnessed during the regime of Khaleda-Nizami alliance. Even the mediocre retired official (civil and military) got extensions or appointments in big posts in autonomous and semi autonomous bodies.

 

The other day I went to see Wajed in his cabin at the 6th floor of the cardiac section of the lab aid hospital. Wajed had been a student of mine in the physics department, DU in early sixties when I was a junior teacher in the department. He was one of the brilliant products of the department. I still remember four of them- Farhad Faisal, Wajed Mian, Shamsuzzaman and Ashok, all very brilliant. Farhad and Wajed did research in theoretical physics under the supervision of Prof. Innas Ali, as far as I remember, whereas Shamsuzzaman and Ashok did their research in EPR spectroscopy under me in M. Sc class. All of them proved very successful in future in their respective fields. Farhad, Wajed and Ashok turned into excellent physicists, former two becoming theoreticians, whereas Ashok a theoretical solid-state physicist. Farhad Faisal is in states now. I met Ashok at Oxford in late sixties where he was then doing postdoctoral wok; since then I lost contact with him. On the other hand Dr. Shamsuzzaman became an excellent bureaucrat, last time serving as a secretary in ministry of cultural affairs, again if my memory does not fail me.

Seeing the condition of Wajed at the hospital, once a beloved student of mine I became more mortified. He became very old with broken health and skinny although he has not yet reached seventy. I saw him under heavy sedative. Hardly he could talk to me, although he was very pleased to see me, uttered very feebly, ‘Sir, please pray for me. I am not well.’ I solaced him uttering an empty solace, ‘don’t worry, everything would be alright.’ He gave me a faint smile saying, ‘this time it won’t be that easy.’ I fully agree with him. He was trying to say many things but could not as he was feeling sleepy. In fact he went to deep sleep while talking to me. I did not disturb any more. 

There were not many visitors. In fact I found him alone with a male attendant. I turned to him enquiring if Wajed has any special problem. He told me that main problem with Wajed is feeling of uneasiness and sense of insecurity. The cause of his illness arose from the arrest of his wife and the way they inmates were treated by the members of the combined force. He narrated the drama in Sudha Bhavan played magnificently by the CTG and its mentor the army. He told me under what condition their ‘Apa’ was taken to the police custody. According to him the normal security personnel were withdrawn in the early morning. Then a large number of police and people of combined force encircled the residence forming three tier of security belt and blocking all roads leading to Sudha Bhaban. Around 5-30 am the forces demanded to open the gate. But internal and private security personnel refused to open the gate till morning. But some time later they open the gate letting in hundreds of men in uniform and police. They put all the inmates inside a room. The telephone connections were snapped and all mobiles were taken away from all inmates. Hasina was in her bedroom in first floor and Wajed was also pushed inside in another room in the same floor. The force searched the entire house. According to him, Hasina took the raid very calmly and was composed, but Wajed was very upset and almost trembling with fear. Sheikh Hasina refused to go with them till morning. She demanded to the officer in charge of the operation under what charge they were arresting her, and did they have any warrant. The officer only asked her to accompany them- they neither could say about the charges nor could show any warrant order. After performing the Morning Prayer she came down to ground floor and gave herself to force. Everybody now knows next episode.

The inmates were kept inside a room with Wajed also kept interned in his room till 2 pm. At this stage Dr. Mian felt very ill and his doctor at Lab Aid Hospital advised the inmates to transfer him immediately to the hospital. Since then he is in the hospital alone and almost without touch of caring hand of love and affection. I feel pity for my erstwhile student and left his cabin with tears in my eyes.

What a melancholy episode- son and daughter away from to distant land and wife anguishing in a sub jail, who is being refused to see by her relatives and even her legal teams. Must the authority have to be devoid of humanity? Sheikh Hasina expressed her fear to his only lawyer permitted to see that she did not expect fair treatment and justice from the present government. She complained that their motive is to disqualify her from election through the punishment of few years jail in a false case(s). We can only hope and pray that our judicial system will stand above the threat of executives – civil and army and upheld the justice as did Pakistan Apex court very recently by reinstating the Chief Justice of Pakistan supreme court.                                                          


Prof. Ajoy K. Roy--a reputed scientist and human rights activist from Bangladesh--is the member of Mukto-Mona advisory board. He writes from Dhaka.