Habibur Rahman passed away at his Guwahati residence recently, creating a void that can never be filled up.
Social worker and retired Superintending Engineer of ASEB, he was an alumnus of the Regional Engineering College (now NIT) at Rourkela in Odisha. He was born and brought up in Kumarpara area of Guwahati and did his schooling from Sonaram High School and later did his BSc in Physics and taught in Arya Vidyapith College for a brief stint before he joined the Electrical Engineering course at REC Rourkela. During his college days, my father was a bodybuilder and was accorded the title of Mr Strongman. He started his career with ASEB and later joined the Central Electricity Authority, New Delhi on deputation as Assistant Director. He came back to his parent department till his retirement in 2002 and was a member of ASEB Pensioners’ Association.
He was actively associated with endeavours to preserve and protect the Bharalu river and even turned citizen journalist for CNN-IBN once to highlight the sad plight of the Bharalu river. He also tried to revive the old glory of his alma mater Sonaram High School. He was pained by the dilapitated condition of the school which was once one of the best schools of Assam. He formed a committee to work for the development of the school building.
My father fought against corruption in public office and used to write opinion pieces in local dailies. He had once written and published a satirical play titled ‘Jampurit Hartaal’. He was also an advocate for girls’ education and emphasised on building a scientific temper, besides fighting against religious dogma and often said, “Science is the true religion.”
A philanthropist, he used to regularly contribute for the education of meritorious students in different parts of Assam from his pension amount. Associated with various sports organisations, he was a keen sports enthusiast.
He was fond of bael or wood apple tree and planted it wherever he went. Simple living, high thinking was his motto in life, as he would often say, “Simplicity is a virtue, though it is very difficult to be simple.”
– Teresa Rehman