By Dr. Mohammed Abul Lais
Kalam Mahmud Abu Taher Choudhury is a very well-known personality amongst the Bangladeshi Community in the UK, whose name requires 28 letters from the 26 alphabetic-language – English. I know another long name with 56 letters. That is of my favourite Physics teacher from Govt. College Sylhet (1966-1970) – Syed Abul Ala Saiful Islam Badrul Hoque Abdullah Al Haqqani- I remember only 49 out of 56. His signature in Physics practical book started from the left most side and ended to that of right side- sometime it continued to a second line! With Mr Choudhury, his name is not as lengthy as his list of activities! His works, skills, experience, patience, motivation, dedications, extensive contributions for the Bangladeshi community across the country, back home as well as his concerns for Muslims from Kashmir, India, Myanmar, China etc. all of which deserves a special mention.
His contributions towards Bengali language and literature are immense. Teaching Bengali, his longstanding journalism experience in Bengali publications coupled with his frequent appearances in debates specific to the Bengali community and many other initiatives have made him authoritative in the field.
Mr Choudhury’s contributions towards the members of the Bangladeshi Community in the UK spells no bound at all. His voluntary involvement with the community providing advice and support often means that, on any average day he is inundated with phone calls, surprise visits and meetings in his house and place of work. This ranges from filling in forms, translating materials, interpreting in hospitals, clinics, and educational institutes as well as to more delicate matters such as arbitrating familial disputes, matrimonial, financial, business, religious, legal and health related issues etc. This support is not limited to the UK but his helping hand extends to Bangladesh as well where he is requested to oversee matters pertaining to land disputes, money laundering, occupying land property, business etc. His efforts at ensuring justice for the inhumane treatment of Barrister Ridwan Hussein at Dhaka Air Port are widely documented.
The scope of Mr. Choudhury’s contributions is not only skill-bound but many a time it relates to his personal attributes, namely generosity; for example, offering affordable donations and hospitality to Bangladeshi visitors, students and new comers. He has taken active steps to assist many newly arriving Bangladeshi students in London in relation to employment, education and residence. Putting his family and personal interests aside, he is a dedicated professional who prioritises other’s interest first.
Above all, his in-general support for the members of the Bangladeshi community, many of whom seek his assistance during election campaigns irrespective of their political stand in Tower Hamlets, also bears the evidence that he is a true friend of all.
Mr Choudhury is how many in one? I have a distinct pleasure to offer congratulations for his recent achievement as a poet by publishing 74 poems. He has dedicated his time for others to offer them help, support, information, guidance, peace, solution, a way forward, a direction leading to happiness by practical involvements. Now, as a poet, he expresses his heartfelt emotions for the creatures of Allah SWT, calling all through the poems to end disputes, quarrels, misunderstandings among each other and unite together to bring peace and happiness in the world. Everything he represents is depicted through his community involvement as well as all of his 74 poems. The poems highlight the serious issues of mankind including wars, crime, drugs, community splitting, killing, raping, religious blasphemy, etc which are connected to the theme of the Title: Let us build a beautiful world. Regardless of race and religion, this is one of the main objectives of our Almighty Creator to send us on the Earth.
I can’t think of anyone who is as dedicated in offering support akin to a brother, friend, family advocate, adviser, counsellor for the plethora of issues confronting community members. Many of us treasure his friendship. He is a “Friend of the Community” and a “Councillor in general.” I believe he deserves more honours, titles and medals. May Allah (SWT) offer him the best here and the life after. Ameen.
( By Dr. Mohammed Abul Lais , London 05/05/2020)