Today was the most memorable and exceptional day for Ramiza Khatun, wife of poor rickshaw-van-puller Hasmat Ali, as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself handed over a one-storey building and its deed to Ramiza. An emotional scene was created when the Prime Minister handed over the house named ‘Ramiza Bhaban’ and its deed to Ramiza, who later took Sheikh Hasina inside the house by holding her hand. Embracing the Prime Minister, emotion-charged Ramiza burst into tears and talked at a loud voice looking at the grave of her late husband beside the house, “See, who has come, your daughter has constructed the house for your wife and son.” Ramiza said: “I have nothing to get in life now as I have got everything, it is the happiest day of my life. Had my husband been alive he would have become very happy.” She said she did not think even in dream, a prime minister would hand over the house, which has become a symbol of generosity, liberality and rare love. “It seems to me that the blessings of almighty Allah have come down,” Ramiza went on. She told Sheikh Hasina: “We would never forget the honour you have shown and we would never be able to repay this debt.” Ramiza added: “I pray to Allah let Sheikh Hasina live long and give her ability to serve the people during the rest of her life.” Later, the Prime Minister along with Ramiza offered ziarat at the grave of Hasmat Ali and went round different rooms of the house which were earlier decorated with 63 types of utensils and furniture.
LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, Adviser to the Prime Minister Maj Gen (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddiqui, State Minister for Cultural Affairs Promod Mankin, State Minister for Health Capt (retd) Muzibur Rahman Fakir, local parliament members and Awami League leaders, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister MA Karim and Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad were present on the occasion, among others.
Ali, who spent his whole life in abject miseries, is the pride of Gafargaon of Mymensingh district as he set a unique example of generosity, liberality and rare love in society by donating a piece of land, his last resource, to Sheikh Hasina, elder daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Ali, a blind fan and follower of Bangabandhu, was deeply shocked at the death of the great leader and most of his family members on the fateful night of August 15 in 1975. He also had profound sympathy and affection for Bangabandhu’s orphan daughter Sheikh Hasina and he expressed this when he was alive. The extremely poor Ali had to pass most of his days either remaining half-fed or unfed when he was living at Kharua Barail village home. Finding no other way, he later moved to the capital Dhaka with his wife Ramiza Khatun and their only son Abdul Quader and took shelter at Agargaon Slum. He passed his life in the capital sometimes pulling van and sometimes doing menial labour. Despite the miseries, he remained resolute to the ideals of Bangabandhu. Ali also deeply realized the sorrows and torments of Sheikh Hasina. The sense of worries and love prompted Ali to save part of his income that eventually enabled him to buy a piece of land at a cost of Taka 24,000 at his village home at Kharua Barail at Gafargaon in Mymensingh, neither for his wife nor for his only son, but for Bangabandhu’s daughter before his death in 2003.
With his savings, Ali had purchased about 6.75 decimals of land on February 22 in 2003 from M Yusuf Ali at the village and got it registered in the name of Sheikh Hasina. Ali’s family said he was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis at the Chest Diseases Hospital at Mohakhali in the capital. When he was in deathbed, he informed the matter of donating the land to Sheikh Hasina to her wife Ramiza. Ali later breathed his last at the hospital and was laid to eternal rest at a corner of the land as per his last wish. Till that day, many people of the village were not aware about the matter. But the matter was later published in last year’s June 2 issue of Daily Kaler Kantho which drew the attention of Sheikh Hasina. She became very emotional after going through the report headlined ‘Rare Love: Hasmat Ali of Gafargaon Purchased Land for Orphan Sheikh Hasina’.
The report had acted as a catalyst in making possible a happy meeting between the Premier and Ramiza in June last year when the poor widow described how the August 15, 1975 carnage exposed her late husband to sadness and worries for “orphan Hasina”.
The meeting was apparently the culmination of a long story of selfless love of a poor rickshaw-van-driver, late Hasmat Ali, for Bangabandhu which was manifested in the offering of his lifetime savings for the “orphan daughter” of the nation’s founder in the form of a piece of land. During the meeting, the Prime Minister ordered honourable rehabilitation of elderly Ramiza alongside her proper treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital, who was suffering from diabetes and other diseases. On that day, the deed of the land was done and its ownership was transferred to Ramiza. The Prime Minister also asked her office and the Mymensingh district administration to construct a building on the land for Ramiza’s family.
Under the supervision of the district administration, a one-storey building was constructed on the land at a cost of Taka 9.46 lakh provided by the PM’s Relief and Welfare Fund. Besides, the grave of Hasmat Ali was repaired with raising brick wall.
The Prime Minister also today laid the foundation stone of an 810-metre-long bridge on the Old Brahmaputra river on the road linking Saltia-Haziganj Bazar and Dewanganj Bazar. The Local Government Engineering Department would construct the bridge at a cost of Taka 65 crore