Gazi, Dewan Farid

Dewan Farid Gazi

Gazi, Dewan Farid (1924-2010) politician. He was born on 1 March 1924 at village Devapara in Nabiganj thana of Habiganj district. His father Dewan Mohammad Hamid Gazi was a zamindar in Dinarpur pargana of Habiganj. Farid Gazi was 16th in descent from Hazrat Tajuddin Qureshi (R), a sufi saint and close associate of Hazrat Shahjalal Mujarrad-i-Yemani (R).

Dewan Farid Gazi had his early education in the village primary school. Later he studied in Maulvibazar Junior Madrasa and in Sylhet Aliya Madrasa. But subsequently he left madrasa education and got himself admitted into Sylhet Rasamoy Memorial High School. He passed matriculation examination in 1945 from Rasamoy High School, I.A in 1947 from Sylhet Murari Chand College and obtained his graduation in 1949 from Sylhet Madan Mohan College. Farid Gazi got involved in politics in his student life. He took active part in Quit India Movement in 1942.

He joined the Assam Muslim Student Federation in 1943 and later had been the assistant secretary of Assam provincial unit and secretary of Sylhet M.C College unit of the Federation. Farid Gazi was a front ranking activist in the protest movement against the Bangal Khedao (Oust Bengalees) campaign of the Assamese in 1945 and in the movement for annulment of 'Line system'. For his participation in these movements he was occasionally a victim to police arrest and repression. He had active role in organising the Sylhet Referendum in 1947. At the initial stage of the language movement in 1948 he had leading role in organising the movement in Sylhet. In apprehension of communal riot in Sylhet town in 1950 he pioneered the peace movement to face the situation and to avert an impending mishap.

Early in life, Dewan Farid Gazi served as a teacher at Rasamoy Memorial High School and at Sylhet Government High School for sometime in 1950. Between 1952 and 1955, Farid Gazi simultaneously edited the Bangla weekly Jugabhery (now daily) and the English weekly Eastern Herald (now defunct) from Sylhet.

Dewan Farid Gazi joined the Awami Muslim League in 1952 and was elected as joint secretary of Sylhet district unit of the Party. He was the joint convenor of Sylhet district election monitoring committee during the united front election in 1954. In 1964, Farid Gazi was elected as chairman of Topkhana union parisad in Sylhet and a commissioner of Sylhet municipality. For his active participation in the Six-Point Movement he was arrested in 1967 and was kept confined for eleven months. He had a leading role in anti-Ayub mass movement in 1969. Farid Gazi was elected a member of the Pakistan National Assembly in 1970 from Sylhet sadar constituency as a nominee of Awami League.

Farid Gazi was the leading organiser of the non-cooperation movement in March 1971 in Sylhet. During the war of liberation, he was the civil affairs adviser of Sector 4 and 5, and later the chairman of Regional Administrative Council of the northeastern Front. In addition, he was concerned with the problems of the refugees from Bangladesh.

Dewan Farid Gazi was elected a member of the Jatiya Sangsad in 1973 from Sylhet sadar constituency. He was the state minister in the cabinet of Bangabandhu sheikh mujibur rahman in charge of the Ministry of Local Government and Cooperative and later in charge of the Ministry of Commerce. Farid Gazi had immense contributions towards rebuilding the post-war Bangladesh as a close associate of Bangabandhu. The credit for the introduction of wage earners scheme goes to Farid Gazi. In 1975, he was included in the cabinet of Khondakar Mostaq Ahmad as state minister.

Farid Gazi had been a member of the central executive committee of Awami League for a long time. He was active in all the movements against military rule in the country including the oust Ershad movement in 1990. Farid Gazi was elected a member of the Jatiya Sangsad from Habiganj-1 constituency in 1996, 2001 and in 2008. He was a member of the Awami League Advisory Council and chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education in the tenth Jatiya Sangsad elected in December 2008.

Dewan Farid Gazi was a patron of education and culture. He had immense contributions towards the development of educational institutions in Sylhet region. He had been the president of Kendriya Muslim Sahitya Sangsad, the prime literary and cultural organisation of Sylhet. A liberal and open hearted man, Farid Gazi led a very simple and plain living, and was liked and loved by all sections of the people for his humility and integrity. Dewan Farid Gazi died in Dhaka on 19 November 2010. He is laid to rest in the graveyard at the premises of the dargah of Hazral Shahjalal (R) in Sylhet. [Muazzam Hussain Khan]