Rahman, Masihur

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Rahman, Masihur (1924-1979) politician. Popularly known as Zadu Mia, Masihur Rahman was born on 9 July 1924 at village Khagakhari-bari in Dimla upazila of Nilphamari district. His father Osman Ghani was a joatdar and his mother was Abiunnessa Begum. Masihur Rahman had his early education at his village school and passed Matriculation examination from Rani Brindamoyi School of Dimla, and got himself admitted into Jalpaiguri Medical School. But soon he discontinued his studies in Medical School. He obtained graduation from the University of Dhaka.

Masihur Rahman

He was the secretary of food committee in Rangpur during the famine in 1933 (1340 BS). Later he was elected chief of the East Pakistan unit of Young Men's Association floated under Pakistan Muslim League. In 1954 Masihur Rahman was elected as general secretary of Rangpur district unit of Muslim League. Masihur Rahman was also active in local government politics. In 1953, he was elected chairman of Rangpur District Board and continued in the position till 1958. Due to conservative and discriminatory policy of the Muslim League towards East Pakistan, Masihur Rahman left the Muslim League and played active role in the formation of national awami party (NAP) on 25 July 1957 under the leadership of Maulana abdul hamid khan bhasani. He was elected a member of the central committee of NAP. He was also associated with Krishak Samiti.

Masihur Rahman was elected a member of the Pakistan National Assembly in 1962 from Rangpur-5 constituency under the Basic Democracies system. In 1965, he was again elected a member of the National Assembly from Nilphamari constituency. During the mass movement against Ayub government in mid 1960s he developed in himself a disliking for the government. For his support to the movement he was arrested in 1963. He was released under the pressure of the movement after one month. He resigned on 12 February 1969 from the National Assembly as a protest against the repression of the government and in support of the eleven points.  

Masihur Rahman was elected the secretary of National Awami Party in a council meeting held in Khulna in 1970. For his opposing role against the military government of Yahya Khan he was arrested in 1970 and was kept confined for eight months. During the War of Liberation in 1971 he went to India, but later returned to Dhaka and collaborated with the Pakistan occupation army. After the liberation he was arrested under Collaborators Act and was released in March 1974. The same year he was again arrested in June and was released on 24 August 1975.

In 1976 Masihur Rahman along with Maulana Bhasani organised a movement against the implementation of farakka barrage in the Bangladesh-India border and for the fair share of water. For creating national and international public opinion, the Farakka proposal was placed in a public gathering at Rajshahi Madrasa premises. Afterwards they organised a long march from Premtali of Rajshahi to Kansat in Chapai Nawabganj.

After the death of Maulana Bhasani in 1977, Masihur Rahman was elected chairman of NAP. After the floating of Jatiyabadi Ganatantrik Dal in 1978 under the leadership of ziaur rahman, Masihur Rahman joined in the party and conducted campaign in the election of 1978. After the floating of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on 1 September 1978, Masihur Rahman was made vice chairman of the Party.

Masihur Rahman was elected a member of the Jatiya Sangsad in 1979. He was included in the cabinet of President Ziaur Rahman in charge of the Ministry of Railway, Roads and Highways and Road Transport. It was during his time that the railway connection with Chittagong, Sylhet and North Bengal (Ekata, Samata and Shahjalal Express) was introduced for the first time. He had also the plan for the construction of Asian Highway.

Apart from his political life Masihur Rahman was associated with philanthropic activities. While the chairman of Rangpur District Board in 1953, a char (island) in Kurigram was named as Jadur Char after him for his contribution towards the development of the greater Rangpur particularly of the famine and calamity stricken area. He was the president of the Rangpur District Consumers Society Limited, the largest cooperative society of East Pakistan. He was a skilled sportsman and a renowned organizer of sports. He was the secretary of Rangpur District Sports Association.

Masihur Rahman died on 13 March 1979. [Lilyma Ahmed]