The BCS cadre almost stopped studying when he was in the seventh grade, owing to his father’s low income as a tobacco worker. Soon after, despite being awarded a full studentship he stumbled again, as an acute financial crisis forced his father to fail to cover any related school expenses.
Plagued by poverty, yet determined to continue, the boy finally took a job as an assistant to a carpenter to raise money for his expenses. He even worked as a banner and festoon writer. At one stage, the harsh reality compelled him to be a truck helper.
Overcoming all these odds, Md Shafiqul Islam finally fulfilled his dream, eventually becoming a BCS cadre, the highest entry-level government job position in Bangladesh.
Landing an education cadre post in the 35th edition of the highly competitive exam, he joined as a teacher of Sociology at Majida Khatun Government Women's College in Lalmonirhat on May 2.
Hailing from Chawkidar Para of Kurigram town, Shafiqul has been an example of academic excellence from childhood. In a recent visit to his shabby village home, housing two small rooms, the Dhaka Tribune learnt much about his struggles over the years.
Elated and proud of their son, Shafiqul's father Abdul Khaleq and mother Chhobena Begum, while talking to this reporter, recalled how he made his dream come true.
With joy in his eyes, Khaleq said:"Shafiqul was weak in Maths and English. I could not afford private coaching for him. None of my other four sons were capable of helping me financially then. However, a local youth named Laabhlu coached him for free. Even his schoolteachers helped him financially and not take fees from him. These are the reasons behind his academic advancement."
"Amid such difficulties, Shafiqul took the 2005 SSC exams. He was the only student to bag GPA-5 from the humanities group in Kurigram, leaving many astounded," he said.
[caption id="attachment_62059" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
The BCS cadre stands in front of his home in Chawkidar Para with his parents Dhaka Tribune
After the exams, Shafiqul became busy with contributing to the family finances, thus hampering his preparations to enroll in a renowned college.
Noted singer Kanak Chapa gave him financial assistance after news of his brilliant SSC result was published in the media. He also received a scholarship from a Dhaka-based organisation called Mukti Art. With this money, he got admitted to Cantonment Public School and College in Parbatipur, Dinajpur.
He also achieved a good result at the HSC level, and then landed an opportunity to study at Dhaka University's Sociology Department in the 2007-08 academic session.
Shafiqul said that Mukti Art financed him until his university admission.
Midway through university, he grappled with completing his undergraduate graduation. However, his indomitable aspirations coupled with timely support from others kept things rolling his way.
"This apart, many people from my locality helped me occasionally. I especially want to mention Kurigram Government School teacher Abdur Mannan for his help," Shafiqul said.
According to Khaleq, his son received a well-deserved award after years of hardship.
"He achieved this feat by overcoming repeated struggles and also with everyone’s support. We are delighted at his success," said an elated Khaleq.
"I felt the heat of poverty from my early days. Today, I am at this stage just because of my teachers and some kind-hearted people. I am grateful to them all,” the BCS cadre said.
When asked about future plans, he said:"I will repair our home after receiving my maiden salary. I also dream of establishing a charity organisation that will be named after my parents. I want to provide scholarships to needy students and make sure that not a single student stops studying due to poverty."
He is also mulling the founding of a library and adult education centre in his locality.
Leave a Comment