He was a young man when he got to know an old woman came alone for a cataract surgery. The youth grew a kind of sympathy and started taking care of her, bringing milk, bananas and others secretly from his home for the woman.
Opening her eyes first after the surgery, the woman saw the youth and embraced him passionately. She prayed for him from the bottom of her heart and he felt heavenly happiness. Since then, the youth, now a middle-aged man, has been serving hundreds of people selflessly.
The philanthropist person is Aminul Islam, 52, a librarian by profession. He is known to be an intimate friend of differently abled people and eye patients in his village in Chapainawabganj and surroundings.
He helps elderly people carry out surgery. He also supports differently abled children and youths. He, however, is the resident of the area known for terrorism and crime. Drug is epidemic there. Murder and bomb blast happen on regular occasions. In such a dark environment, Aminul spreads light through his deeds. He lives in Chunakhali Bagipara of Sadar upazila in Chapainawabganj.
While serving the old woman three decades ago, Aminul devoted himself to humanitarian services and continues them till today. When he cannot afford, he seeks financial assistance from the rich and generous people.
Serving eye patients
Aminul is a librarian at Krishna Gabindapur Degree College in Chapainawabganj Sadar. In the past, people used to get eye treatment at his college compound. Now, cataract surgery cannot be conducted without hospitals. So, he informs local eye patients that they will be treated free, using a microphone. The physicians from Dinajpur select the patients who need cataract surgery. When the schedule is fixed, Aminul accompanies them to Dinajpur hospitals for the surgery. In seven year, Aminul helped 1,675 people undergo cataract surgery.
He spends money for the surgeries. Sometimes, he seeks financial assistance from his friends and donors. This is not the end of the story. He also accompanies his wife, son and a friend to deliver services to eye patients in Dinajpur. “They also do this work with delight,” Aminul said proudly. He said he could not have been able to serve people dedicatedly without their support.
Love for differently abled people
It happened two years ago. One day, Aminul was travelling by a train from Rajshahi to Chapainawabganj. He saw a disabled girl wailing. She reminded him of his 22-year-old son who is also differently abled.
He went to the girl and asked her what happened. She said her mother fled away leaving her in the train. Her parents were also separated. Her mother got married to another man recently, the girl said adding her mother was trying to drive her away since her marriage.
Aminul took the girl with him and contacted with the social service office in Chapainawabganj. A social service official asked Aminul to find out the guardians of the girl. He took the girl to her grandmother with the help of police. But her grandfather did not receive her cordially. Following the incident, he made up his mind to establish a shelter home for differently abled people. Ranihati union parishad chairman Mohsin Ali assured him of providing a piece of land for the shelter home.
Aminul said he would establish the shelter home at his place if the land is not available. Meanwhile, he supported a good number of differently abled people. He arranges jobs for several disabled people after helping them get trained at CRP Bangladesh (Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed) in Savar of Dhaka.
Ranihati UP chairman Mohsin Ali said Aminul is an exceptional person. He has fame in the locality as a social worker. He is trying to establish a shelter home for physically challenged people. The local representative wants to stand by him in his initiative.
Aminul’s wife Rokeya Begum is a college teacher.
“My husband accompanied a patient to India leaving me sick, and stayed there for a month,” she said.
“Later I saw whenever he worked for others, he feels great. I support his work and I’m proud of my husband,” Rokeya added.
Acting principal at Krishna Gabindapur Degree College Zakir Hossain said, “We are very happy that one of our colleagues is involved in social service. Many students are fond of him.”
Chief eye surgeon at Gausul Azam BNSB Eye Hospital, Ansar Ali, said that Aminul brought over one hundred eye patients every year to the hospital for past seven to eight years.
“Aminul doesn't take any money from the patients,” Ansar Ali quoted patients as saying.
*This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.