FLASH BACK : THIS DAY : 7th JULY 1962 : MY JOINING DATE – EAST PAKISTAN CADET COLLEGE 61 YEARS AGO – Later named as Faujdarhat Cadet College

(The ‘Story’ is too long & not expected to be read by most of the readers. In a subtle way, it has been an account of self praise & self aggrandisement, with out however any design to attain any objective or aim- As I keep on saying that all my aspirations & ambitions are held in abeyance till the year 2071)
@ 7th July, 1962- 61 years back ! What was the Day like ! Month of July & I remember clearly it was little raining. Reached the Campus before sunset and was falled in – Infront of the Dining Hall. The dinner in the ‘Long Dining Hall’ was all a ‘Chaos & Unpalatable’. The sleep that night was all – nil amount ?
@ The – 9th Batch FCC – 1962-68. We were 47 of us – All the ‘Little Lilliputians’ were either 12/13 in age. May be one or two was 11 or 14. Through “Trials -Tribulations-Triumphs” we all crossed recently the age bar of – 73/74. Ten (10) of us have in between departed and others are waiting in the lounge to say Goodbye to this beautiful world. Two deaths were tragic. Three years back , on 04th July, an ‘Iconic’ all time loveable person named Engr. Newaz Khan died. On 20th April 2021 we lost Sayeed due to Corona. He was a prolific singer. We pray to Allah for both the departed souls.
@ It’s now 3 years – We have passed through a devastating ‘Pandemic’ which started in the year 2020, this will be recollected in the year 3020, as one which took place in sequence to the one in 1820 & the other in 1920. God has been so far kind, though not sure, whether we will survive the surge & brunt of any future/ recurrent ‘Pandemic’ & became a part of history.
@ To share some anecdotes of the 6 years of our stay in the Alma-Mater between 1962-68- here goes the narration: It’s little too long, but shouldn’t be uninteresting for the cadets community. The “Concluding Note” is also interesting.
1. The “Tiny Little Boy” in the ID photograph is Cadet No. 308. – Ayub House, 9th Batch 1962-68. When I joined the college my full name was ABU TAHER MOHAMMAD SHARIFF AZIZUR RAHMAN. I retained “Championship” for having the longest ever name holder in the history of Faujdarhat Cadet College, until the year 1975, when I relinquished it by an Affidavit, the Trophie by taking a short and smarter version of the name i.e. Sharif Aziz.
2. Joined East Pakistan Cadet College, on a dull and drab rainy day, that was a Saturday, July the 7th, 1962. I held again the record of being the Smallest / Littlest Cadet ever to have been enrolled in the history of Cadet Colleges. My height was 4 feet 5.1/2 inches, weight 46 lbs – little more than Cadet Abu Nayeem Masoom of the 8th Batch. We were in the same house, though little looking boy, but with keen eyes Cadet Masoom actually was a ‘Big Bully’. Now after 60+years, I rather bully him, when ever we meet here & there. As an elder this guy, he has been extremely nice to me, kept track of my all enhancements and debacles in the military and encouraged me all through. Till now he is a keen follower, particularly on the Facebook and does everything to elevate me amongst folks who have less liking for me. Thank you Masoom Bhai ! Now in near recluse at Naogan. ( But something very sad & tragic has happened to him. He was very very sick & was struggling to lead a normal/ regular life )
3. Like every one I have also many old memories to share, may be some of these will be interesting here, like : How dreadful & frightful it was to describe our feelings of the first day, in the college when some of us run out of the ‘Rest Rooms’ in top speed, once the flash / chain was pulled and water came ‘Out of the Blue’ to flush out our last bit of home fed food particles, and that too with in no time every thing was gone from the commode pan. It was all GHOSTLY and we were terrified. Well in the year, 1962 many of us were really not aware of the flush system in the toilets pulled by an iron chain. However, it took some time to become brave & courageous to enjoy the subsequent discharges over the next 6 years.
4. Some Other Interesting Episodes are :
a. Sayed who always craved for Bangla Food said he never liked English food, the pale yellow- brownish gravy type stew, sometime looking like shit for dinner and he would go hungry for the whole night; Nazmul said, class that was most dreadful for him, his leg trembling, throat chocked, when he would be called to speak on an impromteau topic in English, because he had no sense of English grammar coming from a Bangla medium background.
b. We all recollected and cherished one incident of great English ‘Disaster’ created by Abdullah our the then Class Captain when he announced, before an evening prep class something like “Emdad Bhai come, Games Captain Selected”. However before exiting out in 1968, his English greatly improved.
c. Shahadat from the then village type Bairab, recollecting the ghostly sound of flush / water going down the commode so easily after release and relief in the toilet was jubilant in showing the magic chain to his parents on the first Parents Day. Yusuf, who wanted to remain anonymous, until recently revealed how he inflicted self injury by dropping a full brick on his leg to evade ‘Steeple Chase’ the next afternoon. This was a great revelation after 60 years of elapsed history.
d. Rashed said, him coming from a remote village in Narsindhi – the worst that use to happen to him for the first 6 months, when he could hardly use the English crockeries and cutleries during the meals time – mostly putting the knife in the mouth instead of fork or spoon to gulp the food. And surely Col Williams Mourice Brown, the Principal would be at the back to catch the culprit.
e. Our batch College Captain Siraj got re-married recently after getting 13 Male votes in favour of the marriage, 11 ladies (our wives), voted against and 2 abstained in a session summoned to fix the re-marriage issue. It was a great fun, when someone disclosed that Siraj had changed his ‘Rohingya’ look having come from a remote village near Bangladesh – Myanmar border and substantially hidden and reduced his real age to the young ‘Bride’ one third of his age while trying to convince her and before striking the deal on the matrimonial alliance.
f. In a recent get-together. I narrated how stupid I was, to bunk sometime the evening prep classes and how I would land up in Almas Cinema Hall in Chittagong to see blockbuster movies like “The Guns of Navarone” & likes with Abdullah,Faisal and Nizam. Why stupid because even after seeing my mother weeping sometime in early March’ 1962, it did not have any impact on me to keep on being naughty and restless till the last day of my stay in the college.
g. The story was, my mother was completely broken and cried when my devasted father one evening broke the news of the ‘EXPULSION’ of my elder brother Sharif Atiq 4th batch, 1958 entry, for bunking prep class and having been caught by the Principal Col Brown in Chittagong City, resulting expulsion from the college for a full term. How come, it did not instill any fear in my heart, I wonder till now!
h. Before I get tired of remembering many more interesting events and stories : Our great ‘Odyssey’ must be mentioned here. This was about our ‘Hiking’ – a walk from Faujdarhat Railway Station the Start Point to Dhaka Kamalapur Railway Station the Finishing Point in the year 1967. Seventeen (17) young lads of the outgoing Class xii of 1968 Batch-we walked all the way 219 miles & not kilometers.
i. It was a great great achievement & adventure widely covered in the print media in those days. This was “Hell of a Tough Thing”. But it served as a great ‘Booster’ in building confidence in us to consider no “Hurdle is Hurdle”
5. The other was a life turning event of mine, when I was declared among the last three not to have made 1st Division Grade in the SSC exam. Sad, morose I was devastated. My father was sad too and advised me to start saying prayers. There after I never left prayers in the last 61 years. Alhamdulillah I hardly miss the Jamats in the Mosque now even in the wintry morning ! (Pardon me please for little publicity & self aggrandizement). Prayers & recitation of the holy Surah ‘Alwaqiah’( 36) everyday had seen me gaining financial solvency.
6. The parents are heavenly: Nothing like them exists in the world. My simple, docile, tender, fragile, loving, kind, gracious, amiable, benevolent & benign mother (I wish I had more vocabulary to describe her) must have been praying so hard and so passionately that nothing unpleasant happened to me in the next two years of my stay in the college. Rather, I surprised everyone by securing a position, though in the trailing end of the merit list of the Humanities group in HSC of 1968. (RABBI IR HAHUMHUMA KAMA RABBAYANEE SAGHEERA: O my Lord ! Forgive me and my Parents as they have brought us up with love from childhood).
7. Our batch had four freedom fighters, amongst them Ibrahim the ‘Sword of Honour’ more forceful & fighting hard captured a medal of honour namely Bir Protik. Captain Khaled who died fighting Kader Bahini 1975 also received another Bir Protik Medal. Rashed an engineer also fought in the Liberation War. A passionate guy, he now spends mostly his time in the Rohingya camps. Three guys made Generals in the Army. Earlier two stood first both in SSC and HSC in the Board. Their names deserves special mention . Lutful Bari both First in SSC & HSC & Ibrahim First in HSC Humanities group. Most of the other pupils prospered and shined in life!
8. At this point it won’t be justified if I do not write a few words about my utmost feelings & gratefulness to the ‘Freedom Fighters’ who sacrificed and who had put their lives into ‘Peril’ to liberate our country from the “Shackle of the Oppressors”. Less their sacrifice, there would not have been a Bangladesh, and I would not have risen up to an One Star General in the Army. Had we not got ‘Independence’ I wouldn’t have the opportunity of visiting 55 countries in the world. I was also very fortunate to have served in the highest echelons of the country in the capacity of personal staff directly & indirectly to seven of the Presidents of the Republic. This was of paramount significance as I could fathom the affairs of the state from the highest national level.
9. In the Last Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Reunion I Become Nostalgic & Fainted While Visiting my Old Room: This was my First Room & the Bed (Photos) in the Ayub House on the night of 7th July 1962. I fell in love at first sight with the Bed when I visited the room on 18th January 2018. I wanted to lie down for a while to feel the nostalgic past. So l pretended to have fainted in front of the inmates. But it all became fun when I started laughing myself.
10. Among other things what Cadet College taught me was to grow as a self contained confident person. Become aware of the surroundings, love and respect both the seniors & the juniors. Be a good human being, value human values & be responsive to the call of the distressed. Take initiative, discharge responsibility, meet challenges, be brave and courageous. Love your beautiful country.
11. The above attributes were reflected in my actions of utmost significance, which I would like to recollect as the ‘Most Memorable’ incident of my life, where my Sense of Highest Responsibility was demonstrated on the fateful day 15th August 1975. This happened when I along with three of us, the Personal staffs of the Honourable President, MSP, ADC Navy and our Driver risking our lives we went to Road # 32 in response to the ‘Call of Duty’ to salvage Bangabandhu from dire consequences. I keep saying that – it was not to display our ‘Courage or Bravery’ for which we rushed towards the President’s House on that day. It was for pure ‘Call of Duty’, we say in the military, which became a ‘Supreme Professional Obligation’ upon us to respond to the ‘Call of the Distressed’. Despite this being an incident of “Highest or Symbolic”
value, I remained naive in its dissemination or publicity.
12. Thanks to Allah Almighty for having given me the opportunity to study in such an Alma Mater. Thanks to my very humble parents, who so painstaking & thoughtfully admitted me and my elder brother to such a premiere institution of the country, despite their economic hardship in those days. Let me say with utmost gratitude to Allah that we were lucky and blessed to have been through the Cadet College education.
13. There is something more : Having read so much, yet I would like to burden you with my “ Midsize Resume” Titled ‘MID-SIZE RESUME OF BRIGADIER GENERAL SHARIF AZIZ, PSC (RETD)- AN OUTSTANDING CAREERIST ‘ to go through to conclude, what a good ‘Alma Mater’ can deliver to the society.
1. Brigadier General Sharif Aziz, psc (Retd) is one of the most renowned officers of the Bangladesh Army. He is extremely hardworking, a known workaholic, with dogged persistence & still kicking around at the age of 73+. He had his early schooling in a Cadet College, the premier one, known as Faujdarhat Cadet College, where he learned English phonetics from the Volunteers Services Overseas ( VSO ) from UK. Off shoot of a smart generation , these guys have been playing English Rugby- Football every day in the games period.
2. His “Gigantic-Thunderbolt” achievement is the “Job Opportunity” creation of a 22000 + the strong force, the largest security company in Bangladesh by the name the ‘Elite Force’. The infrastructures including, a unique ‘Dog Squad’ he has raised & built to discharge, dispose & dispense, Private Security Services in Bangladesh have been described as Awesome, Incredible, Amazing, Unbelievable, Unimaginable, Unparalleled & Unique by very high profile personalities like Ministers, Members of Parliament, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, CEOs & high level Civil & Military officials who have visited the facilities. No exaggerations ! Though he had no business experiences, yet Brigadier General Sharif Aziz after retiring from the service, got involved in the Real Estate Business & built up an excellent track record of fulfilling commitments, honesty & integrity.
3. Brigadier General Sharif Aziz had an outstanding ‘Career’ in the Army. He was awarded the prestigious symbol of ‘psc’ from the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College in the year, 1981. He is also a graduate of the Resource Management Centre, Naval Post Graduate School, California U.S.A. He took a Mid-Level Management Course from the Institute of Public Administration, Malaysia. He obtained a Master’s Degree in Defence Studies from the Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) Mirpur Dhaka & was placed in the ‘First’ division. There were many other ‘Firsts’ in his career, like he stood First in the Intelligence Course & also topped in the Entrance Exam for the Staff Course, a prerequisite to be qualified for the course in a foreign country. As a young officer he was selected as a Platoon Commander in the Bangladesh Military Academy, an appointment, most prestigious, who are known as the “Makers of Military Leaders”.
4. He commanded the prestigious President Guard Regiment for a full tenure. He was the Principal Staff Officer in a Divisional Headquarters. He also commanded a Brigade in the CHT- Known as the Khagrachari Brigade, the most intense fighting ground which was infested with insurgents. He led the Bangladesh Military Delegation to Pacific Management Seminar held in Hawaii, U.S.A. He was invited by the Netherlands Government to attend an Export, Marketing and Management Course by CBI (Centre for Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries).
5. Something ‘Outstanding’ about him ! He served as many as seven (7) Presidents of the Republic with highest devotion & dedication. Is it not something astounding ! This included a distinguished tenure as an ADC to the Father of the Nation : the Bangabandhu – Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. His tenure in the President’s Secretariat as Private Secretary to the President, gave him invaluable experiences and exposures to comprehend matters at the highest national level.
6. Brigadier General Sharif Aziz is a widely travelled person. He visited more than 50 countries and participated in many international seminars & conferences in USA, Canada, UK, Kenya, Malaysia, Italy, France, Singapore, Kenya, Thailand, China & Netherlands. He had also visited the ‘Pentagon’ the Headquarters of the US Armed Forces in Washington.
7. Brigadier General Sharif Aziz is a kind-hearted person, with strong religious belief ! He is also a very positive type of person extending ‘Helps’ to poor & distressed all the while. He has patience to spend hours together counselling persons coming to him with problems & difficulties. He is a keen Rotarian and an universal ‘Blood Donor’. He is associated with many social upliftment & philanthropic concerns & has memberships of most of the premier Clubs of Dhaka including Chamber membership of American, French, Spanish & Japanese Chambers. He is also an Executive member of the Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF). He has special knack for ‘Security & Intelligence’ and that is why he is still leading the “ELITE FORCE- The most ‘Versatile & Diversified & Unique’ private security services company in Bangladesh ! Alhamdulliah.
Concluding Notes :
1. We have a beautiful country gifted to us by the Almighty Allah. Once an international ‘Basket Case’ Bangladesh, has come up well no doubt. We have many things to be proud of. Our development indexes are better than many, particularly when we compare these with our neighbours. We have crossed the hurdle of LDC to qualify to be a Middle Income country; Our Per Capita income has increased, the Poverty level has declined. The erecton of ‘Padma Bridg’ is a National pride. Amidst worldwide gloom & uncertainty due to the Russian – Ukrainian war we have not broken down. Despite Covid-19 having devastating effects on us, we are still surviving. We have not done that badly in fighting the Pandemic so far, if we compare ourselves with many other countries in the world. We are a moderate humble nation, secular & tolerant to all other religions. Our rural people are simple and hospitable compared to the ‘Urban Folks’. In nutshell we still seem to be OKAY.
2. However, with such a magnificent ‘Profile’ narrated above, yet there are natural shortfalls. Why our National Capital is ill regarded and not considered ‘Liveable’. Why there are severe complaints regarding our Electorate System. Corruptions are there everywhere in the world, but it seems far too much horrific in our cases, when we see brand new buildings are just cracking and when we find bamboos are used instead of steel while casting the roofs or bridges. All these goes to conclude that there are still much ‘Contradictions & Paradoxes’ around ! Should we have to say all the time that we are one of the ‘Best’ in the world. We should not really like to thrive on the old glories & tales. We should not be still damn happy with slogans like – “Bengal thinks First & others Thinks Last”. If everything were so good why was it that the “Renaissance or the Industrial Revolution” did not spark off from this part of the globe.
3. The Cadets may be, are ‘Perplexed’ ! Why a very BIG number of Alumni of the 12 Cadet Colleges have left the poor country for seeking fortune abroad – Not serving the beloved country having had the chances to study at a very nominal fees- had been my ‘Big Query’ for quite some time. Even myself had been looking into all the avenues to seek peace & tranquil abroad. Availed a chance but could not fulfill all the formalities thus remained a non- immigrant as yet !
4. Development and happenings of the last one decade clearly indicated that we are increasingly getting known as an intolerant ‘JATI’. We simply cannot tolerate the Opposition, any dissenting views must be suppressed & gagged. At times we seemed to be a disoriented nation, oblivious of what all is happening in the saner world.
5. National Unity, Tolerance, Little Sacrifice & Realisation by the better lots of our society would have been like a “Beacon of Hope” for the nation – whose “Potentials” altogether can not be denied to attain an image of ‘Respectability, Honour and Dignity in the League of Nations.
6. In the meanwhile, it is high time we have a “Soul Searching”. A true ‘Self Assessment’ of our nationhood, is essentially the call of the day. No wonder Cadets, widely known for their “Self Centeredness” are wise beings to stay thousands of miles away, from many of the “Grim Realities”, we are facing.

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