Moon Desk: In spite of being a small boy, Sheikh Russel, the youngest child of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was a big-hearted human being as well as used to help people passionately.
“Russel was very passionate about helping people. He had great love in his heart for general people,” his house tutor Geetali Chakrabarty (Dasgupta) said.
On the eve of Russel’s birthday to be observed tomorrow, Chakrabarty reminisced her memories with the little boy in a telephone interview with BSS.
She taught Russel till August 14, 1975 from August 1972.
When Chakrabarty was a faculty of Begum Badrunnesa College in the capital, Bangabandhu’s younger daughter Sheikh Rehana and his son Sheikh Jamal’s wife Rosy (1974) were also her students. Currently, she is living in Sydney, Australia, along with other family members.
She retired from her teaching career in 2005 after working at different colleges in Bangladesh.
On August 15’s black night of 1975, 11-year-old Sheikh Russel was killed along with Bangabandhu and other family members.
On that fateful night, shattered Russel requested the assassins (for God’s sake) not to kill him but they killed the child in cool-brain along with his other family members.
Geetali Chakrabarty taught Russel that night as well. She fondly called Russel as Buchu. Russel used to call his tutor as ‘Apa’, ‘Apu’ and later on ‘Apumoni’. She stayed at Bangabandhu Bhaban on road number 32 till 11:30pm on August 14.
She was very close to Bangabandhu, Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib and other family members specially her loving student Buchu (Sheikh Russel).
Talking to BSS over telephone, she shared her different memories with Russel.
About the first day of tutoring, Chakrabarty said it was July or August in 1972, she went to teach child Russel at their Dhanmondi 32’s residence. She taught him for some days at Ganabhaban as well.
The then Awami League’s treasurer Md Mohsin (former MP, Khulna) and his wife Rawshan Ara Mohsin brought Geetali Chakrabarty to Bangabandhu’s residence. She used to teach at Mohsin’s residence too. They placed the proposal to Bangabandhu’s family to choose Chakrabarty as house tutor for Russel. At that period, Chakrabarty was a 2nd year master’s student of Bangla at Dhaka University.
Recalling the first day’s experience as a house tutor of Russel, she said: “On that day, I waited sometimes on the first floor. Later, Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, mother of Sheikh Russel, came. I became astonished seeing her simple attire and appearance. She was wearing a light cream-colored handloom sharee. No luxury could touch her.”
“After a few moments, Russel came in smiling face along with Rama (Abdur Rahman Sheikh Rama who was a longtime house help of Bangabandhu’s family). He (Russel) was around 6 or 6 and half years old. He was in sky-colored night dress and short haired,” Chakrabarty recalled.
She said: “Russel sat beside me on a chair after coming there. Rama was holding a schoolbag. Rama kept the bag on t-table and stayed standing with curious eyes. He might want to understand the condition of new student and new teacher.”
“I took the books out of the bag and saw those. I asked a few questions to him (Russel) like name, class, and what he liked etc. After 10-20 minutes, I left him. He went inside the residence with a smiling face. Meantime, respectable Fazilatunnesa Mujib told Russel to give ‘salam’ to the teacher. He gave me salam and went inside,” she said.