Engineer Md. Ruhul Matin

Distinguished public servant, Engineer Md. Ruhul Matin, who received a gold medal from our Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on the 13th of January 2012, is the Chairman of RM Group.

Mr. Ruhul Matin was born on 7 March 1942. He was a graduate of Faujdarhat Cadet College, the very first batch. He has served as the President of Cadet College Club Limited or CCCL from 2011 to 2013. He is Life Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Bangladesh and Life Member of Officers’ Club Dhaka. He also served as a member of the Executive Committee, Commonwealth Engineers Council, London (UK).

His life in public service began in the then East Pakistan, and post-1971, he continued public service before retiring in 1999 as Additional Chief Engineer, Public Works Department (PWD). His efforts spanned, more or less, across two Ministries: Public Works and Housing; Civil Aviation and Tourism. He continues to be an active personnel of Housing and Building Research Institute (HBRI).

Yet less is known about how valiantly he conducted himself during the Liberation War and something for which he never sought official recognition.

The following are all somewhat episodic memories of the events Mr. Ruhul Matin experienced around the Liberation War:

A. He traveled from his residence (for public servants) in Chittagong to attend the 7 March 1971 Speech of the Father of our Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the speech that cemented Mr. Matin’s belief in the necessity of an independent nation of Bangladesh, the very birth of which is unstoppable. As a witness to the injustices of the central government, stationed in West Pakistan, he always believed in the historical inevitability of an ascendant Bengali people, who, irrespective of faith or racial origin, were united by the Bangla language, a language that narrated a shared reality for Bengali people.

B. On the fateful night of 25 March 1971, fires could be heard in the army camps (which were near his residence) and bullets reached his household too. No doubt civilian casualties were high. His household did its best to supply bandaging materials and food for all the suffering individuals. He was adamant about staying and not escaping from the situation. He was perhaps more stubborn about his decision to not serve as an East Pakistani public servant when asked to join government office at the beginning of April 1971. His sense of justice was his compass.

C. His West Pakistani colleagues mounted considerable pressure on him to yield, and plans were hatched to teach him a lesson. His Bengali colleagues tried to assuage the situation and tried to persuade him on tactical grounds but he could not be convinced. He was picked up twice for interrogation, tortured, but his allegiance to the dreams of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman could not be shaken; Bangabandhu’s unshakable conviction leadership served as Mr. Matin’s moral compass. Fortunately, an engineer-colleague from Holland intervened and persuaded the Pakistani authority to back down from their inhuman ways.

D. At the end of April 1971, Mr. Ruhul Matin returns to his government residence only to find it ransacked. Roundabout at that time, Mr. Matin starts his vehement campaign to serve the cause of freedom fighters. He arranges for safe stay and/or passage of Freedom Fighter Mr. Engineer Mosharraf Hossain and his family. Mr. Hossain, who is currently the Minister of Housing and Public Works in the cabinet of our Honorable Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, had been a family friend of Mr. Matin. Mr. Matin and his father, Mr. Shafiqul Haque (late), also kept hidden a hoard of arms and ammunitions entrusted to them by Mr. Hossain. The arms cache was later returned to Bangabandhu’s government after independence. Throughout the War, Mr. Matin tirelessly works for freedom fighter in any and every capacity.

E. Post-1971, Mr. Ruhul Matin worked closely with Awami League leadership on the welfare of freedom fighters. He shall always be remembered as a distinguished public servant who concurred with Bangabandhu’s “Islam of Insaaf [Justice],” and always believed in the ascendancy of the Bengali people.