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Aviation father Aminur remembered

03 November 2016 bdnews24.com

Those were extraordinary times that gave birth to a befitting hero. Aviator, musician, photographer and all-round visionary - Captain Aminur Rahman was all that in just one life.
Born in 1916, he flew the first flight of independent Bangladesh in December of 1971. He founded East Bengal Flying Club which is now Bangladesh Flying Academy.The late pilot's 100th birth anniversary brought together a select group of 100 guests and drew numerous messages from admirers and followers.
'The Biggles of Bengal' - Rashid Suhrawardy remembered his title in a speech sent to the event hosted in his honour at a hotel in Dhaka on Tuesday. The message by the actor, son of the Awami League founder Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, was read out by the pilot's granddaughter Tani Deepawali Nawaz.   
But unlike comic book aviator Biggles, Aminur Rahman and his work were real.
Rashid Suhrawardy remembered how his father, another arid photographer, was moved by the captain's skills while sitting in his cockpit as he captured in film the "devastation and cruelty of calamitious floods" in the Bengal Delta.  "You have given me a wonderful understanding of the river system of East Pakistan (Bengal)," he quoted the late Suhrawardy as saying. Another of his student and admirer was Capt Shahab Uddin Ahmed Bir Uttam, one of the very few civilian holders of the title. The Liberation War hero remembered meeting his 'guardian' Aminur Rahman as a young cadet of the East Bengal Flying Club in 1963.  "He guided all of us so that we move up our path in aviation," he told bdnews24.com.   Capt Shahab Uddin recounted the 1970 cyclone whose deadly aftermath irreversibly changed the political scenario of South Asia and with that some extraordinary flying skills. Aminur Rahman would take his amphibious aircraft, for relief work, to the far reaches of Barisal where tens of thousands were killed. "It is not at all easy to fly those planes. Their pilots must possess some serious skills because amphibious planes make flying and landing very difficult," he said.
It was not just the skies he explored in all its depths, said composer Azad Rahaman. The pilot, also a flute maestro, was a disciple of Pandit Pannalal Ghosh. "He was related to the skies, so he became quite great himself. With that he became a valid citizen of another great world."
Aminur had mastered among many other classical musical skills 'the Alaap' in Dhrupad style besides the art of flute-making itself. "He was so musical-minded that whenever he would start four engines of the aircraft in sequence, he never used the gauge for the remaining three engines. He tuned it by his ear," said Pandit Nityanand Haldipur, whose father was also a disciple of Pandit Pannalal, in his message dedicated to 'Minto Da'.
"Some of the pilot fraternity have contributed to the liberation of our country. The late Aminur Rahman was able in some measure to contribute to this overwhelming process and events, directly and indirectly, through those he trained or the trainers he trained," said Dr Dipu Moni in her concluding speech for the family-hosted ceremony. Formerly the foreign minister, she is married to the pilot's son Towfique Nawaz.
Three more events are set to follow this year to shed light on his flying, music and the values he would have promoted. The theme to mark his 100th year, she said, was quite suitably, "in the one life he lived."

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