Another Father’s Day has just passed after my father Abdul Majid Khan’s tragic death in a car accident in our hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan in February 2014. There is no better way to commemorate the day and celebrate his legacy than by sharing below his last words on his vision for the Foundation for Charitable Activities in Bangladesh (FCAB), the non-profit he founded.
Given his sudden passing, there is so much we did not get to learn from our father about life and especially about FCAB. I found these draft remarks he made to the local Bangladeshi-American community in his trashcan at the time of his death. Although these scribbled Bengali notes, torn and smudged with food stains were unlike his usual precise “engineer’s handwriting,” they capture well FCAB’s rationale and function. These remarks were given at a gathering at the home of FCAB’s newest Executive Board member Khaled Mahmood, just days before his accident.
Our father used to say ‘kill the snake, but save the stick.’ As I travel back and forth to FCAB’s field office in Bagdumur where he asked to be buried years ago, I wonder at the ironies and marvels of life. He was a progressive who was dedicated to tradition and tolerance. Our parents’ humility and hard work not only gave our own family the American Dream, they sponsored their entire families to join them for a better life. FCAB is not just about giving back but should be about remembering our roots and being accountable for our collective future.
It is said in our religious tradition and similarly in other cultures that after the death of an individual when all his actions – good and bad – have ceased, only three things will benefit him – continuous charity, knowledge he has left behind and the prayers of virtuous children. It is our sincere hope that our father will be rewarded with Paradise through the works of FCAB, his efforts in enabling others to seek knowledge and our heartfelt prayers. May God bless all of humanity and help FCAB to serve all humanity. And to all who have worked so hard to help realize our father’s dream, as he would say with that slight tilt of his head and ever-present broad smile, “So kind of you, so kind of you!”
Moushumi M. Khan,
Previous FCAB Country Director