Sunday, 3 June 2012

Amazing Visionary Journey of Dr Mizan Rahman

by Shafiul Islam

Dedicated to Visionary Dr Ahmed Sharif and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Dr Mizan Rahman (1932 September 16 -), a Bangladeshi Canadian Mathematician and a prolific writer, is a distinguished Professor Emeritus at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He was born and raised in beautiful Bangladesh, the land of waterlilies. Beyond mathematics, Dr Mizan has profound interest in art, culture, literature, music, economics, politics, philosophy, rationalism, freethinking and community.

Dr Mizan Rahman’s innovations and contributions have enriched our scientific community, humanity and global social fabric in a very profound way. ‘When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.’ Simply, Dr Mizan has just done that eloquently and touched many lives to weave the tapestry of truth, time and space. 

Further to teaching and academic career in mathematics, open-minded Dr Mizan meticulously painted the vivid glory and magnificence of our humanity through his prolific writings and farsighted journey. His mosaic of memoirs, philosophical angles, turns and twists portray the reflections of life and provoke our insights to realize our potentials to build a better tomorrow. 

Picture 1: Dr Mizan Rahman, in a social gathering, Akhtar Hussain and Rosie Hussain’s house party in Toronto, photographed by Monir Babu 2012 May 20

“His book ‘Basic Hypergeometric Series’ with George Gasper has been very useful, in fact quite indispensable, to the graduate students and researchers in q-series and Orthogonal polynomials since its first publication in 1990.”
• Advanced the boundary of education, knowledge and farsightedness for uplifting human harmony
• Published a significant number of high quality thought-provoking publications in the field of mathematics, literature, and politics with
a ‘philosophical flavor’.

• 1998 – to date Professor Emeritus at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada
• 1998 – Retired from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada
• 1965-1998 Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada
• 1958-1962 Senior Lecturer, Dhaka University, Bangladesh

• Ph.D. ‘The Kinetic Theory of Gases and Plasmas Using Singular Integral Equation Techniques’, University of New Brunswick, Canada, 1965
• M.A. in Mathematics / B.A. in Mathematics, Cambridge University, UK, 1963/1958
• M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics / B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics, Dhaka University, Bangladesh, 1954/1953

Honors and Awards:
• Life-time membership in the Bharat Ganita Parishad (Indian Mathematical Society)
• Award of Excellence from Bangladesh Publications, Ottawa, 1996
• Fellow of the Bangladesh Academy of Science in Carleton University, 2005
• Best Teaching Award, Carleton University, 1986

Picture 2: Monika Rashid and Dr  Mizan Rahman at Monika’s House Party in Montreal

Picture 3: Dr Mizan Rahman & Farhana Shanta, in a social gathering, Akhtar Hussain and Rosie Hussain’s house party in Toronto, photographed by Monir Babu 2012 May 20

 Picture 4: Dr Mizan Rahman and distinguished guests in a social gathering, Akhtar Hussain and Rosie Hussain’s house party in Toronto, photographed by Monir Babu 2012 May 20

Dr Rahman also writes on various issues, particularly on those related to Bengali cultures in multiple media. He contributes to internet blogs and e-magazines: 'Karamara', ‘Mukto-mona’, ‘Notundesh’, ‘Porshi’, ‘Parabaas’, ‘Sahityacafe’, … predominantly in Bengali language. He also serves the advisory board of the Mukto-Mona, an internet congregation of freethinkers, rationalists, skeptics, atheists and humanists of mainly Bengali and South Asian descent.

Dr Mizan Rahman currently lives in Ottawa. Besides maintaining a regular routine, he swims regularly to stay fit. and are delighted to present Dr Mizan Rahman’s visionary interview. Here is a snapshot of our electronic interactions:            
Shafiul Islam SI: Greetings Dr Mizan Rahman - welcome to ‘’ and ‘’. Tell us about your birthplace, childhood, education and the most inspiring childhood memory.   
Mizan Rahman MR: I was born in a rented house in old Dhaka, in 1932. My first schooling was in my mother’s loving lap, till I was ready to go to school, Govt. Muslim High School, straight in class 3. We couldn’t afford junior schools, nor the tuitions at Muslim High. Thankfully I, along with my siblings, was bright enough to qualify for stipends and special poor funds that allowed continuing our education. I personally was probably a little better than my fellow classmates----received special attention from my teachers. I did fairly well in my exams, nothing spectacular, but reasonable, perhaps showed future promise.
My most vivid memory of childhood was the devastating famine of 1943. In a way that was one single event that formed my mind for the rest of my life. I saw human misery, suffered through it myself, from close range. That solidified the foundation of my character and personality.
SI: You are a dad. What do you miss in your children's childhood that you enjoyed most in your childhood? 
MR: One of the fondest memories of my childhood is the ever-loving indulgence I enjoyed from my grandparents on both sides. My two sons got none.
SI: Tell us about your family. Have your children settled well in their profession?
MR:The older one, Babu, 46, is, because he has followed the traditional route to the highest degree in Mechanical Engineering enabling him to land a good job in California, as well as marrying a college graduate of his choice. No such luck for my younger son, Raja, 43, who hasn’t followed any traditional course of career, rather a very uncertain path of classical western music, with training in the famed Juilliard School of Music in New York. He makes a living, yes, but not a steady one; and yet unmarried with real possibility of never tying the knot in the standard way.
SI: Is it a good idea to save wealth for children’s wellbeing? If not, what should we do our wealth after we pass away? 
MR: No, wealth is never a strong incentive for pursuit of a productive life for surviving children, in my opinion. Fortunately I haven’t had any desire for wealth and property, which allowed me to pursue a life of what is proverbially called “plain living and high thinking”. Thankfully my dear departed wife concurred with me completely on my thoughts of what constitutes a meaningful life. Whatever little money I’ll have left, if any, should help that musician son of mine ride over the rough edges of his existence. The rest of it will go to charity.
SI: When did you move to Canada? What was the primary motivation behind moving to Canada? 
MR: In 1962. Mostly for higher education (I did my Ph.D. at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton), and partly to escape the constant infightings and squabbles in the family.
SI: What is your vision? Who has inspired you to your visionary journey?
MR: To aim for the top, to give everything you have to reach there, first for yourself, then for the entire society that has helped you accomplish that goal.
SI: What is your passion?
MR: To raise the bar from the lowest level of apparent reality to the higher, transcendental level, finally to man’s ultimate goal of total abstraction. Quality has always been my way of doing things in life, whether or not I always succeeded.
SI: Name your most favourite five farsighted visionary Bengali who contributed significantly for uplifting human harmony?
MR: Frankly I am all blank on this question. I can think of Lalan Fakir, Tagore, Nazrul Islam, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Aruzullah Matubbor. But I don’t know if they all deserve equal weights in terms of their overall contributions.
SI: Name five most short-sighted Bengali who deliberately undermined human harmony significantly?
MR: This is one question I’d rather not attempt to answer. This will quickly become a very contentious issue.
SI: In your view, who is the most visionary leader of our time and why? 
MR: You didn’t make clear whether you are talking about Bangladeshi leaders only, or worldwide. I assume you meant only Bangladesh. In that case my answer is: the only visible face, as far as I can see, is Professor Yunus, although he is probably not going to make a very good political leader if he ever tried. But he is a visionary leader. He is the one who coined the phrase: World poverty will belong to the museum in 15 or 20 years. Highly ambitious, and unrealistic of course, but very uplifting for the desperately poor. His model has been tried, with measurable success, in many countries, thus earning him accolades in more than one form. This, of course, is just my opinion. I’m quite aware of the humiliating treatments he has received at home.
SI: We are in the state of financial turmoil. How do you sense the evolution of global economy?  In your view, who is the most visionary economist of our time and why? 
MR: I don’t know much of who the top economists are, so I can’t give you an answer on that question. But world economy is in dire trouble because, in my opinion, most people have been duped into believing by their political and business leaders that you can buy anything you like on credit, even if you do not have a steady job. The present generation of “buy now pay later (or perhaps never)” believers have finally brought down the whole edifice. Shall we recover? Have we learned the lesson never to repeat the foolish adventure into the world of debt? No. We haven’t and probably we will not. Sorry to be sounding so pessimistic.
SI: You are specialized in various fields of mathematics, such as hyper-geometric series and orthogonal polynomials. Tell us your journey in mathematics.
MR: My thesis topic was far removed from what I have been doing most of my professional life-----it was in Kinetic Theory of Gases and Plasmas. I never thought in those days following my graduation in 1965 with a Ph.D. that I’d be anything but a Kinetic theorist. However, it was my first three publications in this area that drew interest in some quarters in the US and UK. Then it was time for me in 1972 to go somewhere for research collaboration with someone on my sabbatical leave. Fortunately an offer came from a Physics professor at Bedford College in the University of London, who thought we would be a good research team. His name is Michael Hoare, now a life-long friend of mine, a co-author of many of my publications since 1974. He, along with a bright graduate student of his, dreamed up a lovely set of Markov chains which needed a mathematician to make further progress. So, here I was at the right time at the right place. I got a gold mine! This is how my new life as a hypergeometric man and as a pseudo specialist in orthogonal polynomials took off. Yes, I have had some success in my areas, nothing outstanding, but for my limited talents I think I have gone as far as I could. I consider myself a singularly fortunate man.
SI: You have a profound interest in many disciplines. Who are your most favourite artist, musician, writer, politician, philosopher and economist?
MR: Artist: Vincent van Gogh; Musician: Beethoven; Writer: Tagore, by a mile; Politician: Tajuddin Ahmad; Philosopher: Socrates; Economist: Keynes.

SI: Among them who is your most inspirational icon and why?
MR: Tagore, of course.
SI: You are well connected to the community activities. Tell us about your community commitments. How did you turn those challenges into opportunities? 
MR: It would be a gross exaggeration if someone said I’m well-connected with community work even today. I think I’m not good enough or modern enough to do anything for the present generation. However, in my youth I did have some zeal for our Bengali community in Ottawa, which got into a fever pitch during the 9 months of our war of liberation. Yes, I did my little part, as much as I could, like every other Bangali of those difficult times. My efforts were not more important than others’. Since then was I involved with our communities in an organizational way? Yes, I was, again like everyone else. Deeply involved with BACAOV, Bangladesh Canada Association of Ottawa Valley, until a whole flood of new immigrants came and eventually brought the thing wide down. Nothing special.  
SI: According to you, who are the most promising politicians and prolific thinkers of our time? How they impacted and outreached us to make a difference. Have they influenced your thinking? How?
MR: I don’t know if you are asking about our Bangladeshi politicians. If you are, then, I’m afraid I’d have to draw blank. There is absolutely no one I know who I consider worthy of mention, let alone feel inspired by them.
SI: What are your research findings and how do they impact to sustainable education and knowledge creation?
MR: It would be highly pretentious to claim something obtained by my “research”. I haven’t done any systematic research on anything but my own narrow area of mathematics. But I do feel that the education system in Bangladesh needs major overhaul-----it has neither created a healthy generation of future citizens worthy enough to lead the nation toward a goal of greatness, nor an army of capable technocrats motivated by anything other than their own glory and fame.. All it did is divide the whole society into 3 classes of people: the large majority of have-nots who have no choice but send their children to religious schools; a sizable lower middle class whose children learn everything in Bengali, but almost no English; while a much smaller but highly powerful section send their children to English medium schools, who end up learning a lot of English but can barely speak Bengali. They are the ones who go to Harvard and Oxford and Yale, leaving the rest to rot in their land of birth, condemned to live lives of abject misery and drudgery. Do I have any way to influence the craze? No, I do not, unfortunately. Nobody is going to pay any attention to what I think or say. Nor do I have any missionary zeal or talent to go out and preach some lofty ideals to mostly unwilling and disinterested listeners.
SI: In your view, what are the current crises of our civilization? How can we overcome them?
MR: In my humble view the real crisis is the dearth of big ideas in the field of building a robust, healthy society, and politics, coupled with slow but relentless approach of technology to engulf the human life. It has taken over, in many cases, our normal faculties of thinking our own ways, leaving the simplest tasks to the machine. This, I think, is going to be the catalyst of our ultimate demise as an intelligent human species.
SI:  Today only 5% of people have command on 95% of world's wealth. Many people live in poverty. Majority people live under a dollar a day. Has our education system failed to outreach majority people to build a civil society in our global village? How can we overcome such extreme inequality in our interconnected economy?
MR: The so-called free trade has produced this unfortunate situation, in my opinion. It has brought immense benefit to a very few, leaving the rest of us trailing far behind. It’s like a super-fast train that can be boarded only with a first class ticket that the poor folks have no means to afford. It is the colossal collapse of social conscience all over the world, in my opinion, that has precipitated this dire crisis. Human greed was always there in our gene, but they remained under control by certain some farsighted social programs, which simply evaporated with the introduction of free trade and the oft quoted jargon of globalization. I call it the globalization of human misery rather than human good.
SI: What is your view regarding the existing political condition in Bangladesh? Are we more involved with politics of fear and torture or politics of development and prosperity? 
MR: I never had too much faith in any politician in our country, other than Tajuddin Ahmad, whom the nation saw fit to shoot to death while languishing in Dhaka jailhouse. Others are mostly ignorant, illiterate, inept and thoroughly corrupt bunch, who have very successfully managed to demolish whatever precious few institutions the country ever had, including law and order, education, health, communication. All they have left is a very crude form of name-worshiping that can inspire nothing but amusement and chuckle in the international observers.

SI: Are you optimistic about the ongoing crime against humanity trial during the independence in Bangladesh?
MR: None at all. It is a child’s game that’s going to fly flat against their face pretty soon. Everything has a timing mechanism. Bangladesh lost the opportunity in 1972---now it is too late. A country, whose entire economic survival is effectively mortgaged to South Arabia with their 50 lakh manual laborers, cannot afford to put Golam Azam or any of his cohorts in jail still, and expect to remain friends with the Islamic world. No, I don’t think anything will come out of that trial other than a lot of gas and pompous statements.

SI: The proliferation of reactive religious ideologies in Bangladesh and beyond has undermined creative cultures and progressive thinking. What do you think?
MR: It is a sleeping monster that will roar back to life in near future. Bangladeshi politicians have been playing with fire for too long in trying to appease the religious sentiments of ordinary people. They call our country “moderate Muslims”. In my opinion there is no such thing as moderate Islam. Islam, by its very nature, is intolerant to contrary views. They say, Bangladesh has freedom of speech. Oh, really? Can I question the validity of the holy book in the context of a modern society? Can I contest a single word in the Hadith or a single rule of the Sharia? I can, provided I agree to walk without a head on my body. In this country real democracy is never possible. Religions are fundamentally incompatible with the principles of modern democracy.

SI: Can we break the boundary of our so called traditional belief system that undermines our uncommon thinking ability for stimulating innovation and knowledge creation?
MR: I’m afraid, no, we can’t. Most of our lives are controlled by a congenital fear of death. If there were no death there would be no need for a god or a religion. So the myriads of cults that have sprung up from time to time, are simply a reflection of deep-seated fright that we all suffer from. Unfortunately our poverty is going to perpetuate this dogma till eternity, as far as I can see. In my opinion all you can do is that you can hope to come close to cushioning the problem in a massive education program all over the country, cutting off completely any public funds to the religious groups. Is that possible in Bangladesh? It was, in 1972, but not anymore.

SI: There should be one religion in the world. That is humanity. What do you think?
MR: On world religion, your utopian idea sounds great, but it is highly idealistic----it will never work. The greatest obstacle is humans themselves. Ordinary people, who form the large majority of population, will have nothing to do with that idea. They have no clue what you are talking about.

SI: Is Bangladesh doing enough to protect her talented progressive thinkers? How do you see Dr Humayun Azad’s situation? Why did we fail to prosecute the attackers of Dr Azad?
MR: Your question sounds like a joke. There was never any room for “progressive thinkers” in this country. Can we ever forget our one and only one home-grown philosopher, Aruzullah Matubbor, and the events that motivated him to raise deep questions about his religion? Has the nation been able to honor that man with even a token gesture of respect? At the very least, a statue in a prominent public place? No, my friend, Bangladesh is not a land of thinkers, progressive or otherwise. Our journey is back to the grim past of Islam, not to a land of modern values of humanity and human rights. You have to remember it needs a bit of talent to recognize talent. Unfortunately our political leaders never had that, with just one exception that I know of---Tajuddin. You ask about Humayun Azad. I never liked this gentleman personally, but I always had, and will always have, the deepest respect for his ultramodern ideas about religion, society, personal life, art, literature. He just happened to have been born in a wrong country at a wrong time. Bangladesh didn’t deserve the likes of Matubbor or Azad.

SI: How do you evaluate Taslima Nasrin’s situation? Have we failed to protect her basic right and freedom of speech? What should we do to protect her rights?
MR: Here again, the wretched country of ours has come out with its true color. Taslima is a very, very talented girl, whose poetry is better than her prose, in my opinion, but certainly had the potential of turning out a major writer on her own. True that she could use a bit more restraint in her personal behavior, but that is no reason why she should be deprived of her rightful place in her country of birth. Isn’t it a cruel irony that a man like Golam Azam should be welcome back to Bangladesh, while a fiery girl like Taslima should be banished forever?

SI: Killing people is a crime. Yet the killers and their collaborators become the popular politicians in Bangladesh. How do we expect criminals can serve people?
MR: The question makes me laugh. You can’t be serious. My answer lies in the question itself: an ideal criminal country, where the only people who can roam around freely are the criminals.
SI: What lessons should we learn from killing Sheikh Mujib, the founder of Bangladesh?
MR: This nation of ours isn’t very good at learning lessons. It never did, and I don’t think it ever will. Besides, haven’t you heard the famous adage: the first lesson of history is that nobody learns anything from history? Seriously, though, yes, there was a lesson. One should never take his popularity for granted and be tempted to impose an authoritarian rule on his doting fans, just because he thinks nobody will think of raising eyebrows. He didn’t pay attention to his only real friend, Tajuddin: “Mujib Bhai, this unilateral act of yours (Bakshal) may ultimately lead to a restless people who will find no other way to remove you from power, if they feel they need to, but to use the barrel of gun against you. After taking your life they will then take ours”. How prophetic his words turned out to be.
SI: What lessons should we learn from killing Colonel Taher, the prominent patriot of Bangladesh who had a vision to transform our military and engage them for enhancing our productivity?
MR: That two tigers cannot live in the same cage. Similarly two military men, one with burning ambition of his own, the other with a missionary zeal to introduce basic reforms to an archaic but comfortable system, cannot coexist. Reforms are anathema to entrenched establishments. Likes of colonel Taher will be always eliminated by one general or other.
SI: What is the contemporary role of military in Bangladesh? Are they dedicated to serve our country or busy to doing business with countries lucrative wealth? Today military claimed ownership of many lucrative locations and business in our beautiful Bangladesh. This is quite different from Colonel Taher’s patriotic vision. What do you think?
MR: I don’t know much about the present state of our military. But one thing I do know. These boys are from the same roots as the rest of the population. So they can’t escape reflecting the same character as their parent population-----one of total indiscipline, insubordination, unreliability, treacherous behaviour. Can we forget the events at BDR compound? I fully expect the military to be just as corrupt as the rest of them. No country has ever done anything, in the long range, to bring about a major, fundamental change toward a better future for the entire country, through military rule. You may mention Mustafa Kamal Pasha. But that was only in 1925. Look at Turkey now----once again an effectively Islamic state.
SI: Prof. Yunus envisions that one day we will see poverty in the museum. Can micro-credit eliminate poverty? If not, what are the other alternatives that can make a difference? Do you see any shortcomings of Prof. Yunus’ micro-credit system?
MR: I have great respect for this visionary man of ours. He is a highly idealistic man, with scant regard for reality, but he is the only one, at least the pioneering one, who dared to sow the seed of hope in a desperately poor constituent population----he kindled a daring dream. But his model can only raise the level a little bit, that will not work unless all hands join him with helping attitude. Did he get any help from anywhere? He did, from outside his own country, but not inside. His method of implementation was probably not perfect, perhaps it was more because of his naivety than “evil” intentions, but our self-promoting politicians will have nothing of it. They are hell bent to destroy this man. He is a different kind of Humayun Azad, in my opinion, a much softer and humbler kind. Not as defiant of course, but as revolutionary.

SI: As it appears, is micro-credit another form of exploiting vulnerable poor people? Will you take a loan at that high rate of interest? If not, how can a poor people afford and be free from that? Is it a business of poverty retention or poverty eradication?
MR: Frankly I don’t know the answer to that question. I understand the ideology a little bit, but not the implementation part of it. I have no answer to why and, if, Dr. Yunus imposed those high punitive interests on his poor clients. I’m as mystified as everybody else is. I think it would be best to put the question to him personally. But I’ll never accept that he intended it to be a money-grabber to start with, that it was just a clever business tactic, that it was more exploitation than eradication. I’d not hasten to pass that harsh judgment on this man, yet.

SI: In light of your research, do you think we need more socially responsible teacher-student and education-business model to address our emerging issues like extreme economic inequality in the ever connected integrated community?
MR: Tall order: these high-flowing idealist models of yours. “Responsible” student-teacher, education-business model, etc., ---are we talking about the United States of America or the critically over-populated country called Bangladesh? It sounds like a modern western country the way you described your thoughts. No, sir, I don’t believe it will work well in our country. It may work in a very limited sense in strongly urban areas like Dhaka and Chittagong, but I can’t see how it can take root on rural areas where life is almost completely controlled by the clergy, and by time worn series of dogmas.
SI: I feel empathy is the missing link in our contemporary education system to build a civil society. What do you think? Do you foresee any change in our education system to build a more socially responsible future generation? If so, what form of education model do you recommend to overcome this crisis?  
MR: Modern education is not just important, but vital. That is about the main ingredient that is missing in our rotten education system. You can’t expect to build a “civil society” with a bunch of bearded mollahs and an army of veiled women. We can’t have a decent modern state while salivating for a ridiculous “khelafate rashedin” state. We can’t join the club of India and China and Brazil while remaining devoutly loyal to a madman called Osama bin Laden.
SI: Not a long ago, only a few universities existed in Bangladesh. Now we have more choices, but, many people question about the motive and quality of education. They see education is more business than building more socially responsible generation who will transform our future with empathy and equality. They are hardly involved with knowledge creation. What should Bangladeshi universities do to address these issues?
MR: Bangladeshi universities are helpless pawns in the hands of their masters in the government and the ambitious businessmen who just to make a million in the quickest possible time. No sir, our education system has rotten beyond repair. It needs complete change, a totally radical approach starting with a clear understanding of what exactly are the goals of this nation----to create good Muslims, or good technicians, technocrats, or good hooligans, good street fighters, or just plain old-fashioned men and women, who can compete with the rest of the world. Just make up your mind, is what I’d ask our “leaders”.
SI: You have written a number of books both in Bengali and English. Among them which one do you like most and why?
MR: It is hard to single out one book from the others, especially by the author himself. But I have to confess to a special weakness for the very first book of mine, “তীর্থ আমার গ্রাম”, almost like a first love, with all its naivety, its imperfect expressions, inept idioms, yet with so much raw emotion, so rich mosaic of memories---it’s very palpable.

SI: Gandhi simply summarized his legacy as ‘my life is meeting the truth’. Looking back, how would you summarize your legacy? 
MR: You asked me about what I’d like to be remembered with. I think all I’d say is this: A humble man who tried to do whatever he could to make his own life as meaningful as possible, and others’ around him as enjoyable as possible. To seek beauty and harmony in all forms of human expression (poetry, art, music, literature, architecture, science, mathematics, philosophy, everything) was one of his compelling passions. 

SI: What is your advice to a prospective student/teacher who aims for higher education, knowledge creation and changing the world?  
MR: Never forget that knowledge is about the only thing in life that has no boundary. One who does a Ph.D. degree should never think his/her education days are over. In fact, I believe, at the conclusion of the highest degree one has finally learned how to learn, and not that you have mastered anything. Then go out and teach how to learn to be free, how to think creatively, and socially responsibly.
SI: We appreciate your valuable time today. We look forward to our face-to-face meeting and interview. Anything do you like to add? 
MR: I like face-to-face stuff. There is human contact. I really have nothing to add except to say that I do not consider myself worth so much fuss as your elaborate questionnaire seems to imply.
SI: Thank you for giving us your valuable time today. We wish the very best of your endeavours. 
MR: You are most welcome. It has been a pleasure.

A few excerpts of Dr Mizan Rahman from our recent email exchange: 
"…I'm just an ordinary guy who happened to be at the right place at the right time, and was lucky enough to take advantage of some of the opportunities that came my way. Nothing more than what others wouldn't have done under similar conditions….”

“…I could never write about my "successes", leaving that to others who have seen me at close range. My standard request to friends and foes is: If you have something negative to say about me please say it in front of me, otherwise say it in my absence. No, it is not my modesty or humility, this is what I am. I don't believe in trumpeting my own drums if I am any good, others will do it if they need to. It is neither necessary nor important…." 

Foods for Thoughts:
Beyond mathematics, Dr Mizan Rahman's prolific writings have been sustained by his keen interest in expressing the small moments of daily life, portraying a mosaic of memoirs that speak both to tradition (his early years in Bangladesh), modernity (his adopted home in Canada), and humanity (his visionary journey).

Still majority people, living under a dollar a day, cannot fight for right. They face fear and torture. When will we end exploitations and tears? When will people outreach peace and prosperity? How can we weave our global social fabric together with human harmony? Are we open-minded to accept the challenge and endure the change that we want to see in the world?

We have raised and addressed a wide variety of topics. Dr Mizan's reflections and points of view are quite unique in perspective.  Simply he reveals his secret of success. How has he led this amazing journey? He is blessed to have an open-mind to unleash his observations and turn challenges into opportunities. I’m delighted to compile and present you the links to Dr. Mizan’s publications. Click on the links below to explore and enjoy his epic journey.

As I explore Dr. Mizan’s featured insights, I am amazed to realize how silently he has concentrated to weave the tapestry of our glory and humility. I have rushed to conduct this interview as ‘time and tide wait for none.’ At least we have tried to unveil some joy and inconvenient truth of our time. And someday, if someone takes some time to reflect on it to make a difference – then what can we expect more? 

Dr Mizan Rahman’s farsighted thoughts and visionary journey certainly pave the way to make a difference. They teach us ‘how to learn to be free, how to think creatively, and socially responsibly.’ May I thank you for allowing me to share your delightful treasures with us? 

As you continue to seek beauty and harmony in our humanity, we salute you evergreen Mizan Rahman for your amazing visionary journey. ‘The light that you emit might even light a star!’ 

Our quest for quality life continues as we weave our global social fabric together. We dare to dream…. ‘We shall overcome….’ 

End Note: I have missed the opportunity to explore all of these links in depth. If you notice any error or mistake, please advise me, I’ll be delighted to correct them. Feel free to share your thoughts. Thank you in advance.

Stay tuned. More to come….

Dr Mizan Rahman’s Selected Featured Insights:

Selected Articles on Mathematics:
George Gasper and Mizan Rahman, Basic Hypergeometric Series, 2nd Edition, (2004), Encyclopedia of Mathematics and Its Applications, 96, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-83357-4.
Special Functions, q-Series and Related Topics, Fields Institute Communications, volume 14, American Mathematical Society, Providence, 1997.

Selected Books of Dr Mizan Rahman
English Books:
  • Basic Hypergeometric Series (Co-author, 2nd Edition 2004)
  • Special Functions, q-Series and Related Topics (Co-editor, 1997)
Bengali Books:
      Selected English Articles:

      Selected Articles: Multiple Media & Blogs

      Selected Articles:
      Anyone Remembers Nov.3 ? - Mukto-mona
      বিদায় বন্ধু • মীজান রহমান
      বৃষ্টি, আরো বৃষ্টি • মীজান রহমান
      মিছিমিছি লেখালেখি • মীজান রহমান
      ডক্টর নোবডি • মীজান রহমান
      শীতের পাখি  • মীজান রহমান
      শুনতে পাচ্ছেন তো? • মীজান রহমান
      গোয়েন • মীজান রহমান
      ইউসেমেটি • মীজান রহমান
      পথকে পেলাম সাথী • মীজান রহমান
      পথকে পেলাম সাথী • মীজান রহমান
      পথকে পেলাম সাথী • মীজান রহমান
      জ্বী মহারানী • মীজান রহমান
      সুশীল সমাজ • মীজান রহমান
      আজ আছি কাল কোথায় রব • মীজান রহমান

      Pictures Credit:
      Courtesy of Farhana Shanta and Monika Rashid's Facebook, accessed 2012 May 27. Dr Mizan Rahman and distinguished guests, Toronto, photographed by Monir Babu 2012 May 20

      I am grateful to Monika Rashid, Montreal. Monika has extended her help to communicate with Dr Mizan Rahman in Ottawa. Also, many thanks to Shaugat Ali Sagor, Publisher & Editor In Chief, Notun Desh (, who frequently publishes Dr Mizan Rahman’s articles.
      মীজান রহমান, Dr Mizan Rahman, Mathematics, Education, Economy, Politics, Philosophy, Literature, Freethinking, Knowledge Creation, Vision, Religion, Multi-culture, Music, Art, Community, Humanity, Karamara, Mukto-Mona, Porshi, Parabaas, SahityaCafe, Bangladesh, Canada.
      শফিউল ইসলাম Shafiul Islam
      Cambridge, Canada
      2012 June 02
      Published at on 2012 June 03
      Published at on 2012 June 03

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