Near Sunamganj, Sylhet
A few weeks ago I met Harold Rashid and was invited to accompany him to visit his families estate in Sylhet. Harold is a renaissance man: an artist, educator, musician and recently performed in two films. In 1990 Harold founded “Anandaniketan” (Happy School) so his boys would have a place to learn without going abroad to England as he did. His sister Fahmeena currently serves as the administrative director and there are now over 700 hundred students from pre-school to the 12th grade attending. It was a heart warming experience to visit the school and see such a high level of quality and care. That same evening there was a three hour poetry recital contest in English and Bangla.
Shah Jalal Mazaar
I spent a good part of my time near Harold’s home at the Shrine of Shah Jalal, a pilgrimage site for the 14th century Sufi saint and a contemporary of Rumi. I just happened to be there on the day of his anniversary and their were thousands of his followers from all over Bangladesh. The atmosphere and music reminded me of the Lalon festival in Kustia.
Sylhet is known for being the most prosperous region of the country and contains the largest number of Bangladeshi immigrants living in England. It was calming to be outside of Dhaka…. to breath some fresh air and gaze at some of the tea estates in the area.