While in coma, army official promoted on retirement day



On the day Lt Col Dewan Mohammad Tasawwar Raja, who has been in a coma for more than seven years, was supposed to retire, he was instead promoted to colonel.

On March 11, 2013, Tasawwar, the great-grandson of mystic poet-songwriter Hason Raja, suffered a cardiac arrest after almost 24 years of service in the army. He was a month away from being promoted to colonel.

The cardiac arrest led to hypoxic ischemic brain injury, which in turn led to a coma that he has been in since May 12 of that year, Combined Military Hospital (CMH) doctors said.

This year, October 12 was Tasawwar’s day to retire from the army. Instead, he was promoted to colonel, while lying in bed in a coma in cabin 314 of CMH in Dhaka.

His wife, Mosleha Monira Raja, told The Daily Star, “It is a moment of great honour and it’s hard to express my feelings.

“He got sick around a month before he was supposed to be promoted to colonel. I felt sad because his friends used to say that a dynamic officer like him was supposed to be a general someday.

“But the honour he received at the end of his career in the army is so great that I can’t express how happy and grateful I am.”

Tasawwar was born on October 15, 1967 in Sylhet and got married in 1996. He has two sons and a daughter.

He was commissioned from Bangladesh Military Academy on June 23, 1989. His military career includes commanding Tank Regiment 12 Lancers, instructing in armour and infantry schools and going on two UN peacekeeping missions.

He was also awarded the ‘Peace Medal’ twice.

Besides military life, his published works include “Hason Raja Shomogro” and “O General My General”.

To uphold his legacy, he established and patronised the Hason Raja Foundation, Talibur Raja Memorial Library, the Educationist Dewan Talibur Raja Trust, and the Museum of Rajas.

He is also a member of Bangla Academy and Kendriyo Muslim Shahitto Sangshad, Sylhet.

 

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