This proverb fits fine for the personality we are going to read about. His life can be studied as a pure picture of motivation and self-belief. Dr. Saidur Rahaman is a scientist in a State-of-the-Art innovation laboratory by Johnson & Johnson, in San Francisco, USA. Dr. Rahman grew up in a family, where his father is an imam and his mother is an educated housewife. With about Rs. 700 rupees per month, Iman can barely meet family expenses. People mostly in that area are day laborers and farmers. Hardly, one can find school teachers in a village and few quack doctors with no major cities around. While the family was very poor and in a remote area, and father as a religious teacher – and mother used to teach the local girls – the family developed a highly rich and disciplined culture of education. In this atmosphere, education was the only thing Dr. Rahman could dream of that took him this far.
Dr. Rahman saw all difficulties and hurdles but never gave up. He had the vision to go a long way and achieve his dreams. He spent a lot of time studying in the High Madrasa and still acknowledges the education he inherited from there. His family never thought to send him for higher education. When he scored remarkably well in 10th grade, his family thought to continue his education. He was then admitted to Bolpur High School which gave him more opportunities and platforms to realize his dreams. And there was no looking back. He started performing better with amazing grades. He soon became an example for many students. Being a child coming from a small village and topping in all the examinations was not easy.
His college life started with Surendranath College, Kolkata for his higher studies and again, there he cleared with 1st class. In 2000, he completed his master’s de- gree from Calcutta University in Physics. Through the graduate aptitude test, he cracked his entry to IIT Bombay. He got an unexpected turn after his entry in IIT Bombay. He stated in an interview that, “being a son of an Imam from a small village, going to IIT Bombay was totally new and different for him”. He never dreamt that big but IIT transformed his life. He saw IITans studying days-n-nights for getting scholarships to study abroad. He tried the same, and his life changed forever. Within 6 months, he cracked a scholarship exam & got an opportunity to pursue his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. So, he traveled to Germany for his Ph.D.
He got a call from the Los Alamos Laboratory in the US. This gave him the right opportunity to prove his talents. He acknowledges that very few in our community opt for careers in science. He always motivates students to go ahead to flourish in physics chemistry, mathematics, economics, political science, and management and to beat the challenges. MNCs are leading and dominating the world with the strength of innovation; similarly, a country can flourish only by investing in education and research.
Later he joined the Georgia Institute of Technology as a Principal Investigator in the Physics department. Later, he joined Johnson & Johnson in 2015 where he is currently researching laser surgery and correcting vision in a new innovative method. His main area of research is how to bring back eyesight through laser treatment. He is thus working in the JNJ vision Bay area state of the art innovation center and he along with his team
has invented an eye surgical device.
Like academics and professional life, he has been a great human being as well and involves himself in social service in need. Over weekends, he visits homeless shelters with food. He feeds tother at local community MCA every week 150 homeless people in the San Francisco area. “You don’t have to be great to start. But you have to start to be great.”
He has certainly proved that even though we start with nothing, we can make it far with determination and hard work because in the end life is what we make it. Murshidabad is one of the most backward districts of our country, but this did not stop Dr. Rahman from achieving his dreams. He worked hard for it and achieved it through all the hardships. He is an example for many children in our society and his life is a clear picture of motivation.
Dr. Rahman feels that it’s his social responsibility that he has to do something good for his community back in India. His Wife also inspires him to do an impactful action for the society back in India where students like him get lost for getting the right platform or guidance. So, to give a platform to our deprived and underprivileged rural children, they started a residential school with 36 students in 2013. Currently, Dr. Rahman & wife Joly Khatun are managing and running three schools with a total of 667 students to provide quality education at a subsidized fee of Rs 300 per month for education and boarding. They have taken full responsibility for more than 250 residential students with 90% students coming from farmers, small businesses, and labor families or families below the poverty line.
Over the past 8 years, in addition to providing education, he met about 4000 families in his locality who said to him, “take my child and guide him, give him education so that he can become something. We want our children’s lives better than ours. We don’t want that our children become like us.” This is the voice of thousands of poor rural Indians, Dr. Rahman stated. And he wanted to bring this to the attention of millions with the hope that it resonates with others’ thoughts and someone can do something similar somewhere. We can collaborate and build bigger and better platforms. He feels that this is the new India we all wanted to see.
He has developed, a very cost-effective and quality residential school education process. We reach out to every village, every house, find rural talents, bring them to residential school, provide guardianship and education so that they can move on themselves and help others. If we don’t do this in remote villages where majorities are poor, how we can think of the solution to the problem we are facing today. So, Dr. Rahman humbly requests to invest in nurturing rural India where talents are often getting lost in despair!