November 20, 1911 is the date of birth of Gazar Uddin as per his national ID. The affable gentleman, however, claims that he is 125 not 108.
Gazar Uddin, his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren live in 12 houses at Dahagram village in Patgram upazila.
Free of common old-age complications, Gazar is not only well-known for his health, but also for being a witness to a series of historical events including the 1947 partisan of India.
The father of six sons and four daughters lost his first wife Shahjadi Begum about 40 years ago, second wife Maleka Begum about 20 years ago, and third wife Aleya Begum two years ago.
His eldest child Fatema Bewa is 95 years old.
Gazar has been an agriculturist all his life and at present passes his time by making bamboo crafts and fishing nets, and feeding cattle. He cannot carry heavy materials though.
When asked about his secret to long life, Gazar said that he had always been an early riser and a conscious eater. “I wake up before sunrise every day and eat home-cooked meals. I seldom eat meat, mostly I live on vegetables.”
The centenarian says he can see clearly and has no health complications. “I never suffered from any serious disease. For bouts of fever, pain, cold, and headache, I took herbal medicine not the chemical ones.”
Gazar starts his day by saying prayers at the village mosque and then walks around in bare feet. In breakfast he takes “roti” (flat round bread cooked on a griddle) and for lunch and dinner, he takes rice, vegetable, pulse with fish or meat.
His third child Abdul Jabbar, 80, described to this correspondent how his father outshined him. “Except lifting weights, my father till today does all necessary chores whereas I have been sick for the last 10 years. I am proud to be his son.”
Jabbar‘s son Saber Ali said his grandfather was the only “disease-free man in the village.”
“I have never seen him in pain, he is always smiling,” said the 65-year-old.
Saber’s son Ashraf Ali, 40, addresses Gazar as “Baro ba,” “Boro ba tells us stories from his life experiences and also narrates the history like how the British ruled India, how the partisan happened. Then of course he talks about 1952 Language Movement and 1971 Liberation War.”
Gazar’s great-great-grandchildren Anisur Rahman Akash is 18 years old.
“Gazar dada [grandpa] is our asset because he always guides us. He is not educated but encourages us to be. I never saw him sitting idly. I am happy to be a member of the fourth generation of his family,” said Ashraf’s son Anisur.
Alongside family members, Dahagram Union Parishad Chairman Kamal Hossain is also fond of Gazar.
“He is the senior most resident of this union so I pay him a visit whenever I can. He never takes any aid from me but enlightens me with his words of wisdom,” said the UP chairman.
Gazar owns 10 bighas of arable land, eight cows, and six goats. “I want to live with sound health till the day I die. That’s what I ask for in my prayers,” Gazar told this paper.