Prof Mohammed Fokhrul Islam
(1939 - 1991)
PFI Foundation was initially registered as Professor Fokhrul Islam Foundation as it was established in the memory of Prof Islam after his untimely death in 1991. The Foundation aimed to carry forward the social works of late Prof Islam and continue his ideals of educational development of the rural communities in Assam. Activities of the Foundation was later reorganized and its name was made more popular as PFI Foundation since 2006.
Prof Md. Fokhrul Islam was a reputed teacher of Indian Economics and Planning at the Cachar College for more than two decades. Born in 1939, he was a student of Karimganj College, G C College and later studied at Gauhati University. He started his career as a humble teacher in Swarnalakhi High School, Narsighpur (Cachar) and later joined Silchar Govt. Boys HS School. He went on to pass MA in 1960 and joined Cachar College as a Lecturer in Economics under the legendary Principal Keshab Chakraborty. He went on with teaching Economics earning a huge following of ardent disciples for his down to earth style of teaching difficult economic theories in simple language. He took a sudden entry into politics in 1978 when he was elected to the Assam Legislative Assembly from Patherkandi Constituency as an independent candidate defeating a stalwart like Biswanath Upadhaya. He later became Parliamentary Secretary for Education in 1979 and ultimately became a Deputy Minister for Education. He has also served as the Chairman of the State Madrassa Education Board. He was also a member of the Gauhati University Executive council and the Court.
However, Prof Islam was not comfortable with Politics as the political scene was gradually becoming corrupt. In spite of being a sitting Minister in the Congress Government, he refused to fight election again and in 1983 he came back to teach Economics at Cachar College. In 1984 he was appointed as the Principal of Lala Rural College (Hailakandi). His constant fight again mass copying in various examination centers and the growth of an organized Education Mafia made his tenure as a Principal very painful. His insistence on college teachers to attend colleges regularly made him very unpopular. Against this backdrop, Prof Islam was assassinated by unknown assailants in the early hours of 2 Jan 1991 at his residence in Lalabazar. His death was not accepted by public as a normal one and though an enquiry was ordered by the Governor of Assam its report never saw the light of the day.
Prof Islam did a number of things for the road infrastructure of rural Patherkandi and provided a large number of employments in the education sector for the youth. He wrote frequently in newspapers, magazines and talked in Radio on various topics. He was a popular speaker at Milad Programs in educational institutions. He was known in the Assam assembly for his strong speech and debates. His untimely death left a vacuum in the academic atmosphere of the state.
Mrs Meherunnessa Islam
(1948 - 2016)
After the death of her husband Prof Fokhrul Islam, it was Mrs Meherunnessa Islam who inspired his followers to establish the Foundation. She was its founder President and served the Foundation till 2006. She was the main force behind the starting of this organization as a small NGO in a corner of Assam, India. Till her death in 2016, she was remained its strongest patron.
Prof Dinesh Sharma
Prof Dinesh Sharma was born on 2 Oct 1949. He retired as a Professor of Sociology from NCERT, New Delhi in 2011. He did his PhD in Sociology from Chaudhary Charan Singh University (formerly, Meerut University) in 1980. He MA (Sociology) from same university in 1973. He did B.Sc. from Delhi University in 1971. He served as a Member, Governing Body, Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University, Chitrakoot, (UP) during 2012-2016. He was Professor of Sociology, Dept of Education of Groups with Special Needs. NCERT, New Delhi (2003-2011); Reader in Sociology, NCERT (1995-2002), Lecturer in Sociology, NCERT (2007-2012). Prior to that he was a Research Associate at the Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi (1979-1980). His major research included: A Study of Problems of Education of Linguistic Minorities in India, 2009-2010; A Study of Ashram schools and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, 2007-2008; Problems of Education of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Children, Survey and Research, 2005-2006; Human Rights Education in Indian Schools - A four Country study, 2003-2005; A Study of various Aspects of Upper Primary Education in India, 1997; Values in Education in Schools in India, A four country Commonwealth sponsored study, 1996 and Socialization among the Trans-human Gujjars of Kashmir with Social reference to educational system, UNESCAP), Bangkok, 1976-1981. He was the author/co-author of several books that included: Social Change-A TEXTBOOK FOR Classes XI& XII, NCERT 1984; Sociology: An Introduction-A textbook for class XI, NCERT 1987; Socialization among the tribes in India, Common Wealth Publishers, Delhi, 1998; We and Our Country-textbook for class III, NCERT 1998: Socio-Culture issues & Problems, Journal of Indian Education, NCERT, Nov.1999. and Some Aspects of Upper Primary Education in India, NCERT, 2001.
Prof Dinesh Sharma passed away on 19 Oct 2018 at his NOIDA residence due to a massive heart attack. At the time of his death, he was working on the Lok Sabha research project on Disability Legislations in India. His work stands as a testament to the power of sound knowledge of the subject as well as the intricacies of policy studies.