Barrister Suman: The Change Maker

Syed Sayedul Haque Suman, an ordinary man with an extraordinary quality, is currently the most talked about person of the country. Besides being a full time legal practitioner, he is a social media activist. He fully made use of facebook with a combination of his legal acumen to protest against corruption and to shed light to the existing issues of the country.

With the help of this powerful tool called internet along with prompt legal action, he has already made a significant impact in Bangladesh. He has set an example how a social media platform can help to bring about change. A smart lawyer and a change maker, Barrister Suman is undoubtedly the ‘Legal Robinhood’ of our time.

After completing his Bar Vocational Course in the UK, he had the opportunity to stay back and make a living. Instead, he returned home with a realization that it’s his time to give back to the community where he belongs. With an urge to do something for the people, he started to take small steps at a time. Identifying problems around him, he figured out there were no bridges in some parts of his village. Villagers, especially school going children had to swim to get to the other side. Barrister Suman immediately took the initiative to build a wooden bridge for their welfare. This was when his bridge building projects started. So far he single handedly built 25 wooden bridges around his district, that too spending from his own pocket.

But he did not stop there. His social work began in Dhaka, where he observed serious hazardous condition in the streets, this time going live on Facebook. He started to regularly go live standing sometimes infront of a pile of garbage on the road, sometimes infront an electric pole to portray any unscrupulous actions of concerned authorities. It all started when he noticed something unusual on the highway while coming back to Dhaka from Narsingdhi. There was an electric pole in the middle of the road that made it a highly accident prone area. He immediately went live on facebook and precisely showed how dangerous the area had become due to the pole. His video views skyrocketed and changes came overnight. From then onwards, he came live from almost every corner of the city portraying various issues affecting its dwellers. His video on a damaged highway sign board helped to fix it within 12 hours of it going viral. He cleared an illegal parking spot which blocked a major walkway in 2 hours of publishing a live video.

His videos not only showcase the problems but hold the concerned authorities accountable for their corruption. Many unnoticed corruption are once again brought into light. Thanks to the online news portals that make it a point to bring the videos to public attention, the concerned officials under pressure make necessary changes to meet the queries. Besides actively doing citizen journalism, Barrister Suman helped many unsolved cases get judicial attention. One of his notable legal actions is filing a case against a Police officer who allegedly filmed a rape victim’s statement. He is routinely filing writ petitions in the Supreme Court to solve bigger problems that cannot be done so with a live video. His take on selling antibiotics without prescription is noteworthy. Very recently, he filed a writ seeking judicial inquiry on the corruption of the Rooppur power plant housing project.

They say sometimes you face difficulties not because you are doing something wrong, but because you are doing something right. Barrister Suman is that ‘one man army’ who is going against the tide to do what is right. There may be few people who dislike him but that is because his vision conflicts with their interests. He made it a point that corruption must not be left unnoticed because it would continue in its own pace. He is one of those few people whose relentless efforts can bring forth a corrupt free Bangladesh we dream of.

Advocate Aiman R. Khan

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