Saturday, December 21st, 2019
Departure of an anti-poverty icon
December 21st, 2019 at 4:01 am
Departure of an anti-poverty icon

By Nazrul Islam;

Dhaka – The founder of Brac and one of world’s leading anti-poverty campaigner, Fazle Hasan Abed, passed away on Friday at the age of 83.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we have to inform you of the passing of BRAC’s founder, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed,” announced his organization in a tweet.

Abed, who is honoured with a knighthood by the British Crown, breathed his last at Apollo Hospital in Dhaka in the evening as he had been undergoing treatment of brain tumor.

As the news of his demise spread a pall of gloom fell on the nation that suffered an irreparable loss in the death of an anti-poverty icon known by the world for his commitment, diligent, simplicity and sincere efforts meant for the modern civilization.

His death downhearted millions of the ordinary masses who knows Abed everyday through the pink-bright four-leaf circle logo of the organization representing unity, evolution, longevity and virtues in the rural vicinity.

The brand helped social, economic and political uplift of marginalized millions since Abed had launched Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee immediately after the country’s liberation in 1971.

The organization having overseas operations in 11 Asian and African countries reaches more than 126 million people with its service that includes education, public health care, disaster relief, microfinance and social businesses among many others.

Policymakers, politicians, thinkers and professionals conveyed condolences at the departure of an iconic figure, beside his grief-stricken colleagues at the BRAC and its extended family.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed

“No words of consolation could take away the pain of losing him. We will honour his legacy with the same resilience, dignity and humility that he has instilled in us,” said the organization in a statement.

Texts on micro-blogging sites and other social media were flooded with note of condolence by international development activists, journalists, actors and policymakers.  

Bangladeshi President Abul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed shock at the death of the Brac founder and conveyed sympathy to the bereaved family.

Abed played an important role in realising support, raising fund and creating public opinion in favour of Bangladesh’s liberation war, Hasina said.

“He (Abed) also worked rebuilding the war-ravaged Bangladesh after independence,” she said terming the death as an irreparable loss for the nation.

Abed’s body will be taken to Army Stadium on Sunday for two and a half hours (from 10:00am to 12:30pm) to facilitate common people to pay tribute to him before the funeral rites. He will be rest in peace at Banani graveyard.

Born in 1936 in Bangladesh, Abed founded the Brac in 1972 to help the poor develop their own capacity to better manage their lives.

He was graduated in accountancy in London in 1962. He served in multinational company during the Pakistan era and left it to raise support for Bangladesh during the liberation war.

But he changed his mind to build his career in the development filed after the liberation through reconstruction of war-ravaged improvised Bangladesh.

And his model for development and political social and economic empowerment of the poor keeping himself away from any partisan exercises is acclaimed across the globe.

“Bangladesh is proud of him as people like him was born in this country,” Foreign minister Abul Kalam Abdul Momen said about him.

Abed served the BRAC as executive director. He retired from the position at the age of 65 and was elected the chairperson of BRAC Bangladesh. Later, he was also made as the chairperson of Brac International.

He retired from the position in August, forty-seven years after he began his work with a small relief and rehabilitation project in northeastern district of Sunamganj.

His works brought him numerous national and international honours.