At about 10 AM on Monday last the telephone operator of the Financial Express informed me that Mr. Mirza Ali Behrouze Ispahani was no more. He died at the early hour of the day at a local hospital. This news was something more than a bolt from the blue. I did not have any information about his illness. Ispahani is a household word in the country at least for its tea brand. But the Ispahani family is rich not only in wealth but also in education, culture and social works.
I had the opportunity of acquainting with Mr. M.A.B Isphani while I worked for the Financial Express. I served as a part-time company secretary and corporate consultant in the Financial Express since its inception in 1993 and continued for almost a decade. Mr. Isphani was the director of the International Publications Ltd. (IPL) and The Financial Express, the first financial daily of the country. I worked in the corporate sector for almost two decades as a company secretary.
When we met for the first time, he addressed me as Mehbub Bhai. It was the surprise of all surprises to me. I could not believe my own ears. Subsequently I found that he was a most amiable and polite gentleman. He did not know how to misbehave. Words like rebuke, insult and reprimand were totally absent from his conduct. He was ever smiling and most cordial to all people he would come into contact. We know that he was to look after the big business empire. Still he would make time to visit the office of the Financial Express from time to time and spend some time with its editor Moazzem Hossain. Of course that was the reflection of his rich cultural heritage. On many occasions he brought some papers and documents personally as he considered these as helpful for the FE. In the board meeting of IPL, he was always very frank in his approach and his heart was immune from the concept of any kind of intrigue. After leaving the FE, I did not have any contact with him. He is junior to me in age but I have had always the highest regards for him. The FE, particularly its editor Moazzem Hossain has lost a friend, philosopher and guide. We pray to Allah so that his soul may rest in eternal peace.
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