Today is the 78th birthday of a man known for his honesty and versatility; a man of profound promptitude and punch. He is considered as one of the icons in our socio-economic arena. The birthday bouquet goes to Dr. Mohammad Farashuddin - a former Governor of Bangladesh Bank, a renowned Economist and the founder-Vice Chancellor of the East West University. So much is his achievements in life that he could unhesitatingly recite Rabindranath Tagore's lines at this august moment: "thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure.
This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and finest it ever with fresh life."
Mohammad Farashuddin was born on April 18, 1942 in Ratanpur village under Habigonj district (greater Sylhet). He comes from an enlightened and solvent Muslim family. In his boyhood, he passed through an environment of deep sorrow, pervasive poverty, acutely adverse agro-climate condition that routinely reigned over the then rural life. Possibly the seeds of serving the humanity were sown in his soul by those pernicious factors afflicting a vast majority of people. Actuated by the love of humanity, he dedicated his acumen to the service of his fellow human beings till today.
He passed out of Murari Chad College (MC College), Sylhet, with flying colours. Later he moved to Dhaka to study Economics at Dhaka University. Backed up by brilliant results there, he taught for few years in the Department of Economics with paramount perseverance and popularity. But brilliant students of that time were generally booked for the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP), and Mohammad Farashuddin was no exception to that. While in job, he was awarded a scholarship and went to Boston University to do a Ph.D in Economics and successfully received the award. Given the excellent academic records, he could easily stay abroad to offer a safe and shining life to his family members but he returned home, albeit with some risks, abandoning the ambition that many Bangladeshis would have never thought of throwing away.
By and large, at every point of his journey from Ratanpur to Dhaka to Boston, even to the international organisations that he happened to serve, he exhibited his excellence through merit, amiability and human spirit. Not only is he a meritorious person, but also a man with humanity deeply ingrained in his heart.
One of the remarkable milestones of his life is that he was the private secretary to the then Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. During his long stint as a civil servant, he served the government with dignity, honesty and sincerity. He is known as one of the most successful governors of Bangladesh Bank who did not give in to political pressure to spoil the money market. Further, he headed few enquiry commissions set up by the government with credible contributions to the cause of the country.
Having said all, his dream of developing higher education needs some detail. He is one of the pioneers of the private universities in Bangladesh and the founder Vice Chancellor of East West University. In fact, the red-brick high building at Aftabnagar embracing the permanent campus of the university, was financed from his own savings and without imposing extra fees on students; the institution now enrols about 9000 students, about 500 teachers of excellence are on board working hard to make it an institution of repute. The university offers a lot of concessions to the disadvantaged meritorious students to flourish in life. But behind all of these developments, needless to mention perhaps, lies the head and the heart of Farasahuddin who tends to earn no bucks for the services he renders to the cause of the university. At 78, Mohammad Farashuddin is active and agile to continue to be the Chief Advisor of the University with his heart and soul devoted to uplift East West University as one of the top citadels of learning in the world.
In person, he is ever smiling, amiable in nature, honest and efficient. With a proud positive feeling, we say a happy birthday to a beacon of light in our socio-economic arena.
Abdul Bayes is a former Professor of Economics and Vice Chancellor, Jahangirnagar University; now a
part-time teacher, East West University.