The accomplished people who create a legacy with toil, hardship, and integrity, become living legends in their lifetime. People all around start to look up to them, think of them as celebrities. As if they are some selected few from an unknown land, from a different world.
But astonishingly enough, they are just normal human beings who pushed the apparent boundaries around themselves and made their actions meaningful. Deep inside, they are humans with the same flesh and blood as every other. It is just the flamboyance of the spotlight that makes them look different than the others.
Akhtaruzzamn Babu too is an ideal politician who made a break-through in our country’s socio-economic aspect with his legendary initiatives. A name that the people of Bangladesh will remember with immense respect. Akhtaruzzaman Babu dedicated his heart and soul to politics and benevolence since the very beginning of his life. All his activities and accomplishments converge into one single focus – the progress and prosperity of our motherland.
Akhtaruzzaman Babu was regarded as the people’s leader. He always maintained a low-key persona as a member of the party, a significant placeholder, or a respected political leader. This is the reason that people may think highly of him and imagine a version of their ideal leader in a whole different way.
But as we magnify enough into the life and living of Akhtaruzzaman Chowdhury Babu, we find some facts that remain hidden from the filtered eyes. Here are some astonishing facts about Akhtaruzzaman Babu that you have not imagined earlier:
Origin & Early Life independent of each other:
The heir of a Landlord:
We all know about Akhtaruzzaman Babu’s contribution and early strive in politics. But if we follow back in search of the roots, we find that he was born to an affluent Muslim family. His father Nuruzzaman Chowdhury was a landlord and advocate of Anwara Haildhor in Chittagong. But being born to a well-to-do family never stood as a barrier to his friendly conduct, neither raised a cue of pride in him. Rather, he considered everyone as his equals and later dedicated himself to the service of common people.
Akhtaruzzaman Babu was a student with Distinction:
Babu was not only an exemplary politician but also an accomplished scholar. He was successful in his higher secondary school life as a Notre Damian. His success paved the way to getting admitted to Illinois University of Science & Technology and later in New York University.
Akhtaruzzaman Babu was a Volunteer:
Babu had the inner inborn intent of helping the people around him. In his youth, he was involved in various welfare activities for the betterment of the localities in Anwara. He was the most amicable person who did not bother about the caste, creed, and color of the people he interacted with. His selfless approach that was fed with no envy or pride, won the hearts of the people of Chittagong in no time.
The rise of an eminent Leader as if predestined! :
The message of Independence was aired from his residence:
When the message of Bangabandhu first arrived in Chittagong, Akhtaruzzaman Babu was entrusted with organizing accommodation for undelayable broadcasting. Since he was a member of the Struggle Committee, he took the responsibility and assisted with the team to air the message countrywide.
A part of Mujibnagar Government:
We already find Akhtaruzzman Babu featured as a delegate in foreign awareness; also, we are knowledgeable of this contribution as a freedom fighter. But many of us do not know that he was a significant part of the temporary Mujibnagar Government. He was accountable for the relief and rehabilitation committee.
Akhtaruzzaman Babu was Youth Leader:
Babu believed that there is nothing called too early. Accordingly, he never held himself back from doing what he wanted. He was popular in his community as stated earlier; he was involved in politics at an early age. Even before the independence of Bangladesh, he represented his people in the East Pakistan Assembly of 1970.
Active in Protests:
Akhtaruzzaman Babu was not only an elected leader who could contribute to a national level but also raised his voice against what was unfair. He led the Chittagong movement along with his fellow people. In the 80s, he protested against tyranny and continued in the movement till democracy was restored.
Industrialist Tycoon on the outside, a risk-taker visionary inside:
The founder of Zaman Industrial Group:
Akhtaruzzaman Babu was an exemplary industrialist. He pioneered the business practice in Industry since the early 60s. His intent to involve in Industry started before the liberation war and continued over for decades as we know. Starting from 1965, he established Boyle Industry after having confronted the apparent boundaries and beating the odds.
Later on, he established Asif Steel Mill, Javed Steel Mill, Asif Synthetic, Panam Vegetable, Afroza Oil Mill, Bengal Synthetic Products, and many more. After Independence, he shifted his attention to the left out foreign mills. He purchased Vanguard Steel Mill and Synthetic Resin Products. The foreign-owned Armit Mill too was bought and reinforced by him.
What we usually do not know is: to control the conglomerate business, AKhtaruzzaman Babu created a central management system. The well-known business organization of our country – the Zaman Industrial Group was established by him in the ‘80s.
The founder of one of the earliest private bank in Bangladesh:
United Commercial Bank Limited, also known as UCBL is a reputed private bank in our country. But very few of us know that the bank was founded by Akhtaruzzaman Babu after independence. He was the founding chairman of the 2nd earliest private bank in Bangladesh.
The internationally recognized businessman:
Akhtaruzzaman Chowdhury Babu had a great influence as an affluent and successful businessman. He is an ideal example to the businessmen and industrialists of the country. He was a popular and influential spokesperson for the business community in Bangladesh. During his lifetime, he was honored as a business leader and was elected president of the Chittagong Chamber twice. He was the President of the FBCCI in 1988. It is known as the top business organization of Bangladesh.
Akhtaruzzaman Babu’s influence in business spread beyond the country’s boundary. The international business organizations that started knotting affiliation with the then newly independent Bangladesh chose him as the representative.
His position as the President of the OIC Chamber of Commerce brought recognition to our country as an active field of development. The connections he made with the global organizations helped rebuild our country. Akhtaruzzaman Babu was elected Vice-Chairman of the 77 Jati Group, a prestigious international organization in 1989. He was the only Bangladeshi to hold this position.
Unconditional & boundless benevolence:
Financed politics and welfare from his own pocket:
Nowadays, most of the people in politics solely depend on the state fundings or the monetary privileges they get from the Party. Exploitation and unfair sanctions too are not uncommon as an underground practice. Akhtaruzzaman Babu was far away from all those unfair means. And on top of that, it was later on revealed that he shouldered the financial liabilities at times.
Whenever the Party faced an unprecedented scarcity or a voluntary program was about to be postponed due to insufficient funding, AKhtaruzzaman Babu expended money from his own savings. He never expected any return or refund. Rather, he seemed contentment in seeing the welfare projects carried on successfully by his benevolent contribution.
The emblems of Charity:
Akhtaruzzaman Babu founded a number of mosques, madrasas, schools, and colleges in Chittagong. These structures and their continuous services stand as charitable examples at Anwara, West Patiya in Chittagong. For example, Anwara Degree College, Haildhar Basharuzzaman Memorial Education Center, Barumchhara Shaheed Basharuzzaman High School, Anwara Jugesh Chandra Memorial Trust & JHB High School, Aulia Degree College, Chandnaish Burma College, Enayet Bazar Women’s College, AJ Chowdhury Degree College, Raipur Coastal High School, Anwara Paschim Patiar and many school colleges were established by his monetary sanctions.
To recognize Akhtaruzzaman Babu’s countless contributions, the government named the Muradpur-Lalkhan Bazar Flyover after him. it remains as a token of respect and love to the legacy left by Akhtaruzzaman Babu.