Legacy is not only a memory but also an ideal. It is an imprint in the records and tellings of history that prevails beyond oblivion. Indeed, humans have cognitive intelligence to harness the teachings of the past. Legends are not born every day; and of course, legends are never born legends. They become one eventually as life goes on – with their attempts, actions, and accomplishment. As they devote themselves to benevolence, they nurture the purest well-being of the fellow people. The deeds of philanthropy lead to further betterment and development of the society – noted as acts worthy to be followed.
Yes, a man may not live for a long time – rendering life as a momentary one-time opportunity and blessing. This scarcity of time-bound with enormous uncertainties create an immense drag. An incentive to do something that makes life worthy to have lived.
Akhtaruzzaman Babu was born in Anowara, Chittagong in 1945. After being born, as he grew up and started recognizing the world and its system around him, he sought the meaning of life and the purpose of his being. He used his multiple-perspective view to comprehend realities. Eventually, he was shaken by the socio-economic condition of the majority people of in his community.
It was hard to grasp the huge difference in financial status – a gap that he couldn’t bridge for that time being. So he tried his utmost to get along with the common people, to get them to know better. With the passage of time, he became a people’s man with his amiability and humbleness.
He offered everything in his league to help the people and peers. He began to find the answer to the forever-sought question: the meaning of life. And indeed, he found the meaning by being of service to mankind.
We all know Akhtaruzzaman Chowdhury Babu as a famous politician and affluent businessman. But underneath the flamboyance of his accomplishments, lies a hidden inscription of intent. This script reveals the stimulus and the prime revelation from the life of Akhtaruzzaman Babu. As we dive deeper into comprehending the uninterpreted perception, to much surprise, we find that it is not hidden at all.
It is mere camouflage. A transparent cover that wrapped Akhtaruzzaman’s acts of philanthropy. Undoubtedly, the benevolence practiced by him holds the answer to our search for revelation. When we converge the records and activities and focus them on one single point – the gist is the manifestation of his meaning of life. It is the pursuit of development and progress.
The pursuit of making Dreams and chasing after them:
Akhtaruzzaman Babu was a visionary thinker and a big picture viewer. The poor economic condition was a matter of concern to him. To overcome the financial barriers, he schemed a print of foreseeable development. His activities might not have shown a very charming and fast initial velocity but had a good enough acceleration that had an impact in the long term.
Akhtaruzzaman started to deal with static friction by pioneering, volunteering and initiating projects. He believed that every achievement was started with one single step. It is the will of a man that drags forth to a long journey; and once accelerated to a good pace, there is no stopping it. Honestly, it sounds optimistic but the real picture of the journey was tied with hurdles.
It was in the early ‘60s when Akhtaruzzaman Babu first started his business practices. It was a time when Bangladesh was still under the occupation of West Pakistan. The environment was unfavorable and the political field intimidating.
Support from vendors and sponsors was scarce since no one would prefer to invest in a field of no foreseeable profit. Nevertheless, he fought the obstacles and kept onto his track. He realized that no development and progress can be implemented without sincerity and perseverance. He risked his time and money for the decades to come and finally they came to fruition.
Akhtaruzzaman Babu did not pioneer business for his own profitable gains but he had plans for sustainable development in parallel. As his business kept spreading and flourishing in various sectors, he created employment opportunities on a massive scale.
It is no wonder that in his prime position as a politician and democratic leader for consecutive decades, he gathered experience and spirits of dreaming big. He was inspired by the ideals of Bangabandhu – how he nurtured deep in his heart the ardent wish of making the country prosper. Followed by the visions of our honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he joined the battlefield of the economy. After achieving independence, it was the new fight for the country to stand upright with status in the globe.
Akhtaruzzaman knew this and contributed accordingly. Just as he fought bravely during the liberation war, he kept his fighting spirits in the strive for development as well. He remains an ideal to the entrepreneurs and the ones who dare to dream big.
Akhtaruzzaman Chowdhury Babu left examples for the people of Bangladesh through his years of contribution to the economy and industry. He emerged as a businessman in the year 1965. It was a time before the independence of Bangladesh. Despite confronting apparent boundaries and impedances, he struggled and established the Boyle industry, a factory on Batali road.
This was his first into seeking revelation by means of social service in a unique way. He was of a young age with no experience. But his contained a blazing stimulus in heart, hope for the future, and keen insight into strategy. He kept prospering with his business and he took the decision of making hay while the sun shines. Eventually, his practices enhanced, and his industries flourished.
The steel mills owned by him are:
- Asif Steel Mill
- Javed Steel Mill
- Vanguard Steel Mill
The Oil and Synthetic Factories established by Akhtaruzzaman are:
- Asif Synthetic Mill
- Panam Vegetable Mill
- Afroza Oil Mill
- Bengal Synthetic Products etc.
To manage the conglomerate industrial business, Akhtaruzzaman Babu founded the Zaman Industrial Group in the ‘80s. It grew up as an organization that manages and enhances the business by creating more opportunities for the people of our country. The industries which were owned by foreign companies and were left uncared fortunately caught the attention of Akhtaruzzaman Babu. It was clearly viewable that the abandoned or disowned or slow-running industries were wasting the investment and material usage potentials of our country. This is why Akhtaruzzaman Babu bought some of those industries, reinforced their infrastructure, and invested in them until they became full-fledged factories. The foreign-owned Azmat mill is one of them.
Akhtaruzzaman Chowdhury Babu did not only use his brains and investment in Industry but also in finance. After the liberation war of Bangladesh, the newly born country did not have enough financial back up in its stock to support its people. The country sought help from the Global and state banks which eventually piled up huge debts. The national or state bank was still a fetus in the process of the uprising and holding the countries massive cashflow. At those critical times, Akhtaruzzaman Babu established United Commercial Bank Limited. It was the second earliest founded private bank in Bangladesh. The private banks of that time pioneered through the very first financial exercises and backed up the needs of the citizens. The initiatives undoubtedly helped to build up the country’s economy. The citizens felt relieved and encouraged to involve their savings in the business. Moreover, they could bring about investment potentials from the already existing resources in the country. Akhtaruzzaman Babu was the founding chairman of UCBL. In the year 2011, he was re-elected as the chair of the board of directors again and he held that position till death.
With all these establishments and foundings, Akhtaruzzaman Chowdhury Babu became an experienced man of business and finance. To mention, he had associate degrees in business administration from different universities in the US. His academic learning came in handy in this field of pursuit. To benefit from his valuable experience, he was appointed as an advisor. He was an influential spokesperson who had a positive impact on the businessmen community. The positions he was honored with:
- President – Chittagong Chamber (twice)
- President – FBCCI, 1988 (the topmost business organization of Bangladesh)
- President – OIC Chamber of Commerce (International)
- Vice-chair – 77 Jati Group, 1989 (Prestigious International Organization)
He was one of the first business pioneers who became the placeholder of these important positions of different international organizations as a representative of Bangladesh.
The revelation of Akhtaruzzaman Babu is illuminated more by his charitable works. The people of Chittagong are the beneficiaries of several schools, colleges, and mosques established by him. His contribution to mass people stands as a symbol of his foremost search – the meaning of life, sought with rendering service to lives. His life manifests an example for us to seek redemption with the well-being of mass people.