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In Memory of Abed

In Memory of Abed

You Will Remain Our Companion Forever

Muhammad Yunus

Abed has left. But it is not possible to bid farewell to him. He remains with us as our companion forever. Since the Liberation War he is in the very grain of our society. There is no layer and sub-layer of our societal make up which has not been touched by Abed’s work. He is the principal architect of the massive transformation that has taken place in Bangladesh society since liberation.

Abed made skillful steps to walk through every dilapidated gully, every sink-hole, and overturn strange beliefs and norms set by an age of ignorance, re-worked patiently with talent and creativity to undo the past and lay a solid foundation of the future. He helped Bangladesh to change forever.

It is certainly not an exaggeration to say that there is hardly anyone among the 170 million people of Bangladesh who do not benefit in some way from Abed’s programs or enjoy products and services provided by his organizations. If she is a poor person or a village woman, then she is in contact with Abed’s activities at every step of her life -- in education, health, income generation, self-awareness and many more.

How can we say goodbye to Abed, who had quietly, even without us realizing it, became such an inseparable part of our daily life.

Abed was an extraordinary craftsman of the social and economic emancipation of the poor of Bangladesh. He liberated the common Bangladeshi from economic misery. He carried out his variety of enormous and widespread activities quietly. He did not wait for anyone’s response to his examples; he marched forward alone, undeterred and focussed, taking the responsibility of doing the entire task on his own shoulders, without complaint.

Abed changed the concept of 'NGO' for the whole world. He provided the example of an NGO that does not shy away from national scale responsibility for every single social and economic issue, with a mission of completing the task, not just create islands of success. Abed gave NGO a new identity – one that works nationwide, even globally and multi-dimensionally, without falling victim to its own bureaucracy.

Abed perfected the management of multi-dimensional and nationwide NGOs into a new science. For this alone he shall be remembered for ever.

Economists and researchers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal always pose a question to me. “How is it that in Bangladesh whatever starts in one location is soon scaled up as a nationwide program? Why does it not happen in our country?”

I give them a standard answer “Because an Abed is yet to be born in your country.”

Abed has left behind a self-confident Bangladesh. The story of his immense courage, vision and creativity will continue to empower all generations to come. Abed will remain the image of Bangladesh that inspires them.

Abed, it will be easy for the coming generations to take on the responsibility of building the Bangladesh of their dreams, on the foundation that you have built.

Abed, the nation will remain indebted to you forever.

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