To the Land of my Forefathers on a World Bank project
On November 22nd 2013, I boarded a flight to Dhaka to sign up for an assignment, that would take me to a new destination and a new role. This was yet another voyage into the unknown, unchartered territory, at this stage of my life, and I was not fully sure, what was pulling me into it. I had not applied for it. My Office did. Things followed and my exit as President-TiE, Kolkata, after completing a successful Kolkata TiECon2014, was perhaps lingering somewhere, as I had taken the decision by then to move ahead beyond TiE.
So, started a new journey, a new assignment and something I thought can be part of the legacy I leave behind. My parents were from Bangladesh, what we usually call as Opaar Bangla, and I have heard about that beautiful country from them, tales from my grandma, and the agony they faced during Partition, leaving behind their motherland. So, here was an opportunity for me to give back to their motherland, something they perhaps left unfinished.
Also, as an International Expert Advisor-IT/ITES, appointed by the World Bank, a line I have nurtured for over 25 years, it was perhaps a milestone in my journey of life. It has been 6 months now, and I am travelling to Dhaka every month. Been to Jessore, Comilla, Chittagong, Cox Bazar, so far, wish to go to Sylhet soon. Work is going fine. Being an advisor is new to me, so it needed a new take. Not been fully successful yet, but trying to. People out here are good meaning, very kind and soft and very emotional. They also have a huge pride for their country and I love that pride. At times, it borders on perhaps, what some would call short-sightedness, but the core is well founded.
I have made some very good friends and met the intellectual community of Bangladesh. Several successful people and entrepreneurs in the ready-made garment industry and Leather goods manufacturing sector. These two sectors were very successful and turned Bangladesh’s economy to new heights. The economy revolves around these, and perhaps on the developing nation’s funds.
Infrastructure is however an issue. Political disturbance has slowed growth. Hopefully in the years ahead, there will be a civil society pressure, like in India to perform. Once the Civil Society participates, even at times, disrupting, it raises issues significantly to perform for any government.
As far as IT/ITES is concerned, we need a lot more awareness, basic education, colleges and investors to come in to create the right eco system. These are all part of the expectations we have to build. The talent is there and in good numbers. But currently it is not focused on professional commerce. Once entrepreneurs in association with the Government and the investing community join hands, things will start happening in this beautiful country.
I am happy to be here in Bangladesh, even if it is for just 3/4 years. I wish to contribute, to build the edifice towards IT/ITES for the youth of Bangladesh.
Let’s hope, we can, I can help.
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