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DHAKA Wednesday 18 January 2012 05 Magh 1418 BS 23 Safar 1433 HIJRI
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Bashundhara’s social commitment transcends borders
Shahnoor Wahid
 When Bashundhara Group’s Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan went to attend as Chief Guest the foundation-laying ceremony of “Vivekananda Memorial Auditorium cum Seminar Hall” in Kolkata, it was more of a journey into the world of metaphysics for him than taking part in a routine goodwill mission. When one joins the inner circle of followers of Swami Vivekananda, leaving aside worldly bustle at home, it shows his inner urge for delving into the realm of the saints; his longing for discovering the meaning of life and truth, as they manifest before us in myriad forms. Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, as we find through close interaction, has a philosopher in him, a deep thinker, and yet a pragmatic person who never allows his vision to go beyond his sight. It is this mould that makes him stand apart from other industrialists of this country, who mostly count money even in their dreams, but lack the faculty to think outside the box, as it is said

commonly.

Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, who is also the Honourable Consul of Ukraine in Bangladesh, is an extremely busy person having to attend numerous appointments at home and abroad to keep the wheels of his colossal conglomerate running 24 hours. And yet he managed time to go to Kolkata to take part in a prestigious ceremony. It was only natural that the organisers of the foundation laying ceremony were happy to find him in their midst.

When Swami Satyananda, secretary of Ramakrishna Vivekananda Mission said, “We are honoured to have two great personalities to accomplish a noble task. This will play a significant role in improving relations between the two countries,” it surely came right from the heart. By two great personalities he meant India’s central Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan. And his articulacy regarding the presence of BG Chairman came in simple but strong words: “His presence will remain a bright example in further improving the friendly relations between Bangladesh and India. Thousands of people who will come to this seminar hall even 100 years later will see the two names glittering in the foundation stone.” It was also an occasion for BG Chairman to be present in the function to observe the 150th anniversary of birth of Swami Vivekananda.

The BG Chairman told the dignitaries present in the function that Bashundhara Group would provide support, including land, for establishing an educational institution after the name of Swami Vivekananda in Bangladesh. In response to this generous offer Swami Satyananda, in all humility, said they would like to see such an institution in Bangladesh.

Swami Vivekananda was the devoted follower of Saint Ramakrishna Paramahansa, the proponent of the famous quote: “Joto mot, toto path”, meaning, there are ‘as many ways as there are quests.’ Vivekananda, a saintly person himself was always in search of the truth and meaning of life in this temporal world. He was the founder of Ramakrishna Moth and Ramakrishna Mission. He strived to create interfaith harmony through reviving Hinduism and taking it to the level of major world religions towards the end of the 19th century. Vivekananda introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893. He attended numerous public and private lectures and classes, introducing Vedanta and Yoga in America and Europe. Later, he established the Vedanta societies in America and England. Today, throughout the world he has millions of followers.

The writer is Joint Editor, daily sun.
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