Latifur Rahman was a person who always carried himself with dignity and purpose. One could not help liking him for his polite manner and caring nature. On 1 July, shortly after I heard the news of his death , I called my son, “Arif, today I lost a very dear friend, one of the finest gentlemen I ever had the privilege of knowing. My friend is no more.”
I first met him in 1977 at the Metropolitan Chamber in CK Haider’s room. Latifur Rahman was there. I was the president of the chamber that year. We had a brief discussion and after Latifur Rahman left the meeting, Haider and I discussed, saying he will make a fine president for the chamber some day. And true enough, he did. In 1993 he was elected president of the chamber and he was re-elected for 7 times as a record number of years as chamber president. During his time the chamber activities got enhanced. Latifur Rahman had leadership qualities and he could get people together. He got other chambers’ support and made the Metropolitan Chamber the most active, prominent and effective chamber of the country.
He believed truthful communication with the people to be essential for a proper functioning democracy. This drove his interest to publishing and with the support of editors like Mahfuz Anam and Matiur Rahman, today Bangladesh is fortunate to have great newspapers like the Daily Star and Prothom Alo.
He was a champion of ethical business and he articulated this in many forums. And through Transcom he created a shining example of that concept in practice. He chose consistency over expediency, values over narrow gains
He was a champion of ethical business and he articulated this in many forums. And through Transcom he created a shining example of that concept in practice. He chose consistency over expediency, values over narrow gains.
The common thread to Latifur Rahman’s many successes has been his principle-centred leadership, his patriotism, humility, kindness, his always rising above his overwhelming shares of personal loss, without resentment and without any sense of vengeance.
Latifur Rahman was many things to many people. To his friends he was a charming and caring person. To the young, he is a role model. To the beginners in business, his stories of struggle in the initial years give them hope. For the established business houses, his polices and principles are examples to follow. To those who are in leadership positions, his style is worth copying. And to those who are already successful, he inspires them to create a vision that will last beyond them. The legacies of Latifur Rahman are many.
He is no more in our midst. We pray to Allah to give Latifur Rahman the highest place in heaven. We also pray that the family has the strength to bear this irreparable loss.
* Anis Ud Dowla, Chairman, ACI, made this presentation on 14 July 2020 at the virtual memorial for Latifur Rahman organised by Prothom Alo and The Daily Star.