Our symbol of ethics, our symbol of courage

Latifur Rahman with grandson Faraaz Ayaat Hossain

July 1 for many reasons could have been a day of mourning, but as I look back at the past six years I instead see a day of immense significance. The fact that both Faraaz and Nana Bhai left us on the exact same day, just four years apart, continues to baffle me; but I guess that’s what makes July 1 even more important for us. Not a day goes by without thinking of Chotoo or Nana Bhai, and somehow over the past few years we are marvelously reminded of their presence in even the most unexpected moments.

Both Mr. Latifur Rahman and Faraaz have turned from loved ones whose loss we suffer, to beacons of values that act as our moral compass to this day. Our symbol of ethics and our symbol of courage. Two years since Nana bhai left us, and six years since Chotoo, we expected that we’d need to move on yet today we move forward with them in our hearts. Even after they have left us, we witness the impact they’ve left behind.

Latifur Rahman
Prothom Alo

Nana bhai continues to leave us awestruck. I can oversimplify how we, his family, remember him everyday through a question I find myself asking ever so often, “how did you build this Nana bhai?” His legacy of Transcom and business built with uncompromising ethics, is a legacy we have the pleasure of witnessing every day. He may have always been Nana bhai, or the Founder Chairman of Transcom, but how that shaped the course of business in Bangladesh continues to unravel everyday still. His dream, of his legacy outlasting his lifetime really did come true and it grows stronger every day.

The leaders and luminaries who I hear calling Nana bhai their mentor or their dear friend sheds a light on how he wasn’t just building a business, but he made sure he took everyone around him ahead as well. But when I find myself looking up and asking how he built “this”, it is far from just his business, but instead his life. We continue to feel how he was the one who held our family together, and kept everyone around him looking at a brighter tomorrow. We feel his presence in the actions taken by those in the Transcom family every day, and it continues to amaze me how each and every person follows the code of ethics he lay in his life’s foundation. We realise every moment how Mr. Latifur Rahman truly led his company and his family by example.

Faraaz on the other hand never fails to make us proud. What I find myself asking my brother is, “how did you find the strength to stay back for your friends?”. It amazes me to see how even after six years, not a person around us has forgotten Faraaz, and to see how they still speak about him with admiration. Be it a personal setting or even professional, Faraaz somehow always comes up as a topic of discussion and not in pity but in the spirit of pride. Faraaz’s courage is not simply an inspiration for us but rather an example to take our minds to during the darkest moments. The answer to “what would Faraaz do?” continues to be the light at the end of every tunnel.

Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain
Courtesy: Faraaz Hossain Foundation
It’s almost poetic for Nana bhai and Faraaz to have both left us on July 1, I’m sure neither of them would have had it any other way

What amazes me about Faraaz’s example is not just the mental strength he gives, but how he continues to spur us all into action. Be it through the activities of the Faraaz Hossain Foundation or simply standing by our loved ones. What we continue to understand is that what we do in Faraaz’s name is only but a fraction of what he means to those around us, and that his own legacy continues as the boy who did not back down. A legacy not only in our minds, but in the lives Faraaz has touched, for those he never met but did not fail to inspire.

On July 1, 2016 and 2020, we feared that one day we’d move past our precious Latifur Rahman and Faraaz, a fear that they’d be forgotten someday. However, what these past six years have taught us is that both of their lives continue beyond their presence in this world. They prove to us every year, every July 1, and in fact every day, that they live on in us.

It’s almost poetic for Nana bhai and Faraaz to have both left us on July 1, I’m sure neither of them would have had it any other way. They had a special bond between the two of them which is hard to explain in words, so I’ll share a story that sums it all up.

Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain with elder brother Zaraif Ayaat Hossain

When Faraaz was six years old, and I was eight, we were asked the typical question of what we wanted to be when we grew up. I, of course, probably said something you’d expect a typical young boy to say. Faraaz simply said “I want to be Nana bhai”. When asked “okay, so what does Nana bhai do? What does that mean?” He simply said “I don’t know, but I just want to be Nana bhai when I grow up.”

Nana bhai was his hero, not the businessman but the human being. Little did he know that after July 1, 2016, he’d turn into Nana bhai’s hero and that one day they’d be together again after leaving this world on the same day.