In his famous book titled "The Old Man and The Sea", US writer Ernest Hemingway said, "But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated."
Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled is the same, having fought until he breathed his last in order to build a strong, corruption-free and well-governed financial sector.
He was a rarity person because of his bold voice against financial scammers at a time when anyone has hardly lambasted the vested groups, which are connected with the financial scams.
Although there are many financial experts in the country, only a few have so far shown the courage to take a strict stance against habitual defaulters.
He became a torchbearer by way of giving his valuable recommendations to protect financial institutions from delinquent borrowers.
In most of the cases, the authorities concerned did not accept Khaled's suggestions due to pressure from influential quarters, but his stubborn stance helped create a strong opinion against fraudsters in society.
The woes of the banking sector are still ongoing due to a continuous relaxation of rules and regulations in helping large borrowers at a time when many scammers are enjoying a culture of impunity.
A question has commonly surfaced: what is the source of Khaled's strength to run his fight against the vested quarter in a consistent manner?
There is nothing but his honesty, sincerity and knowledge to deal a fatal blow to the fraudsters.
The unexpected demise of Khaled this morning, at the age of 80, has silenced a voice against the lack of corporate governance in banks.
The prominent economist and former deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank breathed his last at 5:45am yesterday at the intensive care unit of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
Khaled was admitted to the hospital on February 11 with post-Covid-19 complications.
He had earlier tested positive for coronavirus infection and was admitted to Bangladesh Specialised Hospital last month.
The unexpected demise brought a sense of great loss for the nation with President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Parliament Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and ministers expressing condolences over his death.
Khaled was born on July 4, 1941, in Gopalganj. He earned his graduation and post-graduation degrees from Dhaka University's science faculty and then completed his MBA from Institute of Business Administration in the same institution.
He commenced his banking career as a probationary officer of Habib Bank in 1963 and engaged with different banks, including the central bank, for more than four decades.
He was appointed as the managing director of Bangladesh Krishi Bank in 1994 and broke with tradition by starting to visit rural areas to observe the hardships of farmers.
This might be the first incident of visiting rural areas by an MD of a bank.
Khaled listened to the problems of farmers with utmost patience and arranged meetings at district level with the deputy commissioner concerned as part of his efforts to give loans to underprivileged farmers.
He also served at Sonali Bank as its MD for one year in 1997 and held the same post in Agrani Bank for a year in 1996.
Between 1998 and 2000, he was the deputy governor of the central bank and drew attention from different corners because of his outspokenness against delinquent borrowers.
During his tenure as deputy governor, he vehemently criticised the scammers in presence of the then finance minister at a programme held at a city hotel, saying that a mafia group had control over the banking sector. Khaled's forthright speech also baffled the finance minister.
After completing his tenure in the central bank, he joined Pubali Bank as its MD, when the lender was struggling to survive because of its ailing financial health. The lender was identified as a problem bank after reeling from a wide range of financial scams.
But Khaled restored the corporate governance of the bank and turned it into a profit-making institution. Between 2000 and 2006, he established corporate governance in the bank and the trend continues till date.
The country's capital market faced a bubble-and-burst in 2010 that drove many investors away after which the government formed a four-member committee led by Khaled in January 2011 to look into the matter.
The committee submitted a report in April that year based mostly on interviews with stakeholders.
He publicly blamed the share market regulator for the failure to control the market where rampant illegal trading was also alleged.
Although Khaled's suggestions to strengthen the capital market had hardly been implemented, his strict stance against the unholy nexus is still an example of the fight against the vested quarters in the financial sector.
In addition, he has written articles for newspapers on a regular basis as part of his effort to bolster the financial sector so that it could sweep aside the irregularities.
He has departed life at a time when scammers are using innovative tricks to swindle money from the banking sector and at least 10 out of 36 non-bank financial institutions are now unable to pay back depositors' funds after reeling from wide-ranging scams.
A question has now surfaced: who will take a bold stance against the perpetrators in the financial sector after Khaled's departure?
Beyond a doubt, Khaled's absence has created a vacuum of voices against scammers in the days ahead.
Although he held the top posts of a number of banks, Khaled was not solvent in his old age.
He invested some of his pension fund in national savings certificates, which was his major financial source to live life after his retirement.
One of his close associates said Khaled's family had even faced financial trouble to pay the hospital's bills.
This is the man whose life is like an open book.