In a Nutshell | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 02, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

In a Nutshell

In a Nutshell

Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
Source: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

This is a short profile on Dr Hafiz GA Siddiqi, a passionate educator, a powerful mentor and immensely popular amongst students for his soft spoken nature and jovial personality. It is probably next to impossible to fill up the allotted space with Dr Siddiqi's activities, his contribution to education in Bangladesh, the positive impact that his words have had on students in the last many decades and of course the eventful life that he led growing up in Dhaka, after his birth in the 1930s in Hazaribagh.
Dr Siddiqi has been a professor at the prestigious Institute of Business Administration (IBA) and has been involved with the institute for decades now. After teaching in the USA for a while, he returned to Bangladesh to join North South University, the first private university to be established in the country, in the early 90s. "I was thrilled at the idea of establishing a private university in Bangladesh," says Dr Siddiqi. "When Mr Muslehuddin Ahmad, the founding VC of NSU, shared this idea with me over dinner, I immediately told him that I would like to be involved with the university." As a pro-VC and VC of, Dr Siddiqi has contributed immensely to NSU, thus establishing it as one of the leading private universities in Bangladesh.
After an early retirement in 2010, Dr Siddiqi joined Brac University as Professor Emeritus. "Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, very dear to me, requested me to join the university, and I could not refuse," explains Dr Siddiqi. "I don't teach, but I mentor other professors, teachers also students. I am also continuing with my research activities. I have an office there; Abed was nice enough to give me one. And I am not doing this for a salary. At this age, I don't want to be accountable to anybody, I told Abed. I want to do what I like to do in a relaxed manner."
Dr Hafiz GA Siddiqi earned the title of Hafiz because he memorised the Holy Quran, and that too at a very young age. "I was a very good student and would always win the government scholarships at school," says Dr Siddiqi. "After finishing class 4, I suddenly decided to memorise the Holy Quran, which meant dropping out from regular school. My teacher was upset and wanted me to change my mind. He wanted to me stick to studies, since I was doing very well. But I would not listen and went for the title of Hafiz." It was four years before Dr Siddiqi went back to regular school.
In his early 80s now, Dr Siddiqi is an active policy builder in the field of corporate finance, a passionate educator and a popular mentor amongst his family, friends and colleagues. "I was born in 1931, but one of my teachers in school changed it to 1937!" he laughs. "I must be 82-83 at least, or more." Clearly, he has a way of winning over the hearts of young students, and surprisingly enough remembers each and every one of them. "I am very proud of my students," he says. "Most of my students are doing very well -- in finance, education even in writing. As I always say, half of this country is run by my students! What do I have to worry about?" says Dr Siddiqi, all swollen with pride. 

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