Man with no numerical understanding holds top financial job for years | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 23, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:42 AM, June 23, 2017


Man with no numerical understanding holds top financial job for years

A mysterious Sylheti man unable to do basic math has somehow held the country's top financial position for years, according to a research report published on Thursday. 

The man, whose favourite words include “rubbish” and “dushtu”, has also presented the nation's billion dollars worth of budget 'numerous times' despite having no mathematical ability whatsoever, says the report. 

To the 84-year-old Sylheti, branded a “puzzling medical case” by the psychiatrists, 100 thousand somehow overweighs 40 billion. 

“People who own Tk. 1 lakh are rich,” said the man who had earlier claimed “Tk 4,000 crore is not a large sum of money.” 

“It was astonishing to see someone whose numerical understanding is worse than first-graders's is somehow able to formulate billion-dollar budgets multiple times,” says Mohit Khan, the leader of the research team and a leading psychiatrist of the country. “It defies explanations.”

“It was also baffling to discover,” he goes on to say, “that this guy also got an MPA from Harvard and was a visiting fellow at Princeton.”

In an exclusive interview to the Star Weekend Satire in the wake of this embarrassing revelation, the man offered a defiant tone to his critics, who are essentially “rubbish”. “I have only one piece of advice for you,” he says. “Just do the math.”

Mr. Khan, on the other hand, says his team used computer algorithm to analyse the pattern of the statements he has so far made. The psychiatrist says, “[His] comments are so self-contradictory and his simultaneous use of Bengali and English words so confusing that our machine crashed soon afterwards. He said, for example, he would step down in 2018, and a few days later, he said he wouldn't.”

The man is an English major but, answering successive generations of parents who have asked their child “What would you do with an English degree?” he is gleefully making major decisions about the economy. “The subject is a very paradoxical figure,” concludes Mr. Khan. “It's the stuff of a superhero movie.”

Surely, he is... a superhero. VATman is his alias, for his incomparable impulse to impose VAT on every sector one could possibly imagine. 

He has also superheroically overseen some of the most scandalous incidents that have occurred in the country's financial sector, including the 2011 share market scam, in which some “dushtu” people siphoned off billions into their own pockets—all the while successfully resisting calls to resign. 

Meanwhile, a recently resurfaced BSS report dated May 30, 2017 suggests this man might have been resurrected by, perhaps, an ominous dark magician. According to the report, this man had also presented the national budget for the fiscal year of 1916-1917—precisely a century ago.

When contacted, Professor Grainger Potter, the Head of the Melbourne School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at the University of Melbourne, expressed “grave concern” over the ensuing future of “the only planet we got”.

“If I'm not mistaken, it's a sign that Lord Voldemort is making a reentry,” says Mr. Potter, with his voice shaking and fingers visibly vibrating. “Both of them are bald,” he points out.

Nazmul Ahasan is a freelance journalist. He can be reached at

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