Bashundhara Group chairman gets Mother Teresa Award
KOLKATA: Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan has been conferred Mother Teresa Award for his generous social welfare activities in Bangladesh.
Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla handed over the award to Ahmed Akbar Sobhan at a gala function at Mahajati Sadan in Kolkata on Tuesday evening.
Former Paschimbanga Rajyapal (governor) and State Human Rights Commission Chairman Shyamal Sen, State Minister for Mass Education and Parliamentary Affairs Siddiqullah Chowdhury, Dakshineswar temple committee secretary Mural Bhai and Tallywood actress Rituparna Sengupta were present at the event.
In his reaction to his receiving the award, Bashundhara Group chairman said, “I’m proud of having this award. It’s a matter of great joy. This accolade has not only brought pleasure for me, but also for Bangladesh. I’ve set up several media outlets to serve the country. This award will inspire me to work more for the poor and destitute.”
Mother Teresa should have been canonised as a saint much earlier, he observed. “But her sainthood, though belated, made us happy.”
Imbued with the ideals of Mother Teresa, Ahmed Akbar Sobhan said, Bashundhara Group has been working for the socio-economic development of Bangladesh.
“We’ve been disbursing interest-free loans among the destitute for the last 12 years. Patients get cost-effective healthcare service from the hospitals that we’ve established. We don’t make profits.”
Mother Teresa International Award Committee Chairman Anthony Arun Biswas said he accompanied Mother Teresa until her death.
Arun sent a letter to the Vatican City advocating for the sainthood of Teresa. He said, “She was declared a saint barely two days ago.”
Remembering his intimacy with Mother Teresa, he said he gets emotional as he reads her hand-written letters.
Arun shed some light on the tough time of Teresa at the outset of her social welfare activities. She had to face resistance. She was not even allowed to enter villages.
Initially, Teresa was a sister but her work took her to the position of a mother and saint.
Speaking as the chief guest, Lal Thanhawla said Mother Teresa is the great humanitarian of the 20th century. The people who saw her from close quarter are lucky. “We’re fortunate that the work she started in India has now spread to other parts of the world. Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata has now 450 branches in 130 countries. Several hundred nuns are serving there.”
Siddiqullah said Mother Teresa stood by the neglected segment of the society. She served them with her own hands. “Mother Teresa started her philanthropic work at Kolkata. Being a public representative of the town, Mamata Banerjee was invited to the Vatican City. This was a matter of great pride.”
Shyamal Sen said, “I’m delighted to have been present at this function. Mother Teresa has turned into a saint, but she is still a Mother to us. We always feel her absence. But our mind is obsessed with her memory.
The function was moderated by Arun.