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I was born in a middle class Muslim family, in a small town called Myonenningh in a northern part of Bangladesh in 1962. My father is a qualified physician; my mother is a housewife. I have two elder brothers and one younger sister. All of them received a liberal education in schools and colleges.
I had no idea that I would ever get involved with something like lending money to poor people, given the circumstances in which I was working in Bangladesh.
I used to work for the World Health Organisation in poor countries all over the world - Bangladesh, Korea, the Philippines and India. You learn a whole range of things about how other people are living and try to connect with them to gain an understanding of where they're coming from.
This story is based on a gentleman who indeed did... used to come to my parents' house in 1971 from Bangladesh. He was at the University of Rhode Island. And I was four, four years old, at the time, and so I actually don't have any memories of this gentleman.
All I ever want is to return to either Bangladesh, my motherland, or India, my adopted home.
When the Nobel award came my way, it also gave me an opportunity to do something immediate and practical about my old obsessions, including literacy, basic health care and gender equity, aimed specifically at India and Bangladesh.
I was born in 1940 in Hathazari, Chittagong, which is now part of Bangladesh. Education was always important to my parents, and with what little we had, they were able to provide an education for their children.
What happened in Pakistan was that people were told: You're all Muslim, so now you're a country. As we saw in 1971 with the Bangladesh secession, the answer to that was: 'Oh no, we're not.'
There are cultural issues everywhere - in Bangladesh, Latin America, Africa, wherever you go. But somehow when we talk about cultural differences, we magnify those differences.
Fragile economies and weak infrastructures tend to worsen the results of climate disruptions, a problem exemplified by Bangladesh's vulnerability to monsoons, accelerating desertification in northern China, and, most visibly, Hurricane Katrina's devastation in New Orleans.
I have had fatwas issued against me, some three in Bangladesh and another five in India. I will not be cowed by these threats and shall fight for my rights.
Sheikh Hasina's government is one of the best Bangladesh has ever had. She is taking action against fundamentalists. But even she refused to let me return. I don't think I can ever return home.
It is also very engaging - and a delight - to go back to Bangladesh as often as I can, which is not only my old home, but also where some of my closest friends and collaborators live and work.
I was well acquainted with the Calcutta literary circle since I was 17, when I lived in Bangladesh and published and edited a little magazine called 'Sejuti,' for which young poets from both Bengals wrote. If you look at my life, there is no question of using anyone for anything. I have only got banned, blacklisted and banished.
What we are trying to do is to create a social business in Bangladesh, a joint venture to create restaurants for common people. Good, healthy food at affordable prices so that people don't have to opt for food that is unhealthy and unhygienic.
I began my work in the '70s, teaching at a university in Bangladesh, and these economic theories that I had learned stopped ringing true for me, as I saw the misery of people living all around me.
When Bangladesh refused to renew my passport, I used U.N. travel documents. You can't disown your country.
Religious fundamentalists in Bangladesh have always argued for a ban on my books.
SingTel has made substantial investments in markets with high growth potential in South Asia, such as India and Bangladesh.
Chua Sock Koong
If Bangladesh succumbs to the rule of one family, it would be a major step backward for the region.
The Grameen clinics prove that a medical system 'for the poor' can be almost entirely self-supporting, and we hope we can make it fully self sufficient so we can expand it across Bangladesh.
Having been in the newspaper business for a long, long time, I often wonder, Why do we actually need to know about something like a bus crash in Bangladesh that has no effect on us at all? That can be nothing other than voyeurism.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
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