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From Stones to Castles: The Inspiring Stories Of 16 Bangladeshi Personalities Who Chose The Rough Road Of Making A Difference

A good and pure word is like a good and pure tree. A tree whose roots are very well planted and is growing fast. And it keeps getting deeper and deeper that lasts generations. And its upper branches are extending and pointing up at the sky. It provides fruit at every hour, constantly at every time.

Trees only provide fruit in one season, but this special tree provides fruit all the time, with the permission of its Lord. All this imagery of a tree is the parable that Allah gives for ‘A Good Word’ in the Quran. A simple good word or advice is comparable to such a special tree that always stays as something positive.

When I was a second-year student at IBA, I decided to work on a project solely driven by me. I decided to write a book through which I would be able to inspire people and spread a good word.

After much hard work and patience, I completed the book ‘From Stones to Castles’. The book depicts the journey of these people and shows us how they have navigated to the present state of success as we see them in.

For this work, I was lucky to meet entrepreneurs, educators, innovators, and changemakers who have put their marks in Bangladesh.

The book shares the story of Dr. Ananya Raihan who wanted to be a socialist politician in his youth and is now the founder of ‘Dnet’, a social enterprise, the story of Anita Ghazi Rahman who founded ‘Think Legal Bangladesh’, the first free non-chamber related legal website and the story of Mr. Iftekhar Enayetullah and Maqsood Sinha who implemented their thesis and research findings to discover a composting process of recycling organic waste which is now patented by them and is being used in 6 different countries.

It features some interesting and impactful ideas aimed at solving problems like Water Sanitation and Traffic of Dhaka city from the renowned architect, Mr. Iqbal Habib. This piece also portrays the struggle Mr. Habib and his colleagues at ‘BAPA’ had to go through for materializing the Hatirjheel Project as we see today. It features the story Mr. Korvi Rakshand who went out of the traditional definition of life to open a small school for poor children that has become the civil society organization called ‘Jaago’ today.

A very interesting and unique interview in this book is that of Maher Khan. It hard to categorize him as an entrepreneur or innovator if you look through the conventional lens. But, he is undoubtedly an inspiration to thousands of youth in Bangladesh. Maher Khan was the lead guitarist of Nemesis and was considered one of the best guitar players in Bangladesh. It narrates Maher’s reasons to leave music and how the transformation took place, solely for the Love of Allah.

It also walks us through the entrepreneurial journeys of Mahmudul Hasan Sohag and Mridul Chowdhury. Mr. Sohag is the founder of Onnorokom Group. Many know him as one of the founders of the first Electronic Voting Machine of Bangladesh as well. Mr. Mridul is the founder and CEO of ‘mPower’, a social enterprise that works on ICT4D projects. He is also a documentary filmmaker.

‘TED’ is a media organization that works with the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It is one of the most acclaimed public speaking platforms in the world. Mohammad Tauheed is a senior TED fellow, who is an architect by profession and education. I met him while volunteering for TEDxDhaka in 2014 and later learned the extremely interesting story of being affiliated with TED.

From being the advisor of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to a civil servant to the governor of Bangladesh Bank, Dr. Mohammad Farashuddin, considers ‘Teaching’ to be the most prized opportunity to benefit the society by imparting knowledge. The book features the story of young Farashudding who used to travel 3.5 miles on foot to reach his school in Habiganj and later on becomes one of the most celebrated Economists of the country.

Most of us dream of doing what we love, few actually end up doing it. Mr. Naveed Mahbub, who left his job as the CEO of IBM Bangladesh and Nokia Siemens Network Bangladesh and took Standup comedy to turn his passion into profession, shares how the epiphany came to him, that enabled him to turn his passion into a profession.

In the last few chapters of the book, it features two extremely talented woman entrepreneurs of present times, Sabhanaz Rashid Diya, the founder of ‘One Degree Initiative Foundation’ and Samira Zuberi Himika, founder of Team Engine, Inspira Advisory and Consulting, GIGA Tech and Trinity Tech.

It also depicts the life of Tahsan, as a musician and as an academic and tells us the challenges he faced while choosing music over a corporate career.

Being the son of Rehman Sobhan and Salma Sobhan, young Zafar had to fill in the colossal shoes of his parents. It wasn’t until he was 33 years old when he found his true calling, journalism. The piece describes his learning process, his struggles, and his inspirations.

I have saved this for the last. The one and only person from Bangladesh, who is known to be a Superhuman as seen on Discovery Channel and has 4 Guinness book record is Mr. Mak Yuree. It has the story of the ‘Thundershin Man’ who can break three baseball bats with one kick.

Finally, the book shares an analytical look at each of the success stories to find out a pattern. In a sentence, the secret formula to one’s success= good luck coupled with persistence and hard work.

The first edition of the book has been published in Ekushey Book Fair 2018 and is available at the stall of Dyu Publications, stall no: 671. It can also be ordered online at Rokomari here. You may also check out the cover and first chapter here.

Hasibul Islam is the author of From Stones to Castles.

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