Khuda Buksh: The Pioneer of Life Insurance in Bangladesh
Muhammad Obaidur Rahim
The University Press Limited (2011)
Reviewed by Daryn Watson for Reader Views (01/14)
Muhammad Obaidur Rahim’s biography of his father, in “Khuda Buksh: The Pioneer of Life Insurance in Bangladesh”, is a very detailed depiction of Mr. Buksh’s success and pioneering career within the life insurance industry in Bangladesh.
Khuda Buksh was a very polite and very ethical human being. Growing up in the remote village of Damoyda, he was the eldest of five sons to Shonabuddin Howlader and Arjuta Khatun. Living his childhood without conveniences, even electricity. His family did not feel they lived in a scarce world, but they made do with what they were given.
In 1930, Khuda Buksh arrived in the city of Kolkata, where he applied to Islamia College and then continued his studies at Presidency College. Due to health and family reasons, he did not complete his post-secondary studies. He joined the Oriental Government Security Life Assurance Company as a clerk, which began his illustrious career that would change the insurance industry forever. As Khuda Buksh’s career continued to grow, he recognized the extreme poverty within the Muslim community. Furthermore, most people were very skeptical of insurance salesmen in general, a public perception Khuda Buksh vowed to change. When he met with potential clients, he would simply point out the fact that if the man of the house were to fall ill, or pass away, who would take care of his wife and children? Most men did not have an answer, let alone the financial assets to replace their income and these men began to see Khuda Buksh’s sincerity in looking out to take care of the well-being of others.
Khuda Buksh went on to become the general manager of the Eastern Federal Union Insurance Company where he expanded the company’s sales and influence throughout the region. Unfortunately, after a fallout with a colleague, Mr. Bhimjee, Khuda Buksh resigned in the spring of 1969. Khuda Buksh went to work for Federal Life Assurance Company. He helped this company prosper while his former employer, EFU, floundered.
Mr. Rahim writes with great detail in this tribute to his late father, Khuda Buksh. As readers, we can picture the impact this man of simple means had on so many with his sincere and gentle approach to people. The book flows well chronologically. I would have liked to see a bit more stories about the personal family life of Khuda Buksh with his wife and children.
However, the main focus of the book is to educate the audience on the great and long-lasting impact Khuda Buksh had with the clients and friends whose lives he touched the most. I would recommend this book for those who want to learn a different approach to sales and to see how a simple person can influence so many people. “Khuda Buksh: The Pioneer of Life Insurance in Bangladesh” by Muhammad Obaidur Rahim is a tribute to the author’s father’s life. His story is about a man’s legacy to his family and community.