Vol. 4 Num 244 Fri. January 30, 2004  

In memoriam
A man of integrity and honesty
Mirza Mehdy (Sadri) Ispahani

Sadri Ispahani was a man of high stature. The only son of Mirza Ahmed Ispahani he was an illustrious businessman. He was known as "sadri" to all his friends. His forefathers came from Persia in connection with business that dates back to almost two hundred years. They first established their business of export and import in Bombay (now Mumbai) which they were doing with Egypt, England and Switzerland in competition with the English businessmen of the then India. Later on, his grand father shifted their business house to Calcutta. His father Mirza Ahmed Ispahani was a reputed businessman in India who was well acquainted with Mr. Jinnah, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mr Hossain Saheed Suhrawardy. After partition the family of Sadri Ispahani moved to East Pakistan. Unlike Adamjee and Dawood, his father never established any business in the then West Pakistan. One of his uncles was the chief justice of Dhaka High Court and another was the first Ambassador of Pakistan to UK.

My association with Sadri Ispahani dates back to 1974 when I worked with the Ispahani Group. I found him a thorough gentleman of amiable disposition. He used to speak less and work more to develop his business empire. His business acumen is unparalleled like his father. He was a philanthropist of the first order. His charity to many persons, establishments like mosque, madrassa and educational institution is unknown to many of us. Quietly he used to give charity to any person who did come with genuine grievances. His charitable institutions could be marked from Dinajpur to Cox's Bazar. He loved Bangladesh.

In the field of business, his farsightedness was remarkable and decision was unmistakable. He carried out his business with sagacity and honesty which is now standing on solid foundation. Unlike many of present day so called businessman he never borrowed money from bank with the idea of not refunding. I remember once he jointly borrowed with another businessman few million taka from bank to operate a new venture which ultimately did not materialise. He did not rest until the loans were paid.

Last time, I met him in a wedding ceremony. He spotted me from among many guests. He was complaining of his failing health. But little did I realise that he would leave us so soon. He was a great soul. May Allah rest him in peace and give strength to the bereaved family to bear the loss.

Mirza Mehdi Ispahani