Noted economist and leading civil society member Prof Muzaffer Ahmad breathed his last at around 10:30pm yesterday at the age of 76.
The former chairman of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Trustee Board and outspoken environmentalist suffered a heart attack shortly after dinner at his Shankar residence at around 10:20pm.
He died on the way to the city’s Labaid Hospital, family sources told The Daily Star.
Born in Kolkata on March 27, 1936, Muzaffer Ahmad, a professor emeritus at Dhaka University, leaves behind his wife, two sons and a daughter.
His Namaz-e-Janaza will be held at Dhanmondi Eidgah Mosque after Zohr prayers today. Muzaffer will be buried at Azimpur Graveyard beside his mother.
His wife Prof Rowshan Jahan told The Daily Star, “After dinner, we went to our bedroom and I was sitting beside him while he was taking medicine through nebuliser. I heard some sound from the nebuliser machine when I went to bring water. I rushed at once and grabbed him before he collapsed on the bed.”
Immediately, he was taken to Labaid Hospital by a car.
Rowshan Jahan also said Muzaffer had been feeling weak physically for the last two to three days.
Muzaffer was twice president of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon and was an adviser of the leading environmental organisation until yesterday. Only four days ago, he spoke at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity office, where he stressed the need for formulating a land use policy by the government.
Prof Muzaffer served as director of Institute of Business Administration at Dhaka University, which he joined in 1974. Besides teaching ethics in business and banking at IBA, he worked on education and sociology.
The renowned economist had remained active in different movements aimed at curbing corruption and preventing a degradation of the environment. He penned a number of books and articles at home and abroad.
He also worked with different international organisations, including UNESCO. He was awarded Ekushey Padak in 2008 by the then caretaker government.
Muzaffer completed matriculation from Noakhali Zilla School in 1950, intermediate from Dhaka College in 1952, honours in economics in 1955 and master’s in the same subject in 1956 from Dhaka University.
He began his career at Govt Haraganga College, Munshiganj, as economics lecturer after completing his master’s. Before proceeding to the University of Chicago for a PhD, he joined the economics department at Dhaka University.
He could not, however, continue teaching at DU as he had to leave the university for political reasons.
In 1967, he joined United Bank of the then Pakistan as senior vice-president. A year later, he joined the East Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation. After liberation, he joined the Planning Commission and got involved in preparing the first five-year plan document of independent Bangladesh. Later, he joined IBA of the University of Dhaka. Ahmad was also a member of the Council of Advisers, with responsibility for the Jute Ministry, under late president Ziaur Rahman.
Ahmad was also involved in establishing a number of insitutions that include Bangladesh Institute of Strategic Studies and Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management. He was also involved with Sujan. Besides writing several hundred essays, Ahmad wrote nearly 20 books.
The opposition BNP and Dhaka University last night expressed deep condolences at the death of its former professor.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the early hours of today expressed her deep shock at the death of Prof Muzaffer Ahmad.
In a condolence message, the leader of the opposition remembered Prof Muzaffer Ahmad’s contributions as an adviser of late president Ziaur Rahman.
“The country has lost a brilliant citizen by his death. The gap will not be filled so easily,” Khaleda said.
“We are deeply shocked at the death of Prof Muzaffer Ahmad,” DU Vice-chancellor Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique said.
The former professor of IBA made significant contributions to the academic affairs of Dhaka University and played a leading role in civil society, said the VC.