Saturday, February 03, 2007
Shada Moner Manush
Whatever you are doing (reading my blog actually) - STOP! Now stand up and applause. After a minute come back and read why you did what you just did.
In my twelve years in advertising I've never been so proud of something I've been associated with. Today was the culmination of nine month long "hunt". This was not one for the best singer or fashion model. It was not for the most intelligent or for the most athletic. This search was for the most noble. It was a search for those who have looked beyond one own benefits or self-recognition and reached out to humanity with the unending desire to do good.
About a year ago during a brand meeting with our client at Unilever Bangladesh Limited, we decided to do something that I think should be a source of inspiration for 140 million Bangladeshis and more beyond. We embarked on this search for the “Shada Moner Manush.”
The premise was very simple. Our brand Wheel Power White makes your clothes white but to make one’s self pure, we need inspiration.
Between April and May of 2006 we telecast an advertisement asking users to send in their nomination for people who they believe worked tirelessly for the benefits of others. We received more than 3000 entries. A team from Prothom Alo, NTV, Unilever and Adcomm narrowed this down through a few short listing to a panel of 20. And from there Ms Rokia Afzal Rahman, Dr. Debupriyo Bhattarjee and Mr. Motiur Rahman of Prothom Alo selected the final list of 10.
To quote from the brochure by Unilever commemorating this occasion [translation mine]:
"Across Bangladesh there are many who work in silence and without fear, for the welfare of country, society and humanity. They are selfless and without desire for fame or fortune. Through out their lives many have worked tirelessly without assistance from others. In our eyes these are the Shada Moner Manush. To inspire rest of the nation we bring to you these altruistic human beings. We hope they enthuse and motive others to dedicate their lives to the benefit of the nation and her citizens.”
We believe Shada Moner Manush are
• Binapani Sarkar
• Shree Kanu Datta
• Mokhlesur Rahman
• Honufa Begum
• Sufia Ahmed
• Abdul Malek
• Abdul Majid
• Shamsuddin (Shomesh Daktar)
• Harun-ur Rashid
• Ziaul Haque
They have cared for the poor, the destitute, the helpless, the mentally and physically challenged, the sick, the illiterate and even in one case the dead. They have gone beyond and given up all their worldly possession to find happiness for those who the rest have neglected.
So often I hear that nothing is good in Bangladesh! This gives me the comfort that there is hope for our great nation. I am an optimist. We have desire to do good, to live to our potential. If these 10 people could make a difference in the lives of even a few, why can't we all?
Over the next few days (or weeks – sorry) I’ll bring you the details of each of these great souls. Stay tuned…