Dr Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam, MD and CEO of Agrani Bank with Sharif Shahabuddin, Editor-in-Chief of the Bangladesh Post.

Bankers usually live in the dry world of maths, figures, graphs and pie charts from dawn to dusk. They have to ensure at the end of the day that the clients’ money was safe and the bank was going on the right track. This is a world where poetry or emotional deliberations had little space to share. This is a world where only profit and loss determined the fate of the bankers.

But there are exceptions and we know exceptions prove the rule. We are going to present below a story of one such person who is highly efficient in executing his professional responsibilities and yet at the same time has great passion for books and sculpture. Here is the story of Dr Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam, the current Managing Director and CEO of Agrani Bank. In order to give shape to his passion, he has set up a corner in his office that has shelves containing books on Bangladesh and Bangabandhu and a large bronze bust of the Father of the Nation.

We wanted to know about the background of having this tastefully decorated corner. One could easily perceive that there was no artificiality in his tone or words as he narrated his story of how he conceived the idea of making a large bronze bust of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and place it in a corner of his office for everyone to see and appreciate. It has in fact given a metallic shape of his dream.

As he could perceive our genuine interest he told us that it was his long time dream to have a big bronze bust of Bangabandhu made by a sculptor from the Art Institute. His dream also included a shelf full of all the books published on Bangladesh, Bangabandhu and our War of Liberation. But because of other important works relating to banking he could not complete the project. Finally, when he joined as the MD of Agrani Bank, he took up the project and began to contact artists and sculptors. He found some young sculptors at the Art Institute and made a deal with them.

After the model was approved the work of the sculpture began. Meanwhile he selected the corner and had the shelf made in the corner of his office, which is an enclosure immediately before the chamber where he sits. At one point, the big bust was made and he was delighted to see the perfect image of Bangabandhu so artistically imprinted on it. The unique part was the meditative mood depicted so skillfully on the face of the great leader. The sculptors did not miss the small black mole on the chin of the leader. It is one of the beautiful life-like busts this writer has ever seen in this country. The young artists deserve all the praises for their devotion to details.

He narrated the experience of lifting the heavy bronze bust and carrying it up all the way to his office and placing it on the stand specially made for the purpose. Then came the task of decorating the surrounding space and fitting proper lights to illuminate the whole area in perfect shade and tone maintaining the solemnity of the subject. Throughout his narration one could feel his deep respect for the architect of Bangladesh and the War of Liberation. One could also feel that his ideas and thoughts came from his heart.

It was indeed a great pleasure for us to see the beautiful bust of Bangabandhu and at the same time discover a highly professional banker with art in his heart. It reflected his upbringing, education, experience and love for the country.