Renowned industrialist and East West Industrial Park Founder, Harun-Ar-Rashid died Wednesday at his Mohakhali DOHS apartment. He was 73.
According to his younger brother Aminur Rashid, he had been suffering from cardiac issues and diabetes, and breathed his last at around 3:30am.
Harun-Ar-Rashid was born in Cumilla in 1947. He completed his honours and master's degrees from Rajshahi University and went to the USA in 1973 for higher studies. He returned home in 1980 after completing a second master's, in marketing.
After returning to Bangladesh, he started a jute/jute crafts export business before switching to garment manufacturing and export.
His garments unit - East West Fashion Garments Ltd in the Mirpur area of the capital - started producing formal suits and trousers in the early 1990s.
"When he began making business suits, no one imagined those would be sold, let alone exported. He explored the international market on his own, while more than ten manufacturers now export these suits," said Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury, former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
"It was certainly challenging at that time," added Anwar-Ul-Alam; Harun-Ar-Rashid was vice-president of the BGMEA board during Alam's tenure as president.
Anwar-Ul-Alam said Harun-Ar-Rashid led the initiative to form the BGMEA institute of Fashion and Technology in 1999 to create mid-level officials skilled in design to merchandising for the then thriving apparel sector.
Harun-Ar-Rashid sourced the curriculum for the BGMEA Institute from foreign universities and brought in overseas trainers.
He founded a renowned brand "Fit Elegance" for the domestic market, established East West Industrial Park in Gazipur, creating more than 6,000 jobs, and set up a textile factory in Savar.
When asked, BGMEA president Rubana Huq said, "Harun-Ar-Rashid was an outstanding human being and an exceptional entrepreneur. He started higher value-added production when the trend hadn't even started."
An exceptional person with vision and commitment, she said, adding, "Even during Covid 19, he contributed PPEs. A generous person, a spirited soul...that's who Harun-Ar-Rashid was for all of us."
The namaz-e janaza of Harun-Ar-Rashid was held at Banani after Zuhr prayers. His body was then taken to his ancestral home in Cumilla's Lalmai where he was laid to eternal rest.
He left his wife, a son, a daughter and a host of well-wishers to mourn his passing.