Rehman Sobhan, a prominent economist and public intellectual who played an active role in the independence and subsequent life of Bangladesh, has recently published his memoirs, Untranquil Recollections: The Years of Fulfilment. The book is a narration of critical phases in the histories of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and the impact each had on Sobhan. Sobhan served the first Government of Bangladesh as Envoy Extraordinaire with special responsibility for Economic Affairs, was a member of the first Bangladesh Planning Commission, and later headed Bangladesh’s development research facility, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
Bangladesh today is increasingly under threat from radical Islamism with attacks targeted against security personnel and their families, urban professionals, human rights activists, and non-Muslims. A country created as a secular nation, with a population of over 150 million and an economy that is growing at 7 percent annually, Bangladesh appears to be in a struggle for its very soul. On June 23, Hudson Institute hosted a discussion on Bangladesh’s past, present, and future with Dr. Rehman Sobhan. Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Director for South and Central Asia, Hudson Institute, moderated this book talk.