Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Laureaute

I am not an economist, nor am I a South Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) analyst. I hardly write on India-Pakistan-Bangladesh political events unless there’s an Indonesian newspaper requests me to do so.

That’s why when CNN reported last night that Nobel peace prize winner for this year is a person named Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi, the inventor of microcredit loan and founder of Brameen Bank which jointly announced as a co-winner, I am so amazed, surprised and happy for various reasons.

First, as far as I can tell, it’s for the first time that Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to a non-political personality. Nobel Peace usually has more political connotation with, well, a bit American flavour. So, to see an economist as the winner is in itself surprising and an encouraging sign.

Second, Muhammad Yunus is a banker, a very rich man, who thinks a lot about the poor and try hard to find a way to eradicate poverty. He thinks, he gets a brilliant idea to solve poverty and implement it. For example, the microcredit system will allow a poor person to take a loan as small as USD 25 to build a (very) small business. It’s a huge success for both the creditor and the debtors. In another word, it successfully has created many jobs among the poors in Bangladesh and now being implemented around the world.

Third, what poverty eradication to do with peace? The Nobel Peace committee rightly said that when poverty doesn’t exist, peace will prevail. I couldn’t agree more with that.

Fourth, Muhammad Yunus is not only thinking about the poor and find the big way to help them without distracting their dignity, but also BEHAVING like ones: wearing a simple clothes the poors used to wear; assembling with them with ease without any attitude that might offend them; and talking to them without any sign of uncomfortability. I saw him in CNN how he’s enjoying making jokes and having fun with the downtrodden villagers in a Bangladesh remote area, the less fortunate people who he holds very dear. Something that our middle class society, who often behaves like Hollywood celebrities should be ashamed of.

I wrote somewhere that when we live in a country like Indonesia, where corruption is prevalent and poverty becomes a natural consequence of a country mismanagement, someone, or group of individuals with more skill and qualification should stand up with all his capability and skill to contribute, because in this situation the government is certainly not the one we can hope to make amend. Muhammad Yunus is certainly up to the task.

What contribution we can make? Live simple and humble, I think, is the first step in the right direction. If we earn U$D 1000/month, for example, spend less than that. If we can save USD 50/month for educating one poor kid, that would be great. On top of it all, even if you dont contribute financially to the poor, living humble and simple and avoid showing off your wealth in front of them, I believe, is a sort of indirect contribution as far as social harmony is concerned.

Just a thought, though. Nevertheless, at least, I do what I’m saying.

For more details on his profiles see here.

PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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