Abdul Jabbar was once one of the inmates of an orphanage. Starting from scratch, now at 90 he has built a fortune and amassed property worth more than Tk one crore by taking to apiculture.
A refugee from Myanmar, Jabbar is now a most sought-after man in Chenai union under Rajarhat upazila in Kurigram district by those interested in beekeeping. Many people including women receive training on beekeeping at his training center named “Bee Queen Palace”.
His life is a saga of struggle against poverty. After the death of his father, a havildar major in the British Army, in Yangoon during the Second World War, the British government brought Jabbar to Dhaka and admitted him to an orphanage.
Failing to cope with the life at the orphanage, Jabbar came to Kaunia of Rangpur. Later, Abdul Mazid, a philanthropist took him to Kurigram. After completing higher secondary schooling there, he married a daughter of the late Abdul Wahed of village Khedabug.
He started to work as a teacher at Panga High School under Chenai union of Rajarhar upazila. But impressed by the bright prospect of beekeeping, he decided to take apiculture as his profession.
He took training on apiculture at a training center in Joydevpur of Gazipur district in 1981. At first he had only one bee box, yielding just two kilograms of honey a year. Undaunted, he applied to the chairman of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) for help in getting highest training abroad. Such an opportunity did come and he attended a 3-month higher training course on apiculture, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labour Organization (ILO) and BCIC at an institute in Puna,India in 1987, he said.
After that he found success in his enterprise. At present he has 60 boxes of bees at Ullapara upazila in Sirajgani district as joint venture business there. He has a total of 175 boxes containing 50,000/60,000 bees in each box from which he gets four maunds of honey. He sells honey at Tk. 400 per kilogram and Tk.16, 000 a maund. His monthly turnover now stands at Tk. 64,000. He has five employees, whom he pays Tk. 7,000 each a month. Deducting his other costs, he makes a net profit of Tk.24, 000 a month.
From the proceeds of his beekeeping business, Jabbar has bought 12 bighas of land, set up a rice mill and constructed a large building. He is also owner of six shops. Besides, he has a betel nut garden of more than 500 trees, from which he earns around Tk. 2.00 lakh a year. His assets are now valued more than one crore.
About 25 men and women receive training on the modern method of beekeeping at his training center every month. So far, around 2,000 people have received training from there.
He has six sons and one daughter. His two sons are service holders, last son has completed masters in Bangla department is seeking a job and others are businessmen. His only daughter is a house wife.
Abdul Jabbar is a valiant freedom fighter. He fought in sector no-6 in Thakurgaon district during the against Pakistan occupation forces under the commander of Major S.K. Singh and later he fought at Bhurungamari and Nageswari upazila in Kurigram district, he said. He has three certificate of Freedom Fighter.
Abdul Jabbar performed the holy Hajj and now self-reliant and he is considered by his neighbors as a man who has become hero from zero.