Excerpt from Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Banker to the Poor

Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

by Muhammad Yunus

Banker to the Poor
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 1999, 258 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2003, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Number 20 Boxirhat Road, Chittagong

Chittagong, the largest port in Bangladesh, is a commercial city of 3 million people. I grew up on Boxirhat Road in the heart of Chittagong’s old business district. A busy one-way lane, just wide enough for one truck to pass, Boxirhat Road connected the river port of Chaktai to the central produce market.

Our section of the road lay in Sonapotti, the jeweler’s section. We lived at Number 20, a small two-story house with my father’s jewelry shop workshop tucked beneath us on the ground floor. When I was a boy, my world was full of the noise and gasoline fumes of the street. Trucks and carts were forever blocking our road, and all day long I would hear drivers arguing, yelling, and blaring their horns. It was a sort of permanent carnival atmo¬sphere. When toward midnight the calls of passing street vendors, jugglers, and beggars finally subsided, the sounds of hammering, filing, and polishing in my father’s workshop took over.

On the upper floor, we occupied just a kitchen and four rooms: Mother’s Room, Radio Room, Big Room, and a dining room where a mat was spread out three times a day for our family meals. Our playground was the flat roof above. And when we got bored, we often idled away our time watching the customers downstairs or the gold artisans at work in the back room, or we would just look out at the endlessly changing street scenes.

Number 20 Boxirhat Road was my father’s second business location in Chittagong. He had abandoned the first when it was damaged by a Japanese bomb. In 1943, the Japanese had invaded neighboring Burma and were threatening all of India. In Chittagong, however, the air battles were never intensive. Instead of bombs, the Japanese planes dropped mostly leaflets, which we loved to watch from the rooftop as they floated like butterflies down over the city. But when a wall of our second house was destroyed by a Japanese bomb, my father promptly shifted us to the safety of his family village, Bathua, where I had been born at the beginning of the war.

Bathua is some seven miles from Chittagong. My grandfather owned land there, and a major part of his income came from farming, but he gravitated toward the jewelry trade. Dula Mia, his eldest son (and my father), also entered the jewelry business and soon became the foremost local manufacturer and seller of jewelry ornaments for Muslim customers. Father was a soft-hearted person. He rarely punished us, but he was strict about our need to study. He had three iron safes, each four feet high, built into the wall at the back of his store behind the counter. When the store was open for business, he left the safes open. With the insides of their heavy doors covered in mirrors and display racks, they appeared to be not safes at all, but part of the decor. Before the fifth prayer of the day, at closing time, father would push the drawers of the safes shut. To this day I would recognize the squeal of those ungreased hinges and the sound of six locks on each safe clicking shut. These sounds gave my older brother Salam and me just enough time to stop whatever we were doing and to leap back to our books. As long as Father saw us seated with our reading, he would be happy and say, “Good children, good boys.” Then he would make his way to the mosque for prayer.

My father has been a devout Muslim all his life. He made three pilgrimages to Mecca and he usually dressed all in white, with white slippers, white pajama pants, a white tunic, and a white prayer cap. His square tortoiseshell glasses and his gray beard gave him the look of an intellectual, but he was never a bookworm. With his large family and his successful business, he had little time or inclination to look over our lessons. Instead, he divided his life between his work, his prayers, and his family.

Excerpted from Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus Copyright © 1998 by Muhammad Yunus. Excerpted by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: All We Have Left
    All We Have Left
    by Wendy Mills
    September 11, 2001 is a date that few Americans will ever forget. It was on this day that our ...
  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.