Professor Muinuddin Khan: Life and achievements

--Abul Hashem, Editor, The Guardian

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Professor Mohammad Muinuddin Khan is my direct teacher at Dhaka University. I heard his name in 1977 before I attended the University of Dhaka through his books of ‘Advanced Accounting’ from my senior students of commerce. I studied commerce group in school, where we learnt ABC of Accounting in Bengali. In my minor age, seeing the bulky volumes of Accounting in English by a Bengali Professor, named M. M. Khan, I was simply wondered and grew intention in my mind to see this extraordinary person. When I had been at the University of Dhaka in the early eighties of the last century, I did not simply see him from a close quarter; rather I discovered in him a great man both as a teacher as well as a human being.

Though his full name is Mohammad Muinuddin Khan, he is popularly known in his abbreviated name as M. M. Khan and at the university we all called him Khan Sir. It means on the campus he was already known to his students as Khan Sir and to his colleagues as Khan Shaheb. All-respected educationist and our most respected Sir, Professor M. Habibullah, who is also the teacher of Professor Khan and many other senior teachers of commerce at Dhaka University, once addressed Muinuddin Khan as ‘one of his Lieutenant Generals’ in a meeting’.  I heard it from one of my class-friends, Golam Nabi, who was present in the meeting as I could not attend due to my some urgent preoccupation.

We, however, couldn’t understand what Habibullah Sir meant it by addressing Professor Khan as his Lieutenant General. But, we knew one thing i.e. at that time in Bangladesh the chief of the army staff was in the rank of Lieutenant General and it was the highest rank in defence services of Bangladesh. Can we understand now that Habibullah Sir meant Muinuddin Khan the chief person of accounting in Bangladesh? However, we also know generally the name of the head of the government or the head of state is known to the people across the country. Professor Khan was neither the head of the government nor the head of the state but, surprisingly, his name was well-known to many across the country for long over four decades ago from today. It was, no doubt, only because of his books of accounting.

We know accounting is a difficult subject. Muinuddin Khan Sir took classes even on more difficult courses of accounting like management accounting, cost accounting and financial management, and project management. He was very kind, cordial and caring for every student. As he made accounting easy in his books to understand, so his lectures were interesting and easy to grasp although he taught very difficult courses. While giving marks to the examination papers, he considered how his student was able to understand his courses in true sense. He never preferred that his student memorized the courses with coma, semicolon and full-stop from the books. In our academic arena there was a culture at that time, even today also that a student could not be given maximum marks inspite of his answer-to-question was quite appropriate. But, Khan Sir never did that. He gave maximum marks to a student if the student deserved to get it.

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In my university life I had no personal relation with Sir. But, since my early life when I saw his books from my senior students, I was attracted to this great man. I had the habit of writing poems and others from my early age. I am all along a curious man. So, when I feel curious, I try to discover something from there. Though I had no personal contact with Sir, but I always looked at him with a different attitude other than a mere teacher-student relationship. He is a very simple man that belongs to the proverbial adage i.e. simple living and high thinking. But, a smart, tall, handsome, attractive, liberal and amiable person, he is always very punctual, well-mannered, well-dressed and a man of impressive personality but strict to principles. Above all, he is a highly committed and devoted educationist. Disseminating knowledge and education is his motto.

I believe that teachers play a big role in the life of students, and students are images of teachers, and  teaching runs Professor Khan’s views, and a teacher can never retire.

There is no denial of the fact that the accounting education in Bangladesh could have lagged far behind if he had not written the books on accounting. So, he is an icon of accounting in Bangladesh. He is a role-model not only for many of his students like me but also for our present and future generations. He has thousands of direct students and tens of thousands of indirect students who studied and are still studying his books at home and abroad. Many of his students have achieved high name and fame for their outstanding contributions in the professional field and business world. Many of his students were and are still ministers, secretaries, CEOs, bankers, businessmen, educationists, industrialists, even writers and journalists and so on. Today, he turns himself to be an institution by dint of his genius, commitment, dedication, contribution to education, research, writing, training and consultancy that have ultimately influenced the nation-building activities of Bangladesh. Obviously, he stands apart from others.

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Professor Muinuddin Khan never hesitates to recognize others. Such an instance made me surprised. Though the case about me, I should reveal the truth. I already mentioned that I had no personal relation with Sir. I was an ordinary student hailing from remote island of Sandwip. So, I had no courage to make personal relation with such a big person. However, let me present the case. In 2003 my English poetry book, ‘Let There Be Light’ was published. The book attracted the attention of almost all the leading national dailies of Bangladesh and the dailies made the wide reflections on the book. I sent five copies of the book to the senior teachers of Accounting Department, including Khan Sir. I heard that Sir took the initiative to hold a formal discussion on the book in the department, after knowing that the writer of English poetry book is an alumnus of his department. Since others did not agree, Sir could not do it. Once he also told me over phone, “You have made us all proud. Being an accounting student you’ve composed English poetry. I don’t know how many students of English Department have written English poetry in Bangladesh. You must be recognized, you must be awarded.” Hearing this from Sir, I was amazed and felt that I got the biggest award. Thus he recognized an unknown boy. This is the man Khan Sir.

There are many stories of Khan Sir. So, by writing a few lines in a magazine, the stories of such a great man cannot be expressed fully. I am here just expressing my feeling about him and trying to reflect some on his life and achievements for the readers. Muinuddin Khan was born on the 6th of February 1941 in a respectable Muslim family in the old city of Dhaka. His father is late Mohammad Yasin and mother is late Phool Begum. His father received MA in English from the University of Dhaka in 1939 and was a teacher of the Department of English at Dhaka University for a short time. Later, he joined the Islamic Intermediate College in Dhaka, now named Mohsin College, as lecturer in English.

His father was an ideal teacher and lived a very simple life. Muinuddin Khan is the eldest among his six brothers and three sisters. He was grown up in a such big family in good family environment of his pious parents. Being imbued with the ideals of his father he chose teaching as his ultimate profession from the core of his heart. He started teaching his fellow students from his school life. He passed the Matriculation in 1957 from Government Muslim High School, Chittagong and Intermediate of Commerce in 1959 from Government College of Commerce, Chittagong. The same year, he got admitted into the University of Dhaka. He passed B.Com. (Honours) in Commerce in 1962 and M.Com. in Accounting and Taxation in 1963 from the University of Dhaka. Later, he received a Post Graduate Certificate in Research Methodology and Computer Skills in 1987 from the School of Government and Business Administration of the George Washington University, Washington D.C., USA and also received Advanced Training in Social Sciences Research Methodology in 1970 from the Bureau of Economic Research of the University of Dhaka.

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Just after the completion of university education, Mr. Khan joined the then Habib Bank, a leading bank at that time as a probationary officer with a handsome salary. Since his father was his role-model, he used to have deep inclination towards teaching. For which, he at once quitted this coveted job and joined the then Quaid-e-Azam College, now Sarwardy College, as lecturer in March 1964. This was his formal beginning of teaching in an institution. Within a short time he held his students spell-bound by his extraordinary capacity of teaching and expression. This inspiration pushed him forward and also inspired him to devote himself in writing. He wrote ‘Advanced Accounting Volume-I and Advanced Accounting Volume-II’ in English and these books were published by Ideal Library in 1966. These books brought a new identity to him. Soon he was getting popular as a figure in the arena of commerce education across the country.

Thus, these two volumes of accounting got the recognition as recommended text books for graduate students of accounting of the universities and also for professionals in the field of accounting like Chartered Accountants, Cost and Management Accountants, Bankers and others since 1966. The books have already undergone nine editions. These books ushered in a new chapter of Accounting Education in this part of the Indo-Pak Subcontinent. Through these books his name and fame spread across this Subcontinent. For which these books are called the Bible of Accounting by many in Bangladesh and Professor Muinuddin Khan turns to be an icon of accounting in Bangladesh. Professor Khan has, by this time, also written a few other books on accounting and business management. These are ‘Manual for Advanced Accounting’ in two volumes in English, ‘Essential of Business Organization’ in English and ‘Essential of Business Management’ also in English. These books were also published by Ideal Library.

He joined the Department of Commerce at Dhaka University as lecturer on the 20th of May 1966. He was the first to be appointed in the post of lecturer position at that time. His books impressed the members of the interview board and the senior teachers also when he was working with them in the department. His senior teachers used to encourage and inspire him much. After his father Professor Yasin, he took Professor Md. Safiullah, Professor Dr. M. Habibullah and Professor Dr. Abdullah Faruk as role-models to follow and recalls with full regards to their inspirations and contributions to him. It is also an example to learn from Professor Khan that how much he remains obedient and indebted till today to his teachers. After 40 years of his teaching at the University of Dhaka, he retired from this highest seat of learning of Bangladesh in June 2006 and started his career as administrative and teaching head at the private universities, at first at Southeast University as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and then at ASA University Bangladesh as its founder Vice-Chancellor respectively.

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Now he is about 75 and his teaching career exceeds 50 years of devotion. During this long career, Professor Khan gained vast experience in academic and administrative leadership. Currently, he is the Adviser to ASA University of Bangladesh. He was the founder Vice Chancellor of ASA University Bangladesh for about 5 years and a half since April 01, 2007. He was appointed Adviser to the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh and had been in charge of the Ministries of Industries, Science & ICT and Jute and Textile on 12th December 2006.

He served as the Dean of the School of Business Studies of Southeast University from 20th September 2004 to 15th October 2005, October 2005 to 11th December 2006 and again from 13th January 2007 to 31st March 2007 and also served the University as a first Pro-Vice Chancellor, appointed by the Hon’ble President of Bangladesh and Chancellor of Southeast University on 9th March, 2006.

He served as Dean of the Faculty of Business Studies, University of Dhaka for a period of 2 years from 1995- 1997 and as Chairman, Bureau of Business Research, University of Dhaka, first from 1995-1997 and in second term 2002-2004 for a total period of 4 years, as Chairman of the Department of Accounting, first from 1979 -1982 and again from 1988-1992 in all for about 7 years. He was the Founder Programme Director, EMBA Programme of the Department of Accounting and Information Systems from January 2002 to December 2003 and a Member of the Finance Committee (FC) of the University of Dhaka during 2004-05 and Editor of ‘Dhaka University Journal of Business Studies’ of the Faculty of Business Studies for a period of 2 years.

Professor Khan also has been serving as Chief Editor of ASA University Review (ISSN 1997-6925) since its first appearance from the first year of its establishment in 2007. Since then 16 issues of the Review (biannual) have already been published. The publication of the journal has been regular with no intercession. He was also the Founder Editor of the Journal of Business Studies of Southeast University.

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His teaching, research, administrative and consulting experiences at university level including more than 2 years at college level have reached more than 50 years. Alongside the teaching at the university, he gained more than two decades of experience in teaching professional students of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAB) and Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) and also the students of the Institute of Bankers of Bangladesh (IBB).

He delivered lectures on several occasions to the courses organized jointly by BIDS and EDI of the World Bank at home and EDI of the World Bank and UN ESCAP abroad, relating to Financial Analysis and Project Management. He also served as a short term consultant to the Planning Commission of the Government of Bangladesh during the periods of Second Five Year, Third Five Year and Fourthy Five Year Plans and was also a short term consultant to the World Bank to deliver lectures on courses on Regional Planning in Shipping and Inland Water Ways Sector.

He served as local consultant for a period of about 4 years as a Local Counterpart to the Expatriate ILO consultants to National Management Development Programme jointly organized by ILO/BMDC/UNDP and was also consultant to SIDA of the Swiss Embassy and Directorate of Fisheries of the Government of Bangladesh for the projects sponsored and financed by the World Bank. He served as Chairman of  consulting house “Center for Management Development and Research” and worked also as an expert for improvement of curriculum of business education from Class IX to XII and for introduction of unitrack curriculum for secondary level of education by SESIP under GOB/ADB project for courses on Business Studies.

Professor Khan, alone and sometimes shared by others, conducted a good number of significant research works and these were published at home and abroad. Some of those published works are as follows:

1.         Accounting Efficiency and Productivity- a pioneer research in the field of Accounting sponsored by the Bureau of Economic Research, University of Dhaka and Co-authored with Mr. A.A.M. Baquer, Department of Management Studies, University of Dhaka.

2.         Feasibility of Installing Standard Costing in Jute Mills – a research work on cost-benefit analysis of Installing Standard Costing in Jute Industry of Bangladesh. The research project was sponsored by the Bureau of Business Research, University of Dhaka. It was published by the Bureau of Business Research in 1988.

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3.         A Critical Evaluation of Accounting Practice and Accountants’ Competence in Jute Industry of Bangladesh – a research project completed on accounting practices and the accountants’ competence in Jute Mills of Bangladesh.

4.         Role of Accounting in Industrial Productivity- a research based article published in the Economist, Vol. I No.2 of August/Sept. 1972.

5.         A Critical Evaluation of Accounting Practices in Bangladesh- a research based article published in the “Cost and the Management” – a Journal of Bangladesh Institute of Industrial Accountants, Issue No. Vol. I No.2 of July – August, 1975.

6.         The Income Statement Study- a research based paper published in the ‘Management Development’ a Journal of Management Development Centre, (Issue No. Vol. 4, No.2 of April/June, 1975).

7.         A Study on Jute Textile Industry of Bangladesh – a research study conducted for the Planning Commission of the Government of Bangladesh for the Preparation of Second. Five Year Plan and Perspective Plan. Report was submitted in January 1979.

8.         A Study on Cotton Textile Industry of Bangladesh – a research study conducted for the Planning Commission of the Government of Bangladesh for the Preparation of Second Five and Perspective Plans. Report submitted in January 1979.

9.         Use of IFC Techniques- Research based article published in the Cost and Management, published in Jan. – June, 1977 in the journal of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh.

10.       Financial Diagnosis: A Case Study- a research based article published in the Bangladesh Accountant a journal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh, Issue No.1 of Vol. IV, July-September 1980.

11.       Accountability and Perfor-mance Evaluation in Accounting System published in the Government Audit- The journal of the Audit and Accounts Training Academy, 3rd Issue, Jan. 1982.

12.       Design and Installation of Management Control Systems in Bangladesh Milk Producers’ Cooperative Union Limited in 4 Volumes containing Organogram Study, Accounting System Design, Stores Manual and Purchase Manual.

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13.       Cost Accounting Methods and Techniques applicable to Public Enterprises published in Government Audit- The journal of the Audit and Accounts Training Academy, 5th Issue, May, 1983.

14.       Study of Jute and Cotton Textiles: Vol. Vol. II (Cotton Textile) and I (Jute Textile) research based study conducted for the Planning Commission of the Government of Bangladesh for the preparation of Third Five Year Plan (1985-90). Report was submitted in Febuary, 1985.

15.       Cash Flow Projection and Evaluation Report on Ox-Bow Lakes Fisheries project for the Directorate of Fisheries, Govt. of Bangladesh (submitted in August 1985).

16.       Research work entitled: Industrial Project Planning in the Public Sector of Bangladesh- Analysis of its Appraisal and Implement-ation, published by the School of Government and Business Administration of the George Washington University of USA as working paper in July 1987 and was published there.

17.       Effective System of Accou-nting for BJMC : A Need for the Hour- a research based article published in the Bangladesh Accountant, journal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh in their issue  of Oct. 1987 – March’ 88.

18.       A Study of Jute and Cotton Textiles in two volumes: one for Jute Textile and other for Cotton Textile for the preparation of Fourth Five Year Plan (1990-1995), a research based study conducted for the Planning Commission of the Government of Bangladesh. The study sought to improve the data base for computation of National Income, to construct Input-Output and Capital-Output matrices relating to Jute and Cotton Textiles industries of Bangladesh.

19.       Problems of Industrial Project Planning in the Public Sector of Bangladesh – a research based article published by the Center for Development Research Bangladesh (CDRB) in their journal ‘Asian Affairs’ in July – September 1990 issue.

20.       Evaluation of Financial Performance of an Edible Oil Company – a research based article published in ” The Cost and Management” a bi-monthly journal of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh in their issue January – February 1991.

21.       A Model of Financial Appraisal of a Bank- a research based article published in The Bangladesh Accountant- a journal of the Institute of     Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh in their issue for January – March 1991.

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22.       A research based article entitled: Bangladesh Readymade Garments Industry- Problems and Prospects, published in Management Development, a journal of Bangladesh Management Development Center (Vol. 21 No.3 July – Sept’92).

23.       A research based study on Operational Performances of Jute Manufacturing Industry in Bangladesh: A Comparative Study of Public and Private Enterprises, published in Dhaka University Journal of Business Studies of the Faculty of Commerce; Vol. XIII No.2, Dec, 1992.

24.       A research based study on “Underlying Forces Leading to Inadequate Participation in Rural Credit Project” published in Dhaka University Journal of Business Studies of the Faculty of Commerce; Vol. 15 (1), June 1994.

25.       A research based article entitled: Snags in Implementing Development Projects in Bangladesh: An Analysis of Cost and Time Overruns, published in Bangladesh Accountant, a journal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh. Vol. 22 No.2 April June 1994.

26.       ‘Enrolment Management and Strategic Planning for Streams of Business Administration and Computer Science- a research based article published in Southeast University Journal of Business Studies, Vol. I, No. II, July-December 2005 (ISSN 1815-3267).

27.       Conducted a research study on Inadequate Participation in BASWAP/ SHOGRIP Project for Bangladesh-Swiss Agricu-ltural Project of Swiss International Development Agency of the Embassy of Switzerland.

28.       A research based article: Resistance to Change among First Line Managers: A comparative Study of Malaysia and Bangladesh, along with Md. Aminul Islam and Anees Janee Ali, published in ASA University Review, Vol. 3, No. 1, January-June 2009.

29.       A research based article: Factors Contributing towards Successful Brand Extension, with Md. Habibur Rahman, published in ASA University Review, Vol. 3, No. 2, July-December 2009.

Professor Khan has also guided and supervised a good number of business research work undertaken by the participants of the Foundation Course in Accounting Information for Planning and Control, jointly organized by BMDC/UNDP/ILO, a project for National Management Development Programme of ILO and the Government of Bangladesh. These are as follows:

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1.         Batch Cost Control System Design and its installation at Albert David Limited- a pharmaceutical factory under BCIC).

2.         Accounting System Design and its installation at Kohinoor Battery Manufact -urers Limited- an enterprise of KGI of BCIC.

3.         Process Cost Control at Dhaka Vegetable Oil Industries Limited

4.         Task Force assignment to ascertain the problems of productivity and profitability of Kohinoor Group of Industries and Chittagong Steel Mills- the only Steel Mills of the country.

5.         Evaluated the Financial Performance and the Management Information System of  Agrani Bank-one of the biggest commercial banks of the country.

6.         Evaluation of Management Information System introduced at Karim Jute Mills by the Rahman Rahman Huq & Co. Chartered Accountants.

7.         Designing a Material Cost Control System at Dhaka Match Factory- an enterprise of BCIC.

8.         Designing Fund Manage-ment System at Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation-the biggest corporation of Bangladesh.

He supervised the Financial Diagnosis and Analytical Studies of a number of enterprises as a consultant to ILO/UNDP project at BMDC (BIM). These are:

(i)         Nabisco Biscuit and Bread Factory,

(ii)        Kohinoor Chemical Company,

(iii)       Dhaka Match Factory,

(iv)       Habib Industries,

(v)        Kohinoor Battery Co. Limited,

(vi)       Narayanganj Ship-building and Dockyard,

(vii)      Karim Rubber Factory,

(viii)     Star Particle Board Mills,

(ix)       Eastern Tubes,

(x)        Tri-Phosphate Sulpher (TSP) Fertilizer Factory,

(xi)       Ujala Match Factory,

(xii)      Chittagong Steel Mills            Limited,

(xiii)     Ahmed Bawany Textile Mills,

(xiv)     Bangladesh Biman-National Air Lines of Bangladesh,

(xv)      Albert David Limited-a pharmaceutical factory,

(xvi)     Agrani Bank,

(xvii)    Lira Industrial Enterprise- a PVC pipe manufacturing Unit).

Besides, Professor Khan held dignified positions in various professional development programmes and played very active and effective roles in course of his involvement with different research and training activities. He was Adviser to UNDP/UNIDO Project Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation. There he was responsible to guide and assist the Project Manager, Mr. lhab Ali Ascar as an External Adviser, in matters relating to Cost Control, Management Information System etc. of 75 Jute Mills under the control of BJMC. He was involved in the project from early 1977 for a period of about one and a half years.

He was Course Director for all the foundation courses on Accounting Information for Managerial Planning and Control conducted jointly by BMDC/ILO/UNDP under National Management Development Progra-mme from July 1978 to December 1981, for the senior level executives of Nationalized Public and Private industrial Sectors and performed his activities very efficiently.

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He was Course Speaker for Project Analysis Courses conducted jointly by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies and Economic Development Institute of the World Bank for Transport, Industry and Agriculture Sectors. There he was responsible for conducting courses on Financial Analytical Aspects of Project Analysis of all these sectors. He was involved in these courses conducted jointly by BIDS and EDI/spread over a period of about 4 years. He also participated in the Seminar on Development Policy Analysis and Investment Decisions conducted jointly by the EDI of the World Bank and Bangladesh Administrative Staff College. He was also invited to deliver lectures to Regional Transport Course Organized jointly organized by the EDI of the World Bank and UNESCAP at Bangkok in the month of March 1982.

He was also Course Speaker for the courses conducted by the Institutes of Chartered Accountants and Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh and also the   Institute of Bankers, Bangladesh. There he infused the spirit of becoming true professionals among the participants of the course. He was Course Director for training Programme for probationary Assistant Accountant Generals of the Government of Bangladesh and also for orientation courses for Accounts Officers of the Commercial Audit Department of the Comptroller and Auditor General of the Government of Bangladesh. He was also Course Director for the courses conducted by the Center for Management Development and Research on Accounting Information for Managerial Planning and Control for participants of Bangladesh Food and Sugar Industries Corporation. He served as the Chairman of the Center for Management Development and Research, a consulting house for professional consultancy and training of executives of various organizations in public and private sectors.

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He was appointed the Chairman of the Bureau of Business Research, Faculty of Business Studies of the University of Dhaka for two terms from July 2002 – June 2004. He was one of the Course Coordinators for courses conducted by the Department of Accounting and Information Systems of the University of Dhaka for VAT officials of Bangladesh. He was Editor of the prestigious journal of the Dhaka University Business Studies for a period of two years from 1995-1997.

Professor Khan, a pioneer of Accounting research, also supervised a Ph.D. and an M.Phil. students of National University. Besides, he was appointed as examiner of more than a dozen of Ph.D. and M.Phil. theses under the University of Rajshahi and  Delhi School of Economics and Aligarh University of India.

He served as a visiting Professor to some of the private sector universities for courses namely, Financial Accounting, Cost Accounting, Management Accounting, Project Management, Managerial Finance and International (Multinational) Financial Management since these Universities started offering these courses.

He was mentioned as a leading personality in the ‘Marquis Who’s Who in the World’ on the basis of contributions made as an Accounting and  Finance educator, researcher and author in their 14th Edition  in 1998 and in its subsequent editions. He was a member of Association of Management Development Institu-tions of South Asia (AMDISA) and Treasurer of Association of Management Development Institu-tions of Bangladesh (AMDIB).

Professor Khan’s life is colourful and variegated. He has also visited many countries of the globe. He is married and blessed with five sons and three daughters. All of them are post graduates and well-established in their lives.