Book review ” BANKER TO THE POOR” : From Textbooks to Reality

Posted: April 13, 2012 in Books & Movies, Society
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Books are of two types Fiction and Non fiction. It is always interesting to read a book which is something like an autobiography of an individual who transformed the way the world thought of eradicating poverty and have economic inclusion. Young generation today need the social perspective of whatever they do in their personal life and Professional life.

In my previuos article i discussed about the way microfinance has been used to eradicate poverty in a successful way and the grand and marvelous success of Grameen Bank promoted by a Professor named Muhammed Yunus of Bangladesh. He showed to the world that nothing is impossible, but the thing is, people must have the intention and will to work for the social cause.He had that will, that’s why a community development program in a college near Jobra village of Bangladesh has become a pioneer for the Financial inclusion worldwide.

Banker to the poor : Micro-lending and the battle against world poverty is nothing but an autobiography of Mohammed yunus and his Grameen bank. This book was written by Muhammed yunus with Alan Jolis. They have segregated the book into 7 parts that clearly gives a detailed picture from Yunus early ages of life to the present growth of grameen bank.

It all starts with bloody fight of separatism among the east Pakistan and west Pakistan. Separatist wants to create a nation for them which is nothing but people who speak Bengali as their language. While reading that i remember the bloody fight to create Pakistan from India. Pakistan created out of Religious separatism, whereas Bangladesh created out of Language problems.

How long this list will go? I dint know. If you start to feel the differences among the people, each individual is unique we cant live as  nation. This is how Yunus  begins his book speaking about the separatist movement of Bangladesh from Pakistan, but yunus is not against Bangladesh but he works for creating a separate nation for Bengali, because there was no other option , the only option for them at that time was Bangladesh.

Bangladesh was created, all is not well, but people are in peace and self respect. They are in their own nation. But in 1976 famine hit Bangladesh.People are into extreme poverty.That time Yunus was working with Chittagong university as a professor. Their college had a community development program, which they have to move to nearest villages and do some community development work their. Yunus went with his students. It was Jobra village, in Bangladesh the majority are Muslims. The men in the village went for work, whereas women stayed in their homes. So yunus have to meet only the women in that villages. It was difficult because in Muslim community women were not usually speak with outsiders , they speak only with their father, brother, husband and close relatives male. It was very tough for yunus to speak with those women, but he had one option that their girl students started to interact and acted as a mediator between yunus and those women.

They are poor, the only problem that they had was availability of credit. Their husbands were mostly depends on Moneylenders for financial assistance. Money lenders charge huge interest even for small sums. That created lot of trouble in their life and dragged them into extreme poverty. Wasn’t there any banks available at that time? Yes there they had so many banks, but banks are not for the poor, because commercial banks need collateral, which the poor people don’t have.

In the chapter 9 ‘Banking:climbing the prison walls of collateral,1976′, Yunus describes in detail the hindrances and hurdles that he found the poor people suffered to get the normal financial assistance from Commercial banks. He tried out with his money and the financial assistance of the students. Providing financial assistance for poor without collateral. They utilized that, everyone repaid the amount. The next step was to cover large group of people. this time finance was a problem, because they cannot finance the entire village with students and his money. So he went a nearest bank and asked to provide credit to poor people.

As usual the response was ‘where is the collateral?’. After several attempts he realized people are not going to change, then he decided the thing   “It is not people who are not credit worthy. It is banks that are not people worthy” . He created Grameen Foundation to provide finance to poor women borrowers.The rest is History…

Part1 to part 6 deals in describing the Journey of yunus from the year 1940 – 2005.

Chapter 9 : climbing the prison walls of collateral, chapter 10 Why lend to women rather than to men?, chapter 20 Natural disasters: our other enemies, Part 7 A NEW WORLD are the sensational segments of the book to read. It clearly shows us the importance of bringing the contents of the textbooks to reality and problems and progress associated with the journey of Yunus.

This book is the one worth buying and reading..

Book details:

 Title: Banker to the poor – the story of the Grameen bank

Author: Muhammed Yunus, Alan jolis

Publisher: penguinbooksindia (

Price: Rs.399/-

ISBN: 978-0-143-10291-5

  1. The world was not the same for poor after Mohammed Yunus. He made lot of difference for them after his path breaking work based on simple ideas. It is design thinking of keeping the customer in center to think of solutions. I wish him all the best.

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