Saturday, October 24, 2009

Promod Mankin Becomes State Minister for Cultural Affairs in Bangladesh

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Mr. Promod Mankin (the fourth from the right) is being congratulated by a Catholic delegation consisting of (L-R) Father Jyoti Costa -- Parish Priest of St. Mary's Cathedral, Dhaka; Father Subrato Boniface Gomes -- Asst. Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh; Brother Kajal Costa, CSC; Father Kamal Corraya -- Editor of the Pratibeshi and Director of the Christian Communications Centre; Brother Binoy Gomes, CSC -- Provincial of the Holy Cross Brothers; Mr. Nirmal Gomes -- President of the Christian Cooperative Credit Union Ltd.; Father Francis Gomes Sima; Sister Anita, SMRA -- Superior General of the SMRA Sisters; Sister Dipti, SMRA -- Headmistress of Bottomley Home Orphanage Girls' High School and Father Albert Rozario -- Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace
Photo @ courtesy of Brother Nipu Hubert Rozario, CSC

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently appointed Promod Mankin (70), an ethnic Garo lawyer, the State Minister for Cultural Affairs. In his capacity, he will deal with the cultural development of the country.

The First Christian Minister

Promod Mankin, belonging to the Catholic Church, is the first Christian Minister in Bangladesh. In an interview with the UCANews, he said he would also promote cultural efforts of Christians as well as 45 ethnic groups besides his work on cultural affairs at the national level.

He also expressed his determination to work for improved land rights of the ethnic groups in Bangladesh so that they might be protected from false criminal accusations brought against them by some Muslim community members. He has a goal of establishing Christian Religion Welfare Foundation under the banner of the Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA). The foundation will deal with the Ministry of Religious Affairs to provide support for the Christian community and a better working relationship with the government, he said.

Father Subrato Boniface Gomes, the Assistant Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB), expressed his opinion to the UCANews: "We are proud to have him as the state minister. He can add our voice to the government's policy-making process." A Garo Catholic, Benjamin Marak, hoped that Promod Mankin's appointment would mean having justice for the ethnic people in case of false accusations and a better trasport and communication infrastructure in the regions where ethnic groups live.

Christians of Bangladesh were pleased at the appointment of the first Christian minister. A delegation of Catholics, on behalf of Archbishop Paulinus Costa of Dhaka, met with the newly-appointed minister at his official residence and congratulated him.

Life-Sketch of the Minister

Promod Mankin, born at Biroidakuni Village of Mymensingh District, studied at the Little Flower Seminary and Holy Cross High School at Bandura. He completed his B.A. from Notre Dame College, Dhaka, and became the headmaster of Biroidakuni Catholic High School. Later he completed B.Ed. In 1971, he participated actively in the Bangladesh War of Independence. To give leadership to his Garo community, he studied law and passed LL.B. He also founded the Garo Tribal Welfare Association to look after the interests of the ethnic Garos. Then for a period, he was the Regional Director of Caritas Bangladesh for the Mymensingh Region.

Since 1991, he has been participating in the national politics. From Mymensingh-1 Constituency, he won the election and became a member of the parliament (M.P.). Later he also won the same seat twice more, the last being on December 29, 2008. As a member of the parliament, he also served as the chief of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs before his appointment as the State Minister. He was also holding the chairmanship of the Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA), an organization to look after the interests of the Christians in the Muslim-majority country. Bookmark and Share