|Alma mater||Aitchison College
London School of Economics
University of Dhaka
|Spouse(s)||Salma Sobhan (−2003; widower)
Rownaq Jahan (-present)
|Parents||Khondker Fazle Sobhan|
|Awards||Independence Day Award (2008)|
Rehman Sobhan (Bengali: রেহমান সোবহান) is a Bangladeshi economist and freedom fighter. He played an active role in the Bengali nationalist movement in the 1960s. He was also a member of the first Planning Commission in Bangladesh and a close associate of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Education and career
Sobhan attended St. Paul's School, Darjeeling in India and then later the Aitchison College in Lahore, Pakistan where he later became a School Prefect and winner of Churchill Medal for the best performance in HSC that year and then he went on to Cambridge University to earn his bachelor's degree. Subsequently, he attended London School of Economics for a doctoral degree in economics but returned without completing the degree. His cohorts at Cambridge included prominent economists of the Indian subcontinent such as Amartya Sen, Manmohan Singh and Mahbub ul Haq. He taught Economics at the University of Dhaka. After the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, Rehman Sobhan was appointed a member of the Planning Commission. He quit when he, along with others, fell from the grace of Sheikh Mujib in 1975. Later he worked as the Director General of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies. After retirement from BIDS, he set up Centre for Policy Dialogue in 1993, a high-profile private sector think-tank, where he works as its Executive Chairman .
In the 1960s, Sobhan, with a number of other nationalist economists under the intellectual leadership of Nurul Islam, contributed to the drafting of six-points programme that became the basis for the struggle for autonomy in the then East Pakistan. The writings of this group of economists on regional disparity between West Pakistan (Pakistan since 1971) and East Pakistan (Bangladesh since 1971) played an important role in fomenting nationalist aspirations of the people of Bangladesh. During the liberation war from 26 March to 16 December 1971), he was a roving ambassador for Bangladesh and lobbied in the United States.
After the independence of Bangladesh he was appointed a member of the Planning Commission in 1972. He left the country after he was asked to quit. Upon his return to Bangladesh in 1982, he joined Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) and later he founded the Centre for Policy Dialogue. Currently he is the chairman of CPD, which is active in open public discussions of policy issues, particularly in the area of governance. He has authored numerous books and articles on various developmental issues. many of which appeared in leading national media. He was appointed an advisor of the Caretaker Government in Bangladesh in 1990–91.
Sobhan was first married to Salma Sobhan, a Barrister and a human rights activist. She died in 2003. He is currently married to Dr. Rownaq Jahan, a political scientist, who is a Distinguished Fellow at CPD. Sobhan's father Khondker Fazle Sobhan served as Pakistan's ambassador to Kenya. Rehman Sobhan's younger brother, Farooq Sobhan, is a former diplomat and the current President of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, a private-sector think tank of the country.
- Basic Democracies, Works Programme and Rural Development in East Pakistan (1968),
- Public Enterprise in an Intermediate Regime: A Study in the Political Economy of Bangladesh (1980).
- The Crisis of External Dependence: The Political Economy of Foreign Aid to Bangladesh (1982),
- Public Enterprise and the Nature of the State (1983),
- Rural Poverty and Agrarian Reform in the Philippines (1983),
- From Aid Dependence to Self-Reliance: Development Options for Bangladesh (1990),
- Debt Default and the Crisis of State Sponsored Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh (1991),
- Public Allocative Strategies, Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation : A Global Perspective (1991),
- Planning and Public Action for Asian Women (1992),
- Rethinking the Role of the State in Development : Asian Perspectives (1993),
- Bangladesh : Problems of Governance (1993),
- Agrarian Reform and Social Transformation (1993),
- Aid Dependence and Donor Policy: The Case of Tanzania (1996),
- Towards a Theory of Governance and Development: Learning from East Asia (1998),
- Team leader and Editor of the annual Independent Review of Bangladesh's Development: Experiences with Economic Reform (1995),
- Growth or Stagnation? A Review of Bangladesh's Development (1996),
- Crisis in Governance:Review of Bangladesh's Development (1997),
- Trends in the Post-Flood Economy:Review of Bangladesh's Development (2000).