Dr. Mahbub ul Haq
· Haq was regarded as an original thinker and a major
innovator of new ideas in the field of development economics. He was named one
of the fifty key thinkers on development in a book, alongside Karl Marx, Thomas Malthus, and Mahatma Gandhi. (David Simon, Fifty Key Development Thinkers,
Routledge, London, 2006)
· The Human Development Index, created by Haq and
Amartya Sen has become one of the most prominent and commonly used indexes for
measuring human development across countries. The United Nations Development
Program (UNDP) has utilized the HDI in its yearly Human Development Reports since
1990. He also presented South Korea with a five-year plan that aided the
country’s quick development.
· Mahbub ul Haq is credited with being the first to
conceive the concept of human development. He not only established the
philosophy of human development for planning economic development, but he also
presented the world with a statistical tool to quantify the indicators of
economic progress and human development.
· From theThe Human Development Index1960s through the 1990s, Haq impacted
development philosophy and practice, moving the focus of development discourse
from national income growth to people and their well-being, and tracking
progress through the Human Development Index (HDI). He started a global
campaign to adopt Haq’s unique ideas for people-centered development, bringing
together policymakers, academics, and activists.
· Haq’s ideas and passion encouraged his audience,
especially South Asian officials, to delve deeper into the causes of the
mismatch between economic prosperity and people’s well-being. Despite holding
high-ranking positions in national and international organizations, Haq has
never shied away from speaking the truth and raising concerns about taboo
topics like rising military spending, poor countries wasting resources on the
nuclear race, and a lack of development cooperation within South Asia. If acute
divisions were resolved and a free flow of rich customs, business, and ideas
was promoted, Haq believed that South Asia could become Asia’s next economic
frontier. He outlined a vision and a strategy for bringing South Asians closer
together. He worked relentlessly for peace between India and Pakistan,
investments in education and health for all people without discrimination based
on gender, income, geography, or other variables, training and resources for
South Asian civil society, and work toward a South Asian integrated economy.
· Mahbub ul Haq’s legacy of humanizing economics by
giving economic development a human face and pushing poverty concerns to the
forefront of the development agenda will live on for a long time. His concerns
about income and capability differences between rich and poor people inside and
between countries will also be addressed. Haq steadfastly advocated for better
development cooperation in the twenty-first century, a less brutal
globalization process, a system of global institutions to protect vulnerable
people and nations, a reduction in military spending to free up resources for
social development, a more transparent and ethical national and international
governance system, and a compassionate society. Another of his legacies is that
he rarely discussed concerns without laying forth a detailed plan of action.
· However, Mahbub ul Haq’s greatest legacy is his
intellectual fortitude. He never shied away from telling the truth, no matter
where he worked or what position he had. He was constantly fighting for the
voiceless, disenfranchised, and downtrodden millions against an unjust,
immoral, corrupt, and anti-people system. I’d like to close by repeating a few
remarks from a good friend, Prof Amartya Sen, who was speaking about Mahbub ul
The Mahbub ul Haq Award for Extraordinary
Contribution to Human Development was established in Haq’s honor, and it is
given to a notable national, regional, or global person who has exhibited
outstanding commitment to improving human development understanding and
advancement. The Mahbub ul Haq Award honors both political and civil society
leaders on a rotating basis. The following people have received this award:
– Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and a
member of The Elders.
– Frances Stewart, author, researcher, and advocate for human
– Sheila Watt-Cloutier, arctic community activist.
– Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement
– Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President of Brazil,
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