News Karnataka
Wednesday, December 07 2022

‘Banks lend money to people who already have money’

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Mysuru: “Bonsai trees grow from good seeds; you can’t blame the seed but the container. There is no space for the tree to grow. Poor people are like bonsai trees, they are not to be blamed because society never gave them the space to grow,” says Prof Muhammad Yunus.
Prof Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize winner was the first speaker of the Nobel Laureate Lecture Series as part of the centenary celebrations at the University of Mysore on Friday. Yunus, who was introduced as Prometheus fighting against poverty, delivered his lecture to a packed audience at Crawford Hall.

‘Badavara Banker’, Muhammad Yunus’ biography which has been translated to Kannada by Prof. KV Prabhakar was released on the occasion. Vice Chancellor of University of Mysore Prof. KS Rangappa and Registrar Prof. C Basavaraju were present as well.

“There are three zeros to be achieved- zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero net carbon emission,” Prof Yunus added.

Prof Yunus’ struggle to achieve zero poverty began when he ventured outside the walls of Chittagong University to the surrounding villages. Bangladesh was recovering from the devastating Independence War from Pakistan.

“The village became my University, all the economic theories I had learnt till then seemed empty. Those theories were beautiful, but they did not solve the problems of the villagers. I became an empty person; I went through so much emotional turmoil questioning myself on how I can relate to the world.”

Yunus began by giving money to impoverished villagers who were victims of loan sharking. Soon he went to the banks to ask them to lend money to the poor villagers, “But banks don’t lend to poor people because they are not ‘creditworthy’. Banks are designed badly; they only lend money to people who already have money!”

Which led him to start a bank for the poor, Grameen Bank, “I never knew anything about banking, whenever I needed a rule, I’d look at the conventional bank’s rule and do the exact opposite,” Prof Yunus laughed.

Grameen now lends 1.5 billion dollars to over 8.5 million poor, rural villagers in Bangladesh, out of which 97% borrowers are women built on mutual trust.

Prof Yunus’ disillusionment extended to the flawed education system across the world, “As a university professor I had a bird’s eye view of the world, which was an illusion. Now I have a worm’s eye view and I can see solutions to problems,” he said.

Social Business

Muhammad Yunus doesn’t believe in charity, because that money can’t be used to help more people. He believes in creating social business’ which helps more than one person. He believes that human beings are born entrepreneurs, born problem solvers.

The education system has become nothing but a worker producing factory, we are not money making machines, “Be creative, you have enormous creative power and when you take up jobs you lose your creative power. You are not a job seeker, but a job creator,” Yunus says, “The machines we have are flawed, which is why we need to redesign the system, the economics and the redesign the world.”

Everyone can be entrepreneur and Grameen gives young people the support to create more social businesses, “There are two kinds of business- one is to make money and another is to change the world.”

Prof Yunus ended his breathtaking speech by stressing on the need to create a new civilisation, with the pure human energy we have to recreate this carbonised economy to a more sustainable one, where 99% of the wealth is not owned by 1% of the population.

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