About Bobby Hajjaj
Bobby Hajjaj is a political leader, scholar, teacher, and a popular author. Nonetheless, the identities in which he takes most pride are being a Bangladeshi, and a father.
Hajjaj was born in Dhaka, in 1974, to Dr. Moosa Bin Shamsher and Mrs. Kaniz Fatema Chowdhury. His father was a decorated student leader in the sixties and a pioneering business magnate post Bangladesh’s war of independence, and is celebrated as the father of the Manpower Export industry. His grandfather, Shamsher Ali, was a government official in Faridpur during British Rule, and his forefathers were Islamic preachers by vocation. His mother is a scion of the famed Dhulai Zamindar family of Pabna, one of the preeminent Zamindari estates during the British Raj, and her father Abu Naser Chowdhury was the last rightful legatee to the estate.
Hajjaj grew up in Dhaka’s suburban idyll during the 70’s and the 80’s, a time when democracy was in a constant state of abeyance. His family had close relations with many of the influential political players at the time, across all party lines, and it was the experiences of those times that etched deep emotions regarding politics in young Hajjaj’s mind.
While completing his O’ and A’ Level exams in Dhaka, Hajjaj started writing for local newspapers. He also took avidly to sports, excelling in the martial arts like Kyokushin Karate and Jiu-jitsu. After completing his schooling in Bangladesh, he attended the University of Texas, Austin, to study Politics and History. During his undergraduate years in Austin he worked for the university newspaper and volunteered in local electoral campaigns, which afforded him his initial experience of American politics.
Hajjaj would later enroll in business school and earn his MBA from the University of Oxford.
Between 2001 and 2009 he worked in business development and strategy consulting in numerous projects in the USA, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia, with regular stints in Bangladesh. In late 2009 he relocated permanently to Bangladesh with his family, and joined the nation’s preeminent private university, North South University, as a lecturer and researcher in strategy science. He also worked as a columnist for the national English daily, The Independent.
In 2012 Hajjaj joined the Jatiyo Party as Special Advisor to party Chairman, and former President of Bangladesh, Hussain Muhammad Ershad. Between 2012 and 2013 he also served as the chief of the party’s research division. In late 2013, when political strife over the upcoming general election reached a hilt, he was appointed as spokesperson for the party as well as the party’s Chief Election Coordinator.
Hajjaj became a popular political figure and a youth icon for his role in the 2014 general elections. He took a determined stand in favor of an inclusive general election and was consequently detained by law enforcement and later sent into exile. However, he was able to return in a few months, due to his party’s change of stance and subsequent entry into parliament as the official Opposition Party.
In March, 2015, Hajjaj and the Jatiyo Party parted ways, after he announced his independent candidacy for the Dhaka North City Corporation mayoral polls.
Later that year he started the youth-based citizen empowerment platform Shopner Desh, and toured the nation raising awareness, and gathering members and adherent to the cause. In was on the strength of that nationwide youth support that he launched his political party the Nationalist Democratic Movement (NDM) in April 2017.
In less than a year since its inception, NDM boasts one of the largest activist bases in the country. Built on the four unshakable pillars of Bangladeshi Nationalism, Religious Values, Spirit of Independence, and Accountable Democracy, the party is now preparing for its first general election.