Tributes to Plymouth man who built restaurant empire from £1
TRIBUTES have been paid to a prominent member of the city's Bangladeshi community who recently passed away.
Enamul Haque Laskar, also known as 'Bob' or 'Baba', was a key figure in the Plymouth Bangladeshi Association from the 1970s onwards.
A self-made man he arrived in the UK from Bangladesh in 1975 with just £1 in his pocket.
He went on to set up a chain of eight Ganges Indian restaurants throughout the South West.
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In Plymouth, where Baba settled with his family, his Baba Indian restaurant in Vauxhall Street even served celebrity clientele, such as Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller and Pink.
He was also behind the India 2000 takeaway in North Hill, the Indus Indian takeaway in Albert Road and the India Express takeaway in Beaumont Road, alongside his nephews Zakaria Mazumder, and Jalal Ahmed Ali.
'Baba' Laskar spent many years learning his trade before he ventured into ownership, and he previously said there was no job in the restaurant that he could not personally undertake.
His friend, Nick Manik, owner of the Bombay Brasserie in Sutton Road, Coxside, said Enamul had been the vice chair of the Plymouth Bangladeshi Association and a key member of the Plymouth Bangladeshi Catering Association.
Mr Manik said: "Enamul slowly built up his businesses and became a very well known man in Plymouth.
"He was one of the founder members of the Islamic centre in North Road East in the 1980s and a key advisor to the Plymouth Bangladeshi Association.
"He believed 'impossible' was only a word found in the dictionary of a fool. As far as he was concerned, nothing was impossible.
"He was a calm, relaxed and confident man. He was very generous as well. He was an inspiration to the catering businesses and the Plymouth Bangladeshi Association."
Sadly, Enamul became ill and sold many of his businesses. However, Mr Manik said he remained generous, often selling them onto former employees to help them get onto the business ladder.
He said: "He wanted to help people who had also come from abroad to this country. He sold some places cheaper, to help them out."
Syed Kobir, owner of the Spice Merchant in Hyde Park Road, also spoke of Enamul's generosity and solidarity with other Bangladeshis.
He said: "Many people came to this area thanks to him. They would work for him and learn the trade before going on and opening up their own places, creating their own businesses.
"He was undoubtedly one of the key men in the city for both the Bangladeshi community and the Islamic community."
Syed said Enamul, who leaves a wife, Eugene, a son, Gerald and a daughter, Rachel, would be "greatly and forever missed".
He said: "He wanted a little peace after his ill health. He passed away in hospital earlier this month with his family around him.
"Everyone who knew him will miss him, because we respected him. There are many people from the Bangladeshi and Islamic communities who are indebted to him."