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Heralding change through PR


Rudhir Prakash Sarma

“Be the change that you wish to see”. A statement that most aptly defines Mr Nurul Islam Laskar, the man who perhaps is the most well-known figure in the field of Public Relations from North East India whose tireless efforts, mind-numbing brilliance, relentless quest for excellence and innovative strategies played a big role in changing the way people perceive PR in this region. His passion to succeed against all odds is truly worth emulating.

He joined the State Bank of India in July 1971 as a Probationary Officer and by dint of perseverance, hard work and dedication rose to the position of Chief Manager, Public Relations & CSB, State Bank of India. When he took charge, SBI branches in North East probably had the worst possible customer service record. Mr Laskar knew that the situation merited taking some quick and at times harsh decisions but he was well aware that changing certain practices followed in public sector organisations is no easy task. But he made up his mind that by the time of his retirement he would turn SBI into the most customer friendly and PR savvy organisation in the region. He set in motion a process that he felt would help take SBI closer to the people, make it more visible and lastly but more importantly promote brand loyalty. Through regular press meets and other forms of frequent media interactions, he ensured that the new schemes and policies launched by his bank always remain in the spotlight.

When he retired from service on August 02, 2002, SBI’s image had already undergone a sea-change. Owing to the customer friendly practices advocated by him, negative publicity was at an all time low and the Bank was able to enhance its brand image and considerably improve its relationship with its target audience.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Mr Laskar launched his own PR consultancy firm named CABSFORD Public Relations just a few months after his retirement dedicated to providing total communication and brand building support to clients from the public as well as the private sector. His clients included the likes of Airtel (NESA), Cane & Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC), LIC, SBI Life Insurance, SBI Mutual Fund, ICICI Prudential, Accoland, Indian Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), ITDC, NEDFi besides many more. His firm also provided support to various national PR agencies.

His heavy workload keeps him busy throughout the day but that does not prevent him from sparing some of his valuable time to groom youngsters many of whom are now working for PR and media houses of national repute. CABSFORD has played a crucial role in providing training opportunities for students pursuing Mass Communication and Public Relations courses and receives frequent requests from Gauhati University, Tezpur University, Entrepreneurship Development Cell, Cotton College and Bharatiya Bidya Bhawan for accommodating their students.

According to him, “Career opportunities in Assam as of now is not very promising as a result of which bright youngsters of the State who are capable of becoming good PROs are moving to greener pastures in mainland India and many of them are doing very well. Nevertheless, the situation today is much better than what it was, say, ten years ago. With the emergence of new five star hotels, shopping malls, airlines offices and other corporates in Guwahati, the opportunities in the field of PR are going to increase manifold in the near future”.


Mr. Laskar is the Director (Corporate Communications) of Entrepreneurship Research Development Foundation (ERDF) that promotes a number of educational institutes imparting education at the graduate and post-graduate level in fields like management, IT, mass communication, PR etc. He also served as the Consulting Editor to the Sentinel. Presently he is the Executive Editor of Eastern Chronicle, an English national daily published from Guwahati.

He feels that in order to be successful in the field of PR, “One must have excellent communication skills, both spoken and written, in order to express thoughts clearly and simply. An effective personality and the ability to get along with a wide range of people both inside and outside an organisation are necessary. A PR practitioner must be polite always as she or he has to work under pressure or provocation. An organising ability is required too, as one may have to organise press conferences, lectures, exhibitions, and events. She or he must have self-confidence and farsightedness and be able to understand human psychology and take decisions apt to the situation. Analytical skills are required to interpret research information and plan activity”.


At 63, his enthusiasm, intensity and passion for work are exemplary. But what is even more remarkable is the interest he takes in grooming & guiding youngsters. He inspires them to dream big and pursue their dreams and ignites in them the spark to succeed against all odds and one can be rest assured that many youngsters would vouch for that.

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