Interview: Bapak Haidar Bagir
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Bapak Haidar was born in Pasar Kliwon District, Surakarta on February 20, 1957. He is the second of eight siblings. His father was Muhammad Bagir bin Hasan al-Habshi, a merchant as well as an Ustadh living in Surakarta. He studied at ITB (Institute Technology Bandung)
Bapak Haidar wasn’t always a successful business man. When he was about to be graduated from ITB, he said he was giving thoughts about his future, how he would earn money since he would have to be independent. At the time, all his needs was fulfilled/provided by his parents. He hoped that as soon as he graduate he would be more independent. So he was thinking of establishing his own business. At that time, working with the government was not one of his choices, he was thinking of becoming an entrepreneur/business man.
He had to find out what would be most suitable for him. And to be a successful business man, you have to work in a place in which you have your passion. Bapak Haidar was someone who likes reading books and writing articles, when he was still a student he started writing articles for newspapers, at the same time, he was also interest in da’wah. After giving some thoughts, he decided to choose book publishing as his business. Since he was also interested in da’wah, his school, ITB has a mosque called Salman mosque (the biggest university mosque in Indonesia), he was an activist there. So, the motivation of doing da’wah was also very strong.
Back to his dream of being a business man, he started to develop his ideas of book publishing. He eventually came to a conclusion that he would establish an Islamic book publishing business.
As I wrote earlier Bapak Haidar’s university mosque was very big, it has many activities, and one of the activity was managing an Islamic library. He was a member of the Islamic library, and after a while, he knew someone who was preparing a publication of an Islamic magazine called Pustaka. At the same time, his acquaintance, who was actually his senior, was preparing an Islamic magazine, and his senior recruited him to be one of the editors of the Islamic magazine.
More than 20 editions of the magazine was successfully published, and Bapak Haidar was working all along to edit the magazines and once in a while he also write articles for the magazine. After a while, Pustaka Salman started to publish books, that’s where bapak Haidar learn to publish books.
The inspiration of having his own publishing company was actually inspired by this activity in Salman Mosque. And he is very sure at that time that his company would succeed financially, because the kind of publishing company that he established was something that is unique if compared to the Islamic companies that had been there before.
The Islamic companies before, was an old style, conventional publishing company. They publish Islamic books with low quality in terms of choice of titles, it was not modern titles, design, layout, and language style. So he was thinking of having his own publishing company with features which were suitable with the demand of the new Muslim middle class (Muslim middle class is people who are Muslims, but at the same time they are financially well to) So this new Muslim middle class, they would like to read Islamic books with much better quality. So that was the kind of Islamic book publishing company that Bapak Haidar prepared and started at 1993.
He started by publishing books with the best quality possible, his company publish books that were the style of what the middle class muslim would like them to be. His company thankfully went very well until now, certainly as any other company we have never been free from problems, and each companies would have its own problems. It happens also to his company. Some book distributors got books from Mizan but then they don’t pay for the books, or some people order books online and promised to pay but turns out they won’t pay for the books. But as Bapak Haidar said “all problems can be solved as long as we work hard, we work smart and we are optimistic, and of course rely on god”
He also always have this vision in his head that his company is going to be a successful company. That vision is what makes him want to work hard to achieve that dream of having a successful company. Since he believed in himself and that Mizan was going to be successful, the problems had never really hurt his company, he overcome them and since he establish the company in 1993 until now, thankfully mizan publishing company has been developing very well.
Of course Mizan also has its best experience, and it is when at they found out that the books they publish really change people. For instance, Mizan were among the first publishing company in Indonesia that introduce books that really revolutionize education in Indonesia. Mizan is also now considered “One of the two biggest publishing companis in Indonesia”.
When Mizan published the first book which was called “ Dialog Sunnah Syiah”, the book got many reviews from national newspapers and magazines in Indonesia. For sure it didn’t come easy, he had to do all that had to be done, not only in guaranteeing the best quality possible in terms of the product, but they also had to do promotions.
So he did everything, he would go meeting famous people and giving them copies of the books that Mizan published. Then they would tell other people that the books are great books, and that they are published by a new publishing company called Mizan. By the words of mouth, people know about this new publishing company that has publish among of the best Islamic books that had been publish in this country.
Once in a while he would make advertisements for newspapers, magazines, and he would conduct a discussion of the launching of their new books. Bapak Haidar makes sure that his company publish the best book possible, at the same time he did whatever he had to do in promoting the books. “From 1993 until now, we got better and better response/acceptance from the markets,” says Bapak Haidar.
He has received some awards as a business man, some of them are: In regards of the books, he was awarded for “Tokoh perbukuan muslim Indonesia” in the year 2006, one of the best CEO’s of Indonesia in 2008, and many more awards. In terms of business, this is the only business he’s involved in.
Everyone’s got to have a favorite book right? Well bapak Haidar’s favorite book that he has ever publish was apparently all of them. Because he said that he will make sure that every books that is published in his company is the best books. Mizan has publish around 15.000 books.
As I mentioned earlier, Bapak Haidar also likes writing, he has written a more than 10 Books. Other than books, did I mention that Mizan also produced films, music, E-books, and even apps that you can find in Apple store, Play Store and many more? Well they do!
Mizan started producing films at around 2008, and they have produced 16 movies. “Laskar Pelangi” was the first movie they ever produced and until today the movie is watched by audiences from around the globe. Mizan have produced a movie called “3 hati 2 dunia 1 cinta” the movie won 7 “Piala Citra”. Other than that Mizan also has produced movies that attract big number of viewers including, “Garuda di Dadaku”, “Emak ingin naik Haji”, “Perahu Kertas”, and the last movie that they produce was “Mencari Hilal”.
So what we can actually learn from Bapak Haidar is that “Think Smart, work hard, work smart, think optimistic and never give up”. Don’t give up easily on your dreams guys! Act fast, before someone took your opportunity!