Volume 2 Issue 31 | April 12 , 2008 |


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Behind the Scene

From Sylhet

Nurul Haque's Literary Aspirations

Iqbal Siddiquee

One of the pioneers of the country's library movement as well as leading founders of the literary institution Kendrio Muslim Sahitya Sangsad, Muhammad Nurul Haque was born in a traditional Muslim family at the village of Dashghar in the Biswanath upazila of Sylhet on 19 March, 1907. The son of a religious scholar Haji Muhammad Ayaz and Rahima Khatun, Muhammad Nurul Haque started his primary education at his village primary school and then studied at the Raikeli School, Fulbari Aziria Madrassah and at the Belabo Amlab Senior Madrassah at Narshingdi. He passed from the Sylhet government Alia Madrassah in 1936.

Nurul Haque began writing in his boyhood. He started a handwritten quarterly literary magazine called Obhijan in his student life. Later, the handwritten Obhijan turned monthly as Al-Islah. In 1932 Nurul Haque started editing it.

In 1936, some enthusiastic people organized the Sylhet Kendrio Muslim Sahitya Sangsad. Nurul Haque also had a very important role in that. From different sources, he equipped the Sangsad library with a rare collection of books, newspapers, periodicals and manuscripts. The rich library attracts enthusiastic people of all ages, especially the new generation for research and other purposes.

The Bangla magazine Al-Islah was made the monthly publication of the Sahitya Sangsad in 1939. Haque edited the magazine for 50 years. In July 1947 he joined the Sylhet region's referendum for Pakistan as an activist. Haque had a laudable role in the language movement in 1952. He used his pen as a weapon to fight for the Bangla language. He wrote editorials in favor of Bangla as the state language in the Kartik issue of the Al-Islah in other issues. The Pakistan government in 1963 honored him with the award Tamgha-E-Khidmat for his contribution to the society and nation, which, during the War of Liberation in 1971, he gave up.

His books include Biswaneta (1953), Faruque Choritrer Boishishthya (1953), Sangbadpatro Shebay Sylheter Mussalman (1969), Shesh Nabir Bani (1970), Aloke Stambha (1980), Bigoto Juger Adarsha (1981) and Hajrat Shah Jalal Mujarrad er Shishya Gon (1982).

The pious, active and sincere man extended all his efforts toward the cause of the Sangsad and its literary publication Al-Islah for many years despite severe financial problems. This man was not at all concerned with his personal life. By now the library had become a valuable asset not only to the Sylhet division but to the whole country. It now has an impressive collection of about 35,000 books.

For his huge contribution to the library movement, the Jatiyo Grantha Kendra honored Nurul Haque with a gold medal and accorded a reception in his honor in the Bengali year 1384. He also got a Bangla Academy Award in 1986. Besides, a cultural organization in Sylhet, Natyalok gave him a reception and award in 1985 while Jalalabad Juba Forum honored him posthumously. He died on 2 September 1987 at his house at the city's Dargah Mohalla area.

Different organizations and institutions in Sylhet including the Sylhet Kendrio Muslim Sahitya Sangsad organize programs every year in observance of his death anniversary.


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