Volume 2 Issue 38 | July 19, 2008 |


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Behind the Scene

From Sylhet

Remembering Veteran Muslim Chowdhury

Iqbal Siddiquee

Muslim Chowdhury is one of the few people of the greater Sylhet region remembered for their contribution to education, literature and culture. He is fondly remembered for his strong personality, morality and presence in the region's literary and organisational arena.

Contributions by Muslim Chowdhury and others are part of the history of language movement. In 1947 his essay on Pakistan's state language was presented at a meeting of the Kendrio Muslim Sahitya Sangsad: a renowned literary organisation of the region. It was a formal step among many towards the movement for the Bangla language.

In 1961, two important literary conferences were held in Sylhet in May and July. The first one was the Tagore centenary and the other was the Nazrul Sahitya Sammelon. Muslim Chowdhury took upon himself the responsibility of President of both the reception committees. He also participated in the first folk literature conference in 1965. The same year he published his first book of travel writings- Nana Desh Nana Manush. He was honoured with the Tamgha e Khedmat by the Pakistan government that year. His collection of ten essays, Proshongo Bichitra was published in 1966. In 1970, Bangla Academy published his book on pedagogical book- Itihash Shiksha Pronali.

He was born to a Muslim family in 1911, at the remote village of Chhoila under Chhatak upazila in Sunamganj district. His elder brother Mofiz Chowdhury was a renowned lawyer at the Sunamganj Bar Association and a member of the Assam Legislative Assembly. As a young man, Muslim Chowdhury was a meritorious student and had also passed his BA honours in History from Sylhet's Murarichand College in 1931. He then started his career as a schoolteacher. He later got work in the education department. Chowdhury retired in 1970 from the post of Chittagong Divisional Inspector of Schools. During his long career as a successful educationist, Muslim Chowdhury did a fellowship at UNESCO and visited several countries like UK, USA, France. He even had to visit Myanmar once. He had a deep and personal relationship with Syed Mujtaba Ali.

Chowdhury was a litterateur and humourist, an orator. He even served as President of the Kendriyo Muslim Sahitya Sangsad, a decades-old literary organisation of the greater Sylhet region during the period of 1970 to 1994. Suffering from old age, the man died on 23 June of 1994 in the capital and was buried at the graveyard attached to the shrine of Hajrat Shahjalal (RA) in Sylhet city. Different organisations held programmes to mark his death anniversary.


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