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Thursday, 29 February 2024
Munir Chowdhury; a patriot with outstanding talent

Munir Chowdhury; a patriot with outstanding talent

Alok Acharja

Munir Chowdhury is a unique name in Bengali literature history. He is a brilliant man who loves this country from his heart. Due to the ruthlessness of Pakistanis and their henchmen, we lost this man in a short time. It was during this period that his talents spread and his multi-faceted talent was revealed in his work.

We have seen Munir Chowdhury, an educationist, independent minded, patriotic and protestant who was not afraid of the ruler's bloodshot eyes. All his famous writings are created from a series of historical events such as language movement, partition of country, waterway wars etc. He brought out these events by his writings perfectly.

The characters he created to arrange the events are immortal in a word. I was introduced to the writings of Munir Chowdhury through the historic play ‘Kabar’. The play was text in our time. This is the first play based on language movement. The characters in the drama became so real that I could see them before my eyes. He wrote the play while incarcerated in Dhaka Central Jail and was performed by Rajbandi. It is also known that famous Ranesh Dasgupta requested Munir Chowdhury to write a play to perform on 21st February in Jail.

The play was written on his request. How brave it is can not be understood without considering the time. While reading the drama, I fell in love with his writings. I could see every character in the drama in front of me like alive. He won the Bangla Academy Award in 1962 for ‘Kabar’. After reading Raktatta prantor (1959) I entered the world of his writings completely. This play was originally written against the backdrop of the Third Battle of Panipath.

Here is the famous quote that still resonates in the mind today. ‘When people die, they decay, and when they live, they change, because of reason and without reason’. This is an immortal saying. Even today people are thinking about it and they will be forever. Munir Chowdhury is a distinguished educationist, dramatist, literary critic and multi-talented person of Bangladesh.

He was respectful towards Bengalis and Bengali culture. That is why he did not tolerate any decisions against Bangla by the rulers of west Pakistan. He protested in a strong voice. He had to be imprisoned while protesting. In 1967, he protested when the government of Pakistan ordered to stop broadcasting Rabindra Sangeet on radio and television. The following year, when the initiative was taken to abolish the Bengali alphabet in the name of reform, he also protested against it.

He is a martyred intellectual. He was brutally killed along with many other intellectuals on 14th December 1971. Munir Chowdhury was born on 27 November 1925 in Manikganj of the then Dhaka district. His family name is Abu Nayim Mohammad Munir Chowdhury. His ancestral home is Gopairbagh village under Chatkhil Thana of Noakhali District. His father Abdul Halim Chowdhury was a district magistrate during the British period.

His institutional education started from Bogra. Then he started studying at Pirojpur Government High School. Then he moved to Dhaka due to his father's job.

There he was admitted to Dhaka Collegiate School. From there he passed matriculation in first division in 1941, ISC from Aligarh Muslim University in 1943, BA honors in English from Dhaka University in 1946 and MA in 1947. He then received an MA in Bengali from Dhaka University in 1954 and an MA in Linguistics from Harvard University in 1958. His career began as a teacher. He started teaching at Brajolal College in Khulna in 1947.

He was involved in politics at various times in his life. In protest against the killings and police torture of 21 February 1952, he gave a strong speech at the teachers' meeting of Dhaka University on 23 February, due to which he was imprisoned by the government of Pakistan.

The government of Pakistan repeatedly tried to attack the Bengali tradition and culture. Martyr intellectual Munir Chowdhury has always protested against these activities.

In 1968, he protested when the government of Pakistan took the initiative to reform the Bengali alphabet with the Roman alphabet. He was in jail till 1954. On November 15, 1954, he joined Dhaka University as a temporary professor of English. In 1955, he was appointed as a part-time teacher in the Bengal department. In 1956 he went to the United States on a Rockefeller scholarship and in 1958 earned another master's degree in linguistics from Harvard University.

He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1962. Another unforgettable contribution of Munir Chowdhury is Munir Optima. He invented the improved keyboard for Bengali typewriters. He was a literary critic. Apart from Kabar and Raktatto Prantor, he wrote Dandakaranya (1966), Chithi (1966), Manush (a play based on the communal riots of 1946) and Palashi Barracks O onnanno natok. He was an accomplished translator. Rupar Kouta and Mukhara Ramani Bashikaran.

He wrote essays like 'Mir Manas, Comparative Criticism, Bengali Prose, etc. Apart from the Bangla Academy Award, he received the Dawood Award, Sitara-e-Imtiaz Award (which he renounced in support of the movement during the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1971. ), and also the Freedom Award.

Then on 14th December 1971, Al-Badar allied to the Pakistan Army, abducted him from his father's house and probably killed him on that day. We have lost him. But his works are assests in Bengali literature.

The writer is a Essayist, Pabna

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