About Mahbub Ul Alam Chowdhury

Poet Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury has been reputed as the Ekusher Prothom Kabi for writing the first poem, “Kandte Ashinee Fasheer Dabee Niye Achechi” on the Language Movement in 1952. In recognition he was awarded the national ‘Ekushe Padak’ (Posthumous) in 2009. Though basically a poet he wrote a considerable number of articles, dramas; and contributed numerous columns in the daily newspapers. His publications includes 22 books of poetry, essay, drama, column and memoirs.

He participated, since his early life in most of the political and cultural movements until the liberation war and continued his struggle for peoples freedom throughout his life.

In 1947, at the age of 20, he edited a progressive monthly magazine from Chittagong, titled ‘Shimanto’ (1947-1952) which included invaluable contributions of the eminent writers from the then East and West Bengal of undivided India. Post liberation he edited ‘Dainik Swadhinata’ (1972-1982) from Chittagong.

He was one of the fore-runners of establishing the most reputed cultural organization, “Kristi Kendra” and monthly “Sahittya Baithak” at Chittagong.

He led a number of groups to participate in different cultural and political events during the decades 40’s and 50’s.

In recognition to his role as a cultural activist, politician, organizer and writer he has been rewarded with many fecilitations and citations.

He was born in Chittagong on 07 November, 1927 and died at Dhaka on 23 December, 2007.

Author of the first poem on the Language Movement, 21 February 1952

Birth Date : November 7, 1927 Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury Gohira Asaad Chowdhury House Raujan, Chittagong.

Death Date : December 23, 2007, Dhaka

Father: Late Ahmadur Rahman Chowdhury

Mother: Late Rowshan Ara Begum

Education : Passed Entrance Examination from Gohira High School in First Division with distinction (1947). Left Chittagong College whilestudying intermediate (I.A.) for political reasons.Achievements:

  • Joined Chittagong District Students’ Congress in 1942. Participated in the Indian Independence Movement as an activist of the Students’ Congress.
  • 1945, joined the Students’ Federation. The Bengal Regional Students’ Conference was held in Chittagong the same year. The conference was attended by Manik Bandopadhyay, Gopal Haldar, Bhabani Sen and Sukanta Bhattacharya from Kolkata. He performed a special role as an activist at the conference. He was elected as the Assistant Secretary of the Chittagong Progressive Lekhak(Writers) and Shilpi (Artist) Sangha in the same year.
  • 1945, worked as the prime organizers of the Birth Anniversary celebration of Abdul Karim “Sahitya Bisharad” (eminent litterateur).
  • 1946, he was an active organizer at the felicitation meeting at J.M. Sen Hall organized on the occasion of the release of the valiant revolutionaries of the Chittagong Armary raid under the leadership of his maternal-uncle, Ahmed Sagir Chowdhury. The Anti-Riot Peace Committee was formed with District Judge Saibal Gupta as the Chairman and Ahmed Sagir Chowdhury as the Secretary. Mahbubul ul Alam Chowdhury participated actively in the anti-riot activities and visited different remote areas with them advocating for anti-riot issues.
  • 1946, booklet written by him, titled “Biplab” was confiscated by the then Government.
  • 1946, the birth Anniversary of poet Nazrul Islam was celebrated for the first time in Chittagong. Professor Abul Fazal was the Chairman and Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury was the Secretary of the Celebration Committee respectively.
  • November 1947, a progressive monthly literary magazine titled “Shimanto” was published from Chittagong, edited by him (1947-1952). The Anti-Riot Edition (1950) of Shimanto received great appreciation as the pioneer of the progressive movement in both parts of Bengal. A total of 48 editions of ‘Shimanto’ were published in five years, 13 of which could only be recovered, the rest were destroyed during 1971 Liberation War. A compilation of these have been published as “Shimanto Sangraha” edited by Dr. Israil Khan and Jowshan Ara Rahman (2005).
  • 1948, the first mass killing by Pakistan took place at Mothershar Tek near the Halda River, Chittagong
  • The farmers of this region would have benefited immensely had the small ‘Teks’ been dug properly. But the Pakistani Muslim League government did not allow this. When the farmers tried to do the same, 18 farmers were shot dead by the police. Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury played a lead role in organizing the procession protesting this. He made great effort to spread the movement down to the village level.
  • 1948, the play “Inspector General” was staged in aid of Gohira High School with his initiative in the school-grounds.
  • 1949, Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury along with Shahid Saber from Chittagong participated in the World Peace Conference organized at Deshbandhu Park, Kolkata on 22 and 23 November. Litterateur Alauddin Al Azad and Abdus Salam joined from Dhaka. Manik Bandopadhyay, commented, ‘The struggle for peace and life had merged together’. The police arrested four activists including Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury. When a procession was brought out after the Conference, they were taken to the Taltala Police Station and later sent to the Alipore Central Jail, were released three days later.
  • The Prantik Nabonatya Sangha, a cultural organization was set up at Chittagong in the early fifties as a result of his active initiatives and efforts.
  • 1950, the report of the "Mulniti Committee" (main policy) of Pakistan was published. The report had no mention of autonomy of East Pakistan. There was no recognition of Bangla to be one of the State Languages. Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury was the Joint Convenor of the Committee formed against the report. The other Joint Convenor was Mahbubul Haq of the Railway Employees’ League. Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury led the procession and addressed a huge meeting organized in protest of this at the Laldighi Maidan.
  • 1950, for the first time, the "World Peace Parishad" of East Pakistan was formed in Chittagong. He was the Secretary and Abdul Haq Dobhash was the Chairman of the Parishad. They collected over 7 hundred thousand signatures demanding forbiddance of the nuclear bomb. Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury was invited to the World Peace Conference at Stockholm as a recognition of this. But the government confiscated his passport in 1953 when he submitted it for renewal. He was unable to leave the country for long 19 years as he did not get the passport. The same year, he formed the voluntary-aid organization "Shanti Fauj"(Peace Organization) and the Anti-Riot Peace Committee with the aim of combating communal riots in Chittagong. He was the Secretary and Abdul Haq Dobhash was the Chairman of these committees.
  • 1950, he met poet Pablo Neruda in Delhi along with the leader of the Indian World Peace Parishad, Chitta Biswas. Pablo Neruda gifted him the book “Residence on Earth”, authored by him.
  • 1951, a four-day cultural conference was organized from 16 to 19 March, on the Horikhola grounds, Chittagong. This was held primarily with his initiative ; Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury was the organizing Secretary of the Reception Committee. The Chairman of this was Abul Fazal and the Joint Convenors were Shawkat Osman and Saidul Hassan (martyr of 1971).
  • 1951, he joined the Youth Conference held at Dhaka with five representatives from Chittagong. The East Pakistan Juva(Youth) League was set up there.
  • 1952, he became the Convenor of the Chittagong District Rastrabhasha Sangram Parishad (State Language Movement). He was actively involved with the Language Movement from 1948 to 1956.
  • 1952, he wrote the poem “Kadte Ashini, Phasir Dabi Niye Eshechi” in remembrance of the language martyrs of 21 February in Dhaka. This has been reputed as the first poem on the Language Movement. The government confiscated the booklet and issued a warrant against him.
  • 1952, he participated in the cultural conference at Comilla with a group of artists of Prantik. He inaugurated a session on Nazrul songs at the conference and read out an article, titled “Samaj O Sahitya”(Society and Literature) at the literary session.
  • 1952, he was wedded to Jowshan Ara Rahman on 10 October.
  • 1953, the first non-communal political party called Ganotontri Dal was formed. He was a member of its central committee as well as the Secretary of the Chittagong District Committee and the Chairman was well-known industrialist Badius Salam.
  • 1953, the first non-communal political party called Ganotontri Dal was formed. He was a member of its central committee as well as the Secretary of the Chittagong District Committee and the Chairman was well-known industrialist Badius Salam.
  • 1954, he acted as the Convenor of the Activists’ Committee in Chittagong working for the Jukta Front ( Joint Front).
  • 1954, Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury went underground after 92-Ka Dhara was imposed by the then Pakistan Government in the month of May following the victory of Jukta Front in the election. He came out from hiding in 1955.
  • 1955, he was elected as the President of the Chittagong Branch of Juba League.
  • 1955, he was the Chief Guest at the Inter-College Cultural Conference organized at the Victoria College ground, Comilla.
  • 1956, he was one of the Chief Advisors at Inter-College Cultural Conference organized at the Chittagong College ground.
  • 1956, he took the initiative to set up the Kristi Kendra (Cultural Organization) at Chittagong.
  • 1956, he organized a gathering of over one hundred thousand people at Laldighi Maidan during the Suez Canal crisis and organized a huge procession in favour of Egypt.
  • 1957, he participated in “Kagmari Conference” organized by Moulana Bhasani with a cultural troupe from Chittagong. He addressed the gathering against the US-Pak Military Treaty.
  • 1958, he again went underground when Martial Law was imposed by Ayub Khan in the country.
  • 1959 and 1961, he organized two massive Receptions for Professor Abul Fazal at Chittagong.
  • 1964, when communal riot started in the country through provocation of the ruling community, he built up an anti-riot resistance in Chittagong, with the objective of initiating communal harmony among the two communities. As the Secretary of the Resistance Committee he organized Peace Committee down to the village level.
  • 1965, 2 January was scheduled for election of the President of Pakistan following the principles of Basic Democracy. Fatema Jinnah, was nominated for the position of the President on the basis of 9-point programme of Joint Front of the opposition party (COP). Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury formed a committee at Chittagong for Fatema Jinnah and carried out an extensive publicity on her behalf.
  • 1965, abusive action started on the progressive workers with the start of the Indo-Pak War. He went underground once again to avoid arrest.
  • 1965, he was greatly hurt when the Communist Party got divided into two groups because of the differences of opinion. As a result Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury discontinued from direct political activities. Then onwards he kept himself engaged mainly in cultural activities .
  • 1968, he was the Founder Secretary of the Gohira Degree College at Raujan, Chittagong.
  • 1971, he was deeply involved with the Liberation War in various ways, as soon as it started.
  • 1972, he was the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Daily "Swadhinata" published from Chittagong (1972-1982).
  • He performed a special role in various folk-music conferences and youth festivals organized at Chittagong.
  • 1975, he came to Dhaka and settled down permanently.
  • He was the Chairman of the Kranti Cultural Group for almost eight years during the nineties. He participated in various political movements and almost all the democratic movements and cultural programmes throughout his life.
  • November, 2006, his 80th Birth Anniversary was celebrated nationally by Sammilita Sangscritik Jote (Apex body of the cultural movements). A 450-page commemorative publication titled, “Mahbub ul Alam Chowdhury: Ek Abiswaraniya Kabitar Janak” was published on the occasion with the writings of the reputed writers of Bangladesh. The Book is edited by Profesor Rafiqul Islam
  • July 2007, cultural group, Kranti released a CD of poems composed by him that includes 4 poems recited by the poet.
  • 2009,he has been Awarded National Ekushe-Padak by the Government of Bangladesh (Posthumous).
  • November, 2008, a collection of around 470 pages, titled “Tumi Rabe Neerabe” was brought out on the event of his First Birthday (82nd) after his demise. The book contains the published articles in the popular Daily News papers; condolences from eminent writers, cultural personalities, and organizations; published news regarding condolence meetings; and various functions and books dedicated to the poet. The book is edited by Professor Emeritus Annisuzzaman.