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Munier Chowdhury – Google pays tribute to Bengali poet, martyr on his 95th birthday

Devdiscourse News Desk | Dhaka | Updated: 27-11-2020 10:56 IST | Created: 27-11-2020 10:41 IST
Munier Chowdhury – Google pays tribute to Bengali poet, martyr on his 95th birthday
Munier Chowdhury was expelled from Salimullah Hall, his residential dorm, because of his involvement in leftist politics. Image Credit: Google doodle

Happy Birthday Munier Chowdhury!!!

Google today dedicates a beautiful doodle to Munier Chowdhury on his 95th birthday. Munier Chowdhury was a renowned Bangladeshi playwright, educator, linguist, literary critic, stage actor, and political activist.

Munier Chowdhury was awarded Independence Day Award in 1980, by the then President Ziaur Rahman's government posthumously. He was a victim of the mass killing of Bangladeshi intellectuals in 1971.

Munier Chowdhury was born on November 27, 1925 in the town of Manikganj, British India (now Bangladesh). His ancestors were originated from Noakhali. His father was Khan Bahadur Abdul Halim Chowdhury, a district magistrate and Aligarh Muslim University graduate.

Due to Munier Chowdhury's father's official assignment, they lived in Manikganj, Pirojpur and other parts of East Bengal. His family moved to Dhaka permanently in 1936. Since childhood, he was an intelligent student. Following his first of multiple master's degrees, he became a professor in the English and Bangla departments of Dhaka University in 1950.

Munier Chowdhury was expelled from Salimullah Hall, his residential dorm, because of his involvement in leftist politics. He was imprisoned for two years in 1952 for his participation in the Bengali Language Movement (his campaign was aimed to make Bangla as one of Pakistan's official languages). He appeared at the master's examination in Bengali literature and stood first in the first class in 1954. He performed wonderful while staying at jail. Later, in 1958, he obtained his third master's degree in linguistics from Harvard University.

A committed torchbearer for the Bangla language, Munier Chowdhury also helped to design an improved Bangla typewriter keyboard in the mid-1960s. He joined the University of Dhaka in 1950 and taught both in the departments of English and Bengali until 1971.

In 1967, Munier Chowdhury protested the Pakistan government's ban on Rabindranath Tagore's songs on radio and television. In the early 1950s, there was a movement in Pakistan to replace the Bengali language alphabet with the Arabic alphabet. He actively participated in the non-co-operation movement during the early part of 1971 and renounced his award Sitara-e-Imtiaz, awarded by the Government of Pakistan in 1966.

Munier Chowdhury was married to Lily Chowdhury. They had three sons, Ahmed Munier, Ashfaque Munier (Mishuk) and Asif Munier.

After the Pakistani army crackdown in 1971 in the Dhaka University area from which Munier Chowdhury escaped like many, he moved to his parents' house, near Hatirpool. On December 14, 1971, he, along with a large number of Bengali intellectuals, educators, doctors and engineers, were kidnapped from their houses and later tortured and executed by the Pakistan Army and its Bengali collaborators Al-Badr and Al-Shams.

In 1991, on the 20th anniversary of Bangladesh's independence, the government issued a commemorative stamp featuring Munier Choudhury. Today, Google pays tribute to the great language revolutionist and martyr who had given all his efforts including his last breathe under torture to uplift and preserve Bengali culture in Bangladesh.

Also Read: Saloma: Google doodle on Malaysia's First National Songbird, Marilyn Monroe of Asia


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