Remembrance: Educationist Kabir Chowdhury

Cultural Correspondent
Thursday, February 16th, 2017


Kabir Chowdhury was an educationist, translator and author. He was also one of the pioneering figures of the movement against fundamentalism in Bangladesh.


Kabir was a major participant in many social and political movements. He was a major supporter of the trial of war criminals. He hoped that the trial would be a fair one and live up to the international standards. He was the head of Bangla Academy in the early 1970s and played an important role as the director of the Academy in upholding secular values during the mass movements of the ‘70s. He was the ideal progressive Bengali. He also designed a modern and timely national education policy. His contribution to the sphere of theatre was immense and he revolutionised the theatre movement of Bangladesh.


With a master’s in English literature – graduating in 1944 from Dhaka University – Chowdhury was the Education Secretary in 1972, immediately after the Liberation War when his younger brother Shaheed Munier Chowdhury was killed by the local collaborators of the Pakistani army. Chowdhury was member-secretary of the first National Education Commission under Dr. Kudrat-e-Khuda and later, became the Education, Sports and Cultural Affairs secretary.


Chowdhury also played a major role as the director of Bangla Academy from early 1969 to mid-1972 in propagating secular values during the mass movements in the period. He was made the National Professor in 1998. He headed several organisations that worked for secular democracy, such as the Ekattorer Ghatok Dalal Nirmul Committee, Citizens’ Social Rights Movement and Citizens United Front. He worked closely with the late Jahanara Imam in trying to bring to book the killers of 1971 as war criminals. Kabir Chowdhury acted as chairman of the Bangladesh Afro-Asian Writers Union for many years. He was also a member of the presidium of the Bangladesh World Peace Council and the Bangladesh Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity Organisation.


Kabir was a member of the Presidium of the Bangladesh World Peace Council and headed the Bangladesh-Soviet Friendship Society for over a decade. He was the president of the Bangladesh Vidyasagar Society and chairman of the Advisory Council of Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee (Committee for Resisting the Killers and Collaborators of 1971). In all the above capacities he has significantly contributed to the dissemination of secular ideas and democratic values. His ideology is materialism.


February 9 marked the 94th birth anniversary of Kabir Chowdhury.

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