Book Review: A Luminary from Greater Sylhet

 

Ek Alokito Bektitta Munawwar Ali edited by Sampadana Parishad, 404 pages

ISBN 984-300-000084-4, Price $10.00

 

Munawwar Ali was an important historic figure of the ‘Bengal and Assam of the undivided India’ as it was known long ago.

He made a significant contribution towards the welfare of the people of this region. He also played an important part in the Pakistani movement working hand in hand with other Muslim leaders of the subcontinent. He had a vision for the newly independent Pakistan which he presented in the form of his version of “The Constitution of Pakistan”.

Munawwar Ali spent his life serving as a minister in a number of portfolios in the Assam Provincial cabinet. He was also appointed the first speaker of the East Pakistan Assembly.

However, in spite of his busy life schedule Munawwar Ali found the time to compose poems. “Jilwa” his collection of poetry was published in 1942. He also wrote poems based on surahs (chapters) of the 30th volume of the Holy Qur’an and published them as “Bangla Amparar Kabyanubad” (Poetic Translation of 30th Chapter) in 1950.

His eventful life came to an end on the 11th December, 1951.

Throughout his life Munawwar Ali has shown his excellent qualities as a human being, a politician, an activist and as a practicing Muslim. He has left his legacy in every sphere of his activities.

Ek Alokito Bektitta Munawwor Ali’ is a compilation of articles from a number of scholars on various aspects of the life and works of Munawwar Ali. Eminent historian Muhammad Mohar Ali has given the background and prevailing socio-economic-educational conditions of the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent which would be the future sphere of activities of Munawwar Ali. He also analysed the effects of the decades of oppression and suppression of the ruling class at that time, and their conniving associates, on the Muslims of this part of the world. He gave a vivid description of the plight of the Muslims and their struggle for nationhood as a way of survival and an avenue to escape the clutches of tyranny. He also gave details of the movements and programmes initiated by Muslim leaders and the Ulama (Islamic scholars) and the support they received from the general masses.

Famous author Dewan Mohammad Azraf described various aspects of the life of Munawwar Ali and the impact of his actions on the life of ordinary people of Bengal and Assam in general and of the Muslims in particular.

The book acts as recognition of the talents and services of one of the most prominent sons of Sunamganj. It is important to know about the individuals who served as a role model for the people of Bangladesh. This understanding would be sufficient to give the reader an appreciation of the circumstances which benevolent people such as Munawwar Ali have gone through to leave a permanent mark on the lives of the common people of Bengal and Assam.

 

By Muhammad Akhteruzzaman

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