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Literary and Cultural Contributions of the Department of English

The University of Dhaka’s English department has a distinguished history. It is among the first twelve departments of the university.Students and teachers of the Department of English have contributed significantly toimportant political, cultural as well as literary movements. They have created important literary works both in Bangla and English. The department has produced outstanding twentieth centurywriters, poets and intellectuals such as Buddhadev Bose, Munier Choudhury, Shamsur Rahman, Syed Shamsul Haque and Razia Khan Amin. Moreover, it has been at the forefront of women’s education in the region. Leela Nag, a student of this department, is the first female graduate of the University of Dhaka. She made a name for herself later as a social activist who championed education for women of the region. A. G. Stock is another woman academic of the department who is widely admired for her memoirs of the university during 1947-1951. Quite a few teachers played active roles in the movements that led to the birth of the nation in 1971. Among them is Professor Khan Sarwar Murshid.  In the seventies and eighties renowned teachers like Professor Serajul Islam Choudhury and Professor Ahsanul Haquemade their presence felt in the movement for university autonomy. Professor Kabir Chowdhury was made National Professor for his contribution to education as well as translation. Professor Serajul Islam Chowdhury is now Professor Emeritus and continues to be a lighthouse of ideas and has authored major works on socio-political as well as literary issues. Professor Kaiser M. Hamidul Haq, now an internationally acclaimed poet and translator, participated actively in our liberation war while a student of the department. Present luminaries also include writers like Professor Niaz Zaman, Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam and UGC Professor Fakrul Alam.  Professor Islam is widely acknowledged to be one of the leading writers of short fiction as well as an outstanding essayist while Professor Zaman and Alam have distinguished themselves as translators.Professor Khondakar Ashraf Hossain and Professor Kashinath Roy made noteworthy contributions to contemporary Bangladeshi writing through their poetry and fiction. The Department of English is,thus,proud to have produced some of the finest scholars whose involvement in the nation’s literary and cultural history have enriched the intellectual landscape of the country.

Bangla revised
Awards Recipients
1. Independence Day (Shadhinata Padak) Award Munier Choudhury (posthumously, 1980);

Syed Ali Ahsan (1987);[1]

Shamsur Rahman (1991);

Kabir Chowdhury (1997);

Syed Shamsul Haque (2000);

Zillur Rahman Siddiqui (2010);

Abul Maal Abdul Muhith (2016);

SMA Rashidul Hasan (2018)[2]

2. Ekushey Award

Shamsur Rahman (1977);

Syed Ali Ahsan (1982);

Abul Hasan (1982);[3]

Syed Shamsul Haque (1984);

Abu Zafar Obaidullah (1985);[4]

Kabir Chowdhury (1991);

Serajul Islam Choudhury (1996);

Razia Khan Amin (1997);

Ashab Uddin Ahmad (2005);[5]

Ramendu Majumdar (2009);

Mohammad Rafiq (2010);[6]

Abdus Shakur (2014);[7]

Abul Kalam Mohammed Zakaria (2015);[8]

Mohammad Nurul Huda (2015);

Omar Ali (2017);[9]

Sara Zaker (2017);

Tanvir Mokammel (2017);

Hayat Saif (2018);[10]

Syed Manzoorul Islam (2018);

Halima Khatun (2019);[11]

Liaquat Ali Lucky (2019);

Suborna Mustafa (2019)

3. Bangla Academy Literary Award

Munier Choudhury (1962);

Syed Shamsul Haque (1966);

ANM Bazlur Rashid (1967);[12]

Shamsur Rahman (1969);

Kabir Chowdhury (1973);

Razia Khan Amin (1974);

Abul Hasan (1975);

Serajul Islam Choudhury (1978);

Abdus Shakur (1979);

Abu Zafar Obaidullah (1979);

Zillur Rahman Siddiqui (1979);

Halima Khatun (1981);

Omar Ali (1981);

Mohammad Rafiq (1987);

Syed Manzoorul Islam (1996);

Abul Kalam Mohammed Zakaria (2005);

Khan Sarwar Murshid (2010);

Khaliquzzaman Elias (2011);[13]

Fakrul Alam (2013);

Kaiser Md. Hamidul Haq (2014);

Shantanu Kaiser (2014);[14]

Abdus Selim (2015);

Niaz Zaman (2016);

Khairul Alam Sabuj (2019);[15]

Wasi Ahmed (2019)[16]

[1]When Syed Ali Ahsan was a student of the department of English in Dhaka University his essay titled ‘Kavi Satyendranath Dutta’ was published in the quarterly Parichay, a magazine edited by Sudhindranath Dutta

[2]SMA Rashidul Hasan obtained his BA (Hons.) and MA in English from University of Dhaka in 1957 and 1958, respectively. Finally, he joined the University of Dhaka, English Department in 1967.

[3]Abul Hasan was admitted to the University of Dhaka to study English with honours, but could not complete his studies. Instead, he joined the news section of the Ittefaq in 1969.

[4] Abu Zafar Obaidullah was then admitted into the Dhaka University to study English and after securing B.A. (Honours) and M.A. degrees, he joined the same university in 1954 as a lecturer in the Department of English.

[5]Ashab Uddin Ahmad obtained an MA in English from the University of Dhaka in 1939.

[6]Mohammad Rafiq worked as a teacher at Chittagong College and at Dhaka College. After working in the Department of English, Jahangirnagar University for three decades, he retired in 2009. Subsequently, he enrolled for MA at Dhaka University’s English department.

[7]Shakur completed his BA (honors) and MA degree in English literature from Dhaka University in 1963 and 1964 respectively.

[8]Zakaria earned his bachelor’s in English literature from the University of Dhaka.

[9]Omar Ali completed his master’s in English from the University of Dhaka in 1970.

[10]Hayat Saif studied English literature at the University of Dhaka and served as a member and acting chairman of the National Board of Revenue.

[11]Halima Khatun completed her master’s in English literature from the University of Dhaka.

[12] ANM Bazlur Rashid taught part-time in the department of English at the University of Dhaka during 1973-75.

[13] Khaliquzzaman Elias completed his M.A. in English from Dhaka University in 1973. He is currently serving as a faculty member of the Department of English and modern Languages at North South University.

[14] Shantanu Kaiser earned his master’s degree in English from the University of Dhaka.

[15] Sabuj grew up in Barisal and graduated in English literature from the University of Dhaka.

[16] Wasi Ahmed obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degree in English literature from University of Dhaka.