‘A man of originality, versatility, genius’
Abul Mansur Ahmad was a multi-talented man. We can learn a lot from his life and work. It is undoubtedly a great initiative to organise an essay competition on his achievements. I hope this endeavour will inspire future generations to grow an interest in history.
Abul Mansur Ahmad, a man of versatile genius, devoted a large part of his work to analysing the question of identity of Bengali Muslims, said renowned poet, novelist and director general of Bangla Academy Mohammad Nurul Huda.
"His work is a testament to the many aspects of his knowledge, wisdom and experiences," he said at a discussion titled "Originality of Abul Mansur Ahmad's Thoughts", organised on a virtual platform on the occasion of his 123rd birth anniversary.
Abul Mansur Ahmad Smriti Parishad organised the event on Friday night.
Nurul Huda also said apart from his identities as journalist, litterateur, and politician, Abul Mansur Ahmad was also an astute cultural critic.
A successful politician, Abul Mansur Ahmad was the provincial education minister in the United Front cabinet under Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq in 1954 and the central commerce and industries minister in the Awami League government of the then prime minister Hossain Shaheed Suhrawardy in 1957.
He was known for his strong stance on matters of
interest to East Bengal. Throughout his political life, he advocated for provincial autonomy and the political, economic and cultural rights of the Bengali people.
Abul Mansur Ahmad's publications include great satires like Aina, Asmani Purdah, Gulliverer Safar Nama, and Food Conference.
His works also include important writings on social and political history of Bengal. He has two autobiographical writings -- Atma Katha (About Myself), and Amar Dekha Rajnitir Panchash Bachhar (50 years of politics as I saw it).
Abul Mansur Ahmad always propagated secularism in a manner unparalleled in the forties, fifties and sixties. His contribution towards opposition movement in the early days of Pakistan was extremely significant.
Rabindra University former vice chancellor Prof Bishwajit Ghosh said, "Abul Mansur Ahmad was a multi-talented man. We can learn a lot from his life and work. It is undoubtedly a great initiative to organise an essay competition on his achievements. I hope this endeavour will inspire future generations to grow an interest in history."
As in previous years, to mark his birth anniversary, an essay competition was held this year. Ten participants won in three different categories.
Editor and Publisher of The Daily Star, Mahfuz Anam, said discussants have analysed different aspects of Abul Mansur Ahmad in a meaningful manner.
"His works were well appreciated. Some participants raised critical questions which are necessary to understand this great thinker better," he added.
Kolkata University's associate professor of Bangla Language and Literature SK Rafikul Hossain said some of the great author's works have been included in the syllabus of the university's Bangla department.
His books on political issues will also be included in the syllabus of the History department. Gradually, his ideas will spread among scholarly classes in Kolkata, he added.
A total of 72 essays were submitted this year in three categories: "Abul Mansur Ahmad and His Cultural Thought", "Abul Mansur Ahmad and His Nationalism" and "Abul Mansur Ahmad in Journalism".
Ishita Farzana, Aziz Sartaz Zayed and Mohammad Muhibullah won the first prize, while Asmaul Hussaine, Muhammad Nuruddin Shahid and Alif Nur Sharmi were the first runners-up.
The second runners-up were Tasneem Tisha, Mostafizur Rahman Safi, Sulaiman Mahmud and Kamrul Hasan Masuk.
Among others, Prof Md Abul Kashem of Rajshahi University's history department, journalist and researcher Kazal Rashid Shaheen and essayist and researcher Qudrat-E-Huda spoke at the event.