Mohiuddin Ahmed | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 05, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 05, 2016


Mohiuddin Ahmed

Mohiuddin Ahmed is an internationally recognised expert in publishing management. He has become a force that has challenged and changed book publishing in Bangladesh in deep and lasting ways. It is thus only fitting that Bangladesh Academic and Creative Publishers' Association awarded him the title of emeritus publisher in 2014. 

Born in Parshuram, Feni, in 1944, the son of a high ranking officer in the British Indian Postal Service, the ardent publisher started taking an interest in publishing and editing from his student days at the Notre Dame College where he was the managing editor of Blue and Gold, the college magazine. Later, while studying journalism at the University of Punjab under the Pakistan Council Scholarship, he edited the Punjab University Chronicle. He was also a student leader.

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Upon finishing his MA, he joined the department of journalism as an assistant professor teaching Mass Communication and Public Relations. But his true calling was in publishing. Thus, in 1969 when the Oxford University Press (OUP), Pakistan Branch offered him the editorial position, he gladly accepted it. After independence, following a two year stint as the chief executive of OUP, Dhaka Branch, he established the University Press Limited in 1975.

Under his leadership, UPL has won the National Book Centre award 16 times since 1981; he won a gold medal in 1991. He was also one of seventeen publishers from around the globe to be invited by the Norwegian Prime Minister in recognition of his work on environmental issues. In May 1988, he was conferred a Cultural Doctorate in Publishing Management by the World University's international secretariat at Benson, Arizona.

He published books written not only by Bangladeshi authors but also by well-known academics and scholars from other countries, among them Eirik G Jansen, Beth Roy, Betsy Hartmann, Clarence Maloney, Thérèse Blanchet, Kirsten Westergaard, Mary Francis Durham, Rob Gallagher, Ellen Bal and Yasuhiro Takami. He exported books published here to the UK, putting the one-way trade of books between the two countries into reverse. Today, UPL exports a significant share of the total national export of books from Bangladesh, catering to academic destinations around the world.

In the early 1990s, upon realising the need for recording an objective history of the country, he initiated a series of publications called the Road to Bangladesh, a collection of books that presents a well-rounded narrative of events of 1971. The series is a gem to students and scholars interested in South Asian affairs. In 1998, he spearheaded the effort to collect interviews of 28 Pakistani military high officials and scholars who had direct or indirect link with the 1971 war. The interviews were later edited in a volume called Pakistanider Drishtite 1971, jointly edited by himself and Muntassir Mamun. A number of books published by him were used as evidence by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).

In 2012, Ahmed published Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Oshomapto Atmajibani ((The Unfinished Memoirs), and also arranged for the book to be simultaneously published in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan in English language. The book was published upon adequate and world-standard verification of the originality of the manuscript.

He has been an active campaigner against any form of copyright infringement that takes place anywhere in the 
creative industry. 

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