Professor Syed Abdullah Khalid was born in an aristocratic Syed family in Kazi-Ilias, Sylhet town. Though his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become a clergy, Khalid ended up a painter and eventually a sculptor, one of the greatest the country has produced.
Khalid spent his early childhood and a good part of his adolescence in the confines of Sylhet before moving out in pursuit of his thirst for art and craft.
Khalid was a maverick soul fond of adventure, exploration and action. To appease his father, Khalid used to put on his cap when he came out of his house, but it instantly moved to his pocket once he reached out of sight of his father. He never forgot to put the cap on his head before reaching home.
In many respects, his life had a resemblance to Fatik of Tagore's central character in “Chhuti”. He had all the charisma of a born leader, but his soul was in painting. The walls of the family's dilapidated house, 'Bhatipara Ghar' were full of drawings, graffiti, motifs and figures -- mostly by charcoal -- which Khalid had finished unnoticed.
Beginning with Subidbazaar, Sylhet, where his earliest schooling started, he would always secure top position in art and craftsmanship. At that very tender age, he used to make Eid cards, birthday cards and send them to his friends.
Seeing his talent, his cousin and brother-in-law Habibur Rahman Khan brought him to Dhaka and they were housed in a small compartment in Palashi barrack.
After his matriculation from Nawabpur School, Dhaka, Khalid was admitted to Dhaka Art College, the architect of which was renowned Muzharul Islam. He graduated from Art College in 1969 amidst a turbulent political situation in erstwhile East Pakistan. Khalid, as a VP of the student union, spearheaded the mass movement, breaking Section 144. He took part in the Liberation War as a freedom fighter. For a short while, Khalid was a teacher of Dhaka Art College. He completed his Masters in fine arts in first class first from Chittagang University, from where he retired as a professor.
Undoubtedly his best creation is “Aparajeyo Bangla”, which he finally completed on December 16, 1978 in front of Arts Faculty of Dhaka University.
Many of his other sculptures and murals, “Aparajeyo Bangla” (Invincible Bengal) continue to symbolise the spirit of the Liberation War for future generations.
The writer served in the Army's Medical Corps and is a literature enthusiast.