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Fazle Rabbi, Khan Bahadur Khondkar


Fazle Rabbi, Khan Bahadur Khondkar (1848-1917) writer and Muslim nationalist, was born at Salar in Murshidabad district, West Bengal. His father, Khondkar Obaidul Akbar, was mir munshi of the nawab of Murshidabad. The family traces its lineage back to Khorasan in Iran.

Fazle Rabbi was educated in Persian and entered the service of the nawab of Murshidabad as dewan. In 1869 he went to London as a clerk.

Fazle Rabbi was an executive committee member of the mohamedan literary society of kolkata (1900) and a member of the Imperial League organised by the zamindar of Burdwan (1909).

Fazle Rabbi wrote three books: Kitabe Tasdikun Lehad, Hakikate Musalmanane Babgalah (1891), and Tarikhe Hindustani. The first book is a family history, the second an account of contemporary Muslim society in Bengal, and the third a history of India.

In The Indian Mussalmans (1879) william hunter had asserted that the Muslims of Bengal were low-caste Hindu converts. In Hakikate Musalmanane Bangalah (Facts Regarding the Muslims of Bengal) Fazle Rabbi showed that the majority of Bengali Muslims were migrant noble families. In order to disseminate his ideas, he translated the book into English.

The British government honoured him with the title of 'Khan Bahadur'. [Wakil Ahmed]