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Hussain, Syed Sajjad


Hussain, Syed Sajjad (1920-1995) vice chancellor, professor, writer, was born in the village of Alokdia in Magura district in 1920. He obtained MA degree in English literature from the University of Dhaka in 1942. He did his PhD Degree from the Nottingham University, UK in 1952 for a research on Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) and his attitude of India.

Syed Sajjad Hussain started his teaching career at Calcutta Islamic College in 1944. From 1948 to 1969 was a professor of English in dhaka university and he was also the Head of the Department from 1959 to 1969. He was then appointed the Vice-Chancellor of rajshahi university in 1969 and Dhaka University in 1971. However, his stance for the unity of Pakistan during the liberation war Bangladesh made him controversial and for which he had to suffer imprisonment.

In 1975, Hussain became a fellow of Claire Hall at Cambridge University, England for a period of three months. He also worked as a professor of English at Ummul Qura University in Makkah from 1975 to 1985 when he retired from his active teaching career. He came back to Bangladesh in the late 1980s to live permanently and passed away in Dhaka in 1995.

Beside Bangla and English languages and literature, he had a good knowledge of Arabic, Urdu, Hindi and Persian languages and literatures. However he wrote predominantly in English and a few pieces in Bangla. Husain is considered as one of the region's most notable English literature of the twentieth century like Enver Moorj, Omar Kureshi, Khalid Hasan, Alamgir Hashmi and Ahmed Ali. He wrote mainly on literature and culture. His publications include: Descriptive Catalogue of Bengal Muslims (Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, 1960); East Pakistan: a Profile (Orient Longmans, 1962); Nixed Grill: A Collection of Essays on Religion and Culture (Orient Longmans, 1963); Kipling and India: An Inquiry into the Nature and Extent of Kipling's Knowledge of the Indian Sub-Continent (Dhaka University, 1965); Homage to Shakespeare (Department of English, Dhaka University, 1965); Civilisation and Society (Bangladesh Institute of Islamic Thought, 1994); The Waste of Time: Reflections on the Decline and fall of East Pakistan (Institute of Islamic Culture, Lahore, 1996); A Young Muslim's Guide to Religions in the World (BIIT, 1992) etc. His most notable Bangla works include Nirghanta-abhidhana (Dhaka, 1970) a two-volume history of English literature published by the Bangla Academy (1984 and 1989); Ekattorer Smriti (Dhaka, 1993); and Arbi Sahiyer Itibritya. [Md. Mahmudul Hasan]