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Hye, Muhammad Abdul


Hye, Muhammad Abdul (1919-1969) educationist, litterateur, researcher and linguist. Hye was born on 26 November 1919 at village Maricha in Raninagar thana of Murshidabad. His father was Abdul Ghani and mother, Maimunnessa Khatun. His schooling began at Bardhanpur Junior Madrasah close to his village. After completing his studies here in 1932 he got admitted at Rajshahi High Madrasah and passed from there in 1936. He did his IA from Dhaka Islamic Intermediate College in 1938. He did his BA (with Honours in Bengali) from Dhaka University in 1941 and MA in 1942. He was the first Muslim student in Bengali department after the establishment of Dhaka University in 1921.

Muhammad Abdul Hye began his career as a lecturer at the Dhaka Islamic Intermediate College. But after serving here for only one month he joined the Bengal Junior Education Service as a lecturer in Bengali in 1942. In 1943 he joined Krishnanagar College as a lecturer and joined the Rajshahi Government College in 1947 in the same rank. He joined Dhaka University in 1949 as a lecturer in the Bangla Department.

In 1950, he went to England to study linguistics and conduct research at the School of Oriental and African Studies of London University. Apart from studying linguistics and phonology, he had the opportunity to study English, Arabic, Sanskrit and Dravid. In 1952, he wrote a thesis on 'A Phonetic and Phonological Study of Nasal and Nasalization in Bengali' to earn his MA degree which he got with distinction. This thesis was published by Dhaka University in 1960.

Following the language movement of 1952, Bengali language, literature and culture was passing through a crisis. It was because of hostile attitude of the Pakistan regime. They resorted to such controversial issues like writing Bangla in Arabic, frequent use of Arabic, Persian and Urdu words in Bangla, discarding Hindu subjects from Bangla literature, avoiding Tagore songs from the mass media and even avoiding Kazi Nazrul Islam's Shyama sabgeet (songs on Hindu deity Kali). During this cultural crisis, Abdul Hye moved forward with bold steps displaying professional responsibility and moral commitment. After he returned to the Bangla Department of Dhaka University in February 1952, he reorganized the department by recruiting able and efficient teachers. It was due to his leadership that eminent teachers like Syed Ali Ahsan, Munier Choudhury, Mufazzal Haider Choudhury, Ahmed Shariff, Anisuzzaman and Abu Hena Mustafa Kamal could join the department.

In 1954, Muhammad Abdul Hye was made Reader and head of the Bangla department. He became a Professor in 1962. In 1957 he began publishing Sahitya Patrika to prepare and expand the ground for research. Because of its very high standard of contents, particularly its essays on linguistics the journal soon gained international reputation. Apart from editing the journal, Abdul Hye carried on his own research ceaselessly resulting in the publication of his books Sahitya O Sanskriti (literature and culture) in 1954, Bilete Sare Satsho Din (750 days in England) in 1958, Toshamod O Rajneetir Bhasha (flattery and the language of politics) in 1959, Bhasha O Sahitya (language and literature) in 1960 and Dhwanivigyan O Bangla Dhwanitatto (phonetics and Bengali phonology) in 1964. His Dhwonivigyan O Bangla Dhwanitatto containing his scientific analysis of Bengali phonology earned him international fame.

To fill the want of textbooks, Muhammad Abdul Hye produced jointly with Syed Ali Ahsan Bangla Sahityer Itibritto (history of Bengali literature modern period) in 1968. In association with Ahmed Shariff, Mansuruddin, Anisuzzaman and Anwar Pasha, he produced and published books based on manuscripts of the middle Ages, folk literature, and prose and poems of the modern times.

Another worthy contribution of Muhammad Abdul Hye was the holding of a week-long conference on language and literature (22-28 September 1963) under the auspices of the Bengali department. Its primary objective was to resist imposition of Pakistani culture on the Bengalis and to uphold before the people their own language, culture and tradition. The initiative was very timely and it helped raise a spontaneous response from all section of the people. In order to become a co-sharer of knowledge with the learned society, he attended and actively participated in many international seminars, symposia and training programmes. He became a visiting professor for ten months at the Missouri University in USA in 1968-69. He died in Dhaka in a train accident on 3 June 1969. [Wakil Ahmed]