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Ishaq, Muhammad


Ishaq, Muhammad (1910-2005)  a renowned historian, was born in Noakhali district on 2 June 1910. He obtained the MA degree in History in 1937 and was placed in the first class. As a student he came into close contact with Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Kalika Ranjan Kanungo, Nalini Kanta Bhattasali, Mohitlal Majumdar, Charuchandra Bandopadhya and Muhammad Shahidullah.  He was the Cultural Secretary of the Salimullah Muslim Hall, and he was also the Editor of the Hall Magazine. An outstanding debater, he won the championship in the All India and Burma Inter-University Debating Competition. As a student he joined the Shikha Movement of Muslim Sahitya Samaj. Kazi Abdul Wadud, who was his teacher at the Dhaka Intermediate College, had a great impact on him. In a session of Muslim Sahitya Samaj he read a paper on “Trends of Modern Bengali Lyric Poetry,” and this session was presided by Novelist Sarat Chandra Chattopadhya.

Muhammad Ishaq became a Lecturer in history at the Dhaka University in 1937. Later he joined the Education Service of Bengal. He had been an outstanding professor of history in six government colleges. A great friend of Ahmad Hasan Dani, he conducted research on several aspects of Sylhet at his request and presented papers at several annual conferences of the Pakistan Historical Society. He was a member of the Pakistan Historical Records and Archives Commission. As Principal of Azizul Haque College, Bogra, for four years (1962-66), he turned this college into a premier university college with Honours courses in several subjects and enormous physical development. Toward the end of his public career (1967-72) he edited District Gazetteers.

The greatest achievement in his life was his unmatched skill in writing text books. He wrote 40 text books, mostly on history, and some of these were regarded as the best history text books ever written for school students in this country. In 1952 one of his books was sent by the Government to an exhibition of the World’s Best Books for Children in London.  [Firoz Mahmud]