Chowdhury, Ali Nawab

Chowdhury, Ali Nawab was born in Pashchim Gaon, in Laksham Upazila of Comilla district, in the sixties of the 19th century. Nawab Yusuf Ali Chowdhury, a great son of Comilla was his father, and Nawab Faizunnisa (1834-1903) was his aunt. Ali Nawab Chowdhury was his nickname, his real name was Shahzada Mirza Aurangzeb. His ancestors were given the title of Chowdhury in perpetuity at the time of Lord Cornwallis, after the permanent settlement of 1793.The British Government conferred the title of Khan Bahadur upon him in 1897, as recognition of his social welfare work. In the history of Tripura entitled rajmala, this ancient household has been referred to as a philanthropic household of Homnabad.

Ali Nawab Chowdhury spent his life in social work. He was aware of the demands of the age and tried to contribute to the progress of Muslims, who were quite backward, especially in the field of education. He realised it quite well that without education there cannot be any progress. He established Yusuf High School in Comilla, in 1877, in memory of his father. In 1879 he established Ali Nawab High School in Muzaffaraganj Bazar.

The first annual conference of the Bengal Provincial Educational Society was held on the 20 and the 21 of Chaitra, 1310, BS at Rajshahi College premises. The conference was sponsored by the Nawab Begum of Murshidabad and nawab salimullah of Dhaka. It was chaired by Syed Shamsul Huda and Khan Bahadur Shujaat Ali Beg. In this conference Khan Bahadur Ali Nawab Chowdhury played an active role along with Khan Bahadur Delwar Hossain, Wajed Ali Khan Panni (Karatia) and Khan Bahadur Abdul Majid Chowdhury (Rangpur).

The second conference of the Educational Society was held on the 22 and 23 April, 1905 at Laksham. It was held under a decorated canopy in front of Ali Nawab Chowdhury's palace Khorshed Manzil. Ali Nawab Chowdhury was the President of the reception committee. The Dhaka Prakaxh of 17 Baixhakh, 1312 BS reported that Ali Nawab Chowdhury addressed the delegates, members and audience in Urdu and thanked them for their participation. Contributions were collected for building a Muslim boarding hostel in Comilla. At that time Ali Nawab Chowdhury promised to contribute 2000 Taka. In the two-day session fifteen resolutions were passed concerning the need for the spread of education.

On 10 July 1905, Lord Curzon published his plans for the partition of Bengal. Along with other Muslim leaders of Comilla, Ali Nawab Chowdhury and Hussam Haider Chowdhury, supported Nawab Salimullah, on the question of the Partition of Bengal. However, the eminent Muslim leader Abdur Rasul was opposed to it.

Ali Nawab Chowdhury always stood by Nawab Sir Salimullah on educational and political issues. He was very enthusiastic about the establishment of the muslim league in 1906. Ali Nawab Chowdhury joined the farewell given to lord curzon on 4 November, 1905 by the Muslim leaders of Dhaka under the leadership of Nawab Sir Salimullah.

As an ideal landlord Ali Nawab was very concerned about the welfare of his subjects. He was also a scholar of Persian. He built the Comilla Town Hall. Campbell praised his social and private life. On 3 Magh, 1327 BS (16 January, 1921) Ali Nawab Chowdhury breathed his last at his residence in Laksham. He was buried in his family graveyard. [Kaniz-e-Batool]