Chowdhury, Bhupati Bhushan

Bhupati Bhushan Chowdhury

Chowdhury, Bhupati Bhushan (1930-1980) businessman, politician. Bhupati Bhushan Chowdhury alias Manik Chowdhury was born on 16 December 1930 at village Habila Sandwip in Patiya upazila of Chittagong district. His father was Dhirendralal Chowdhury and mother Joshodabala Chowdhury. He passed Matriculation Examination from Chittagong Municipality School in 1946 and Intermediate of Arts from Bangabasi College of Kolkata in 1948. Bhupati Bhushan Chowdhury got involved in Anti British movement when he was a student of Bangabasi College. After the partition of India in 1947 he came to Chittagong and started a business. He was soon involved with Awami League politics in Chittagong. In 1954 he joined Awami League. He had a prominent role in the election of united front in 1954. He was the treasurer of the Chittagong district unit of Awami League from 1954 to 1966. In early 1960s, he started a business concern named the 'New Agency' in Chittagong along with MA Aziz and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The major portion of the income from the business would be spent to meet organisational expenditure of Awami League. In 1966 when the Daily Ittefaq was censored by the government, a new daily named Awaz was floated for supporting the Six Point Movement with Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury as editor. At the instance of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Manik Chowdhury took the financial responsibility of this paper. Manik Chowdhury was involved with an underground revolutionary group in the 1960s.

As a basic democrat he launched campaign in the Presidential election of 1964 in favour of Fatima Jinnah. He had vital role in creating public opinion in favour of six point programme in 1966. He was arrested on 20 May 1966 by the government under the Defence Act. He got released from the jail on 23 January 1967. He was again arrested on 9 December from his Chittagong residence and was listed as an accused in the agartala conspiracy case. He got released from the jail during mass upsurge of 1969.    

The military government of Yahya Khan again arrested him. At the end of 1970 he got released from the jail. Manik Chowdhury was present at the meeting of Bangabandhu sheikh mujibur rahman with Yahya Khan in Dhaka in March 1971. During the War of Liberation Manik Chowdhury had active role in maintaining liaison with the Government of India and organising the liberation war. He went to Kolkata in April 1971. He was involved in relief work in the refugee camps in Kolkata and Agartala. After the liberation, Manik Chowdhury developed a political difference with Bangabandhu. In 1974 he joined a new political party named Jatiya Gana-mukti Union floated by haji mohammad danesh. On 30 March 1974, he attended a public meeting of the party at Laldighi Maidan and spoke on political situation. On 1 April he was arrested by the government. He was however released on 25 February 1975 by an order of the High Court. Manik Chowdhury was again arrested under Emergency Act and was released from jail in June 1975. After the assassination of Bangabandu and his family members on 15 August 1975, Manik Chowdhury was arrested along with four national leaders and was kept confined in Dhaka Central Jail. After the assassination of four national leaders, he was taken to Chittagong Jail. He got released in 1980. He died as a victim of cardiac arrest in Kolkata on 30 June 1980 while on way to New Delhi for treatment.

Manik Chowdhury established Habila Sandwip Girls High School and Habila Sandwip High School in his native village. He had contribution towards the foundation of Hussain Shaleh-Noor College. A road from Charkanai Fultala to Habila Sandwip is named as Manik Chowdhury Road. [Mohammad Mostafa Kamal]