Chowdhury, Khan Bahadur Abidur Reza

Abidur Reza Chowdhury

Chowdhury, Khan Bahadur Abidur Reza (1872-1961) politician, social worker. He was born in 1872 in Rupsa zamindar family in Chandpur district. The political career of Khan Bahadur Abidur Reza Chowdhury began in 1920 when he was elected the chairman of Chandpur Local Board. He was successively elected to this post till 1940. He had immense contributions towards the development of the area and in creating public awareness in the locality.

Abidur Reza Chowdhury was elected the chairman of Comilla District Board (the then Tippera) in 1930 and was successively elected as chairman till 1959. The silver jubilee anniversary of his chairmanship was celebrated at Comilla on 16 May 1958. He was the chairman of Nikhil Banga District Board Chairman Association for a long time.

In those days, almost all the chairmen of the District Board were renowned politicians of whom the most noted were Mohammad Ali from Bogra, Nurul Amin from Mymensingh, Yusuf Ali Chowdhury (Mohan Mia) from Faridpur, Fazlul Qauder Chowdhury from Chittagong and Khwaja Shahabuddin from Dhaka.

Abidur Reza Chowdhury was one of the delegates attending the conference in Dhaka for the formation of Muslim League in 1906. He was elected a member of the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1937 and in 1946 as a nominee of Muslim League. He had been a member of the working committee of the Provincial Muslim League for a long time. He was the president of the Comilla district unit of Muslim League from 1935 to 1958. He was a member of the Dhaka University Court (present Senate) and chairman of the Comilla School Board.

In January 1937 Mohammad Ali Jinnah launched a tour programme in Bengal to generate public opinion in favour of the Muslim League. At that time Abidur Reza Chowdhury accorded a reception to Jinnah at Comilla by an assemblage of more than forty thousand people. Jinnah himself remarked that the reception meeting in Comilla was the largest of the assemblage during his tour in Bengal.

In 1930 the British Government conferred upon Abidur Reza Chowdhury the title of 'Khan Bahadur'. Abidur Reza Chowdhury renounced his title of Khan Bahadur in 1946 in protest against the adverse attitude of the British Government towards the Muslims in India. In 1954 he was given the title of Tamgha-i-Khidmat by the Pakistan Government.

Abidur Reza Chowdhury was a self-taught man. Though he could not receive institutional education in his early life due to his ill health, he received education in his family environment which gave him opportunity to acquire deep knowledge of things. By his initiative a number of educational institutions were established.

Khan Bahadur Abidur Reza was a life long bachelor. He died on 16 January 1961. [Wazed Chowdhury]