Kabir, Mafizullah

Mafizullah Kabir

Kabir, Mafizullah (1925-1986) historian and writer. Mafizullah Kabir was born in Noakhali on 28 February 1925. He had to his credit a brilliant academic record. He stood first in the High Madrasah and Intermediate Examinations of 1941 and 1943 respectively. He obtained BA Honours and MA degrees in History from the university of dhaka in 1946 and 1947 respectively. He obtained his PhD in 1953 from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He had good knowledge of Arabic and Persian, and in his later years acquired proficiency in the German language.

Kabir started his career as a lecturer in History, University of Dhaka, in 1950 and continued to serve the University till his death on 8 August 1986. Besides, he held important administrative positions in the university including the post of its first pro-Vice Chancellor. He served the Asiatic Society of Pakistan (later Bangladesh) as its General Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice-President. He was President of bangladesh itihas samiti. For a brief period he was the honorary curator of the Dhaka Museum.

Kabir spent over three and a half decades in the pursuit of knowledge and published research works, articles, college and university textbooks.

His background of Madrasah education and knowledge of Arabic and Persian led him to select Islam and Muslim related subjects for his literary endeavours. The Buwayhid Dynasty of Baghdad (946-1062 AD), his PhD dissertation, was published by Iran Society of Calcutta in 1964.

Professor Kabir wrote many quality textbooks; notable among them are Muslim Rule under the Sultans (in the series A short History of Indo-Pakistan sponsored by Pakistan government), 1967; Outline of Islamic History, 1963; Islam O Khilafat, 1974; and Muslim Sabhyatar Svarna Yug (Golden Era of Muslim Civilisation), Dhaka, 1987. The last named work clearly showed originality in the author's comprehension of Islamic civilisation. He edited the Bengali version of Syed Amir Ali's A Short History of the Saracens, translated by Shaikh Reazuddin Ahmed.

The subject matters of Professor Kabir's research articles, published in journals, home and abroad, were varied and wide-ranging. His class teaching involved him in in-depth studies on Western Asia and International Law. Majority of his research articles dealt with contemporary events in the Middle East and international affairs.

The mass-upsurge of 1969 and the atrocities and genocide perpetrated by Pakistani army on the innocent people of East Pakistan in 1971 drastically affected Kabir's attitude. His significant work, Experiences of an Exile At Home: Life in Occupied Bangladesh, published in December 1972, clearly reflects the agonies of life in Dhaka in the last days of Pakistan and would serve as an important source for history of the period. [M Delwar Hussain]