Karim, Maulvi Abdul

Karim, Maulvi Abdul (1863-1943) educationist and writer, was born at Pathantola in sylhet. After completing BA (Hons) in English from Presidency College, Kolkata, in 1886 he started working as a school teacher. In 1889, he was appointed Assistant Inspector of Schools for Mohammedan Education and subsequently School Inspector. Along with Mohammad Ibrahim, Maulvi Abdul Karim was one of the few Muslims to hold these important posts under the British.

Abdul Karim tried to spread education among the educationally backward Muslims of Bengal. In Mohammedan Education in Bengal (1900) he highlighted the causes of Muslim backwardness: lack of Muslim teachers and absence of Islamic subjects in the syllabus. To meet the need of textbooks, he started writing books suitable of being used in the school curriculum. One such book was Bharatbarser Mussulman Rajatver Itihas (The History of Muslim Rule in India, 1898) which was included in the school syllabus. rabindranath tagore commended the book highly in a review in bharati (Shravan 1305 BS/ 1898 AD).

Abdul Karim helped reform madrasah education by introducing the New Scheme which aimed at imparting modern education alongside religious instruction. As a result, it became easier for Madrasah students to get jobs and improve their social conditions. He wrote Prophet of Islam and his Teaching and Universal Religion of Peace and Progress. His other books include Bharatbarser Itihas, Maktab O Madrasar Bartaman Shiksapranali O Tar Sangskar, Hints on English Pronunciation, Hints on Class Management and Method of Teaching, History of Hindu-Muslim Pact, etc. He was equally fluent in Bangla, English, Hindi and Arabic.

Abdul Karim was a life fellow (1895) of Calcutta University, general member (1896) of the asiatic society, president of the bangiya mussulman sahitya samiti (1915), and member of the Council of State. Karim was one of the signatories to the bengal pact of 1923. Maulvi Abdul Karim died in 1943 in Kolkata. [Wakil Ahmed]