Meherullah, Munshi Mohammad

Meherullah, Munshi Mohammad (1861-1907) poet, religious leader and social reformer, was born in his maternal grandfather's home in Ghopegram under Kaliganj thana of jessore district. His paternal home was in Chhatiantala of the same district.

Meherullah received his religious education from Moulvi Mosharuddin of Jessore, and from Moulvi Mohammad Ismail he learned Arabic, Persian and Urdu. He had never been to any educational institution. He received education privately. He was well versed in the Holy quran and hadith. After a short stint in government service, he received training in tailoring and started a tailoring shop in Jessore. When Christian missionaries tried to malign Islam and hazrat muhammad (Sm), Meherullah protested through his speeches and writings. He engaged in a number of public debates with missionaries. Gradually he devoted himself to spreading the message of Islam and soon became popular as an orator.

Speaking on the glorious past of Islam at several religious functions in Assam and Bengal, Munshi Mohammad Meherullah tried to inspire the frustrated and morally debilitated Muslim society. He was able to bring back to the fold of Islam many Muslims who had been converted to christianity. With a view to spreading the teaching of islam, he established Madrasaye Karamatia and Islam Dharmottejika Sabha (1889) in Manoharpur village in Jessore. He used to contribute regularly to newspapers like the sudhakar and the islam pracharak published from Kolkata. His notable books on religion and society are Khristiya Dharmer Asarata (The hollowness of the Christian religion) (1887), Bidhabagavjana O Bisadbhandar (Sufferings of Widows, 1894), Meherul Islam (1897), Hindu Dharma Rahasya O Devalila (1898, two editions) and Mussalman O Christian Tarkayuddha (Muslim and Christian Debates, 1908; two editions). The government confiscated Bidhabaganjana O Bisadbhandar, which described the sufferings of Hindu widows, and Hindu Dharma Rahasya O Devalila, which criticised the various superstitions of Hindus, on charges of indecency and communalism. He died on 7 May in 1907. [Mohsin Hussain]