Quasem, Principal Abul

Principal Abul Quasem

Quasem, Principal Abul (1920-1991) educationist, pioneer activist of language movement. Abul Quasem was born on 28 June 1920 at village Chhedandi in Patia thana of Chittagong district. He passed Matriculation examination from Barma High School in 1939, ISc from Chittagong College in 1941, and obtained BSc (Hons) in Physics in 1944 and MSc degree in 1945 from Dhaka University. He joined the Dhaka University in 1946 as a Lecturer in Physics and continued to serve there till 1953 AD.

Abul Quasem had the leading role in floating a literary and cultural organization named Pakistan tamaddun majlish in Dhaka on 1 September 1947. As its founder general secretary he made this forum instrumental in pioneering the demand for recognition of Bangla as the state language of Pakistan through a booklet titled Pakistaner Rastra bhasa: Bangla na Urdu (The State Language of Pakistan : Bangla or Urdu) published on 15 September 1947. The seminal booklet also contained a succinct proposal, authored by Abul Quasem, in favour of Bangla language as the medium of instruction, the official and court language in East Bengal.

It was by his initiative that Tamaddun Majlish took the lead in the formation of Sarba-daliya Rashtrabhasa Sangram Parisad (All Party State Language Committee of Action) on 1 October 1947 with Nurul Hoque Bhuyan as the convenor and he himself as the treasurer, which provided the needed organizational structure for launching the language movement in later part of 1947 and early months of 1948. Abul Quasem played a pivotal role in that rudimentary stage of the language movement and provided a yeoman's service for garnering widespread support for adopting Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan. He succeeded in enlisting of the younger generation in general, and the teachers and students of Dhaka University and other educational institutions in particular. The first protest meeting assembled at the campus of Dhaka University on 6 December 1947 under the auspices of Rastrabhasa Sangram Parisad was presided over by Professor Abul Quasem. Abul Quasem actively participated in organizing a country wide strike on 11 March 1948 to press for the language demand. As the outcome of the strike, the then provincial government had to sign an agreement with the Action Committee on 15 March 1948 for introducing Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan. Abul Quasem was the founding editor of a Bangla weekly styled as Sainik which was published from Dhaka on 14 November 1948. This paper as the organ of Tamuddin Majlish was active in encouraging the ideals of Bangla language movement. The paper continued to be published till 1961.

Abul Quasem and some of the leading members of Tamaddun Majlish realised that Pakistan was no longer run by the idealism that it promised. This drifted most of the members of Tamaddun Majlish away from the Muslim League. Abul Quasem took the initiative in floating a new political party, and this culminated into the emergence of Khilafat-e-Rabbani Party formed in 1952 with Abul Hashem as the president. Abul Quasem was elected a member of the East Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1954 from the Patia-Boalkhali constituency in Chittagong as a nominee of the united front. While a member of the Legislative Assembly, he moved a resolution on 30 September 1956 for introduction of Bangla as the medium of education at all levels.

A pioneer activist of Language movement, Abul Quasem felt the need of introducing Bangla as medium of higher education in colleges and universities. With this end in view he established the bangla college in Dhaka in 1962 making the door open for higher studies in Bangla medium. He served the College as Principal for long 19 years (1962-1981), most of the time with no remuneration.

A prolific writer, Principal Abul Quasem authored nearly one hundred books including text books on Physics and other science subjects for college and university levels. Some of his well-known books are: Pakistaner Rastra-bhasa (1947), Ekmatra Path (1949), Ghoshana (1952), Vibartanbad (1952), Islam ki Diechhe ebang ki Ditay Parey (1952), Mukti Kone Pathey (1952), Sreni-sangram (1953), Ekush Dafar Rupayan (1955), Dooti Prasna (1955), Shasantrantrik Moolneeti (1955), Sangathan (1964), Adhunik Chintadhara (1964), Islami Rastra-neeti, Quranic Arthaneeti, Bijnan Bastubad O Allahr Astitva, Sristi Tattva O Allahr Astitva, Bijnan Samaj O Dharma, Islam Science and Modern Theory, Universal Ideology in the Light of Modern Thought. He devised a model for the reorientation of spelling of Bangla words and the pattern of Bangla scripts.

Abul Quasem was associated with more than fifty social and cultural organizations of the country like Bangla Academy, Art College, Islamic Foundation, City College etc.

In recognition of his service to the nation, Principal Abul Quasem was awarded a number of national and social awards which include Pakistan Writers' Guild Award (1964), Bangla Academy Award (1982), Ekushay Padak (1987), Islamic Foundation Award (1988), Chattagram Samiti Padak (1988), Bangla College Chhatra Majlish Samiti Award, Independence Day Award (1993, posthumously). He was accorded a national reception in Dhaka in 1989 which was attended by eminent scholars and litterateurs from Bangladesh and India, and was awarded the National Reception Gold Medal.

Principal Abul Quasem died in Dhaka on 11 March 1991. [Muazzam Hussain Khan]