Rahman, Saidur

Rahman, Saidur (1909-1987) educationist, philosopher, was born on 1 May 1909 in the village of Rasullabad in Nabinagar upazila, brahmanbaria. He completed his honours and MA in Philosophy from the university of dhaka in 1931 and 1932 respectively. After completing his studies, he joined rajshahi college as a lecturer of Philosophy.

Saidur Rahman was superintendent of the Baker Hostel in Kolkata, Inspector of Schools of Chittagong division, and special Inspector of Education in the Education Department. Between 1947 and 1952 he worked in Dhaka University as a part-time professor in the departments of Philosophy and Islamic History and Culture.

In 1957 Saidur Rahman went to England on a Commonwealth Scholarship for higher studies in organisation and administration. In 1963 he was made principal of jagannath college, and, through many of his reforms, he was able to establish in it a congenial academic atmosphere. He reintroduced coeducation in the college.

It was during his time that the college introduced two shifts to alleviate pressure on the college seeking admissions. He also introduced the BSc night course. He served in various capacities at chittagong college, dhaka college and eden girls' college.

After the liberation of Bangladesh he returned to the Dhaka University as a part-time teacher of Philosophy. In 1975 the 'Saidur Rahman Foundation' was set up with the honorarium that he had received from Dhaka University. The object of the foundation is to grant scholarships to meritorious students and arrange lectures on human welfare, man and his environment and the philosophical aspects of science. The lectures began in 1978 and are still continuing. Eminent educationists and intellectuals of the country regularly present learned papers under this programme.

Saidur Rahman believed strongly in women's education and empowerment. It was at his initiative that sheikh mujibur rahman, his student at Baker Hostel, agreed to help the establishment of the Tejgaon Women's College in Dhaka. He served as its honorary principal up to 1978. He was an active organiser of the bangladesh philosophical association and served as its president from its inception in 1973 up to 1983. He was also an active organiser and member of the Pakistan Philosophical Congress.

Saidur Rahman was a skeptic and against all kinds of social and religious fanaticism. He firmly believed in socialism and was an advocate of nationalism, secularism.'

Saidur Rahman was a great intellectual. His book, Introduction to Islamic Culture and Philosophy, had a great impact on the study of Islamic philosophy and culture. In this book he tried to show that western philosophy owed a great deal to Islamic civilisation.

Saidur Rahman was a humanist and led a very simple life. He believed that the aim of life should be to create an environment that would end exploitation, deprivation and prejudice. Saidur Rahman died on 28 August 1987. [Pradip Kumar Roy]