Chowdhury, Mohammad Yakub Ali

Chowdhury, Mohammad Yakub Ali (1888-1940) writer and journalist, was born on 18 Kartik 1395 BS (November 1888) in the village of Maguradabga of pangsha upazila in the district of faridpur. His father Enayetullah Chowdhury was a police officer.

Yakub Ali studied at Pangsha ME School and then at Rajbari Suryakumar Institution from where he passed the Entrance examination. He had to discontinue his studies because of eye problems. In 1914 he started teaching at Jorwargavj English High School in chittagong. Next year he was appointed assistant teacher at Rajbari Suryakumar Institution and in 1918 at George High School in Pangsha.

Yakub Ali was actively involved in Congress politics and was imprisoned for his participation in the non-cooperation and khilafat movements (1920-21). This confinement contributed to the end of his teaching career. He then moved to Kolkata to join his younger brother, Awlad Ali Chowdhury, a journalist. He became closely associated with the bangiya mussalman sahitya samiti (1911) and for some time, was also secretary of the association. In January 1927, Yakub Ali Chowdhury and golam mostafa jointly edited Sahityik, the monthly mouthpiece of the association. Yakub Ali also contributed essays to the monthly kohinoor edited by his elder brother, Mohammad Rowshan Ali Chowdhury. Many of his essays on society, education, religion, philosophy, and morals were also published in contemporary journals. His writings include Dharmer Kahini (1914), Nurnabi (1918), Shantidhara (1918) and Manab Mukut (1926).

Though Yakub Ali Chowdhury wrote mainly on Islamic philosophy and culture, he believed in the amity of Hindus and Muslims. He staunchly supported Bangla when a controversy arose in the 1920s and 1930s whether Bangla or urdu should be the mother tongue of Babgali Muslims. Mohammad Yakub Ali Chowdhury died on 15 December 1940. [Khondkar Sirajul Haque]