Islamabadi, Maulana Maniruzzaman

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Islamabadi, Maulana Maniruzzaman (1875-1950) Islamic thinker, nationalist activist and journalist. Born in Aralia, a village under Patiya upazila of Chittagong district, Maulana Maniruzzaman was a colourful presence in Bengal Muslim politics of the first four decades of the twentieth century. Though a man with little modern education, he was a man of great perception and foresight. Like many others among his contemporaries he assumed the surname 'Islamabadi' because he came from Islamabad, the official name for Chittagong during the Muslim period. He taught in various traditional Madrasas. But his public reputation rested on his activities as a regenerator of Islam in the region. To serve his purpose he took to journalism and gave public speeches. He edited or managed Muslim reformist periodicals such as the soltan (1901), Hablul Matin (1912), and journals such as mohammadi (1903), kohinoor (1911), Basona (1904) and Al-Eslam(1913).

As a nationalist, Islamabadi supported the indian national congress and took an active part in the movement for the annulment of the partition of bengal. He also participated actively in the non-cooperation and khilafat movements and was the President of the provincial Congress Committee. He was one of the architects of the bengal pact of 1923. He left Congress politics in the 1930s and joined the krishak praja party and was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1937 from this party. Maulana Islamabadi was one of the organisers of the anjuman-i-ulamah-i-bangala(1913), which later came to be known as the Jamiat-i-Ulamah-i-Bangalah. One of the objects of the Anjuman was popularising Bangla among the Muslim middle class. He was one of the founders of the Jamiat-i-Ulamah-i-Hind and organised literary conferences at Chittagong in 1922 and 1930 amidst pomp and grandeur. He founded the Chittagong branch of the organisation and himself became its president. Islamabadi worked hard to establish an Islamic University in Chittagong but circumstances of the time did not favour his efforts. [M Inamul Hoque]