Sylhet Central Muslim Literary Society
Sylhet Central Muslim Literary Society a literary society established on 16 September 1936 in Sylhet. The first president and the secretary of the working committee of the society were Dewan Eklimur Raja Chowdhury, MLA and AZ Abdullah respectively. The main objectives of the Sylhet Central Muslim Literary Society (Sylhet Kendriya Muslim Sahitya Sangsad) were to encourage literary activities of the young Muslim writers, anthologise the works of the major writers and poets of greater Sylhet and collect and publish ancient manuscripts. It also organised regular literary seminars and symposia, poetry recitations, musical soirees, receptions, commemorative and condolence meetings and celebration of days of national importance. From the very beginning, the monthly Al Islah, the mouthpiece of the society, contributed significantly in creating writers, poets and researchers. Muhammad Nurul Huq, the first editor of the Al-Islah, was also given the responsibility of the society library that started its journey with only19 books. At present there are 31037 books of which 256 are rare collections. A copy of the Holy Quran, done by Emperor aurangzeb himself, is one of these rare collections.
Since its inception the society has arranged and organised many literary seminars and a host of literati have visited it. They have left their comments on the society visitors' book called the 'Kemusam' which is an invaluable document. The society and Al Islah both played important roles in the sylhet referendum, 1947 and the language movement of the early fifties. The society has also established other important organisations such as a museum, the Seba Sangha (1941) and the Nazrul Sahitya Bhandar (1944-45). Branches of the society were established at Shilong on 29 July 1939 and in Calcutta on 1 December 1940. The society is still functioning - thanks to the patronage of the government, Sylhet District Council and bangla academy and generosity of the patrons and members of the society. At present the society owns a shopping centre beside the Dargah Gate and gets a regular income from the rented-out shops. The contribution of the Sahitya Sangsad and its journal Al Islah in the country's social and cultural tradition is noteworthy. [Dewan Nurul Anwar Hossain Chowdhury]