Syed Mujtaba Ali was a famous Bengali author, scholar, linguist, journalist and travel enthusiast. He was born in the year 1904 on 13th September. He died in the year 1974 on 11th of February. He used to travel a lot and lived at different places such as Bangladesh, Egypt, India and Afghanistan. He was a travel enthusiast, who loved to explore new places. His works have inspired many writers. Let us give you a quick tour of his early life, writing career and his famous works.
Syed Mujtaba Ali was born in Karimganj which is now in Assam. Syed Sikander Ali was his father and he was a Sub-Registrar. Syed Mujtaba was the youngest of three sons. Syed Mujtaba finished his matriculation exam from the Sylhet Government Pilot High School. Then he passed the intermediate exam from the Sylhet MC College. He finished his graduation from Visva Bharati University in Bengal’s Santiniketan. He graduated from the college in the year 1926. He also studied at the Aligarh Muslim University for a brief period. He left for Kabul to work as a professor. Later, he went to Germany in the year 1929 for 3 years. He did his PhD from the University of Bonn. His dissertation was a study on Khojas in the year 1932. Young Syed was a rebel as his family recalled him as a person.
Syed Mujtaba Ali was a polyglot. He had knowledge of fifteen languages. After the partition took place, Mujtaba Ali lived in Bangladesh till he died. He was a linguist, a storyteller as well as a romantic. Deshe Bideshe was his first published book. It was considered to be the best book of the year (1949). Once his book got popularity, he wrote several books such as Mayurkanthi, Shabnam, Dandya Madhur, Panchatantra, Musafir, Duhara, Joley Dangey, Sreshtho Golpo and many more. Deshe Bideshe is a story about his journey to Kabul. He served as the professor at a college in Kabul. It was the king of Afghanistan, who wanted the educational reform. As he was a linguist, he knew many languages such as English, Bengali, German, French, Italian, Arabic, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu and many more. He was awarded the Ekushey Padak in the year 2005.
“What do you do? Well, I write books for a living. I am a writer, both a consumer and a producer of written words.”
Taken from Poncho-tontra book
He was a bold man and he called himself a professional writer. He did acknowledge that he did not belong to a family of riches or he was not sitting on a stack of cash. His ideas were unorthodox and you can see that through his writings.
Syed Mujtaba Ali worked for All India Radio as well. He was also a language activist in the year 1947 and he wanted Bengali to be the national language of East Pakistan. During the time, the rulers in West Pakistan were trying to make Urdu the national language. Although Bengali was widely spoken by the people but they wanted Urdu to be the national language. The Government asked Mujtaba the reason after which he resigned and moved to India. His works include sarcastic comments for the British rulers. His writing was never dull and he was very famous all over the world for his straight-forwardness. His name has gone down the history and you will find his works in most libraries of educational institutions. He was truly a revolutionary writer, who had unorthodox views.
Written By: Anshu Choudhary