DHAKA: The 127th birth anniversary of noted educationalist Dr Muhammad Shahidullah is being marked on Tuesday.
He was an internationally renowned educationist, writer and philologist.
He played an important role during the language movement.
He was born in the village Peyara, Chobbish Pargana, West Bengal (now in India).
Shaidullah passed his school finals (known as Entrance examination at that time) in 1904 from Howrah Zila School. In 1906 he passed the FA examination (equivalent to HSC) from Presidency College, Calcutta (now Kolkata). He received the Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in Sanskrit in 1910 from City College, Calcutta, and Master of Arts in 1912 in Comparative Philology from the same institution.
Shahidullah`s teaching career started in Jessore District School where he taught between 1908 and 1909. He also worked as the headmaster of Sitakunda High School, Chittagong between 1914 and 1915. He practised law for some time and was elected vice-chairman of the Bashirhat municipality.
He joined the University of Dhaka as a lecturer of Sanskrit and Bangla in 1921. His years at the university constituted the most important period of his life. During his teaching and research career there, he explored the origins of the Bangla language. In 1925, he was able to show that Bangla originated from Gaudi or Magadhi Prakrit.
To pursue his doctoral studies, Shahidullah went to France and Germany in 1926. He studied Vedic Sanskrit, Buddhist Sanskrit, Comparative Philology, Tibetan and ancient Persian at University of Paris, and Khotni, ancient Vedic Sanskrit and Prakrit at Freiburg University in Germany. He received his doctorate from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1928 for his research on the distiches of the “Charyapada”, the earliest extant specimens of Bangla language.
Dr. Shahidullah became principal of Bogra Azizul Huq College after retirement. He then rejoined the Bangla Department of the University of Dhaka as a supernumerary teacher and taught there for six years as departmental head and dean of the Faculty of Arts. Also, he taught part-time at the Law Department (1922-25) and the International Relations Department, as a teacher of French (1953-55). He also worked as head of the Bangla and Sanskrit Department of the University of Rajshahi (1955-58).
Dr. Shahidullah passed away in Dhaka on July 3, 1969.
BDST: 0915 HRS, JULY 10, 2012
Rubaiat Saky, Newsroom Editor
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