February 13, 1921|
Patiya, Chittagong, Bangladesh
|Died||February 24, 1999
|Education||Ph.D in Bengali literature|
|Alma mater||University of Dhaka|
Ahmed Sharif (Bengali: আহমদ শরীফ; 1921 – 1999 CE) was an educationist, philosopher, critic, writer and scholar of medieval Bengali literature. Born in Chittagong, Sharif retired as a Professor from University of Dhaka in 1983. Sharif is widely recognized as one of the most outspoken atheist and radical thinkers of Bangladesh. Dr. Ahmed Sharif, the legendary figure of free thought(self proclaimed) movements of Bangladesh. He was a rational humanist, who left behind a legacy for those fighting fascist ideas, autocratic views, communalism and superstition. Whatever he said or wrote caused a lot of furore in intellectual circles. He had been living a secluded life to avoid the wrath of a section of the public who thought his views to be too dangerous for the establishment. He was a controversial and misunderstood personality among his contemporaries. He was controversial because of his outspoken views against the establishment, intellectuals and political leaders, and above all religious and parochial outlooks. He was always reluctant to be associated with government agencies. Moreover, he was often black-listed from the national media.
Dr Ahmed Sharif was born on 13 February 1921 in Patiya, Chittagong, did his Masters and Ph. D degrees in Bengali literature from the University of Dhaka, in 1944 and 1967 respectively. From 1945 to 1949, he taught at Laksham Nawab Faizunnessa College and later on at Feni College. From July 1949 to 17 December 1950 he worked as Programme Assistant at the Dhaka station of the Radio Pakistan. Finally, on December 18, 1950 he joined as Research Assistant in the Bengali Department, University of Dhaka and retired as Chairman and Professor in 1983. During his time at the DU he was elected a member of the Senate, Syndicate, and the President of Teachers Association and the University Teachers Club. Dr. Sharif remained the only person who was elected the Dean of the Faculty of Arts for three consecutive terms. After his retirement from the Dhaka University, he was offered to join as first "Kazi Nazrul Islam Professor" at the University of Chittagong, where he served from 1984 to 1986. He died on 24 February 1999, in Dhaka.
He was considered the lone authority on ancient and medieval Bengali literature. He authored more than 100 research publications - in the form of books - on history, philosophy, socio-cultural and contemporary political issues. He edited with long introductions of 46 manuscripts of ancient and medieval Bengali literature and many others were in joint collaboration. It is rated by the sub-continental scholars that two volumes of his Bangalee and Bangla Shahitya are masterpieces. It may be mentioned here that during his lifetime he wrote almost 34611 pages in total and all his hand written pages stand at 13844 pages in print. Never did he care for appreciation or publicity for his massive scholarly works.
However, many believe that one of his major achievements was that, he unlike many of his contemporary scholars and academicians, had been able to extract the hatred and enmity of reactionary forces by the bold expression of his own views. He was highly regarded for his ability to say "no" to various material temptations. His dignity and self-respect never permitted him to be submissive to any power. Among his Dhaka University colleagues he was just an impractical man, a cynic seized with radical ideas who was never "clever" enough to understand his own mundane interests as he never took any undue advantage of his position.
Unlike many, he rose above all religious and parochial outlooks towards life. For his brave utterances against communalism, superstitions, autocracy and fascism his life came under threat many times, but he never stopped.
He may not be with us today, but he will be remembered because of his ideas, secular thoughts, boldness and modern outlook. 
He was the recipient of many honours and awards for his outstanding contribution in the field of medieval Bengali literature and contemporary socio-cultural-political essays.
- Ekushey Padak, 1991
- Haque, Junaidul (February 27, 2010). "The iconoclast in Ahmed Sharif". The Daily Star. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
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