Serajul Islam Choudhury

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Serajul Islam Choudhury
Serajul Islam Choudhury.jpg
Choudhury at the University of Dhaka (Feb 2015)
Native name সিরাজুল ইসলাম চৌধুরী
Born (1936-06-23) June 23, 1936 (age 81)
Baroikhali village, Sreenagar, Munshiganj District, Bengal Presidency, British India
Nationality Bangladeshi
Education Ph.D.
Alma mater University of Dhaka
The University of Leeds
Leicester University
Spouse(s) Nazma Jesmin Choudhury
Children Rownak Ara Choudhury
Sharmin Choudhury
  • Hafizuddin Chowdhury (father)
  • Asia Khatun (mother)

Serajul Islam Choudhury (born June 23, 1936) is a Bangladeshi literary critic, public intellectual, social and political analyst, activist, historian, educationist, editor, translator, columnist, and professor emeritus at the University of Dhaka. He is the editor of Natun Diganta. Considered one of the foremost oppositional intellectuals of Bangladesh, he authored nearly a hundred books and countless essays in Bangla and English.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Choudhury was born in the village of Baroikhali under the Sreenagar thana in the district of Munshigonj.[2] He is the eldest of the nine brothers and four sisters to their parents Hafizuddin Chowdhury and Asia Khatun.[2] In his early life, he liked to build his career as a novelist, but his father wanted him to join the civil service after a degree in Economics. On a note of compromise, he enrolled with the English department at the University of Dhaka after an intermediate of arts degree, obtained in 1952 from Notre Dame College, preceded by his matriculation from St. Gregory's High School in 1950. He received his MA degree in 1956 and taught briefly at Haraganga College in Munshiganj and Jagannath College in Dhaka. He completed his post-graduate diploma in English Studies at The University of Leeds , the UK and obtained his doctorate in English from Leicester University, the UK.[3]


Choudhury joined as a lecturer the Department of English, Dhaka University, in 1957, planning also to be a writer. He decided not to become a bureaucrat which many around him were becoming then. He stated two reasons why he wanted to be a writer: first, his work at the university, which would ensure that he would not be transferred from place to place and which would allow him time to read and write a lot; and, second, his temperament. In more than four decades that followed, he taught students, wrote essays, headed the department, became Dean, spawned off several academic and research projects, initiated doctoral dissertation guidance at the department, started periodicals, founded study centers, and remained involved in university politics.[4] Choudhury first initiated to offer the Ph.D. degree in English at Dhaka University. He edited journals, the university journals of arts and letters, in Bangla and English — Dhaka Visvavidyalay Patrika for 15 years and Dhaka University Studies for nine years. He founded the Visvavidyalay Patrika. Choudhury also founded a national views weekly called Somoy and co-edited it with Azfar Hussain, Zaheda Ahmad et al, from the early to the mid-1990s. He founded the University Book Centre in 1978 and the Centre for Advanced Research in Humanities in 1986. In keeping with the spirit, he now runs a centre called Samaj Rupantar Adhyayan Kendra (Centre for Social Transformation Studies), which works towards waking people up to a democracy which would mean ‘equality of rights and opportunities. Rights being equal would not mean anything unless the opportunities remain equal.’[5]

Personal life[edit]

Choudhury was married to Nazma Jesmin Choudhury. She was a professor the University of Dhaka. Their children are Rownak Ara Choudhury and Sharmin Choudhury.[2]


Selected publications[edit]

Choudhury's books in the Bengali language:

  • Anveshana
  • Nirbachita Prabandha (1999)
  • Rashtra o Samskrti (1993)
  • Nazrul Islam (1994)
  • Bangalir Jaya Parajaya (1994)
  • Apanajana (1992)


  1. ^ Hussain, Azfar (June 23, 2016). "Bangladesh's foremost oppositional intellectual". The Daily Star. The Daily Star. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hasan Hafiz (January 26, 2017). "আমার মা - সিরাজুল ইসলাম চৌধুরী". Anannya Magazine (in Bengali). Retrieved February 3, 2017. 
  3. ^ Kaiser Haq (June 23, 2016). "A public intellectual turns 80". New Age. Retrieved February 3, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Serajul Islam Choudhury: Our leading public intellectual". New Age. June 23, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2017. 
  5. ^ Syed Manzoorul Islam (June 23, 2016). "Serajul Islam Choudhury: a tribute". New Age. Retrieved February 3, 2017.