Shahidullah Kaiser

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Shahidullah Kaiser
Shahidullah Kaiser.jpg
Native name
শহীদুল্লা কায়সার
Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah

(1927-02-16)16 February 1927
Disappeared14 December 1971 (aged 44)
StatusPresumed dead
EducationBA (economics)
Alma materPresidency College, Kolkata
OccupationWriter, novelist, journalist, editor
Spouse(s)Panna Kaiser
ChildrenShomi Kaiser and Amitav Kaiser
RelativesZahir Raihan (brother)
Awardslist of awards

Shahidullah Kaiser (16 February 1927 – 14 December 1971) was a Bangladeshi novelist and writer.[1] He was awarded Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1969,[2] Ekushey Padak in 1983 and Independence Day Award in 1998.[3][4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Kaiser was born in the Mazupur village (in present-day Feni District) as Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah. He studied at Presidency College, Kolkata and obtained a bachelor's degree in economics with honours. Later, he enrolled in master's of arts at Calcutta University but did not complete the degree.[1]


Kaiser's wife, Panna Kaiser, is an author and novelist. She served as a member of the parliament for the Awami League government from 1996 to 2001. Kaiser's daughter, Shomi Kaiser, is a television actress. His son, Amitav Kaiser, is a banker.

Politics and journalism[edit]

Kaiser was active in politics and cultural movements from his student days. Following the formation of Pakistan in 1947, he joined the provincial Communist Party of East Pakistan. He started working as a journalist in 1949 with the Ittefaq in Dhaka. In 1952, he participated actively in the Language Movement. For his political role in the movement for protection of Bengali language, Kaiser was arrested on 3 June 1952. He was later jailed for three and a half years. Right after his release in 1955, he was again arrested and jailed on a political crackdown on activists. A few years later he was released. In 1958, Kaiser joined as an associate editor of The Sangbad – a Bengali language daily – where he worked for the rest of his life. When the military coup of 1958 put Ayub Khan in power, and martial law was proclaimed, Kaiser was arrested again on 14 October 1958 and remained in jail for four years till his release in September 1962.[1]


Kaiser collected medicine and food and delivered those to the posts such as one being Begum Sufia kamal's house, from where the freedom fighters picked those up for their training outpost.[6]

At the end the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, the Pakistan Army and its local collaborators initiated a plan for killing the leading Bengali intellectuals. As a part of it, Kaiser was rounded up on 14 December 1971. He never returned, nor was his body ever found. It is assumed that he was executed along with other intellectuals. His brother, Zahir Raihan, a notable film-maker, also disappeared while searching for Kaiser.[7]

In early December 1971, Kaiser cautioned Sufia Kamal to leave Dhaka but he himself did not leave and got caught in the hand of the Pakistani Army.[6]

On 3 November 2013, Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, a Muslim leader based in London, and Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, based in the United States, were sentenced in absentia after the court found that they were involved in the abduction and murders of 18 people – nine Dhaka University teachers, six journalists including Kaiser and three physicians – in December 1971.[8]

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin denied the charges in an interview aired by Al Jazeera in August 2013.[9]

Literary works[edit]

  • Sareng Bau (The Captain's Wife, 1962)
  • Rajbandir Rojnamacha (The Diary of a Political Prisoner, 1962)
  • Sangshaptak (The Indomitable Soldiers, 1965)
  • Peshwar Theke Tashkhand (From Peshwar to Tashkent, 1966)
  • Krishnachura Megh (Krishnachura Clouds)
  • Timir Balay (The Circle of Darkness)
  • Digante Phuler Agun (The Flaming Horizon)
  • Samudra O Trsna (Sea and Thirst)
  • Chandrabhaner Kanya (Chandrabhan's Daughter)
  • Kabe Pohabe Bibhabari (When Will It Dawn?) (unfinished)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Alam, Muhammad Shamsul (2012). "Shahidullah Kaiser". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  2. ^ "পুরস্কারপ্রাপ্ত লেখক তালিকা – বাংলা একাডেমি". Bangla Academy. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  3. ^ "পুরস্কারপ্রাপ্তদের তালিকা" [Winners list] (in Bengali). Bangla Academy. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  4. ^ "একুশে পদকপ্রাপ্ত সুধীবৃন্দ" [Ekushey Padak winners list] (in Bengali). Government of Bangladesh. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Independence Day Award" (PDF). Government of Bangladesh. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b Hussain, Akbar (16 December 2004). "'I would rather die than sign any false statement'". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  7. ^ Ferdous, Fahmim (19 February 2013). "Zahir Raihan: Capturing national struggles on celluloid". The Daily Star. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  8. ^ Chowdhury, Syed Tashfin (3 November 2013). "UK Muslim leader Chowdhury Mueen Uddin sentenced to death in Bangladesh". The Independent. London. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  9. ^ Hull, Jonah (3 November 2013). "Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin: 'Not a war criminal'". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 9 November 2013.