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Poets Biography

Bangladeshi Writer Munier Chowdhury 1925 - 1971

Munier Chowdhury (Bengali: মুনীর চৌধুরী) (born: 27 November 1925 - died: 14 December 1971) was a Bangladeshi educator, playwright, literary critic and political dissident.

Chowdhury graduated from Dhaka Collegiate School in 1941. He attended Aligarh Muslim University and later studied English literature for his Bachelors degree (with honors, 1946) and Masters (1947) at the Dhaka University. In 1954, he completed a second Masters degree, summa cum laude, in Bangla. In 1958, he obtained another Masters in Linguistics from Harvard University.

Munier Chowdhury started his career in teaching at Brojolal College in Khulna and worked there between 1947 and 1950. Later he worked for some time at the Jagannath College in Dhaka in 1950. After that, he joined the Dhaka University in 1950 and taught both in English and Bengali language departments between 1950 and 1971.

Munier Chowdhury actively participated in the Language Movement of 1952, and was imprisoned by the Pakistan government. He wrote his famous symbolic drama, Kabar (The Grave) during his imprisonment. He also fought against any type of cultural repression during the late 1950s and 1960s. In 1967, he protested against the Pakistan government's directive to ban Tagore songs on Radio and Television. In the late 1960s there was a movement in Pakistan to replace the Bengali language alphabet with the Arabic alphabet. As a linguist and writer, Munier Chowdhury protested this move to undermine the native language of East Pakistan. He actively participated in the non-cooperation movement during the early part of 1971 and renounced his award Sitara-e-Imtiaz (awarded by Pakistan Govt in 1966).

Important works

  • Kabar (The grave), 1952 - a one act play about the Language Movement
  • Raktakta Prantar (The bloody meadow), 1959 - play about the Third Battle of Panipat
  • Mir-Manas, 1965 - literary critique of Mir Mosharraf Hossain's literature
  • Munier Optima, 1965 - a Bangla keyboard layout design
  • Dandakaranya, 1966
  • Chithi (The letter), 1966
  • Palashi Barrack O Anyanya, 1969
  • Tulanamulak Samalochana (Comparative critique), 1969
  • Bangla Gadyariti (Bengali literary style),1970


  • Bangla Academy Prize, 1962
  • Daud Prize, 1965
  • Sitara-e-Imtiaz, 1966, awarded by Govt. of Pakistan


On 14 December 1971 Munier Chowdhury, along with a large number of Bengali intellectuals, educators, doctors and engineers, was kidnapped from their houses and later tortured and executed by the Pakistan Army and its Bengali collaborators (Jamaat activists, Al-Badr, Al-Shams), only 2 days before the end of the Bangladesh War. His body was never found.

Personal life

Munier Chowdhury is survived by his wife Lily Chowdhury and three sons Ahmed Munier, Ashfaq Munier and Asif Munier. Ashfaq Munier is at present the CEO of the Bangladeshi satellite channel ATN NEWS. Asif Munier is a leading activist for human rights in the country and was a founder member of Projonmo Ekattor, a leading human rights group in Bangladesh, which initiated the building of the Rayer Bazar Smriti Shoudho (Rayer Bazar Memorial) in Dhaka. This memorial was built on the barren land on which the Pakistani army dumped the bodies of the intellectuals after murdering them. Projonmo Ekattor also campaigns for the trial of war criminals of 1971. Asif Munier also runs his own theatre group, Bongorongo, through which he stages his fathers plays regularly.