Abdur Razzaq (professor)

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Abdur Razzaq (Bengali: আবদুর রাজ্জাক; c. 1914 – 28 November 1999)[1] was a Bangladeshi scholar, academic, public intellectual and one of the first National Professors of Bangladesh.[2]

Abdur Razzaq
আবদুর রাজ্জাক
আবদুর রাজ্জাক (অধ্যাপক).jpg
Professor Razzaq
Bornc. 1914
Died28 November 1999(1999-11-28) (aged 84–85)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
CitizenshipBritish Raj British Indian (1914–1947)
Pakistan Pakistani (1947–1971)
Bangladesh Bangladeshi (1971–1999)
  • Academic
  • Professor
  • Educator
Academic background
Alma materDhaka College
University of Dhaka
London School of Economics
ThesisPolitical Parties in India
Doctoral advisorHarold Laski
Academic work
DisciplinePolitical science
Sub-disciplinePolitical economy, Political philosophy, International relations
InstitutionsUniversity of Dhaka
Notable studentsSheikh Mujibur Rahman, Ahmed Sofa, Sardar Fazlul Karim, Rehman Sobhan, Rounaq Jahan, Salimullah Khan
Main interestsSocial sciences and humanities
InfluencedAhmed Sofa

Early life and educationEdit

Razzaq was born in 1914 in the Paragram village of Nawabganj Upazila of Dhaka District. His father, Abdul Ali, was a police officer. After his matriculation from the Government Muslim High School, Dhaka and intermediate exam from Dhaka College, he was admitted to the department of political economy at the University of Dhaka in 1931. In 1936, he completed his masters and then joined as a lecturer in the same department.[3] When the department of political economy was bisected, he chose to join the department of political science. After the second world war, he went to London to study under Harold Laski at London School of Economics. He returned home without any formal degree after Laski had died in 1950 and carried on teaching in the department of political science at the University of Dhaka until 1975. He also taught in the departments of economics and international relations.[2]


Razzaq's political ideas influenced anti-Ayub-government movements during the 1960s; to get rid of his influence, the Ayub regime tried to "dismiss him from his teaching position at the University of Dhaka on the allegation that he was not mindful of his duties as a teacher, but which the government failed to establish in the court".[2] During the Bangladesh Liberation War, he witnessed the March 1971 Dhaka University massacre. The Pakistanis came to arrest him at his home, but alerted by their kicking at his door, he escaped out the back. The Yahya Khan-government sentenced him in absentia to a fourteen-year rigorous imprisonment, accusing him of treasonable acts.[2][4]

Abdur Razzaq (left), Ahmed Sofa (right)

Though Razzaq, apart from some essays and lectures, has no published works, many intellectuals have admitted his influence on their published works. Ahmed Sofa wrote his book, Jaddapi Amar Guru (Eventhough My Teacher), on Razzaq's life. Sardar Fazlul Karim published a book, Dhaka Bisshobiddalay O Purbabangya Samaj, based on his interviews of Razzaq. Salimullah Khan wrote a book on his lecture ‘’Bangladesh: State of the Nation’’. Muntassir Mamoon, Humayun Azad and others reminisced about him.[2] It is claimed that he had as his students more than 70 members of parliament, among whom Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the most notable.[2][4]


To acknowledge his unique status as a teacher, the Government of Bangladesh honored him with the distinction of National Professor in 1975.[5] In 1973, the University of Delhi awarded him an honorary D.Litt. degree.[6]


  1. ^ "বিষয়: অধ্যাপক আবদুর রাজ্জাক". bdnews24.com (in Bengali). 1 February 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Mahmuduzzaman, Mohammed (2012). "Razzaq, Abdur1". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  3. ^ "Prof. Razzak: Anti-hero, mentor". The Daily Star. 2011-08-20. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  4. ^ a b Singh, Khushwant (26 January 1975). "The international basket case". The New York Times Magazine. pp. 48, 62.
  5. ^ "A Philomath and Polymath". The Daily Star. 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  6. ^ "Abdur Razzaq - The Myth And The Man". The Daily Star. 2017-05-19. Retrieved 2017-11-19.