Salimullah Khan

Salimullah Khan (born 18 August 1958) is a Bangladeshi writer, thinker, critic, and public intellectual. Regarded as an eminent thinker of Bangladesh,[1][2][3][4] Khan explores national and international politics and culture using Marxist and Lacanian theories. Informed and influenced by Ahmed Sofa's thoughts, his exploration of Bangladesh's politics and culture has a significant following among the country's young generation of writers and thinkers. Khan translated the works of Plato, James Rennell, Charles Baudelaire, Frantz Fanon, Dorothee Sölle into Bengali.[5][6][7][8][9] In Bangladesh, he is a regular guest in talk shows on national and international political issues.

Salimullah Khan
সলিমুল্লাহ খান
Salimullah Khan
Khan in 2018
Born (1958-08-18) 18 August 1958 (age 62)
[Moheshkhali ],Cox's Bazar, East Pakistan, Pakistan [bangladesh]
  • Academic
  • professor
  • writer
  • public intellectual
Years active1983–present
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisTheories of Central Banking in England, 1793–1877
Academic work
DisciplineLaw, economics, cultural studies
Sub-disciplineBengali language, literature and culture


Born in Cox's Bazar, Khan grew up in Maheshkhali.[10] Passing his SSC from Chittagong Cantonment High School and HSC from Chittagong College, he studied Law at the University of Dhaka. For a brief period, he was involved with the student wing of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal.[11] In 1986, he went to the United States, and did his PhD on Theories of Central Banking in England, 1793-1877 at the New School.[12]

Academic careerEdit

Khan taught at the Department of Law, University of Rajshahi from 1983 to 1984,[13] at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka from 1985 to 1986, and East West University from 2001 to 2002. He was Fellow at SOAS, University of London and Stockholm University. In 2006, he joined Stamford University Bangladesh, Bangladesh as a Professor in the Department of Law.[14] Khan edited a periodical titled Praxis Journal from 1979 to 1986.[11][15]

Khan is currently the director of Centre for Advanced Theory at University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh. He is associated with a number of organisations such as Center for Asian Arts and Cultures, Ahmad Sofa RashtraSabha, etc.

Writing careerEdit

A proponent of anti-colonial movements, Khan has engagements in the global and regional political economy and culture from a Lacanian-Marxist perspective.[16][17][18] A critic of Western interventionism,[19] Salimullah Khan analyzes Western thought and discourse through critical scrutiny of the colonial and imperial legacy of the West.[20] From this perspective, he has written on the works of Charles Baudelaire,[21] Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault,[22] Frantz Fanon, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Edward Said,[23] Aime Cesaire,[24] Talal Asad[25] and many others. Since 1997, his engagement with Freud and Lacan has made him use psychoanalysis to explore Bangladesh's politics and culture and also international issues. He also wrote two books on Freudo-Lacanian philosophy: Freud Porar Bhumika, and Ami Tumi She.[26]


Khan's first book Bangladesh: Jatiyo Obosthar Chalchitro (1983) was a critique of Abdur Razzaq's famous lecture: Bangladesh: State of the Nation. Upon publication, it came under censure of Ahmed Sofa.[27][28] Salimullah Khan wrote on Lalon Shah,[29] Ramaprasad Chanda,[30] Jasimuddin,[31][32] Roquia Sakhawat Hussain, Ahmed Sofa, Abul Hasan, Tareque Masud[33] and some of his contemporaries.

Khan views Kazi Nazrul Islam as an anti-colonial and democratic thinker cherished dearly by the people of Bengal.[34][35][36] His book Ahmed Sofa Shanjibani provides an expansive assessment of the works of Ahmed Sofa.[37][38] It established him as the leading expert on Sofa.[39][40] He also edited a collection of writings by Ahmed Sofa on Rabindranath Tagore.[41]

In a 2011 debate arranged by, Khan critiqued the portrayal of the Bangladesh Liberation War in the film Meherjaan.[42]

Political viewsEdit

Khan in 2018

In his book Behat Biplab, Salimullah Khan analyzed the strategic and political aspects of the liberation war of Bangladesh.[43] In Khan's view, the three fundamental principles of the liberation war of Bangladesh are equality, human dignity, and social justice.[44]

During the Shahbagh Movement in Dhaka, Khan came forward in strong support of the war crime trial.[45][46] He has intervened in recent debates on the number of martyrs in the Liberation War of Bangladesh.[47]

Khan advocates for an inclusive education system in Bangladesh.[48][49] In April 2017, as the government of Bangladesh took the decision to recognize the Dawra degree of the Qawmi madrasa system, Khan hailed the decision as important for integration of Qawmi group into the national mainstream.[50][2] He discussed how Islam was propagated in Bengal through the medium of Bengali language.[51]

Khan analyzes the issue of communalism and extremism from a historical perspective.[52][53][54][55][56][57][58] and locates the origin of communalism in South Asia in the British colonial period.[59] His analysis of communalism has also touched upon the Rohingya question,[60] He denounced communal attacks and suggests that upholding social justice is critical to drive away communalism from the national arena.[61] He defends equal right of all communities to observe respective religions.[62] Proper education and guidance is critical to dissuade the young generation from going down the path of extremism.[63]

Views on Bengali as a medium of educationEdit

Khan is a leading advocate of Bengali to be the main medium of education in the Bangladeshi academia.[64][65] He opined that without establishing Bengali as the main medium of education in all stages, the decolonization process would lag behind, and the Anglocentric colonial cringe would persist in the social dynamics in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, the ruling class albeit admits Bengali to be the state language, their preference for English is apparent in their language application.[66] Citing Freud and Lacan, he wrote that the people of the ruling class are pervert since their acts and thoughts do not reflect their words.[67] He also called them traitors to the nation.[66] Quoting a French proverb with puns in Bengali, he stated that until Bengali is not the medium of education in higher studies, the quality of education would stay medium, and in the realm of education, medium (quality) equals low. Compromise with the medium of language thus means the demise of quality in the domain of education, impeding progress of the nation as a whole. He also said that second languages should be taught to complement Bengali, not to supersede it.[68]

Khan is a vocal critic of certain prescriptions on Bengali orthography.[69] In his opinion, Bangla Academy has failed to perform its duty in publication of advanced knowledge in Bengali language.[70]

Controversy and criticismEdit

Khan was criticized for his use of Sadhu Bhasha. His writings were labelled incomprehensible and impenetrable.[71]

Selected WorksEdit

  • Bangladesh: Jatiya Abasthar Chalchitra (1983)
  • Freud Porar Bhumika, Ed. (2005)
  • Satya Saddam Hussein and ‘Srajerdaula’ (2007)
  • Behat Biplap 1971, Ed. (2007)
  • Ami Tumi Se (2008)
  • Silence: On Crimes of Power (2009)
  • Adamboma (2009)
  • Ahmed Sofa Sanjibani (2010)
  • Swadhinata Byabsay (2011)
  • Ahmed Sofar Swadesh, Ed. (2015)
  • Gariber Rabindranath, Ed. (2017)
  • Prarthana (2019)
  • আমাদের ভাষার নায়ক (2020)[72]
  • Ek Akasher Swapna (1981)
  • Allahr Badshahi: Selected Poems of Dorothee Sölle (1998)
  • Collected Works of Plato, V. 1 (2005) (Co-translated)


  • Loke Literary Award 2017[73]
  • Ranajit Award 2020[74]


  1. ^ Yusuf, Ananta (24 January 2014). "The Origins of Communalism". The Daily Star. Dhaka: Transcom Group. Archived from the original on 4 April 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018. Salimullah Khan ... is one of the most respected academics and essayists of the country.
  2. ^ a b Shohel Mamun (22 April 2017). "Many streams of education are allowed, so why not Dawra?". Dhaka Tribune.
  3. ^ "Salimullah Khan". NTV Online (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 17 April 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  4. ^ Mahtab, Moyukh (27 April 2017). "Will this lead to integration?". The Daily Star. Dhaka: Transcom Group. Archived from the original on 4 April 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  5. ^ Salimullah Khan. জেমস রেনেল ও তাঁহার রোজনামচা ১৭৬৪-৬৭. (in Bengali). Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  6. ^ Salimullah Khan. সাম্রাজ্যবাদের যুগে দুই বিশ্বের কবিতা. (in Bengali). Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  7. ^ গ্রীষ্মের কবিতা উৎসব. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). 29 May 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  8. ^ Mustafa Saeed (16 March 1999), 'বাংলা সাহিত্যে নতুন মেহমানঃ ডরোথি জুল্লে', শৈলী, বর্ষ ৫, সংখ্যা ৩, pp. 47–50
  9. ^ Khorshed, Alam (2000). "bn:'আল্লাহর বাদশাহিঃ একটি চন্ডাল পুথি'". Parabaas. Years 3 (in Bengali). No. II.
  10. ^ স্বর্গে ঈশ্বর নাই, ঈশ্বর আছে ভাষায়ঃ সলিমুল্লাহ খান এবং শামসেত তাবরেজীর সংলাপ [There is no God in heaven, God is in the language: Salimullah Khan and Shamsat Tabrezi dialogue] (in Bengali). Vinnochokh. Archived from the original on 20 July 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  11. ^ a b Ali Riaz. আলী রীয়াজ- শরীরে জলের গন্ধ মেখে. Weekly Shaptahik (in Bengali). Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Doctoral Dissertations in Economics Ninety-Seventh Annual List". Journal of Economic Literature. 38 (4): 1102–1130. December 2000. doi:10.1257/jel.38.4.1102. JSTOR 2698727.
  13. ^ আহমদ ছফা আমার শিক্ষকদের মধ্যে শ্রেষ্ঠ। – Salimullah Khan [Ahmed Safa best of my teachers - Salimullah Khan]. (in Bengali). 24 August 2012. Archived from the original on 28 August 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  14. ^ Retrieved 30 December 2011. Archived 26 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Shamsul Haque, বাংলা সাময়িক-পত্রঃ ১৯৭২-১৯৮১, পৃষ্ঠা ৪২৬
  16. ^ Salimullah Khan. "Despotism by other means". New Age. Dhaka.
  17. ^ সারা বিশ্বই ছিল চে’র দেশ. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). 27 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  18. ^ চে গুয়েভারা স্মরণ অনুষ্ঠান. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  19. ^ অধিকার রক্ষায় শক্তি সঞ্চয় করতে ও সোচ্চার হতে হবে. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). 22 January 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  20. ^ Amit Dhar (August 2015), স্বাধীনতা ব্যবসায় কি বস্তু, অমিত ধর স্মরণে (in Bengali), Ahmed Sofa Bidyaloy, pp. 15–17
  21. ^ Salimullah Khan (2011). "Art and truth in the discourse of photography". Depart. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  22. ^ Salimullah Khan. মিশেল ফুকোর বাতিজ্বালানি. (in Bengali). Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  23. ^ Salimullah Khan (18 October 2007). কংকরবোমা : ফ্রয়েড, এডোয়ার্ড সায়িদ ও এয়ুরোপের বিজাতি (in Bengali). Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  24. ^ Salimullah Khan (2013). "Rule of Torture, Rites of Terror and the Mirror of Fascism: A Further Tribute to Frantz Fanon". In Md. Shariful Islam (ed.). Human Rights and Governance: Bangladesh (PDF). Asian Legal Resource Centre. p. 33. ISBN 978-962-8161-13-3.
  25. ^ Salimullah Khan (29 December 2007). আদম বোমা (১) । পশ্চিমা সাম্রাজ্যের বর্ণপরিচয়।. (in Bengali). Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  26. ^ Salimullah Khan (12 January 2008). জাক লাকাঁ কথিত 'অন্তর্জগতে যাহা না মিশিলে কোন সহজই জন্মায় না সেই পরকীয়া বা গঠনের কথা'. (in Bengali). Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  27. ^ "Gyantapash Abdur Razzaq Bidyapeeth opens in city". Dhaka Courier. 19 November 2015. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  28. ^ Ahmed Chhafa (2000), যদ্যপি আমার গুরু (in Bengali), Dhaka: Maula Brothers, pp. 39–40
  29. ^ Salimullah Khan. 'আমি'র বিয়োগ অথবা ফকির লালনের সাধনা. Samakal (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 14 December 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  30. ^ Salimullah Khan. রমাপ্রসাদ চন্দ সম্বন্ধে দুই কথা. Ahmed Chafa School (in Bengali). Retrieved 15 February 2012.[dead link]
  31. ^ "A legacy we tend to ignore". The Daily Star. 1 June 2013.
  32. ^ Salimullah Khan (18 March 2011). বাজে জসীমউদ্দীন [Bad Jasimuddin]. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  33. ^ Salimullah Khan (15 August 2010). আমার শিক্ষক তারেক মাসুদ. (in Bengali). Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  34. ^ Saurav Kanti Das. নজরুলই দেখিয়েছেন বাংলাতেও স্লোগান হয়. Bonik Barta (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 2016-08-31. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  35. ^ জাতীয় কবি কাজী নজরুল ইসলামের ১১৭তম জন্মজয়ন্তী. Bangladesh National Museum (in Bengali). Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  36. ^ Salimullah Khan (20 May 2011). নজরুল ইসলাম ও ওয়াল্ট হুইটম্যান. Samakal (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  37. ^ Taimur Reza (16 April 2010). চণ্ডাল গুরুর হকিকত. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  38. ^ Ataur Rahman Raihan. আহমদ ছফা সঞ্জীবনী পাঠ (in Bengali). Chintaa.
  39. ^ আহমদ ছফা স্বপ্ন দেখতেন স্বপ্ন দেখাতেন. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). 28 June 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  40. ^ আহমদ ছফার জন্মদিনে. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). 20 June 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  41. ^ Muhammad Ibrahim Ibne Towhid (10 March 2017). "Thought provoking Non-fictions". New Age.
  42. ^ মেহেরজান বিতর্ক (কিস্তি ৮). (in Bengali). 26 July 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  43. ^ Iftekhar Iqbal (2014). "State of Bangladesh Studies: An Exploration in Historical Literature" (PDF). Südasien - Chronik - South Asia Chronicle. 4: 5–28.
  44. ^ সহিংসতার বিরুদ্ধে চাই ঐক্য. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). 26 December 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  45. ^ যুদ্ধাপরাধীদের বিচারের উদ্যোগ নিয়েও তা করতে না পারলে গণপ্রজাতন্ত্র আকারে বাংলাদেশ থাকবে কিনা সন্দেহ আছে. Bonik Barta (in Bengali). Retrieved 28 March 2013.[dead link]
  46. ^ জামায়াতের গলদ গোড়ায়, সহিংস আদর্শে: সলিমুল্লাহ খান. (in Bengali). Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  47. ^ মুক্তিযুদ্ধে শহীদের সংখ্যা নিয়ে অহেতুক বিতর্ক করা হচ্ছে. Prothom Alo (in Bengali).
  48. ^ "Introduce inclusive education to modernize education system". The Daily Star. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  49. ^ "Non-uniform primary education discriminatory". The Daily Star. 8 March 2015.
  50. ^ "Recognition of Qwami Degree: Will this lead to integration?". The Daily Star. 27 April 2017.
  51. ^ ইসলামের সঙ্গে জঙ্গীবাদের সম্পর্ক নেই : ইফা মহাপরিচালক. The Daily Ittefaq (in Bengali). 10 January 2016.
  52. ^ "Communal terror continues". The Daily Star. 17 January 2014.
  53. ^ এখানে ধর্মীয় চরমপন্থা কখনোই বিজয়ী হয়নি. Samakal (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 2017-10-07. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  54. ^ Salimullah Khan. সাম্প্রদায়িক রাজনীতির বিষম পরিণাম. (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  55. ^ Salimullah Khan. সাম্প্রদায়িকতা. Bonik Barta (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  56. ^ Salimullah Khan. এসলাম ও ধর্মনিরপেক্ষ রাষ্ট্র অথবা খেলাফত আন্দোলনের করুণ পরিণতি. Bangladesh Pratidin (in Bengali). Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  57. ^ Salimullah Khan. রাষ্ট্র আর জাতীয় সমাজ: বাদশাহি আমলের ধর্মনীতি. (in Bengali). Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  58. ^ Firoz Ahmad (16 July 2015). বাঙালি আশরাফ কারা. The Daily Ittefaq (in Bengali).
  59. ^ ""The Origins of Communalism", The Daily Star, 24 January 2014".
  60. ^ Salimullah Khan (5 January 2013). আরাকানের মুসলমান আর চট্টগ্রামের বৌদ্ধ জনগণ. Bonik Barta (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 15 February 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  61. ^ ‘অসাম্প্রদায়িক জাতি গড়তে ন্যায়বিচার প্রতিষ্ঠা করতে হবে ’. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). 8 February 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  62. ^ এটা রাষ্ট্র ধর্মের মামলা না, রাষ্ট্রের মামলা ছিল : সলিমুল্লাহ খান. Amader Shomoy (in Bengali). 29 March 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  63. ^ দেশে দেশে অসহিষ্ণুতা বাড়ছে. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). 19 November 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  64. ^ Khan, Salimullah (13 March 2018). ভাষার নির্বন্ধ : পরাধীনতার ঐতিহ্য. Bangladesh Pratidin (in Bengali). East West Media Group Ltd. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  65. ^ "বাংলা ভাষা বলে একটি বিশেষ ভাষা নেই, বাংলা বহু ভাষা।" সলিমুল্লাহ খানের সঙ্গে আলাপ. (in Bengali). 18 August 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  66. ^ a b Stalin Sarkar (22 February 2016). ইংলিশ ‘বাংলিশ’ এবং আমাদের ভাষা চর্চা. Daily Inqilab (in Bengali). Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  67. ^ Khan, Salimullah (13 March 2018). ভাষার নির্বন্ধ : পরাধীনতার ঐতিহ্য. NTV Online (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  68. ^ Salimullah Khan (2017-08-04), উচিৎ শিক্ষা: সংকট ও সমাধান । সলিমুল্লাহ খান (in Bengali), retrieved 2018-04-05
  69. ^ Salimullah Khan. বাংলা বানানের যম ও নিয়ম (in Bengali). notundhara. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  70. ^ "Losing Sight of Priorities". The Daily Star. 11 February 2004.
  71. ^ Khan, Siddikur Rahman (13 July 2012). কবে শুরু হবে আহমদ ছফা চর্চা. Ittefaq (in Bengali). Dhaka: Ittefaq Group of Publications Ltd. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  72. ^ Salimullah Khan (2020-08-02). আমাদের ভাষার নায়ক | সলিমুল্লাহ খান (in Bengali). Jugantor. Retrieved on 2020-01-04.আমাদের ভাষার নায়ক | সলিমুল্লাহ খান | দৈনিক যুগান্তর
  73. ^ "Salimullah Khan receives Loke Lit Award". New Age. Media New Age Limited. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  74. ^ "Salimullah Khan gets Ranajit Award". New Age. Media New Age Limited. 31 January 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.

External linksEdit