'Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah Scholarship' at London Metropolitan University, UK

In 2007 London Metropolitan University, UK, announced the 'Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah Scholarship' in recognition of the renowned Bengali linguist and educationist who was the first Indian Muslim to receive a doctorate degree.

The University, popularly shortened to 'London Met', as it is today is relatively new. It was created in 2002 with the merger of London Guildhall University and the University of North London, the first merger between two universities in the UK. Not surprisingly the university was ranked in the bottom four (116th) of the 119 UK universities that were reviewed by the Guardian newspaper for the year 2013-2014. London Met's roots however dates back to 1848 with the establishment of the Metropolitan Evening Classes for Young Men. As such the university has a rich history with strong educational roots. And located in the British capital, it attracts a large application from the Bengali community both home and abroad.

Details of the post-graduate scholarship

The Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah Scholarship is designed to offer financial support for an outstanding Bangladeshi graduate each year who wants to study for their Master's degree at the university. The scholarship supports only one student from Bangladesh and covers the tuition fees.

In order for a student to be eligible for the scholarship they must hold an unconditional offer from one of the university's Masters courses. Students can fill in the application form and forward their application to the university's London office via post or email, or alternatively they can apply online.

The postal address of the London office is:
International Office
London Metropolitan University
166-220 Holloway Road
London N7 8DB
United Kingdom

The email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To apply online visit London Metropolitan University's website.

The closing date for submitting the application form is 31st May for courses starting in September and 31st October for February entry.

The lucky student is selected by a panel of eminent academics and business people in Bangladesh.

It is very important for us that theses scholarships are decided in Bangladesh, by Bangladeshis and the University.

Mark Bickerton, Director of Student Recruitment and International development at London Metropolitan University (2013)

Past winners

I am very happy about winning this prestigious scholarship. Dr Muhammad Shahidullah has such a strong reputation in my country and I am very proud to be able to represent the best of Bangladesh through this programme.

Public health initiatives are very important in our country. There are huge inequalities in health and this sort of course will help me create a platform on which to remove the prejudices against people with disabilities in Bangladesh.

Mahbub Alam, Clinical Physiotherapist in charge of stroke rehabilitation at the widely respected Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyed (CRP) in Dhaka, awarded Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah Scholarship in 2009 for MSc Public Health

I got First Class in BSc (Hons) Computing course in 2009.

I had been awarded Dr Mohammad Shahidullah full tuition fee scholarship for MSc IT course in 2012. During the course I became 'StAR', Student Course Representative, to improve the quality of students' learning facilities. Finally this year I have achieved Distinction in MSc IT and I have been honoured as top 20 student of the year.

Tanvir Khan, awarded Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah Scholarship in 2012 for MSc Information Technology

"Epitaph for the Martyrs" by Murtaja Baseer

Dr. Shahidullah passed away two years before Bangladesh came into being. During 1971 Swadhinata Juddho Murtaja Baseer escaped to Paris, France, with his wife and two young daughters aged 18 months and eight years respectively, fearing arrest for his involvement in the independence movement. Once there a shell-shocked Murtaja created the "Epitaph for the Martyrs", a series of paintwork dedicated to the heroic but dark event. Inspired by the colours and unfamiliar forms enmeshed in stones that he found on a Parisian street, Murtaja symbolically depicted the souls of the unknown Bengali shaheeds (martyrs) who passed away fighting valiantly to free their land from the oppression of Pakistani junta.

Oval, round forms and varied subdued colours are the predominant features of the series. The works are generally characterised by the dual themes of anger and agony. The series' mode of expression is a mingling of realism and pure abstraction.

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In June 1973 Murtaja Baseer returned to Bangladesh and joined Chittagong University as an assistant professor. He finally retired from teaching in 1998. However, having sacrificed so much to free the land, Murtaja Baseer, like so many others of his generation, has become frustrated and disillusioned by the direction that the new nation has taken under subsequent governments.

Ekushey [February] has turned out to be a kind of "annual festival", and it has begun just after the independence. Can you imagine some women had been assaulted on 21 February 1972 at the Central Shaheed Minar just on question of taking leadership of the remembrance programme?

Both the Shaheed Minar and language martyrs did not get their due respect in the country. At least the road next to the monument could be given Shaheed Sharani in 1954 when Jukta Front came into power. It had not been done even after six decades. Rather, we have made the glorious past as just a kind of annual festival. And I don't go to the Shaheed Minar to be a part of such festival.

Murtaja Basser laments the loss of the spirit of Ekushey

I think that we fought for independence, but we could not reach the goal of liberation. The government should ensure economic, social and cultural rights of the citizens, as proper development of a country is not possible without ensuring the rights of all.

Murtaja Baseer on failing to reach Liberation goals

What others say about him...

I consider it to be a great fortune that I know you.

Suniti Kumar Chatterji, Professor of Indian Linguistics and Phonetics and author of magnum opus "The Origin and Developments of the Bengali Language" (1926)

Dr. Shahidullah was a polyglot [someone who knows or uses several languages] and an expert in philology. He knew many languages and thus had access to the treasures of many different literature.

The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

Fazlul Huq Hall Mosque was on the second floor of the indoor recreation center of the hall [at Dhaka University]. Occassionally, Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah would come to this mosque to say his Friday [Jummah] prayers.

He was then a Professor Emeritus of the Bangla Department. He was very old and lived a kind of retired life. After the prayers, he would take up serious Islamic topics for general discussions. A good number of students would always crowd around this Professor of Bangla to listen to his scholarly discourse on Islam.

Dr. Shahidullah was a renowned linguistic scholar of the subcontinent. He had learned 18 languages of the world including Bangla, Urdu, Arabic, Farsi, Sanskrit, English, German, French and many others. He obtained a doctorate degree in phonetics from France.

Though he had learned a lot on Islam because of his proficiency in the Arabic language, he was a true secularist. He believed in Bengali nationalism. He propagated the philosophy that Muslims, Hindu, Buddhist living in Bengal were all Bengali.

He was proud of the Bengali language and culture. He campaigned for the celebration of the Bengali New Year [Pohela Baishakh], which he thought to be a part of the Bengali culture. As the result of this campaign, the Bengali New Year celebration began in the cities.

He was one of the pioneering minds who inspired the movement for the recognition of Bangla as a state language.

Nurun Nabi, author of "Bullets of '71: A Freedom Fighter's Story" (2011)

This special volume of dissertations is published from the Asiatic Society of Pakistan, Dacca, to felicitate Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah...a founder-member and an eminent Ex-president of the society, on completion of the 80th year of his life on 10 July 1965. Perhaps no other occasion would have been more suitable for this purpose.

Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah is well known in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent, nay, much beyond its limit, as an eminent oriental scholar, whose intellectual activities spreading over three successive generations of our people, have been a constant source of inspiration to us. In fact, we regard him as a living symbol of scholarship and research. By honouring him, the Asiatic Society of Pakistan, Dacca, desires to honour scholarship in general and oriental lore in particular...

Muhammad Enamul Haq in the 'Editor's Note' of the Asiatic Society of Pakistan's felicitation on Dr. Shahidullah (1966)

Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah was not only a mine of knowledge but also an ideal teacher, and was devoted to profession. It is pertinent to mention here that the vast knowledge he acquired made him a simple, well-versed and dignified person. His main aim in life was to attain perfection through acquisition of knowledge, both spiritual and mundane.

Muhammad Abdul Mazid, a former secretary and Chairman National Board of Revenue

His work is both voluminous and great. It is a testimony to his patience and devotion, for intelligence alone cannot go a long way without their accompaniments.

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Dr. Shahidullah was a true Muslim, non-communal and tolerant. A person like him is very rare nowadays.

Dr. Anisuzzaman, Professor Emeritus, University of Dhaka