He was the founding president of the East Pakistan Muslim Chhatra League
Muhammad Dabirul Islam is one of the brave souls who played a significant role during the 1952 Language Movement.
He also was influential in the Dhaka University employees’ movement and the formation of the East Pakistan Muslim Chhatra League, the current Bangladesh Chhatra League.
Additionally, Dabirul was a very close friend of, and Dhaka University Law Department classmate to, the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Despite his immense and intense contributions to Bangladesh, his life and all his achievements are yet to be recognized by the government.
Muhammad Dabirul Islam—who was born on March 13, 1922 in Bamunia village under Baliadangi upazila of Thakargaon district—was involved in several protests and political movements during his student life.
His studies were interrupted by his direct involvement in Pakistan's Shadhikar Andolan, the anti-communal riots movement, and other political and social movements for which he was jailed in 1955.
Dabirul Islam—along with Nurul Huda, Kader Box, Mustafa Nurul Islam, and M R Akhtar Mukul of Dinajpur—lead the 1948 Language Movement, the starting phase of the 1952 Language Movement.
He was also elected as the founding president of the East Pakistan Muslim Chhatra League in September 1949, during the organization’s first council session. He continued in the role of the president till 1953. He then was elected as a member of parliament contesting as a United Front candidate in the 1954 general polls.
Later, United Front Prime Minister Abu Hossain Sarkar appointed him as a parliamentary secretary for industry, trade and commerce, and labour.
Due to the torture he received in prison between 1949 and 1954, Dabirul suffered from various maladies; including a heart condition which later led to his death in 1961.
When contacted, Dabirul's wife with great grief and disappointment said: "My husband and his contributions for the country have not been recognized. The new generation needs to be aware of the contributions and sacrifices that Dabirul made for the Language Movement of 52. "My husband had a very good relationship with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman."
"Despite all he did for the country, the government has yet to recognize any of it. I do not want anything from the current government except for it to recognize and honour my husband for his contributions to the country.
"Thakurgaon’s district administration honoured him in 2012 but he deserves more than that. His contributions deserve national recognition including the great Ekushey Padak," she added.
Dabirul’s son, Ahsan Habib Bulbul—who got Awami League’s nomination as an upazila chairman candidate in Thakurgaon district—added: "I want to continue my father's glorious legacy."
Locals from Thakurgaon district also demand that Dabirul's life be included in textbooks.