The Committee for Documentation on Architectural Sites in Dhaka, where Zakaria was a former president of the editorial board, organised a remembrance, along with an exhibition of the renowned scholar’s photographs and published books at Dr Abdul Matin Chowdhury Virtual Classroom, beside the University of Dhaka’s Vice-Chancellor’s office lounge, at 10:30am.
Zakaria was born on October 1 in 1918 at his village Dariakandi in Brahmanbaria's Banchharampur upazila. He was buried at the same place on February 24 last year. After completing graduation in English Literature from DU, Zakaria started his career as teacher at Azizul Haq College in Bogra before joining civil service two years later.
During his time in civil service, Zakaria played crucial role in convincing the government to excavate fifth-century archaeological site Sintakote Vihar in Dinajpur in 1968.
Zakaria, also a former chairman of the Bangladesh Asiatic Society, continued his research work and led The Committee for Documentation on Architectural Sites in Dhaka, which worked on the documentation of Sultani, Mughal, Nawab and British era architectural sites.
He also translated old inscriptions into Bangla, till his last breath.
Zakaria was also a scholar in Persian language and translated a number of literary works of the middle age into Bangla, including Tabaqat-i Nasiri, written by Minhaz-e-Siraz in the 13th century. He edited some of the most prominent books related to history of Bengal, like Gupi Chandrer Sonyas and Gazi Kalu O Champabati. He was considered a pioneer scholar in archaeology of Bengal, having written “The Archeological Heritage of Bangladesh” and “Comilla Zilar Itihash”.
Zakaria was the country’s first secretary of education, culture and sports but was forced to retire in 1976, only five years after taking over. During his tenure, he played a pioneering role in forming 21 sports federations of the country.
Following his retirement, he tirelessly continued research on his own, writing numerous books. He received the country’s highest civilian award, the Ekushey Padak, in 2015, and the Bangla Academy Award in 2006.