History and Heritage Reflections on Society Politics and Culture of South Asia A. F. Salahuddin Ahmed ISBN 984 05 1786 4 2007 124pp 215x136mm HB Tk.275.00 US$23.00
The eight chapters included in this small volume deal with a variety of subjects relating to history and politics, society and social thought as well as the cultural heritage of the South Asian region particularly Bangladesh. The author suggests that, despite the political divisions of 1947 and 1971, the peoples of South Asia belong to one indivisible civilisation, the product of more than a thousand years of common history. From time to time certain vested interests, external and internal, have attempted to tear apart the fabric of this unique civilisation by sowing seeds of discord and conflict which have led to untold suffering to the people of this region. However, today there is a growing realisation among the people of the subcontinent that their destinies are interlinked and that it is only through peaceful co-existence and fruitful cooperation that they can advance and develop. The establishment of the SAARC was a historic necessity. But to make it more effective, there should be not only a greater awareness of the basic realities of the present situation but a more meaningful appreciation of the cultural links that bind the peoples of the region together. A. F. Salahuddin Ahmed (b. 1924) received his education at Calcutta, Pennsylvania and London Universities. In his early youth he was drawn to the Socialist Movement and was involved in trade union activities. During the Hindu-Muslim communal riots of 1946-47 resulting in massive killings and devastation, he left active politics and joined the Indian Red Cross Society. Salahuddin Ahmed moved to Dhaka and started his new career as a Lecturer in History at the Dhaka Jagannath College in 1948. He served as Lecturer, Reader and Professor of History at Rajshahi University and later as Professor of History at Jahangirnagar and Dhaka universities. He was a UNESCO Cultural Fellow at Kyoto University, Japan. After retirement from Dhaka University in 1984 he was associated for several years with the Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) and co-edited Bangladesh: National Culture and Heritage published by the same University. Dr. Salahuddin Ahmed is a Fellow of the Bangla Academy and the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. The Asiatic Society, Kolkata, awarded him Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar Memorial Lectureship “for his outstanding contribution in the field of Humanities.” He is also recipient of the Ekushey Padak and Swadhinata Dibash Purashkar awarded by the Bangladesh Government.