Qazi Motahar Hossain

Published:  01:19 AM, 27 January 2018

The first academic statistician of Bangladesh

The first academic statistician of Bangladesh

Qazi Motahar Hossain was a Bangladeshi author, scientist, statistician, chess player, and journalist. He had an intimate friendship with Kazi Nazrul Islam and Kazi Abdul Odud. Qazi Motahar Hossain was born in his mother's village Lakshmipur in the district of Kushtia in 1897. His father was Qazi Gaohar Uddin Ahmed and mother was Tasirunnesa. He passed his childhood in his father's village Bagmara in Faridpur. He received his earliest education from his father and from the village primary school.


Qazi Motahar Husain matriculated (1915) from Kushtia High School with distinction. He passed Intermediate examination from Rajshahi College (1917) and BA (Honours) and MA in Physics from Dhaka College in 1919 and 1921 respectively. He received a diploma in Statistics from the Indian Statistical Institute in 1938. Simultaneously, he obtained another MA degree in Mathematics from Calcutta University. He obtained PhD in Statistics on 'Design of Experiments' from Dhaka University in 1951. Doctoral thesis of Qazi Motahar Husain brought to light a new method known as 'Husain's Chain Rule'. Professor Husain was the first academic statistician of East Bengal, now called Bangladesh.

He began his career as a demonstrator in Physics at the newly established Dhaka University while he was a student (1921) of the same department and became assistant lecturer in 1923. On his own effort, Qazi Motahar Husain started MA course in Statistics in 1948 and joined this new department. He became Reader in Statistics in 1951 and Professor in 1954. Professor Husain retired from Dhaka University in 1961, but continued to work as a Supernumerary Professor of Statistics until 1964.

On the establishment of the Institute of Statistical Research and Training, Professor Husain joined it as its first Director (1964-1969). He was appointed Professor Emeritus of Dhaka University in 1969. After the independence of Bangladesh, Dr. Husain was made a National Professor (1975). Professor Husain was awarded the title of 'Sitara-i-Imtiaz' in 1960 by the then Pakistan Government in appreciation of his outstanding achievements.

Qazi Motahar Husain founded 'Muslim Sahitya Samaj' (1926) with Qazi Abdul Odud, Syed Abul Hussain and Abul Fazl. The mouthpiece of this organization was the short-lived periodical 'Shikha' which Qazi Motahar Husain edited for some time. The magazine had an active role in popularising freedom of thought in the Muslim society. He was one of the architects of the Bengali Academy (now Bangla Academy). With his critical writings, he supported the Language Movement and the War Of Liberation.

Motahar Hossain also showed unusual skill in the game of chess. For seven times he was the all India chess champion. He took the lead organizing chess in Bangladesh. He founded the All Pakistan National Chess Federation in 1969. After independence, he established Bangladesh Daba Sangha, which became the Bangladesh Chess Federation in 1974.

Qazi Motahar Husain wrote many articles and books on science, literature and culture including Sanchayan' [Collection] (1937), Nazrul Kabya Parichiti' [Introduction to Nazrul's poems] (1955), Sei Path Laksya Kare' [Following that Road] (1958), Symposium (1965), Ganit Shastrer Itihas' [History of Mathematics] (1970), Alok Vijnan' [The science of light] (1974) and Tatthya Ganit. His writings reflect his rational thinking and philosophy of life.

Qazi Motahar Husain received 'Bangla Academy Award' (1966) for his valuable contributions in Bengali literature and 'Swadhinata Award' (1979) for distinctive contributions in science and technology. Dhaka University also honored him with honorary DSc degree for his great contribution to arts and sciences. He died in Dhaka on 9 October 1981. A postage stamp was published by Bangladesh Postal Department to respect his contributions.

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