At the beginning of his career he was a famous lawyer in his area. But he wrote several explanatory articles on the history of Bengali grammar published in a journal of the University of Calcutta. After reading those articles, the then Vice Chancellor of the university Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee wrote to him, "Bar is not for you. Come to our University." These two lines changed his life.
He was a great educationist, linguist, philologist, researcher, translator, reader critics, creative writer, poet and patriot. He traveled smoothly in almost all sectors of linguistics. He mastered 24 languages, and had vast knowledge on 18 languages. He is Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah. Today is his 133rd birth anniversary. On this day in 1885 he was born at the Peyara village, 24 Parganas, Bengal Presidency, British India to a devoutly religious family.
He was outstandingly meritorious since his childhood. In school life, he learned to read Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hindi and Oriya. Shahidullah was inspired by his school teacher and famous linguist Acharya Harinath Dey to attain knowledge on language. He obtained MA degree in comparative linguistics from Calcutta University. He worked as a researcher at the Calcutta University from 1919 to 1921 with another eminent personality Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen. In his career he taught at Dhaka University, Rajshahi University, and University of Calcutta and at various colleges.
He earned his PhD degree from Sorbonne University in 1928 for his research on the dialects of the Charyapada. He was the first Indian Muslim to receive this doctorate degree.
Dr. Muhammad Shahidulla`s writings like Bhasa O Sahitya, Bangala Bhasar Itibrtta, Bangla Sahityer Katha, Diwan-i-Hafiz, Rubaiyat-i-Omar Khaiyam, Vidyapati Shatak, Padmavati enriched the Bangla language and its grammar extensively.
Muhammad Shahidullah was a genuine Bengali. Among the people who presented strong statements for making Bengali a state language after the establishment of Pakistan, he was one of the most important among them. He said - "The nation that does not respect its language cannot improve."
He was born during the moon of `Shaheed e Karbala`, so his mother named him Shahidullah. She believed that her son would be exemplary. This scholar of Bengali language has proved later with his outstanding work and knowledge that he is truly an exemplary personality. On his birth anniversary we remember him with high respect.