Founder Chairman

Professor Anwarul Azim Chowdhury History of the Department of Microbiology: an outline.
Department of Microbiology at the University of Dhaka was established by late Professor Anwarul Azim Chowdhury in 1979. The year before, Bangladesh Society of Microbiologist (BSM) was created and Bangladesh Journal of Microbiology (BJM) was launched. Through the creation of BSM and publication of BJM, all scientists working in the field of Microbiology were pooled together to create the nucleus which eventually led to the creation of the Department of Microbiology. Department of Microbiology, when established, was located in the one room office and a small laboratory of Professor Chowdhury at the Department of Biochemistry, DU. All the senior Scientists working in the field of Microbiology opened up the doors of their laboratories for the students of the Microbiology Department. They also volunteered their valuable time to teach the students. So the students had the opportunity of working in excellent well-equipped laboratories of ICDDR,B, IPH, Army Pathology laboratory, BCSIR laboratory, Department of Biochemistry, Department of Botany, Department of Soil Science to name a few. So since inception, the students of the Department of Microbiology were exposed to diverse research and teaching methodologies, the students learned from real life experiences of the respected teachers who worked in Universities, Industries, different Research Laboratories and different Research Institutes. In 1979 first batch of students (a total of 5) were admitted for M.Sc. course at the Microbiology Department. They came from the Departments of Biochemistry, Botany and Soil Science after obtaining B.Sc. (hons.) degree. Later students also came from the Department of Pharmacy with B.Pharm degree and from Medical colleges after obtaining MBBS degree.
Although Professor Chowdury struggled with University authority almost single handedly for creation of the Department of Microbiology, it is obvious that it would have been impossible to have a functional Department without the self-less dedication scientists and teachers working in the field of Microbiology in Bangladesh. We are indebted to them. They are the pioneers who established the science of Microbiology in Bangladesh. They are

Professor Aminul Islam
Major General M.R. Chowdhury
Dr. K.M.S. Aziz
Dr. Imdadul Huq
Dr. Farida Huq
Professor Naiyyum Chowdhury
Professor Khairul Bashar
Professor M.R. Khan
Major General Matiur Rahman
Mr. G.K. Joardar
Professor S.S. Qadri
Professor Mamun Rashid Chowdhury
Dr. Mohosin Patwary
Dr. Fazle Rabbi
Dr. Ansar Ali
Dr..Shahjahan Kabir
Dr. Syeda Quadsia Akhter
Dr. Syed Ashraf Ahmed
Dr. Firdausi Qadri
Dr. Mohammed Rahmatullah
Dr. M. Showkat Ali
Dr. M.A. Rahim and many others.

In 1989, first bath of students were admitted in the B.Sc. honors course. Department was has active Ph.D. and M. Phil programs. Students graduated from the Microbiology Department are now scattered all over the world pursuing career in Microbiology.

Ashfaque Hossain
** The write-up is incomplete and may have factual errors. Please correct and provide additional information so that we have a complete history of our Department.

A Dream of Dr. Chowdhury
30th March is the death anniversary of our late respected teacher, Professor Anwarul Azim Chowdhury, the legendary personality, devoted teacher, caring friend and a character that combines 'fighting traits' for just cause/s. We the teachers, students and colleagues are all grateful to him for his undaunted and steady efforts that resulted in the creation of the Department of Microbiology in 1979. I have highly vivid memories and pleasant moments with him since 1972/73, just after he had returned from Gottengen after having obtained his Ph.D. He faced strong impediments imposed onto him by two senior Professors of the Departments of Biochemistry and Pharmacy so as to deter him from commissioning the Department of Microbiology. He used to express his sorrow and anguish with me only when he felt torn literally by the unjustified, parochial and selfish attitude and behavior of those two teachers. But finally they gave in and Hero won the battle, although the DU syndicate had passed the resolution creates Microbiology Dept. in 1979. So he had to wait in piercing agonies and pains for about 10 years to see it materialize. By the time the Dept. started functioning. By now, the Department has been steadily growing with increasing research facilities through certain project funding.

Professor Sirajul Islam Khan
Dept. of Microbiology, DU

March 30 is the death anniversary of Professor Anwarul Azim Chowdhury, the founder of our beloved DU Microbiology Department. He died of a massive heart attack on this day of 1984. He was a loving father, a man of great humor, a dedicated scientist & educationist, and an individual of extraordinary personality whom everybody saw all the time thinking and perspiring with fingers on his forehead for establishment of this department until the last moment of his life.

It was probably mid-1982, just after receiving my Honors degree, Professor Aminul Islam of Soil Science and Professor Iaz Uddin Ahmed of the same Department (currently, President of Bangladesh) encouraged me to study Microbiology and told me to see the founder Chairman of the newly created and almost home-less Department of Microbiology. During the period, the new department was just given a tiny foot-hold on the first floor of Zoology building and was very often known as an one-man department. This great one-man was Professor Anwarul Azim Chowdhury (by the way, he had been the classmate of both Professors Aminul Islam and Iaz uddin Ahmed who used to call him 'Hero'). I became interested for admission into the new department and started heading towards the department to meet the founder chairman. While I was entering into the department, I saw a very simple man on the stairs looking vacant at the west sky with a grip of a cigarette in fingers. As I was stepping up and passing-by, I asked the man "Who is the ...Who is the Head of this Department"? He stared at me with a hidden smile on his cheek and replied, "There is no head here, and all we are tail". The only clerical assistant inside the building showed me by indicating his finger without voice "The man on the stairs is the head of this department". I was embarrassed and scared, and decided to leave without meeting him that day.
Professor Anwarul Azim Chowdhury became my first M.Sc. supervisor, the responsibility of which was eventually transferred to Dr. Farida Huq , MBBS, PhD. of IPH, because of Prof. Chowdhury's health problem. May Allah keep him in eternal peace in a Paradise. Amin!!!

Dr. Abul K. Azad
M. Sc. (old 3rd batch)

The potential of doing work favoring humanity is not always bestowed upon everyone on the Earth. It is merely given to some God-chosen persons such as late Dr. Anwarul Azim Chowdhury. Dr. Chowdhury had a furtive vision for providing a far-reaching contribution to his students. He thought that an independent Microbiology Department in the Dhaka University campus could brighten up the image of the Dhaka University globally, and can provide best opportunities for outstanding students. To that end he took a challenge, amid many critics, to start a Department of Microbiology that was initially housed in a small space. With his warm personalities, he not only persuaded the University authority for the ratification of the Department, but also invited the lead scientists of microbiological background of the country to volunteer in teaching for his newly born department. Today, we the past and present students living in home and abroad constantly enjoying his gift in various ways, including prestige, dignity, honor and financial stability. Our success is steadily making his dream come true, and will continuously do so time to come. For his outstanding contribution for all of us, we should remember him and pray for his departed soul more than ever. In the mean time we should learn how to contribute to others, which is one of the most important purposes of any human life.

Last days in his life
Dr. Chowdhury was admitted into the PG hospital with heart ailment about one month before his death. We, the then students of the Department of Microbiology, visited him at his hospital bed and encouraged him to stay calm and pledged our full support and prayer for him just to assuage his sufferings. We also were trying to pacify him by reminding his pending treatment in Germany once he was out of danger (which was true, the plan was exactly like this). His response was "you all young well wishers are confident that I will recover and once that happen I will be traveling to Germany for better treatment for full recovery. I am consented to you, "he replied", however, you must know if I were a layman, I would have accepted your consolation promptly and that could have been alleviating my pain. Unfortunately, being well educated in biochemistry and in the diseases like one I have, I know better than you guys what I have had and where I am heading at the end. He added that in situation like mine a na�ve person is better than a scholar person as a scholar person like me know in depth what went wrong with him, and that truth always haunts him making situation bad to worse".

No wonder he died within a month after his first hear attack leaving behind a truth a naive person may be better off than a educated one subject to ailment such as one he had and knew about that in depth.

Dr. Afsar Ali
M. Sc. (old 3rd batch)


Dedication of Ph.D. thesis: Ashfaque Hossain

"I was introduced to the Microbial World by late Professor Anwarul Azim Chowdhury, founder Chairman of the Department of Microbiology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. I dedicate this thesis to the memory of Professor Chowdhury who not only taught but also inspired myself and many others".


Honors 3rd Batch in front of old building                            New building

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