Khanbahadur Ahsanullah (1873 - 1965) was a renowned academician and social reformer, a reputed philanthropist, a famed literary figure and Sufi thinker of the country. He was the pride of the Muslims in Bengal and one of the most enlightened personalities of his time.
Khanbahadur Ahsanullah was an Assistant Director of the Department of Education in undivided Bengal and Assam. For some time, he also held a position as Director of the Department of Education, the top most post of the department. In the undivided Bengal, no Indian had hitherto been appointed Assistant Director. Amongst the Hindus and Muslims, he was the first person of undivided Bengal to join the Indian Education Service (IES).
He was blessed with a long life and spent all his years for the advancement of a largely backward Muslim population. He played a pioneering role in consolidating the social status of the Muslims in the British-governed India by rejuvenating their thoughts and values and by lifting them from an all-consuming process of social degeneration. The goal of bringing a positive change both in the lives and the psyche of the Muslims that he had set himself to, was fully accomplished through his works and deeds. As a result, Khanbahadur Ahsanullah became an institution by himself. The name of this vast, prodigious personality, who lived long enough to drench himself in the sunlight of an entire millennium, will be pronounced again and again generations after generations. Although his life and activities are now a part of history, this nation and its people will continue to be indebted to him in many ways.
Khanbahadur Ahsanullah obtained Master of Arts (M.A) degree in Philosophy from Calcutta University, India in 1895.
In 1911, he was elected a member of the Royal Society (MRSA) of London.
Khanbahadur Ahsanullah was elected Senate and Syndicate Member of the Calcutta University, India. No Muslim before him was bestowed these honorable posts. He also had active contributions in the formation of Dhaka University, Bangladesh.
For his contributions for the development of the Department of Education and as a recognition for his sincere and praiseworthy initiatives, he was conferred the “Khanbahadur” title by the then British Government.
In 1960, Bangla Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh awarded him an honorary Fellowship for his “unique and versatile contribution in the field of Bengali Literature”.
Khanbahadur Ahsanullah also had a direct link with the literary circles and the literary movements of the time. During the years 1917-1918, he was the Vice President of the Literary Association of the Muslims in Bengal (Bangiya Musalman Sahitya Samiti).
He was the founder of "Ahsania Mission".
Khanbahadur Ahsanullah was born on Saturday in December, 1873 and passed away on Tuesday February 9, 1965.