Muhammad Siddiq Khan
|Died||13 August 1978 (aged 68)|
|Alma mater||Rangoon University|
Muhammad Siddiq Khan (known as M S Khan; 21 March 1910 - 13 August 1978) was the librarian of the Central Library of the University of Dhaka and the founder of the university's Department of Library Science (now Information Science and Library Management). In March 2004, the Government of Bangladesh posthumously awarded him the Independence Day Award, the country's highest civil honor.
Khan was born to a family whose ancestors were members of Mughal aristocracy in Bengal and had traveled to Rangoon in order to tutor the deposed Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar's children. He was born in Rangoon, where his father worked, on 21 March 1910. His father died when he was young. His mother, Bolonnessa Begum, got herself in a long-drawn-out litigation with his uncle on proprietary rights to his vast wealth and establishments.
Khan spent his childhood in Rangoon and went to school there. He took the matriculation examination in 1925 and stood fifth in Burma with distinctions in four subjects. He passed his intermediate examination in arts in 1927 and stood first in Rangoon University with distinction in English. In 1929, he received the B.A. honors degree in history from the university and stood first in the second class. In 1932 he got his B.L. degree. He was placed in the first class in the first-part examinations and in the second class in the second-part examinations. In 1936, he got his M.A. degree in history from the university and received the Yakub Abdul Ghani Gold Medal. For this performance he also received the Jardin Prize.
Completing his graduation program, Khan joined Rangoon University as a lecturer in history and political science in 1931 and worked there until the outbreak of World War II. His students included Aung San, one of the architects of the independence of Myanmar. When Rangoon came under fire from the advancing Japanese army, Khan escaped by trekking through the mountains to reach his village home. In 1943, he became an officer in the Civil Defense department of the government of Bengal. The next year he joined as a Liaison Officer under the Industries Directorate of the Bengal government. In 1946, he became the General Secretary of the Bengal Red Cross Society, a job he retained when moving to Dhaka after the partition of India in 1947. In 1950, he joined Debendra College in Manikganj as its principal.
In 1953, Khan joined University of Dhaka as a secretary to Sayed Moazzem Hossain, the then vice-chancellor, who was succeeded by Walter Allen Jenkins eight months later. Jenkins sent Khan abroad in 1954 for further studies in library science.
Khan arrived in London on 30 September 1954. He started regular course work as decided by Professor Irwin.[clarification needed] After due completion of course work, Khan spent one academic year working intensively in selected university and other academic libraries in Great Britain. Irwin arranged a training program with several libraries at the University of London, as well as the libraries of the University of Edinburgh and University of Birmingham. Khan successfully completed his training.
After completing a two-year course on the theory and practice of university librarianship in the London School of Librarianship and Archives, under the supervision of Irwin, during 1954-55 and 1955-56, Khan returned to his ancestral place.
Upon return, he joined as the librarian of the Central Library of the university in June 1956, a position he held until his retirement in 1972. Khan introduced a diploma course for Library Science and, along with Ahmad Hossain, founded the Library Association of East Pakistan. When the Department of Library Science was established in 1959, he was appointed the head of the department. In his 19 years of service to the Library, he introduced the Dewey Decimal System of library classification and oversaw its implementation. He faced job-related financial troubles when he retired.
KHan was the vice-president of the Pakistan Library Association (1957, 1958, and 1968) and the president for several tenures. He was the General Secretary of[clarification needed] from 1962 to 1965. He was a vice-president of Asian Federation of Library Association from 1957 to 1960.
Khan wrote a number of books, as well as columns for Holiday and The Bangladesh Observer. He published a news bulletin for the University of Dhaka and edited the Eastern Librarian as the founder editor until 1976.
Khan died after prolonged illness on 13 August 1978 in Dhaka. He did not receive any honors during his lifetime. He was made a fellow of the Royal Historical Society for his scholarly contributions.
On 21 March 2010, Khan's 100th birthday, Library Association of Bangladesh has declared "21st March" as the Library Day of Bangladesh.