Achievements of outstanding personalities and the examples set by leaders of a nation leave footmarks in the history of a people and thus of mankind. What we are today is largely the legacy which our leaders have bequeathed to us. The purpose of the present volume is to record the achievements and the examples set by some of the outstanding personalities from Bengal who have blazed our path of progress. In working to put together the first twenty illustrious personalities, the editors of the volume had in mind the names of personalities who have featured in a BBC Bangla Service opinion poll three year ago. No doubt the event led to a parlor discussion across the literate circles of West Bengal and Bangladesh. The editors also realises that there are many other equally illustrious persons who could easily fill the pages of several more volumes. The present volume also includes a Postscript article on the Bengali Language Movement (1948-52) as a mark of tribute to a historic struggle and supreme sacrifice that acted as the raison d'etre for creating a sovereign state of Bangladesh and the establishment of the International Mother Language Day on February 21. The volume, therefore, puts before the present and future generations of the Bengalee people and the culturally bonding Bengali (diaspora) and the wider world, examples set by these great Bengalis in uplifting the material and moral standards of their society. These are great people because they made unprecedented contribution to such varied areas as education, social and cultural upliftment, literature, politics, economics, and gender discrimination. Reintroducing these illustrious forebearers to the ethnic Bengali and to the world, the contributors work have been tremendous and outstanding. This book would inspire courage to all those who read through its pages.
A. Majeed Khan, educated in Kolkata (India), London and Minnesota, USA (Ph.D). He is a Phi Beta Kappa (for liberal education) and Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary doctorate for contribution to higher education) Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA; decorated by the Republic of France: Officier dan ordre des Palmes Academiques for contribution to education, science, and culture. He has been a cabinet minister and an ambassador of Bangladesh, a member of the Executive Board and Permanent Representative to the UNESCO. Dr. Khan founded the School of Social Work at Rajshahi University in 1964; the first private university- Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) in 1991; and is the founder Vice Chancellor of University of Information Technology and Science (UITS), 2003. He