A career journalist from Bangladesh Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury (Bengali: মোখলেসুর রহমান চৌধুরী) popularly known as Mokhles Chowdhury, held a notable position as adviser to the Hon President of Bangladesh during the 2006 Caretaker Government.
Education & Awards
Mokhles had his Masters of Arts in Mass communication & Journalism from University of Dhaka. Earlier, he studied pre-university education in Jagannath Government College and Tejgaon College of Dhaka, Fenchuganj Degree College of Sylhet, Lakhai ACRC Pilot High School of Habiganj, Ghilachhera High School of Sylhet, Bhatera High School of Maulvibazar and Ashighar Government Primary School of Sylhet. He was awarded with "Panos" fellowship of UK, World Bank Institute fellowship, EU fellowship, Bangla Academy fellowship and Nawab Sir Salimullah gold medal for outstanding role and achievement in the Statecraft. Also awarded Sadat Smriti Padak, Habiganj Press Club Padak, Katihara Palli Unnayan and Sangrami Sangsad Padak, Bangladeshi Award in Michigan, USA, Jatiya Press Club Writers Award, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Language Course-Completed English Language Course in the Modern Language Institute, Dhaka University (DU).
Profession, Contribution & Association
He is presently working as editor of the Weekly Prekkhit.
On 13 November 2006, Professor Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed, President of the People's Republic of Bangladesh as well as the Chief Adviser of Caretaker Government appointed M Mukhlesur Chowdhury as the "Adviser to President" with the rank and status of State Minister. From December 2006 to January 2007, when acute national political impasses arose out of uncertainty about Parliamentary elections, he performed the role of President’s special envoy in the negotiation process for a peaceful solution between Begum Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, the two major separate political alliance leaders of Bangladesh. His unprecedented role united all political parties in a fair agreement about participating in parliamentary elections until 3 January 2007. Unfortunately, on 11 January 2007 the election was postponed due to a conspiracy made by a group of military bureaucrats which had created an event known as One-Eleven that subsequently led to an unconstitutional and undemocratic caretaker government. (In the past, during 1994 and 1995, the country had experienced a similar political deadlock, a failed case of negotiation conducted by the then Commonwealth Secretary General's special envoy Sir Ninian Stephen.) Dialogues between the then US Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis and Mr Chowdhury directly saved the nation from the martial law in 11 January 2007. Due to undue occurrence of ‘One-Eleven’, Mr. Chowdhury in the greater interest of the nation, boldly spoke to media disclosing the hidden agenda of capturing the country's Presidency by the then Bangladesh Army Chief General Moeen U Ahmed in disguise of interim Caretaker Government headed by Fakhruddin Ahmed. His interviews were widely published, telecasted and broadcasted in newspapers, radios and television channels including Thikana, Akhon Samoy, Probashi Voice, Bangla Patrika and Probashi barta of New York & Voice of America and Euro Bangla, Bangla Post, BBC, Channel S and Bangla TV of London. "Military coup in Bangladesh: Dateline 2007", one of his fact-finding write-ups about the One Eleven conspiracy, was published in the weekly Akhon Samoy of New York.
- Press Secretary as well as spokesman of the Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed from December 2004 to November 2006.
- Former diplomatic editor and special correspondent of the Daily Dinkal.
- Also worked for the Daily Ajker Kagoj and the Daily Naba Abhijan as special correspondent, the Dainik Patrika as chief reporter and the Island Upali newspapers of Sri Lanka as Bangladesh correspondent.
In 2003 Chowdhury was elected president of Overseas Correspondents Association Bangladesh-OCAB (Foreign Journalists Association) for 2004 term. Before that he was elected to all posts including vice president, secretary, treasurer, joint secretary and EC member of the same organization since 1993. In the Diplomatic Correspondents Association Bangladesh he worked as vice president and acting president, and during 2003-04 he was senior joint secretary general of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, Bangladesh. In 1986 and 1991 he was elected executive committee member of Dhaka Union of Journalists– DUJ. As an environmental journalist he positioned himself as an executive committee member of the Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh. In the international arena he is a member of the International Organization of Journalists of Germany. He also served as a part time lecturer to the Press Institute of Bangladesh, Universities in home & abroad and Civil & Military Institutes on journalism and civil-military relations. During 2006 he conducted the live TV program- Hello Apnake Balchi on Bangladesh Television, and in magazine programs on ATN Bangla from 2003 to 2006. He has represented Bangladesh in international conferences including the United Nations General Assembly- UNGA golden jubilee session in 1995 & UNGA 2003, the Commonwealth Journalists Association- CJA in Nigeria in 2003 and the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu in 2002.
President presents a book to Mukhles on thanks giving 2006.
- Protokoler Nigor (Bindings in Protocol)
- Samakalin Sangbadikata (Contemporary Journalism).
- Hundred Years of Bangabhaban and Bangabhabaner Shatabarsha were published from Bangabhaban where Mukhles was the publisher as the head of press wing of President's Office .
Mokhles has written hundreds of columns for newspapers & magazines in Bangladesh and abroad. He wrote unique columns under the headings Bangabhabaner sei Dingulo in Janatar Chokh magazine of Manabzamin. He also wrote for the weekly Thikana and the Bangla Patrika, Probashi Barta, Probashi Voice, Akhon Samoy & Khabor of USA, Sanglap of Canada, Weekly Euro Bangla & Bangla Post of UK, the Sunday Express, Economic Times, Dhaka Courier, the Japan Times, Usha, Nipun, Kagaj Barta, Dainik Jonopad, Dainik Desh, Dainik Kishan, Weekly Holiday, Agami, Tarokalok, Jagrata Janata, Jiboner Alo, Jalalabadi, Arthokatha, Sandwip, Khoborer Kagaj, Jalalabadi, Muktibani of Bangladesh.
Mukhles was associated with different organizations including the following:
- (a) President of governing body of Bamai Muktijoddha Zia College in Habiganj from 2002 to 2007.
- (b) Assistant Secretary General of Commonwealth Society of Bangladesh.
- (c) Member of "Society for International Development-SID", Rome, Italy.
- (d) Permanent Member of Jatiya Press Club & Ex Convenor of Protocol Sub Committee.
- (e) Alumni & registered graduate of Dhaka University.
- (f) Alumni of World Bank Institute.
- (g) President of Lakhai Upazila Association, Dhaka.
- (h) President of "Green Valley Association", Moghbazar, Dhaka.
- (i) Vice President of Jalalabad Association, Dhaka.
- (j) Member of Dhaka Reporters Unity.
- (k) Ex Press & Publication Secretary of Anti Drug and Anti Smoking Society- ADAASS.
- (l) EC Member of Dhaka Union of Journalists- DUJ while Union was united & Unit Chief of Dainik Patrika & Dainik Naba Abhijan.
- (m) Member of Bangladesh Parliament Journalists Association- BPJA.
- During his professional tasks Chowdhury had been in touch with many international leaders including President Bill Clinton & Hillary Clinton, President Jimmy Carter, UN Secretaries General Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, President Chandrika Kumaratunga, President Ranasinghe Premadasa & Speaker M H Mohammed of Sri Lanka, President Parvez Musharraf, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto & Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, I K Gujral & Chandra Shekhar of India, President François Mitterrand of France and experienced memorable events. He was noted for questioning President Bill Clinton during his Dhaka visit on 20 March 2000 defying the Bangladesh government's instructions not to ask anything beyond designated questions. After the incident he was harassed by Bangladesh government intelligence agencies until the intervention of the US Embassy, Dhaka. He refused to accept an offer of asylum and citizenship from the US Embassy. Earlier he was interrogated by the Bangladesh intelligence agency for reporting on the mysterious death of Brigadier General Shabab Ashfaq of the Bangladesh Army.
- Mokhles Chowdhury was arrested for breaking curfew during Ershad's Martial Law, had to stay in Ramna thana whole night & in the following morning father Azizur Rahman Chowdhury brought him back under open sky.
- Picked up by Asstt Director, DGFI to Cantonment area as came out from 32 Dhanmondi after covering Sheikh Hasina's press conference before 1986 elections & iinterrogated.
- In 1987 became senseless after falling down from a bus at GPO square and sent to a relative house at Nawabpur Road & with medication was cured.
- Has been interrogated during Ershad's regime for writing courageous columns in various newspapers including the Weekly Khoborer Kagaj.
- In 2003 no of attempts made on his life by a group led by a terror now fled away to USA with big knife using micro bus at Habiganj Kibriya Auditorium, while attending a Government sponsored meeting as special guest where a state minister was the chief guest, terrors sent a slip of fake death news of a relative and asked to come out from the stage, but among participants of the meeting sister took the slip & guessed the situation & using revolver in Dhanmondi & Farmgate areas & failed by almighty as people also resisted. Terror gang leader wanted to use close friend & offered a big amount of money & failed, but confessed that he was repeatedly failed to kill Mokhles Chowdhury as he was saying that attempt at Habiganj was also made by him. After that he lobbied by many quarters so that Mokhlesur Rahman Chowdhury withdraws two GD entry against him, but it was not withdrawn & he fled away with comments that my all attempts were failed, definitely he has some almighty guard which helps him.
- On 26 April 2007 unidentified gunmen attempted to murder at Maghbazar blocking vehicle, which was foiled miraculously..
- On 7 September 2007 a group of Army with uniform attempted to pick up from the Janaza of late Khatib of Baitul Muqarram National Masjid Maula Obaidul Haq, musallis obstructed & escorted to Maghbazar Residence.
- On 15 September 2008 Brigadier A T M Amin gave life threat for his writing against General Moeen over phone to London.
- Followed by intelligence people posted from Dhaka in many places in number of times in USA & UK & once before their attempt Mokhles Chowdhury escaped with friend's jeep.
Role in Crisis:
Mukhles Was appreciated for role in crisis during the time when President of Bangladesh was critically ill (Virtually in comma for 23 days) as crisis manager as well as spokesman of the President (that time as Press Secretary & subsequently appointed as Adviser to the President & Chief Adviser with the rank & status of Minister of State) to face the people, media and international community. Also served two Presidents at a time, when one was seriously ill staying out of the country and the other one was Acting President (Speaker of the Bangladesh National Parliament) & appreciated for this historical role both nationally & internationally.
Foreign visits: Widely traveled to USA, UK, France, Italy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Vatican City, Myanmar as State delegate as well as attended conferences.
Neck: Fluent in delivering speech & feel comfortable in writing in Journals in home and abroad since long. Maintains honesty & good relations with civil & military bureaucracy as well as people in the Statecraft & Governance both in home & abroad.
Hobby: Traveling, Gardening, Addressing people etc. Has fame as good crisis manager.
Sacrifice: Break of studies for liberation war and later for being in the profession of journalism.
In line with descend to late Abdul Qadir Chowdhury and Zarad Ali Chowdhury (known as Taka Miah Chowdhury), zamindar of Bamai No. 24 & 25 parganas, now mauzas of Lakhai Upazila under Habiganj District of Sylhet Division, representing Katihara Village & Bamai Union Mokhles was born in maternal grand father’s house at Kulikunda of Nasirnagar Upazila under Brahmanbaria District of Chittagong Division. He took notice of the various towns and tea estates features of Sylhet, Chittagong & Dhaka, where they had business as his family traveled with his father for managerial job. These experiences of boyhood had a great impact on his life and made him interested about people of the land. Alhaj Azizur Rahman Chowdhury (Late), the First Chief Editor of the Weekly Prekshit, a national newspaper published from Dhaka was Member, Governing Body of Bamai Model High School, Bamai Katihara Siddiqia Islamia Madrasa Lakhai, Habiganj & Founder Samajpati of Katihara of Lakhai Upazilla under the Habiganj District performed managerial jobs in various Tea Gardens from 1965 to 1979. Roads were named after him and Foundation established by his name helps poors and awards scholarships to the students in Bangladesh. His mother Begum Sharifa Aziz Chowdhury-received 'Ratnagarva Ma' (Impregnated with gems/giving birth to excellent children). Grand fathers owned business in Shialdah, Kolkata, India before partition.
Brothers & Sister: 6 Brothers & a Sister. Among them Mokhles's position is No.1. 2nd brother M Mofizur Rahman Chowdhury is the Principal in a Degree College in the District of Sylhet, Bangladesh, then 3rd Brother Mahbubur Rahman Chowdhury is Accounts Manager of Euro Foods, London UK, 4th Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury & 5th Morshedur Rahman Chowdhury are with religious as well as with property & last Brother Moshiur Rahman Chowdhury is B Com (Hons) from Jagannath University, Bangladesh & the only sister Naznin A Chowdhury is MA, BEd stays in Canada, whose Husband works with FedEX. Four brothers and sister have journalistic backgrounds.
Mukhles Chowdhury's spouce is Begum Sufia Mukhles Chowdhury, blessed with two sons Monsoor & Masroor.