Professor Sheikh Mohammad Nazrul Islam An Icon of Mechanical Engineering in Bangladesh


We often hear that social degradation is grabbing our young generation. Being influenced with the dire consequence of this situation, our young generation is losing the right track that they inevitably need to follow for building their successful future. And to win over this situation, they need to have role-models to follow. This is obviously true. And this is also true that we have many role-models, living around us. But, due to crisis of proper focus on their lives and works, we miss to find them out or to know about them.

Realizing this we, from The Guardian, have been focusing on the lives and works of our big persons for a long time, aiming to draw the attention of our present and future generations so that then can know about big persons and be inspired by their lives and works for building their successful future.

This time, we are focusing on the life and works of Professor Sheikh Mohammad Nazrul Islam, popularly known in his abbreviated name as Professor S. M. Nazrul Islam. Nazrul Islam was born on 10th of February 1948 at the dawn of Pakistan in a remote village of Gopalgonj far away from the capital of Dhaka. His family was well-off, well-known and also respected by the locals but might  not be so rich  as compaerd to the present economic condition of rural Bangladesh, probably for which Nazrul Islam had to lodge to carry on his schooling. And the area was also Hindu majority although culturally enriched.

So, education for a middle-class Muslim boy like Nazrul Islam was not so easy. To turn him to today’s position and reputation of an icon of Mechanical Engineering in Bangladesh,  Nazrul Islam  had to pass over a long traversed way that has made his life an attraction for others. From childhood, he was a very meritorious student. He started receiving scholarship from SSC.

After completing primary education, in 1958 he left his homestead. He went to Gournadi of Barisal district and got admitted to a secondary school at Bagdha and worked as a house tutor to carry on his schooling there. After passing SSC with credit in 1963, he took admission in Jagannath College. After passing HSC, he got admitted in EPUET, presently BUET in 1965 and received BSc Engineering degree with Honours from BUET in 1969.

After graduation, Mr. Islam joined BUET as lecturer in Mechanical Engineering. While teaching, he completed MSc Engineering in BUET in 1975. At the same year, on foreign scholarship, he left the country for PhD at the University of Windsor, Canada. He received PhD degree from Windsor in 1979.

His life is full of varied experiences and observations. He observed the struggle of village life, hardship of urban life, Hindu-Muslim social and psychological conflicts, students’ movement against military ruler  Field Marshal Ayub, mass-uprising of 1969, furious struggle and dedication of Bangabandhu for independence and the war of independence, historic return of Bangabandhu to independent Bangladesh and untiring efforts of Bangabandhu for building war-ravaged Bangladesh and the historic tragedy of 1975 and finally, the life and culture of the West.


As an educationist, as a researcher and as an academic and professional leader, Dr. Islam has achieved a high name and fame at home and abroad. If one man is to be recognized as a complete man or as a completely successful man, men like Nazrul Islam are number one. He studied at home and abroad and served in dignified positions at home and abroad.

In his long 43 years of uninterrupted service record, he is currently Vice-Chancellor of BUET and was formerly Vice-Chancellor of Khulna University. He served as professor and dean of different foreign universities and as secretary general of International Energy Foundation. Side by side academic and administrative activities of BUET, he made huge contributions to the developments of other engineering and science universities in Bangladesh.

Out of academic affairs, there remains no single institution of engineering professions or engineers where he is not involved or contributing. He has played active roles in different committees on national importance formed by the government and other institutions. He is connected with huge number of social, professional, national and international organizations.

Professor Islam has written a good number technical papers, some he alone and some shared by other national and international experts, on different aspects of engineering, especially on Mechanical Engineering. Already 11 of his papers have been published in leading national journals and 12 have been published in leading international journals. He has also participated in many national and international conferences, seminars and workshops at home and abroad and presented keynote papers there on different issues and challenges of engineering developments. Already 21 proceedings of those conferences, seminars and workshops have been published in Bangladesh and 10 proceedings have been published in different foreign countries.

This is not all. Professor Nazrul Islam and Professor M. H. Khan are the pioneers of advanced research in BUET. They supervised the student who got the first PhD degree in BUET in 1981. Their efforts ushered in a new era of advanced research in BUET and the administration of BUET celebrated the occasion in 1981. Through the culmination of this research, BUET has emerged as a leader to advance engineering education and research in Bangladesh.

When Nazrul Islam chose to study Mechanical Engineering, it was not so popular among the students because of its difficult nature. Nazrul Islam’s contribution to this subject has attracted the students and professionals in different ways. Nazrul Islam researched on Turbulence in Fluid Flow and Energy Development. His research outcome is being used by many end users at home and abroad. Today, he remains no more an individual but an institution.

In this issue of The Guardian, many of his students, friends, colleagues and admirers have written about his contributions that reflect what Nazrul Islam is or how a remote village boy gradually becomes an icon of Mechanical Engineering in Bangladesh. We hope our readers and our present and future generations will find interest in it and be inspired by the  life and works of a great person like Professor Nazrul Islam.

In the end, we pray that may Almighty Allah grant him a long life and good health. So be it.