Syed Mujtaba Ali

A cosmopolitan par excellence and a true internationalist, the legendary Bengali writer Syed Mujtaba Ali from Sylhet (in erstwhile Bengal, now Bangladesh) spent a year and a half teaching in Kabul from 1927 to early 1929. Drawing on this experience, Mujtaba Ali later wrote Deshe Bideshe (Home and Abroad), which was published in Bengali in 1948. His young mind was curious to explore the Afghan society of the time and, with his impressive language skills, he had access to a cross-section of the Kabul population, whose ideas and experiences he chronicles with acute observation and a wicked sense of humour.