He was born on 14 January 1903 at Kayetgram village of Mymensingh District in Bengal province of British India (in the present-day Bangladesh). He completed his initial studies from the Mrityunjaya School and Ananda Mohan College in Mymensingh. In 1924, he passed his B.A. examination in History from Murari Chand College, Sylhet. In 1926, he stood first in the M.A. examination in Ancient Indian History and Culture from the University of Calcutta. He received the Mrinalini Gold Medal in the same year for his Political History of Northern India, AD 600-900. In 1928, he received the Premchand Roychand Studentship. In 1935, he passed his diploma in Librarianship from the London University College. He married Manika in 1904-1999, he had two sons and one daughter.. He died 30 August 1981 at the age of 78 in Kolkata, West Bengal India.
He was appointed the Chief Librarian in the Central Library of Calcutta University in 1936. In 1946, he was appointed Bageswari Professor of Fine Arts in Calcutta University and retired from the post in 1965. He was the General Secretary of the Asiatic Society, Calcutta from 1949 to 1950. In 1965, he became the First Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla and remained in office till 1970. He was a member of the Third Pay Commission from 1970 to 1973.
He was a nationalist and participated in the Quit India movement and was imprisoned from 1943 to 1944.
His magnum opus in Bengali, Bangalir Itihas: Adiparba (History of the Bengali People: Early Period) was initially published in 1949. Later, an enlarged and revised edition was published by the Saksharata Prakashan in two volumes in 1980. His other significant works include: