Saturday marked the 84th birth anniversary of eminent Bangladeshi poet Al Mahmud, known as one of the greatest Bengali poets of the 20th century.
Family members and well-wishers of the poet observed the day to a limited extent due to the ongoing global pandemic situation. They placed floral wreaths at Al Mahmud’s grave in Brahmanbaria in the morning and prayers were offered to seek eternal peace of the poet’s departed soul.
The legendary poet was born as Mir Abdus Shakur Al Mahmud in Morail village of Kasba Upazila in Brahmanbaria in 1936.
Mahmud came to Dhaka at the age of 21 and started his career as a proof reader-turned-journalist. He came under the spotlight of literary admirers and obtained widespread recognition after publishing his marque poem, ‘Lok Lokantor’ in 1963.
Soon he became one of those emerging Bengali poets who were outspoken in their writing on subjects like Language Movement, nationalism, political and economic repression and the struggle against the West Pakistani government.
Rural and pastoral life, rivers, village landscapes, shoals, love and human relationships have always been dominant forces in his poetry. Creating a new style in the poetic representation of emotions, he frequently utilised colloquial words from local dialects. For all these attributes, he has been considered as an individualistic genius of poetry in the subjects of nature and rural community other than Jibanananda Das and Jasimuddin.
‘Lok Lokantor’ (1963), ‘Kaler Kalosh’ (1966), ‘Sonali Kabin’ (1973) and ‘Mayabi Porda Dule Otho’ (1976) are some of the iconic collections of his poetry. His other notable poetical works include ‘Arobbo Rojonir Rajhash’, ‘Bakhtiyarer Ghora’, ‘Nodir Bhitorer Nodi’ and more. In addition to writing poetry, he wrote short stories, novels and essays such as ‘Pankourir Rakto’ and ‘Upamohadesh’.
Al Mahmud joined Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) in 1975 as its Assistant Director of Research and Publication and retired in 1993 as the academy’s Director. He received Bangla Academy Award in 1968, for his masterful creations ‘Lok Lokantor’ and ‘Kaler Kalosh’.
For his outstanding contribution to Bengali literature - he received Ekushey Padak in 1986, the second-highest civilian award in Bangladesh.
Among other achievements, the poet received Joy Bangla Award (1972), Humayun Kabir Memorial Award (1972), Jibanananda Memorial Award (1972), Kaji Motaher Hossain Literary Award (1976), Kabi Jasim Uddin Award, Philips Literary Award (1986), Nasir Uddin Gold Award (1990) and Lalon Award (2011).
Cementing his legacy as one of the iconic poets in Bengali literature, Al Mahmud passed away at the age of 82 on February 15, 2019 at the Ibn Sina Hospital in the capital.