Dhaka, 11th July (UNB) – The 83rd birth anniversary of the late poet Al-Mahmud, one of the finest Modernist poets in the Bengali language, was observed Thursday. The legendary poet was born 11th July, 1936 at Morail village of present day Brahmanbaria district.
It was Al Mahmud’s first birth anniversary since his death aged 82 last February.
Several organizations observed the legendary poet’s birth anniversary with commemorative programmes. Kobi Ebong Kabita, a poets’ collective, arranged a program titled ‘Al Mahmud Utsab’ at Kabita Café in the city’s Katabon, featuring a discussion among poets Md Nurul Huda, Zahidul Haque, Shahin Reza and others reminiscing on Mahmud’s life, legacy and literary prowess.
Meanwhile, his friends, family and well-wishers visited his residence in Maghbazar, where a dua mahfil was arranged marking the occasion.
One of the iconic poets of Bangladesh, Al-Mahmud started his career as a journalist, joining now defunct Ganakantha as its assistant editor shortly after the Liberation War in 1971.
By then though, he had already received widespread recognition with the success of his book ‘Lok Lokantor’ which was published in 1963. His prose and poetrywent on to be featured in several magazines including Chotushkone, Samakal, Mayukh, Krittibas and the Buddhadeb Bosu-edited Kavit, widely acknowledged as the leading journal for Bengali poetry at the time. It enabled Al Mahmud to command followings in both halves of Bengal – Bangladesh itself, and the Indian state of West Bengal. He was particularly popular among urban crowds of Dhaka and Calcutta.
The publication of Sonali Kabin in 1973 sealed Al Mahmud’s legend, and his place in the Pantheon of Bengali literature.
Mahmud’s unique skill of portraying and even conveying through words the essence of Bengali sensibilities, his embrace of the natural beauty of the region, as well as his use of regional dialects made him popular among the admirers. His successful literary creations include Lok Lokantor, Kaler Kalosh, Shonali Kabin, Mayabi Porda Dule Otho, Arobbo Rojonir Rajhash, Bokhtiyarer Ghora, Pankourir Rokto etc.
During the crucial periods of the nation such as the Language movement in 1952 and Bangladesh’s Liberation war in 1971, Al Mahmud raised his voice through his poetries and writings which garnered widespread attention both nationally and internationally.
Mahmud served Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy which he joined in 1975 and retired in 1993 as director of the academy. As one of the most renowned poets of his generation, he received many prizes including Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1968 and Ekushey Padak in 1986.