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The Forgotten Folk Bard

Abdul Hye Mashreki

Md. Ragebul Reza     29 April, 2016 12:00 AM printer

The Forgotten Folk Bard

Abdul Hye Mashreki was the abundantly gifted folk-poet of 1930’s but how many of us know about him and his literary works? Undoubtedly very few of us have heard about him but the flavour and depth of his vivid creations crossed borders, surpassed the united Indian subcontinent and reached as far as Russia in that time. In 1950’s , two of his famous writings-- Kulsum Golpo (Story of Kulsum) and Baul Moner Noksha (Design of Baul mind) were translated in Russian language by Noni Bhoumik of Kolkata.
Raised amid the soil and nature, Abdul Hye Mashreki flourished as a mainstream folk poet. He painted flawless picture of the rural life, people’s struggles against discriminations in terms of social, economical, religious, racism. Mashreki wrote bulk of poems, songs, dramas, novels, operas and narrative operas depicting the rural people’s everyday life, their afflictions and festivities. As a sensitive human being, Abdul Hye Mashreki enhanced his writings with impressive feelings of village people and he was vastly exposed as a folk poet. Mihir Acharya, a researcher of Bangla literature, identified three established Bangalee folk-poets from 1917 to 1936, Abdul Hye Mashreki is one of them. The two other are -- Jasimuddin and Bonde Ali Mia. Mihir Acharya’s research work ‘Bangla Shahityer Progati O Poragati’ was published from Kolkata in 1990. We all know about two others but the name of Abdul Hye Mashreki disappeared gradually. How unfortunate! Though we didn’t remember Mashreki, we listen or sing his songs each and everyday without being aware about him. One will easily become astonished after knowing about his huge number of songs. We all have heard or sung many popular folk songs -- Allah megh de pani de, Amar galar har khule de go, Amar kankher koloshi, Fande poria boga kande -- and many more, without knowing about the name of the lyrist. Who wrote them? It was Abdul Hye Mashreki! Many of us may become surprised after knowing that Mashreki’s Fande poria boga kande re was first recorded in 1941. Legendary folk singer Abbas Uddin sang the song with his own music composition. Many other singers including Fredousi Rahman, daughter of Abbas Uddin, has sung this song. In 1966 this song was recorded in the voice of Fredousi Rahman. For 1967-68, Abdul Hye Mashreki was awarded “Tamgha-e-Imtiaz” as the best lyrist by the Pakistan government, but Abdul Hye Mashreki did not receive the award. He worked out of devotion not for awards or fame. That year Dhir Ali Miah and Shahnaz Rahmatullah were awarded “Tamgha-e-Imtiaz” too. Dhir Ali Miah for the best music composer while Shahnaz Rahmatullah as the best singer. Besides, he is also the writers of narrative operas -- Rakhalbondhu, Jorina Sundari, Rupban, Dukhu Miar Jari. Mashreki is not his family name or title, he was called ‘Mashreki’ to recognised him as Abdul Hye of Bangladesh (then East Bengal) as there were 3-4 more persons named Abdul Hye during his era.
Poet Abdul Hye was born on April 1 in 1919, according to certificate, at his maternal uncle's house in Kakanahati village in Ishwarganj of Mymensingh district. On December 4, 1988, he died at his home in Dattapara village of Ishwarganj. Recently (April 20, 21), Lokokobi Abdul Hye Mashreki Research Centre and Gunijon dotcom jointly observed the 97th birth anniversary of the poet by arranging a two-day cultural and discussion programme at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Prime Minister's Media Adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury attended the inaugural ceremony as chief guest. Iqbal Sobhan, in his speech, said that the poet's contribution is unparallel and eternal. His songs and poetry depicts the common people of the society and he emerged as a social reformer.


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