Friday marks the 64th birth anniversary of late Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah, a brilliant poet of love and protest in Bengali literature. He was born on this day in 1956 at his father's place of work, Amanatganj Red Cross Hospital in Barisal.
Commemorating the day, Rudra Smriti Sangsad has organized various events. Wreath-laying, milad mahfil and prayers have been organized at the poet’s ancestral village home in Mongla with a procession in the morning.Mongla unit of Sammilita Sangskritik Jote organized a memorial service in the afternoon at Mongla Press Club. Keeping in mind the pandemic, this time the event is being held on a limited scale while maintaining social distance.
Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah was a protestant and romantic poet. He is one of the few poets who became a favourite of the readers and listeners in the ’80s.
Born to Dr Sheikh Waliullah and Shiria Begum, Rudra’s ancestral home is in Saheb Meth village under Mongla Upazila of Bagerhat district. Son of an upper-middle-class family, Rudra spent most of his childhood in his maternal grandparent’s home in the Mithekhali village (under Mongla police station in Bagerhat district).
Rudra passed SSC from Dhaka West and High School in 1984 and HSC from Dhaka College in 1986. He was then admitted to the Bangla department of Dhaka University and obtained a BA degree with honours in 1970 and an MA degree in 1973.
He was one of the initiators behind the formation of the Sammilita Sangskritik Jote and the National Poetry Council, which he served as the founding joint secretary. After 1975, he actively participated in all anti-government and anti-authoritarian movements. The 1971 War of Independence, patriotism, mass movement, secularism, and non-sectarianism has always been vibrantly present in his poems.
In just 35 years of his life, he has written seven books of poetry, stories, plays and composed more than half a hundred songs. One of his popular poems is ‘Batashe Lasher Gondho’ (Smell of the corpses in the air).His notable poetry books are Chhobol (1986), Golpo (1987), Diyechhile Sokol Akash (1988), Maulik Mukhosh (1990) and Ek Glass Ondhokar (1992).
For his iconic poem-turned-song 'Bhalo Achi Bhalo Theko, Akasher Thikanaye Chithi Likho', he was awarded the posthumous award of the best lyricist of 1998 by the Bangladesh Film Journalists Association.
He won the Munir Chowdhury Literary Award from Sanskriti Sangsad for two consecutive years for his two books of poetry, Upadrut Upakul and Firey Chai Swarnagram.
In his short-lived life, Rudra married feminist writer Taslima Nasrin in 1981 but got divorced later in 1986. The poet died on June 21, 1991, losing his long battle with depression.