National, Front Page

The mighty pen stops

President, PM mourn death of Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury

Published : 19 May 2022 10:31 PM

Renowned Journalist, language movement veteran, writer Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury is no more.

Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, writer of the famous song “Amar Vaier Rokte Rangano Ekushe February”, passed away Thursday morning at a hospital in London at the age of 88, family and Bangladesh High Commission in UK said. 

Quoting his son Anupam Chowdhury, who is an international journalist by background, a Bangladesh high commission spokesman in London told BSS over phone, “Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury passed away peacefully”. 

The official said the Bangladesh mission in UK kept a close touch with Chowdhury's family as the plans for his burial and related rituals were underway.

Chowdhury is widely known across the social strata for ages for the famous song -- Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushe Februari Ami Ki Bhulite Pari? (My Brothers’ Blood Spattered 21 February Can I forget the twenty-first of February incarnadined by the love of my brother?)

The song is regarded by listeners of BBC Bengali Service as the third best song in Bangla.

The famous journalist and columnist was in close touch with Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as part of his professional connections while he was born in the Ulania village in Mehendiganj of Barishal in 1934 as the then greater India was under British rule.

Son of a landlord and anti-British movement veteran Hazi Wahed Reza Choudhury, Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury graduated from Dhaka University in 1959 and went to England on 5 October 1974, where he lived settled.

But he was a frequent visitor to homeland Bangladesh and wrote columns in newspapers regularly keeping a close touch with Bangladesh and an eye on the country's affairs.

Before moving to Britain, Chowdhury worked as a journalist in different national newspapers in Dhaka and during the 1971 Liberation War, he worked for Joy Bangla, Jugantar and Anandabazar Patrika. 

In the UK, Chowdhury founded a newspaper named the ‘Notun Din’ and during his career as a journalist, he authored at least 35 books including "Dan Pithe Shawkat", "Chandrodwiper Upakhyan", "Nam Na Jana Bhore", "Nil Jamuna", "Shesh Rajanir Chand" and "Polashi Thekey Dhanmondi".

He also produced a film on Bangabandhu's assassination titled "Polashi theke Dhanmondi".

His contributions to Bangla literary world was acknowledged even before Bangladesh's independence while he received Bangla Academy Literary Award back in 1967. He was awarded Sadhinota Padak in 2009.

Chowdhury was also the recipient of Ekushey Padak UNESCO Literary Award, Bangabandhu Award, Shanghati Lifetime Achievement Award.

He went to the United Kingdom for the treatment of his wife and could not return to Bangladesh for 22 years after Bangabandhu's August 15, 1975 assassination along with most of his family members. 

His wife Selima Choudhury died in London while the couple has four daughters alongside the son.

Both President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed their profound shock and sorrow at the death of Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury.

In a condolence message, President M Abdul Hamid on Thursday said that Bangladesh lost a pioneer who was progressive, creative and believed in the spirit of Liberation War.

He said, his (Gaffar Chowdhury’s) immortal song on Ekushey gave immense courage and inspiration to the Bengali nation in the Language Movement and the War of Liberation.

Recalling the contribution of the eminent columnist Gaffar Chowdhury, the President said he had worked throughout his life to promote the spirit of the Liberation War through writings.

"His death is an irreparable loss to the country's literary and cultural arena," the President mentioned.

Late Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury will be remembered for ever and will remain in the heart of every Bengali through his songs and writings, "the President added.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her condolence message said that Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury with his talents and works upheld the spirit of the country's Liberation War and non-communal spirit of the Bengalis till his death."

He (Gaffar Chowdhury) also put forth the country's true history before the nation and supported the Father of the Nation's dream to build a "Golden Bangladesh" in his writings, Sheikh Hasina added.

Afterwards, he wrote about the ideal of Bengali's Liberation War in foreign and local mass media residing abroad, she continued.

The head of government prayed for eternal peace for the departed soul and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family.