Ekushey Padak winning novelist Rizia Rahman passed away at the age of 79 while undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals in Dhaka on Friday.
Prominent writers and poets of the country have expressed profound shock at the death of Rizia Rahman, who made outstanding contributions to Bangla fiction through her portrayal of commoners’ lives and the historical events in her novels and stories.
‘She has enriched Bengali literature through her outstanding works. Her novel Bang Theke Banga, a landmark in Bengali literature, portrays 2,500 years of history of Bengal. She also tried to portray the plight of marginalised people in society. She will live on through her works,’ said acclaimed writer Selina Hossain.
‘I read her article for the first time in Begum literary magazine. I was greatly inspired by her. Her work Bang Theke Banga gives readers a glimpse into the complete history of Bengal. Her death has left a huge void in the country’s literary scene,’ said novelist Mohibul Aziz.
‘Rizia Rahman was one of the most celebrated writers of ‘80s. The young generation of our country must read her works. Steps should be taken to preserve and promote her works among the masses,’ said poet Habibullah Siraji, also director general of Bangla Academy.
‘She illuminated both the readers and writers of Bengali literature and was like a mother to me. I often visited her. She never hankered after name and fame. It is a great loss for the country’s literary scene. Writers like her are not born every day,’ said novelist Imdadul Haq Milan.
‘Her contribution to Bengali literature cannot be forgotten. Her works Bang Theke banga and Rokter Akshare will continue to inspire future readers and writers,’ said writer Shahin Akter.
Rizia Rahman, born in Kolkata on December 28, 1939, has more than 50 titles to her credit. Her novels like Rokter Akhsar (1978) and Bong Theke Bangla (1987) earned her a permanent place in the history of Bangla Fiction.
In Bong Theke Bangla, she portrayed the evolution of the nation with special focus on its culture and language, while Rokter Akhsar revolves around lives in a brothel.
Rahman burst onto the literary scene in 1967 with Agisakkhara, a collection of short stories. From then on, her pen has portrayed people of different social strata and historical events.
From lives of the santals, slum dwellers and sex workers to historical events such as the Portuguese invasion, Baluchistan rebellion and anti-British movements all have come alive in vivid imaginary details in her novels like Uttar Purush, Alikhita Upakkhyan, Shilay Shilay Agun, Ekal Chirakal, Baghbandi and others.
She encapsulated her own development as a writer and her literary engagements in two autobiographical books, namely Abhibasi Ami and Nadi Nirabadhi. She did not publish any work after 2011 due to aging-associated diseases.
She had received many prestigious awards including Ekushey Padak (2019), EXIM Bank-Anyadin Humayun Ahmed Literary Award (2018), Bangla Academy Literary Award (1978), Jessore Sahitya Parishad Puraskar (1984), Bangladesh Lekhika Sangha Shwarna Padak (1985) and others.
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