The 84th birth anniversary of late iconic poet Al Mahmud, who developed a unique style through spontaneous presentation of traditional culture in diction, will be celebrated today in an informal way.
Admirers and well-wishers of Al Mahmud, along with renowned poet Asad Chowdhury, will place floral wreaths on Al Mahmud’s grave in Brahmanbaria in the morning today. Besides, a few manuscripts of the poet will be unveiled.
‘Today people from all walks of life, along with poet Asad Chowdhury, will place floral wreaths on Al Mahmud’s grave in the morning. The last five manuscripts of Al Mahmud along with an autobiographical book about him will be unveiled today. The books have been published from Saralrekha Publication,’ Abid Azam, a close aide of Al Mahmud, told New Age.
Al Mahmud was born in 1936 in the village of Morail in Brahmanbaria district. His family name was Mir Abdus Shakur Al Mahmud. He started writing poems as Al Mahmud at his teen age. There was not much opportunity for formal education in his life. He became interested in literary works by reading medieval romances, Baishnab Padabali, Rabindranath and Nazrul. He started his career as a proof reader in the daily Millat. Besides, he continued to write in various literary magazines.
His first collection of poems Lok Lokantar (1963) brought him to the forefront of modern Bengali poets. Among his 26 collections of poems including Kaler Kalash (1966), Sonali Kabin (1973), Mayabi Parda Dule Otho (1976) made his place in Bengali poetry inevitable and mature. Then he wrote poems like Arabya Rajanir Rajhans, Bakhtiyarer Ghora etc. Notable among his story books are Pankaurir Rakta, Saurabher Kachhe Parajita, Gandha Banik, Mayurir Mukh etc. And the novels include Kobi O Kolahol, Upamahadesh, Bichurna Aynay Kabir Mukh, Trishira, etc. Al Mahmud’s best poems, best stories and best novels have also been published in separate volumes.
A language movement veteran, Mahmud fled his home and came to Dhaka in 1954. He subsequently began working as a journalist with the Dainik Millat and weekly magazine Kafela.
Mahmud’s unique skill of presenting the nature and emotion of the ordinary people in his poems, published in several magazines including the famous Kabita, edited by Buddhadev Bose, gave him recognition in literary circles in Dhaka and Kolkata in the late 1950s.
Al Mahmud’s collection of Bangla sonnets Sonali Kabin (1973), which he dedicated to his peer poet Shamsur Rahman, is regarded to be the poet’s magnum opus.
The title of the collection symbolically represents the poet’s bond with the land. And the sonnets feature patriotism, rustic life, rivers, villages, human relationship, romance, affection, love and struggles as dominant themes.
In 1968, he received Bangla Academy Award. Besides, for his outstanding contribution in Bengali literature he received Joy Bangla Award (1972), Humayun Kabir Memorial Award (1972), Jivanananda Memorial Award (1972), Kaji Motaher Hossain Literary Award (1976), Kabi Jasim Uddin Award, Philips Literary Award (1986), Ekushey Padak (1986), Nasir Uddin Gold Award (1990) and Lalon Award (2011)
Al Mahmud joined Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in 1975 as assistant director at research and publication department. In 1993, he retired from the academy as the director of the department.
Al Mahmud died aged 82 on February 15, 2019 while undergoing treatment in the capital’s Ibn Sina Hospital.
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