Altaf Mahmud (Bengali: আলতাফ মাহমুদ; December 23, 1933 – September 1971) was a musician, cultural activist, and martyred freedom fighter of the Bangladesh Liberation War. He was also a language activist of the Language Movement and composer of Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano – the famous song written to commemorate of the event.
Altaf Mahmud was born in Patarchar village of Muladi Thana under Barisal district. He finished his matriculation from Barisal Zilla School. Mahmud then got admitted to BM College before he went to Kolkata to learn painting at the Calcutta Arts School. Mahmud started singing from very early in his life while he was a school boy. He first learnt music from famous violin player Suren Roy. He learnt to sing gana sangit (people’s song) which gave him popularity during that time.
Altaf Mahmud came to Dhaka in 1950 and joined in Dhumketu Shilpi Shongho. Later he became the music director of the institution. In 1956, Mahmud was invited to Vienna Peace Conference. But he was unable to attend as his passport was confiscated by the government at Karachi. There he stayed until 1963 and took talim of classical music to Ustad Abdul Kader Khan. He also associated dance director Ghanashyam and music director Debu Bhattacharya. After Coming back from Karachi to Dhaka to Dhaka, Mahmud worked in 19 different films. Along with famous Jibon Theke Neya, he also worked in films like Kaise Kahu, Kar Bau, Tanha etc. He also remained associated with politics and different cultural organizations. Despite his talent in music, Mahmud was also fluent in painting.
Language Movement and Liberation War
During 1950 he sang gonoshongit in many places to inspire the activists of language movement. Along with his singing Mahmud continued to support the movement. He tuned the song Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano in 1969, in Zahir Raihan’s film Jibon Theke Neya. Altaf Mahmud took part in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. He created a secret camp inside his house for the freedom fighters. But as the secret revealed, Pakistan Army caught him on August 30, 1971. He was tortured by them. A lot of other guerrilla war fighters like Shafi Imam Rumi were also captured by the Pak Army on that day. Along with most of them he was lost ever since. His patriotic songs which were then broadcast at the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra also inspired the war fighters at that time.
- Altaf Mahmud was awarded Ekushey Padak in 1977. He was awarded the award for his contribution for the Bengali culture and in Bangladesh Liberation War.
- In 2004, he was awarded an Independence Day Award for his special contribution to Bengali culture.
Verdict for killing Altaf Mahmud
On July 18, 2013 Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed was found guilty and received life sentence on the charge related to the killing of Rumi along with Badi, Jewel, Azad and Altaf Mahmud at the army camp set up in Nakhalpara, Dhaka, during the Liberation War.
- Mobarak Hossain Khan. "Mahmud, Altaf". In Sirajul Islam. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
- Imam, Jahanara “Ekattorer Dinguli’’, Shondhani Prokashoni, pp. 187-189 ISBN 984-480-000-5
- Ahmed, Monwar, Bhasha Andoloner Pramanno Dolil, Agamee Prokashani, pp.111
- Khan, Tamanna (18 July 2013). "They now can rest in peace". The Daily Star. Retrieved 29 December 2013.