Nurul Momen

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নুরুল মোমেন
Nurul Momen
Born (1908-11-25)25 November 1908
Alphadanga, Jessore, Bangladesh
Died 16 February 1990(1990-02-16) (aged 81)
Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Occupation Playwright, writer, educationist, theatre director
Language Bengali, English
Nationality Bangladeshi
Ethnicity Bengali
Citizenship Bangladesh
Genre play, short story, essay
Notable works Nemesis · Rupantor
Notable awards Bangla Academy Award (1961)
Ekushey Padak (1978)
Spouse Amena Momen (d. 1993)
Children 4

Nurul Momen (Bengali: নুরুল মোমেন; 25 November 1908 – 16 February 1990), also known as Natyaguru (নাট্যগুরু), was a professor, educationist, pioneer playwright & director, actor, Belles letters writer, satirist, personal essayist, humorist, acclaimed orator, lawyer, broadcaster, philanthropist and essayist of Bangladesh.[1][2][3] He is recognised as the pioneer of modern Bengali drama,[4] "acting as a bridge between earlier and later playwrights in terms of content and style",[5] and even referred to as the "Father of Bangladeshi theatre".[6] The word 'Natyaguru' is a Bengali word. It literally means, "The grand teacher of Drama".


Early life and education[edit]

Nurul Momen was born on 25 November 1908, as son of Nurul Arefin, a physician and landlord in Alfadanga, at that time part of Jessore.[2] Alphadanga is now part of Faridpur. He went to primary school in Calcutta and was admitted in 1916 into Zila School in Khulna .[6] At the age of ten he wrote his first poem, Shondhya (Evening), in the same verse as Tagore's Shonar Tory.[2] In 1919 it was published in the then reputed journal Dhrubotara.[6] In 1920, he was enrolled in the Dhaka Muslim High School where he resided in the Dafrin Hostel. After matriculation in 1924 he studied at Dhaka Intermediate College. Passing intermediate, he enrolled for an BA at the newly established Dhaka University from 1926 on.

While he was residing at "Muslim Hall" of Dhaka University, the various halls staged the then new play Muktadhara by Rabindranath Tagore. After some initial resistance, Momen received the main role of "Botu". This ignited his passion for drama and even earned him the first prize, but it was also the first time that he performed as actor himself.[2][6]

After receiving his B.A. from Dhaka University in 1929, he studied law at the Department of Law, University of Calcutta. Upon completing his B.L. examinations in 1936 he started practising at the Calcutta High Court.[2]

Radio work[edit]

After the foundation of All India Radio in Dhaka, 1939, Momen picked up on the opportunity of the new medium and became its first Muslim author. In 1941 he wrote and directed the comedy Rupantor (Transformation) for the radio. With its progressive plot and a female main character it differed vastly form traditional Muslim plays and was actually the first modern drama of Bangladesh. Upon initiative of the critic, the poet and literary critic Mohitlal Majumder, the play was also published in the yearly Puja issue of the newspaper Anandabazar.[2][6]

While he was in London for higher studies from 1948 on, Nurul Momen and his friend Nazir Ahmed started a BBC Bengali program, a weekly one-hour format called Anjuman where Momen was responsible for the literary content.[2]

Teaching career and university life[edit]

Rather than continuing to practice law even before the partition of India, he joined the faculty of Law at the Dhaka University in 1945. There he was known for including elements from literature and music into the law classes[2] He encouraged Munier Chowdhury to get interested in theater and become a playwright. Nurul Momen encouraged him to read George Bernard Shaw and got many other students interested in theatre. He later translated You Never Can Tell. From 1948 until 1951 Natyaguru Nurul Momen was on leave from Dhaka University, undergoing higher studies in England and graduating in Law from London University.[6]

Direction on television and stage[edit]

Literary works[edit]

Timeline of Nurul Momen's Life (1908-1990)
view • discuss • edit
1900 —
1910 —
1920 —
1930 —
1940 —
1950 —
1960 —
1970 —
1980 —
1990 —
1908: born in Alfadanga, Jessore
1916: admitted into Khulna Zilla School
1990: dies at Gulshan, Dhaka
1926: enrolled for a B. A. at Dhaka University
1929: receives B.A. from Dhaka University | enrolled for B.L. at University of Calcutta
1941: writes and directs comedy Rupantor for newly founded radio All India Radio in Dhaka
1944: writes and performs Nemesis
1945: joins the faculty of Law at Dhaka University
1948: goes for higher studies at the University of London in England | starts a BBC Bengali program in London with his friend Nazir Ahmed
1954: receives the Best New Playwright Award in Calcutta
1961: Receives Bengali Academy Award, Delivers a 6-point demand to Pakistani regime upholding Bengali language & announces observation of birth centenary of Tagore on 21st February at Curzon Hall
1966: writes Thik Cholar Poth; a symbolic costume-play for children mimicking the autocracy of Ayub Khan
1967: protests against the Pakistan government’s directive to ban Tagore Songs on Radio and TV
1978: receives Ekushey Padak for his contribution to literature
1979: receives Nasiruddin Gold Medal
1988: receives Chader Haat Award
1989: receives TENASHINAS Award
1963: appointed as the Dean of Law Faculty at Dhaka University
1964: writes play Andhokartai Alo for the newly founded Dhaka TV
1936: receives B.L. from the University of Calcutta | starts practicing Law at the Calcutta High Court
1920: enrolled in the Dhaka Muslim High School
1924: passes in matriculation exam from the Dhaka Muslim High School | enrolled in Dhaka Intermediate College
  • Rupantor (Written, performed & broadcast in 1941. Published in Anandabzar Pooja Special in 1943. Published as a book in August 1948; pages 85; publisher: Sheikh Brothers, Dhaka)
  • Nemesis (a play with only one character, written in November 1944; performed by Nurul Momen & published in Shonibarer Chithi in 1945. Published as a book in August 1948; pages 64+7; publisher: Momen Publishing House, Dhaka; cover by Nurul Momen)
  • Yadi Emon Hoto (July 1961; pages 155+28; Momen Publishing House, Dhaka)
  • Naya Khandan (Written in September 1961. Published in 1962; pages 74+9; publisher: Bangla Academy, Dhaka; cover by Quamrul Hassan)
  • Alochhaya (Written in June 1962. Published in October 1962; pages 73+7; publisher: Momen Publishing House, Dhaka; cover by Hammad Nurul Momen)
  • Shatkara Ashi
  • Ainer Antorale
  • Rupolekha
  • Bhai Bhai Shobai (a play with only male characters)
  • Eituku ei Jibontate (a play with only female characters)
  • Underneath the Law
  • We are Brothers All
  • Is Law An Ass
  • At the Altar of the Law
  • Jeman Ichchha Temon
  • Adikkheta
  • London Probashe
  • Ha-jo-bo-ro-la
  • Forbidden Pleasures
  • Andhokartai Alo (1964)
  • Thik Cholar Poth (The right way to go:a symbolic costume-play for children)



List of other works[edit]


Momen received the following awards:

Private life[edit]

Nurul Momen married Amena Momen (died 1993). They had four children, Momena Momen Saara (died 1995), Ahmad Nurul Momen (died 2009), Hammad Nurul Momen and Faisal Mahmud Nurul Momen, as well as ten grandchildren.

Posthumous events[edit]

On 25 November 2008, his birth centenary was celebrated at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA).[1] His 102nd birthday was celebrated in November 2010 with a week-long festival, organised again by the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy together with the Aurony Mohona International Foundation (AMIF).[6][8]


  1. ^ a b Mahmud, Jamil (27 November 2008). "Birth centenary of Professor Nurul Momen". The Daily Star. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Khan, Tamanna (3 December 2010). "A Pioneer of Modern Drama". Star Weekend Magazine. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Mahmud, Dr. Faisal (25 November 2010). "Natyaguru Nurul Momen (Part 1)". The New Nation. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Rubin, Don (1998). The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre: Asia. Taylor & Francis. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-415-05933-6. 
  5. ^ Bangla Natyashahitter Itihash,the most authoritative reference book on Bengali theater
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Chowdhury, Syed Tashfin (3 December 2010). "Father of Bangladeshi theatre". The Daily New Age. 
  7. ^ Mahmud, Dr.Faisal (9 December 2010). "Natyaguru Nurul Momen (Part 2)". The New Nation. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  8. ^ Mahmud, Jamil (24 November 2010). "Tribute to a Theatre Icon". The Daily Star. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 

External links[edit]