25 November 1908|
Alphadanga, Jessore, Bangladesh
|Died||16 February 1990
Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
|Occupation||Playwright, writer, educationist, theatre director|
|Genre||play, short story, essay|
|Notable works||Nemesis · Rupantor|
|Notable awards||Bangla Academy Award (1961)
Ekushey Padak (1978)
|Spouse||Amena Momen (d. 1993)|
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. He is recognised as the pioneer of modern Bengali drama, "acting as a bridge between earlier and later playwrights in terms of content and style", and even referred to as the "Father of Bangladeshi theatre". The word 'Natyaguru' is a Bengali word. It literally means, "The grand teacher of Drama".
Early life and education
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. Alphadanga is now part of Faridpur. He went to primary school in Calcutta and was admitted in 1916 into Zila School in Khulna . At the age of ten he wrote his first poem, Shondhya (Evening), in the same verse as Tagore's Shonar Tory. In 1919 it was published in the then reputed journal Dhrubotara. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Teaching career and university life
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 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.
Direction on television and stage
|This section requires expansion. (August 2011)|
- 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
- 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
- London Probashe
- Forbidden Pleasures
- Andhokartai Alo (1964)
- Thik Cholar Poth (The right way to go:a symbolic costume-play for children)
|* এইটুকু এই জীবনটাতে||Eituku ei Jibontate|
|* যদি এমন হতো||Yadi Emon Hoto||1961|
|* ঠিক চলার পথ||Thik Cholar Poth|
|* Underneath the Law|
|* We are Brothers All|
|* Is Law An Ass|
|* At the Alter of the Law|
List of other works
|This section requires expansion. (August 2011)|
Momen received the following awards:
- Best New Playwright Award in Calcutta, 1954
- Bangla Academy Award in 1961
- Medjid Al Makky award in 1968
- Ekushey Padak in 1978
- Nasiruddin Gold medal in 1979
- Chader Haat Award in 1988 and
- TENASINAS award in 1989
- honoured at India-Pakistan cultural conference in New Delhi in 1963
- Chicago University's International Players' honour in 1964
- honoured by British theatre personalities in 1966
- honoured by drama group 'Theatre' in 1977
- Sitara-e-Imtiaz, 1967 (which he renounced and destroyed in 1971)
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.
On 25 November 2008, his birth centenary was celebrated at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). 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).
- Mahmud, Jamil (27 November 2008). "Birth centenary of Professor Nurul Momen". The Daily Star. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- Khan, Tamanna (3 December 2010). "A Pioneer of Modern Drama". Star Weekend Magazine. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
- Mahmud, Dr. Faisal (25 November 2010). "Natyaguru Nurul Momen (Part 1)". The New Nation. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
- Rubin, Don (1998). The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre: Asia. Taylor & Francis. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-415-05933-6.
- Bangla Natyashahitter Itihash,the most authoritative reference book on Bengali theater
- Chowdhury, Syed Tashfin (3 December 2010). "Father of Bangladeshi theatre". The Daily New Age.
- Mahmud, Dr.Faisal (9 December 2010). "Natyaguru Nurul Momen (Part 2)". The New Nation. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
- Mahmud, Jamil (24 November 2010). "Tribute to a Theatre Icon". The Daily Star. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
- Daily Star_24 Nov.2010: Tribute to a theatre icon; Nurul Momen birth anniversary celebration begins
- Daily Star_25 Nov.2008: Birth anniversary of Natyaguru Nurul Momen
- Daily Star_ 16 Feb.2008: 18th death anniversary of Nurul Momen
- Daily Star_ 2 Jun.2007: Homage to Nurul Momen
- Daily Star_ 25 Apr.2008:Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy's tribute to Nurul Momen
- ..displayed live performances, video installation and photographs at twelve pavilions, which were named in the memory of late theatre personalities of the country such as AKM Bazlul Karim, Moksud-us-Saleheen, Nurul Momen..
- in Bangalee Shamagra museum there are 60 portraits of celebrated Bangalees in different fields of the society