Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury

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Abdul Gaffar Choudhury
আবদুল গাফফার চৌধুরী
Born(1934-12-12)12 December 1934
Died19 May 2022(2022-05-19) (aged 87)
NationalityBangladeshi citizenship
CitizenshipBritish citizenship
Alma materUniversity of Dhaka
OccupationWriter, journalist, columnist, political analyst, poet
Spouse
Selima Afroz Choudhury
(m. 1956; died 2012)
Children5
Parents
  • Haji Wahed Reza Choudhury (father)
  • Zohra Khatun Choudhury (mother)
RelativesAsad Chowdhury
Awards

Abdul Gaffar Choudhury (12 December 1934 – 19 May 2022)[1] was a Bangladeshi-born British writer, journalist, columnist, political analyst and poet. He wrote the lyrics to "Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano", a widely celebrated song commemorating the Bengali Language Movement. He was awarded Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1967, Ekushey Padak in 1983, and Independence Day Award in 2009.

Early life and family[edit]

Choudhury was born on 12 December 1934, to an aristocratic Bengali Muslim family known as the Zamindars of Ulania in Mehendiganj, then located under the Backergunge District of the Bengal Province.[2] His ancestor, Shaykh Muhammad Asad Ali, arrived migrated from Persia to Ayodhya, later settling in the Bengali city of Murshidabad.[3] Ali's great great great grandson Muhammad Hanif served as a military commander under Shaista Khan, the Mughal governor of Bengal. He was noted to have contributed to the suppression of Arakanese and Portuguese pirates in the Bay of Bengal.[4] Hanif then entered the greater Barisal region where he served as the Jamadar of the Sangram Fort in Govindapur and settled in the village of Tetulia, Hizla. The family were later endowed the title of Choudhury, and from his descendants, Muhammad Taqi migrated from the Tetulia Jamadar Bari to the village of Ulania. His son, Naya Raja, was Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury's great grandfather. Naya Raja and his two brothers, Hasan Raja and Kala Raja, became notable as traders of areca nut, salt and rice, and built strong relationships with the Marwari merchants of Calcutta during the Company Raj. The three brothers established the ports of Lalganj, Aliganj and Kaliganj, and with their amassed wealth, established the zamindari of Idilpur.[5]

Choudhury's father, Wahed Reza Choudhury, son of Fazel Ali, was a landlord and freedom fighter. He was the president of Congress's Bakarganj branch and a member of the All-India Congress Working Committee. His father also served as secretary to Motilal Nehru and was imprisoned in the 1942 August Movement. Choudhury's mother was Zohra Khatun.[6][7] Choudhury had three brothers and five sisters, Ali Reza Choudhury (Mehdi) his younger brother, Hossain Reja Choudhury his elder brother. His sisters' names are; Manik Bibi Choudhury, Laili Khatun Choudhury, Saleha Khatun Choudhury, Masuma Begum Choudhury and his younger sister Fazilatun Nesa Choudhury.

Education[edit]

He graduated from the University of Dhaka in 1959 and came to England on 5 October 1974.[6][7]

Career[edit]

Before moving to the United Kingdom, Choudhury worked as a journalist in different national newspapers in Dhaka. During the 1971 Bangladeshi Liberation War, he worked for Joy Bangla, Jugantar and Anandabazar Patrika.[6][7]

He is perhaps best known for writing the lyrics to "Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano" which is recognised as the most influential song of Bengali Language Movement and was initially set to music by him. Later, however, Altaf Mahmud's composed music and adapted the song. It has been regarded by listeners of BBC Bengali Service as the third best song in Bengali.[6][7][8]

In the UK, Choudhury founded the newspaper Notun Din. He had written 35 five books. He lived in London from where he regularly wrote columns in national Bangladeshi dailies, in Bengali newspapers of the Bangladeshi community and in a daily paper in Kolkata.[6][7]

Some of his notable works are "Dan Pithe Shawkat", "Chandrodwiper Upakhyan", "Nam Na Jana Bhore", "Nil Jamuna", "Shesh Rajanir Chand", "Polashi Thekey Dhanmondi", "Bastobotar Nirikhey" and others.[9][10]

Choudhury had produced a film on the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called Polashi theke Dhanmondi.[6][7] It was reported in 2008, that he was due to produce the film The Poet of Politics about the life of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[11][12]

Awards[edit]

Choudhury has received numerous awards including Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1967, Ekushey Padak, UNESCO literary Award, Bangabandhu Award, Shanghati Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, Sadhinota Padak in 2009. In the same year, The Daily Ittefaq honoured him with Manik Miah Padak.[6][7][9][10] In 2014, he was awarded the PIB-Sohel Samad Memorial Award.[13][14]

Choudhury was a freeman of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Personal life[edit]

Choudhury came to the United Kingdom for the treatment of his wife and could not return to Bangladesh for 22 years after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[6][7] On 18 December 2012, Choudhury's wife Selima Choudhury died in London. They had one son and four daughters.[15] Their son, Anupam, works for Reuters, and their four daughters are Tanima, Chinmoyee, Binita and Indira.[6][7]

Death[edit]

Choudhury died at the age of 87 of a cardiac arrest at a hospital in London.[16]

Works[edit]

Year Title
1958 Dan Pithe Shawkat (Sawkat, The Daring Kid)
1960 Chandrodwiper Upakhyan (The Tale of Chandradwip)
1962 Nam Na Jana Bhore (The Nameless Dawn)
1964 Nil Jamuna (The Blue Jamuna)
1967 Shesh Ratrir Chand (The Late Night Moon)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alamgir, Mohiuddin (20 May 2022). "The man behind the iconic song". The Daily Star. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Abdul Gaffar Choudhury- An Expatriate Bangladeshi Writer". Sahos. Bangladesh. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  3. ^ "উলানিয়া জমিদার বাড়ি - বরিশাল জেলা তথ্য বাতায়ন" (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  4. ^ Bulbul, Sayful Ahsan (2012). "উলানিয়া চৌধুরীবাড়ি, মেহেন্দিগঞ্জ" [Ulania Choudhury Bari, Mehendiganj]. বৃহত্তর বরিশালের ঐতিহাসিক নিদর্শন [Historical signs of greater Barisal]. Dhaka: Gatidhara.
  5. ^ Ahmed, Siraj Uddin (2010). "উলানিয়ার চৌধুরী পরিবার" [The Chowdhury family of Ulania]. বরিশাল বিভাগের ইতিহাস [History of the Barisal Division]. Vol. 1. Dhaka: Bhaskar Prakashani.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Karim, Mohammed Abdul; Karim, Shahadoth (October 2010). British Bangladeshi Who's Who (PDF). British Bangla Media Group. p. 36. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Karim, Mohammed Abdul; Karim, Shahadoth (October 2011). British Bangladeshi Who's Who (PDF). British Bangla Media Group. p. 36. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  8. ^ Mallick, Sadya Afreen (21 March 2014). "Spirit of Ekushey". The Daily Star. Dhaka. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Birthday Celebrations for Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury today at Bangla Academy". The Daily Observer. Dhaka. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  10. ^ a b Mukul, Manzurul Alam (12 December 2014). "Gaffar Chowdhury's birthday today". RisingBD.com. Dhaka. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  11. ^ "Amitabh Bachchan to play Bangladesh founder". Hindustan Times. India. 3 May 2008. Archived from the original on 26 March 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Big B to play Bangladesh's founder Sheikh Mujib in new movie". The Economic Times. India. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  13. ^ "Language Movement hero Gaffar Chowdhury gets PIB award". Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha. 23 October 2014. Archived from the original on 10 January 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury gets Samad Memorial Award". Dhaka Tribune. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  15. ^ Pasha, Syed Nahar (19 December 2012). "Abdul Gaffar's wife Selima dies". Bdnews24.com. Dhaka. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  16. ^ "Veteran journalist Abdul Gaffar Choudhury passes away". www.dhakatribune.com. 19 May 2022. Retrieved 19 May 2022.

External links[edit]