Farhad Mazhar

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Farhad Mazhar
Native name ফরহাদ মজহার
Born (1947-08-09) August 9, 1947 (age 70)
Noakhali, Bengal Presidency, British India (now in Bangladesh)
Occupation Poet, columnist, activist
Language Bengali
Nationality Bangladeshi
Alma mater University of Dhaka
The New School

Farhad Mazhar (Bengali: ফরহাদ মজহার; born 9 August 1947) is a Bangladeshi poet, writer, columnist, pharmacist, social and human rights activist, and environmentalist.[1][2][3] He is one of the founders and the managing director of UBINIG.


Mazhar graduated with honours in pharmacy from the University of Dhaka in 1967 and worked as a pharmacist in New York in the seventies and eighties. He also studied political economy in The New School for Social Research. He is the founding member and managing director of UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative), a policy research and advocacy group in Bangladesh working as an integral part of the community with the grassroots people to strengthen common resistance against the dominant processes of globalisation as well as creating space for strategic negotiations whenever possible.[4] [5]

Since the early days of his intellectual career, Farhad Mazhar has always been committed to Karl Marx, particularly because of his analysis of capital and the formation of revolutionary subjects. His recent intellectual contribution is more concerned with the critical understanding of religion, spirituality and the question of class narratives in a post-colonial society.[6] He is virulently critical of the vulgar materialist reduction of Marx's contribution as well as the teachings of his revolutionary followers by the conventional left in Bangladesh. Mazhar argues for a new politics which is more informed by the experience of the failure of previous socialist projects and the recent developments in philosophy and politics. Beside being an accomplished poet, he is considered as the major radical thinker in Bangladesh.

After Mazhar had been arrested in 1995, Nadine Gordimer, Jacques Derrida and Mahasweta Devi wrote a letter in New York Times saying, "We join our voices to theirs in demanding the immediate release of Farhad Mazhar and restoration of full citizen's rights, including due process."[3]

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak mentioned him in her lecture "Many Voices" while receiving the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy in 2012 saying, "The poet Farhad Mazhar, with whom I had formed a friendship in the seventies, introduced me to the practitioners at the devotional school of Lalan Shah Fakir, a 19th century grassroots theologian and minstrel composer of amazing depth and invention...Farhad has recently reminded me that I had counseled him to sink himself in Lalan. Yet I think of Lalan as his gift to me."[7]

Following the 2013 Motijheel Shootings, Mazhar was one of the few public intellectuals within Bangladesh to challenge the government's disinformation campaign.[8] and the liberal logic of massacre.[9] William Gomes has recently compared Farhad Mazhar with Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and said, "Farhad Mazhar, who has continuously battled against the current fascistic regime with tolerates no dissent and demands absolute loyalty from the local press corps. He very recently stand alone against the covered-up massacre in Dhaka, where unarmed protesters were allegedly extrajudicially killed by the law enforcement agencies as they meditated and slept in the early hours on May 6th under cover of darkness."[10][11]


He has been called a pro-Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami intellectual. Salimullah Khan criticized him for inciting violence before and after Bangladeshi general election, 2014.[12][13]


Mazhar was found on a bus after his family had reported him missing. He sparked a police hunt after leaving his Dhaka home on Monday morning. There were reports of a ransom demand. Police said Mr Mazhar was eventually found on a bus travelling to the capital from the south-western city of Khulna. It is unclear if he had been abducted.[14]



  • Prastab (Proposal, 1976)
  • Sashastra Ganaabhyutthan Ebang Ganatantrik Rashtrer Utthan Prasange (On Armed Mass Revolt and the Rise of Democratic State, 1985)
  • Rajkumari Hasina (Princess Hasina, 1995)
  • Sainjir Dainya Gan (2000)
  • Jagadish (2002)
  • Samna Samni: Farhad Mazharer Sange Kathabarta (2004)
  • Banijya O Bangladesher Janagan (2004)
  • Mokabila (2006)
  • Ganapratiraksha (2006)
  • Kshamatar Bikar O Ganashaktir Udbodhan (2007)
  • Purushtantra O Nari (2008)
  • Bhabandolan (2008)
  • Samrajyabad (Imperialism, 2008)
  • Rakter Dag Muchhe Rabindrapath (2008)
  • Sambidhan O Ganatantra (Constitution and Democracy, 2008)
  • Nirbachita Prabandha (Selected Essays, 2008)
  • Crossfire: Rashtrer Rajnaitik Hatyakanda (Crossfire: Political Carnage by the State, 2008)
  • Timir Janya Logicbidya (2011)
  • Pran O Prakriti (Life and Nature, 2011)
  • Marx Pather Bhoomika (An Introduction to the Study of Marx, 2011)
  • Jaruri Abastha: Rashtra O Rajneeti (2012)
  • Digital Fascibad (Digital Fascism, 2012)
  • Yuddha Aro Kathin Aro Gabheer (2014)
  • Byakti Bandhutwa O Sahitya (2016)


  • Khokan Ebang Tar Pratipurush (The Dear Boy and His Representative, 1972)
  • Tribhanger Tinti Jyamiti (Three Geometries of the Ill-shaped Man, 1977)
  • Amake Tumi Danr Kariye Diyechho Biplaber Samne (You Have Pushed Me Towards Revolution, 1983)
  • Lieutenant General Truck (1984)
  • Subhakusum Dui Pharma (1985)
  • Briksha (The Tree, 1985)
  • Akasmat Raptanimukhi Narimachine (1985)
  • Khasra Gadya (1987)
  • Meghmachiner Sangeet (1988)
  • Asamayer Noteboi (1994)
  • Daradi Bakul (1994)
  • Gubre Pokar Shwashur (2000)
  • Kabitar Boner Sange Abar (2003)
  • Cameragiri (2010)
  • Shreshtha Kabita (2010)
  • Ebadatnama (2011)
  • E Samayer Kabita (2011)
  • Je Tumi Rang Dekhoni (2011)
  • Kabitasangraha (2011)
  • Tumi Chhara Ar Kon Shalare Ami Care Kari (2016)
  • Sadaruddin (2018)


  • Prajapatir Leelalasya (1972)



  1. ^ "'Missing' Bangladeshi activist found". BBC News. 2017-07-03. Retrieved 2018-04-06. 
  2. ^ Safi, Michael (2017-07-12). "Bangladesh's disappeared: activist found on bus claims he was latest target". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-06. 
  3. ^ a b Gordimer, Nadine; Devi, Mahasweta; Derrida, Jacques (25 August 1995). "Bangladesh Jails Writer Without Charges". The New York Times (Letter to the editor). 
  4. ^ http://www.southsouthforum.org/eng/?page_id=922
  5. ^ Mazhar, Farhad. "Let us celebrate Chaitra Sangkranti". Chintaa: Constituting The Post-Imperial Global Community. 
  6. ^ Mazhar, Farhad. "Perspectives: Why We Need Bhashani Now?". Law at the Margins. 
  7. ^ Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. ""Many Voices"". Kyoto Prize. 
  8. ^ "Bangladesh: Who told you that the revolution would be televised?". Ceasefire. 13 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Mazhar, Farhad (9 May 2013). "Media manipulation and Motijheel mayhem". New Age. Dhaka. 
  10. ^ Gomes, William Nicholas (22 November 2013). "Repetitive Election Paralysis Syndrome and the Struggle for Meaningful Democracy in Bangladesh". Huffington Post (Blog). Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Gomes, William. "The struggle for meaningful democracy in Bangladesh". Tehelka (Blog). Archived from the original on 22 November 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Rana, Masud (23 November 2013). "ফরহাদ মজহার ও সলিমুল্লাহ খানঃ কুযুক্তির উপাখ্যান". portal.ukbengali.com (in Bengali). Retrieved 2018-04-04. 
  13. ^ Khan, Salimullah (5 November 2013). "ফরহাদ মজহারের বোমা অথবা রেটরিক প্রসঙ্গে". bangla.bdnews24.com. Retrieved 7 April 2018. 
  14. ^ "Farhad Mazhar: Bangladeshi human rights campaigner found on bus". BBC News. 2017-07-03. Retrieved 2018-04-30. 

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