Humayun Azad

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Humayun Azad
Humaun Azad (1947-2004).jpg
Native name হুমায়ুন আজাদ
Born Mohammed Humayun Azad
(1947-04-28)28 April 1947
Rarhi Khal, Munshiganj District, British India (now Bangladesh)
Died 11 August 2004(2004-08-11) (aged 57)
Munich, Germany
Resting place Fuller Road, Dhaka University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Occupation Author, poet, scholar, linguists, critic, columnist
Language Bengali, English
Nationality Bangladeshi
Education BA (Bengali)
PhD (linguistics)
Alma mater University of Dhaka
University of Edinburgh
Genre anti-establishment
Notable works Shob Kichu Noshtoder Odhikare
Jabe Chappanno Hazar Borgomile
Notable awards Bangla Academy Award
Ekushey Padak
Spouse Latifa Kohinoor
Children Mouli Azad, Smrita Azad, Ananya Azad

Humayun Azad (Bengali: About this sound হুমায়ূন আজাদ ; 28 April 1947 – 11 August 2004) was a Bangladeshi author, poet, scholar and linguist. He wrote more than seventy titles. In 2012, the Government of Bangladesh honoured him with Ekushey Padak posthumously.[1]

Professional and literary life[edit]

Azad was born in the village of Rarhikhal, Munshiganj district. He earned BA degree in Bengali language and literature from University of Dhaka. He obtained his PhD in linguistics from the University of Edinburgh in 1976. He later served as a faculty member of the department of Bengali language and literature at the University of Dhaka. His early career produced works on Bengali linguistics, notably syntax. He is regarded as a leading linguist of the Bengali language.

Towards the end of the 1980s, he started to write newspaper column focusing on contemporary socio-political issues. His commentaries continued throughout the 1990s and were later published as books as they grew in numbers. Through his writings of the 1990s, he established himself as a freethinker and appeared to be an agnostic. In his works, he openly criticised religious extremism, as well as Islam, the major religion in Bangladesh.

In 1992 Azad published the first comprehensive feminist book in Bengali titled Naari (Woman). Largely akin to The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir in contents and ideas, Naari became a best-seller[citation needed] and earned Azad popularity as an author. In this work Azad painstakingly compiled the feminist ideas of the West that underlie the feminist contributions of the subcontinent's socio-political reformers and drew attention to the anti-women attitude of some acclaimed Bengali writers including Rabindranath Tagore.[citation needed] The work, critical of the patriarchal and male-chauvinistic attitude of religion towards women, attracted negative reaction from the conservatives. The Government of Bangladesh banned the book in 1995. The ban was eventually lifted in 2000, following a legal battle that Azad won in the High Court of the country.[citation needed]

Assassination attempt[edit]

Azad had been fearing for his life ever since excerpts of his new novel, Pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad (Pakistan's national anthem; Blessed be the Sacred Land) was first published in The Daily Ittefaq's Eid supplement in 2003. In that write-up, he tried to expose the politics and ideology of Islamic fundamentalists of Bangladesh. After that book had been published, he started receiving various threats from the fundamentalists. In an email to Mukto-mona, an independent website, where he was then a member, Azad wrote:

The Ittefaq published a novel by me named Pak Sar Jamin Saad Baad in its Eid issue in December 3. It deals with the condition of Bangladesh for the last two years. Now the (religious) fundamentalists are bringing out regular processions against me, demanding exemplary punishment. The attached two files with this letter will help you understand.[2][3]

—Humayun Azad

On 27 February 2004, he became the victim of a vicious assassination attempt by assailants near the campus of the University of Dhaka during the annual Bangla Academy book fair. A week prior to Azad's assault, Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, one of the renowned religious leaders of Bangladesh demanded, in the parliament, that Azad's political satire Pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad would be banned and demanded the introduction of the Blasphemy Act on the author.[2]

In 2006, the commander of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) admitted to the RAB interrogators that his operatives carried out the attacks on writer Azad and another faculty member of Rajshahi University in 2004.[4] The official position of Azad's attempt of assassination is still unidentified.


On 11 August 2004, Azad was found dead in his apartment in Munich, Germany, where he had arrived a week earlier to conduct research on the nineteenth century German romantic poet Heinrich Heine. His family demanded an investigation, alleging that the extremists who had attempted the earlier assassination had a role in this death.[5] He was buried in Rarhikhal, his village home in Bangladesh.

Literary achievements[edit]

The literary career of Azad started with poetry. However, his poems did not show any notable poetic fervour. On the other hand his literary essays, particularly those based on original research, carried significant value.

He earned a formidable reputation as a newspaper columnist towards the end of the 1980s. His articles were merciless attacks on social and political injustice, hypocrisy and corruption. He was uncowed in protesting military rule. His novel Chappanno Hazar Borgomile is a powerful novel written against military dictatorship. His collected his critical remarks in a book styled Humayun Azader Probochonguccho which is apparently an influence of Gustave Flaubert's Dictionary of Received Ideas .

Publication of Naari, a feminist work, earned him general popularity and paved way for establishing himself in the literary world of Bangladesh. He started to write novels in 1990s which sold well[according to whom?]. Azad's writings indicate his distaste for corrupt politicians, abusive military rulers and fundamentalist Islam.

Nevertheless, his prose shows a well-knit and compact style of his own. His formation of a sentence, choice of words and syntax are very characteristic of him. Although he often fell victim to the temptation of using fiction as a vehicle of conspicuous political and philosophical message, he distinguished himself with his unique style and diction.


Azad has received numerous awards; mainly for his all literature works.



  • Aloukik Ishtimar (1973) অলৌকিক ইষ্টিমার
  • Jolo Chitabagh (1980) জ্বলো চিতাবাঘ
  • Shob Kichu Noshtoder Odhikare Jabe (1985) সব কিছু নষ্টদের অধিকারে যাবে
  • Jotoi Gobhire Jai Modhu Jotoi Uporay Jai Neel (1987) যতোই গভীরে যাই মধু যতোই ওপরে যাই নীল
  • Ami Bachay Chilam Onnoder Shomoy (1990) আমি বেঁচেছিলাম অন্যদের সময়ে
  • Humayun Azader Shreshtho Kobita (1993) হুমায়ূন আজাদের শ্রেষ্ঠ কবিতা
  • Adhunik Bangla Kobita (1994) আধুনিক বাঙলা কবিতা
  • Kafone Mora Osrubindu (1998) কাফনে মোড়া অশ্রুবিন্দু
  • Kabya Shonggroho (1998) কাব্য সংগ্রহ
  • Peronor Kichhu Nei (2004) পেরোনোর কিছু নেই


  • Chappanno Hazar Borgomile (1994) ছাপ্পান্নো হাজার বর্গমাইল [Fifty-Six Thousand Square Miles] OCLC 60043495
  • Shob Kichu Bhenge Pore (1995) সব কিছু ভেঙে পড়ে ISBN 978-984-401-264-6
  • Manush Hishbe Amar Oporadhshomuho (1996) মানুষ হিসেবে আমার অপরাধসমূহ
  • Jadukorer Mrittu (1996) যাদুকরের মৃত্যু
  • Shuvobroto, Tar Shomporkito Shushomacher (1997) শুভব্রত, তার সম্পর্কিত সুসমাচার [Shuvobroto, and His Gospel]
  • Rajnitibidgon (1998) রাজনীতিবিদগণ
  • Kobi Othoba Dondito Aupurush (1999) কবি অথবা দন্ডিত অপুরুষ
  • Nijer Shongge Nijer Jiboner Modhu (2000) নিজের সঙ্গে নিজের জীবনের মধু
  • Fali Fali Ko're Kata Chand (2001) ফালি ফালি ক'রে কাটা চাঁদ
  • Uponnashshonggroho-Ak (2001) উপন্যাসসংগ্রহ-১ [Collection of Novels, Vol.1]
  • Sraboner Brishtite Roktojoba (2002) শ্রাবণের বৃষ্টিতে রক্তজবা
  • Uponnashshonggroho-Dui (2002) উপন্যাসসংগ্রহ-২ [Collection of Novels, Vol.2]
  • Dosh Hazar Abong Aro Akti Dhorshon (2003) ১০,০০০, এবং আরো একটি ধর্ষণ [10,000, And ! More Rape] ISBN 978-984-40-1731-3
  • Ekti Khuner svapna (2004) একটি খুনের স্বপ্ন
  • Pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad (2004) পাক সার জমিন সাদ বাদ [The Blessed Sacred Land]


  • Rabindraprobondho/Rashtro O Shomajchinta (1973) রবীন্দ্র প্রবন্ধ/রাষ্ট্র ও সমাজচিন্তা
  • Shamsur Rahman/Nishshonggo Sherpa (1983) শামসুর রাহমান/নিঃসঙ্গ শেরপা
  • Shilpokolar Bimanikikoron O Onnanno Probondho (1988) শিল্পকলার বিমানবিকীকরণ ও অন্যান্য প্রবন্ধ
  • Bhasha-Andolon:Shahittik Potobhumi (1990) ভাষা-আন্দোলন: সাহিত্যিক পটভূমি
  • Naree (1992) নারী (গ্রন্থ)|নারী; banned between 19 November 1995 and 7 March 2000
  • Protikkriashilotar Dirgho Chayar Niche (1992) প্রতিক্রিয়াশীলতার দীর্ঘ ছায়ার নিচে
  • Nibir Nilima (1992) নিবিড় নীলিমা
  • Matal Torony (1992) মাতাল তরণী
  • Norokay Anonto Hritu (1992) নরকে অনন্ত ঋতু
  • Jolpai Ronger Andhokar (1992) জলপাই রঙের অন্ধকার
  • Shimaboddhotar Shutro (1993) সীমাবদ্ধতার সূত্র
  • Adhar O Adhayo (1993) আধার ও আধেয়
  • Amar Abishshash (1997) আমার অবিশ্বাস
  • Parbotto Chattagram: Shobuj Paharer Bhetor Diye Probahito Hingshar Jhornadhara (1997) পার্বত্য চট্টগ্রাম: সবুজ পাহাড়ের ভেতর দিয়ে প্রবাহিত হিংসার ঝরনাধারা
  • Nirbachito Probondho (1999) নির্বাচিত প্রবন্ধ
  • Mohabishsho (2000) মহাবিশ্ব
  • Ditio Lingo (2001) দ্বিতীয় লিঙ্গ; translation of The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  • Amra Ki Ai Bangladesh Cheyechilam (2003) আমরা কি এই বাঙলাদেশ চেয়েছিলাম
  • Dhormanuvutir Upokotha (2004) ধর্মানভূতির উপকথা ও অন্যান্য
  • Amar Notun Jonmo (2005) আমার নতুন জন্ম ISBN 984-401-839-0
  • Amader Boimela (2006) আমাদের বইমেলা


  • Pronominalization in Bengali (1983)
  • Bangla Bhashar Shotrumitro (1983) বাঙলা ভাষার শত্রুমিত্র
  • Bakkototto (1984) বাক্যতত্ত্ব
  • Bangla Bhasha Vol. 1 (1985) বাঙলা ভাষা – প্রথম খন্ড
  • Tulonamulok O Oitihashik Bhashabiggan (1988) তুলনামূলক ও ঐতিহাসিক ভাষাবিজ্ঞান
  • Bangla Bhasha Vol. 2 (1994) বাঙলা ভাষা – দ্বিতীয় খন্ড
  • Arthobiggan (1999) অর্থবিজ্ঞান

Teenage literature[edit]

  • Lal Neel Dipaboli Ba Bangla Shahitter Jiboni (1976) লাল নীল দীপাবলি বা বাঙলা সাহিত্যের জীবনী
  • Fuler Gondhe Ghum Ashena (1985) ফুলের গন্ধে ঘুম আসেনা
  • Koto Nodi Shorobor Ba Bangla Bhashar Jiboni (1987) কতো নদী সরোবর বা বাঙলা ভাষার জীবনী ISBN 984-401-017-9
  • Abbuke Mone Pore (1989) আব্বুকে মনে পড়ে ISBN 984-401-555-3
  • Bukpokete Jonakipoka (1993) বুকপকেটে জোনাকিপোকা
  • Amader Shohoray Akdol Debdut (1996) আমাদের শহরে একদল দেবদূত
  • Andhokaray Gondhoraj (2003) অন্ধকারে গন্ধরাজ
  • Our Beautiful Bangladesh (2004)


  • Humayun Azader Probochonguccho (1992) হুমায়ুন আজাদের প্রবচনগুচ্ছ
  • Shakkhatkar (1994) সাক্ষাৎকার
  • Attotayider Shonge Kothopokothon (1995) আততায়ীদের সঙ্গে কথোপকথন
  • Bohumatrik Jotirmoy (1997) বহুমাত্রিক জ্যোতির্ময়
  • Rabindranath Thakurer Prothom Kobita (1997) রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুরের প্রধান কবিতা

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "15 personalities receive Ekushey Padak". 20 February 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Zaman, Mustafa; Hussain, Ahmede (1 September 2004). "A Truncated Life". The Daily Star. Archived from the original on 1 September 2004. Retrieved 18 September 2009. 
  3. ^ মুক্তমনা সম্পাদকের স্মৃতিতে হুমায়ুন আজাদ] [Humayun Azad Remembrance]. Mukto-mona (Blog). 13 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "JMB also killed writer of Tangail". The Daily Star. 5 June 2006. 
  5. ^ "Proper probe into death of Humayun Azad demanded". The Daily Star. 12 August 2009.