Mohammad Rafiq (Bangladesh poet)
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Baitpur, Bagerhat, British India
Rafiq was born in 1943 in the village of Baitpur, Bagerhat, Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). In his youth, his country was going through a political instability. During his student life at Dhaka University he was a political activist and was arrested and jailed twice. Pakistani martial law court sentenced him ten years of hard labour. He later was released earlier to complete his university studies. During the War of Independence of Bangladesh Mohammad Rafiq served as a Sector-1 commander and motivated the freedom fighters. Later he worked with the famous Radio station of Independent Bengal (স্বাধীন বাংলা বেতার কেন্দ্র).
Bangladesh and autocratic regime
"Through Mohammad Rafiq's dozen volumes of poetry, Bengali readers have witnessed not only the evolution of a distinctive personal vision and style but also a reflection of the changing fortunes of a homeland—all against a backdrop of folk tradition (a typically Bengali mix of Hindu and Muslim lore) and timeless images of water and sky, sun and rain, clouds and dust. This is not to say that Rafiq's poems tend to be predominantly "political" (other poets of Bangladesh more regularly respond to specific events and issues). Rather, an awareness Bangladesh's freedom struggle, the time of idealism and hope after independence, and the long dark period of military rule after the assassination of the new nation’s first democratically elected leader, Sheikh Mujib Rahman, should help readers from less turbulent parts of the world understand the potentially explosive impact of a particular literary work and the extraordinary risks that a writer may take in writing and publishing it. When Hossain Muhammad Ershad—a dictator who fancied himself a poet—seized power in 1982, the people of Bangladesh had to endure crushing repression from his regime and from the growing forces of communalism."
During the dictatorship of Hossain Muhammad Ershad, Rafiq wrote Khola Kabita (Open Poem) and it was published as a leaflet and was circulated throughout the country. It was the first voice raised against the unlawful military autocracy. It become very popular among the student activists and they performed the poem as drama and song. Later on, he was summoned and interrogated before a military board of inquiry. A warrant for arresting him was also issued. By this time, Mohammad Rafiq escaped and began to live in hiding.
Teaching career and his awards
Mohammad Rafiq worked as a teacher at Chittagong Government College and at Dhaka College. After working in the Department of English, Jahangirnagar University for three decades, Mohammad Rafiq retired in 2009.
He received Alaol Literary Award in 1981 and Bangla Academy Awardin 1987. In 2010 he won the prestigious "Ekushey Podok."
Influence on later poets
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- 1981: Alaol Literary Award
- 1987: Bangla Academy Award
- 2010: Ekushey Podok
- 1970: Boishakhi Purnima (বৈশাখী পূর্নিমা)
- 1976: Dhulor Shonshare Ei Mati (ধুলার সংসারে এই মাটি)
- 1979: Kirtinasha (কীর্তিনাশা)
- 1983: Khola Kobita (খোলা কবিতা)
- 1983: Kapila (কপিলা)
- 1986: Gaodiya (গদ্য)
- 1988: Shodeshi Nishshash Tumi Moy (স্বদেশী নিঃশ্বাস তুমি ময়)
- 1991: Meghay Ebong Kadai (মেঘে এবং কাদায়)
- Mohammad Rafiq by Carolyn B. Brown - http://www.uiowa.edu/~iwp/91st/may2005/rafiq/rafiq.html