Nurul Momen

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Nurul Momen
Native name নুরুল মোমেন
Born (1908-11-25)25 November 1908
Alphadanga, Jessore, Bangladesh
Died 16 February 1990(1990-02-16) (aged 81)
Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Nationality Bangladeshi
Ethnicity Bengali
Alma mater University of Dhaka
University of Calcutta
University of London
Occupation Playwright, writer, educationist, theatre director
Spouse(s) Amena Momen (d. 1993)
Children 4
Awards Bangla Academy Award (1961)
Ekushey Padak (1978)

Nurul Momen (25 November 1908 – 16 February 1990) was a Bangladeshi playwright, educator, director, broadcast & television personality, orator, intellectual, poet, and translator.[1][2][3] He served as a faculty member in the capacities of Professor and Dean at the faculty of Law in the University of Dhaka. He also served as a lawyer. He is called "Father of Bangladeshi theatre" and "Natyaguru".[1] 'Natyaguru' is a Bangla word. Roughly translated it carries the meaning, something like, " The grand teacher of Drama & Theatre".

Early life and education[edit]

Momen was born on 25 November 1908. His father was Nurul Arefin, a physician and Zamindar (Land Lord) in Alfadanga, Jessore. He went to primary school in Calcutta and was admitted in 1916 into Khulna Zila School. 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 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 a BA at the newly established Dhaka University on 1926.

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 practicing at the Calcutta High Court.


Radio work[edit]

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[edit]

Rather than continuing to practice law even before the partition of India, Momen joined the faculty of Law at the Dhaka University in 1945.[4] 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. 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 Momen was on leave from the university, undergoing higher studies in England and graduating in Law from London University.

Literary works[edit]

  • Rupantor
  • Nemesis
  • Yadi Emon Hoto (1961)
  • Naya Khandan (1961)
  • Alochhaya (1962)
  • Shatkara Ashi
  • Ainer Antorale
  • Rupolekha
  • Bhai Bhai Shobai
  • Eituku ei Jibontate
  • Underneath the Law
  • We are Brothers All
  • Is Law An Ass
  • At the Altar of the Law
  • Jeman Ichchha Temon
  • Adikkheta
  • London Probashe
  • Ha-jo-bo-ro-la
  • Forbidden Pleasures
  • Andhokartai Alo (1964)
  • Thik Cholar Poth
  • Eituku ei Jibontate
  • Yadi Emon Hoto (1961)
  • Thik Cholar Poth
  • Underneath the Law
  • We are Brothers All
  • Is Law An Ass
  • At the Alter of the Law
  • As You Like It


  • Best New Playwright Award in Calcutta, 1954
  • Bangla Academy Award in 1961[4]
  • Medjid Al Makky award in 1968
  • Ekushey Padak in 1978[4]
  • 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[4]
  • honoured by British theatre personalities in 1966[4]
  • honoured by drama group 'Theatre' in 1977[4]
  • Sitara-e-Imtiaz, 1967 (which he renounced and destroyed in 1971)[5]

Personal life[edit]

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.


On 25 November 2008, his birth centenary was celebrated at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA).[1] His 102nd birthday was celebrated in November 2010 with a week-long festival, organized again by the BSA together with the Aurony Mohona International Foundation (AMIF).[6]


Website =


  1. ^ a b c Mahmud, Jamil (27 November 2008). "Birth centenary of Professor Nurul Momen". The Daily Star. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Rubin, Don (1998). The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre: Asia. Taylor & Francis. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-415-05933-6. 
  3. ^ Bangla Natyashahitter Itihash, the most authoritative reference book on Bengali theater
  4. ^ a b c d e f Mahmud, Faisal (2012). "Momen, Nurul". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  5. ^ Mahmud, Dr.Faisal (9 December 2010). "Natyaguru Nurul Momen (Part 2)". The New Nation. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  6. ^ Mahmud, Jamil (24 November 2010). "Tribute to a Theatre Icon". The Daily Star. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 

External links[edit]