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19 May, 2017 12:34:27 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 May, 2017 06:10:14 PM
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Hasnat Abdul Hye: A writer with a commitment

Hasnat Abdul Hye is a leading writer of fiction and travel books in Bangladesh. He was awarded Bangla Academy Prize for short story. He received the national award "Ekushey Padak" for his contribution to literature. His novel "Sultan" was nominated for the Irish "Impact Award" in 1997
Saidur Rahman
Hasnat Abdul Hye: A writer with a commitment
Hasnat Abdul Hye

Holding of high government position or bureaucratic assignment is no impediment to creative writing. It has been amply proved in different times. What really matters is the inner urge for creativity. As a woman in labour pain gets relieved after the delivery of a baby, so does a writer feel relieved after creating something. He or she finds solace in the creative writings. For ages, poets, novelists, playwrights, short-story writers and lyricists strove to create things that would be presentable to readers.    

Hasnat Abdul Hye, a short-story writer, novelist, poet, playwright, essayist and travel writer, is celebrating his 80th birthday today. In a country where adulteration of food items, air pollution, environmental pollution, traffic jam and a number of other ills that confront the everyday life, living 80 years is a remarkable event. 
Rabindranath Tagore lived 80 years. During his life-time Tagore enriched Bengali literature immensely by exploring its different branches. The vast literary outputs like poetry, short stories, novels, essays, songs, plays, dance dramas, travel writings and memoirs have made him immortal. Kazi Nazrul Islam, the National Poet of Bangladesh, enriched Bengali literature through his contributions. But his creative life was cut short by incurable illness.  The literary giant Nirad C. Chaudhuri crossed century. He died in England at the age of one hundred one. Chaudhuri started writing at the age of 50 and continued writing till the final phase of his life. 
He had an encyclopedic range of knowledge. His books ran edition after edition. Eminent writers Annada Shankar Ray, Sukumar Sen, Bertrand Russel, George Bernard Shaw and Khushwant Singh crossed 90 years of age. They authored scores of books that earned wide readership. Annada Shankar Ray, a member of the Indian Civil Service (ICS), did not find it difficult to write profusely despite his bureaucratic responsibility. Unfortunately, John Keats, PB Shelley, Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Charles Baudlaire, Anton Chekhov, Rainer Maria Rilke, Manik Bondopadhya, Sukanta Bhattacharya, DL Roy, Jibanananda Das, Adwaita Mallabarman, Federico Garcia Lorca, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus and Arthur Rimbaud did not live long. But their unique creations left a lasting impression in the mind of readers. 
It is the creative output that matters, not the longevity. It is the merit of the literary works that matters, not the vast literary outputs. Hasnat Abdul Hye is a prolific writer. He writes both in Bengali and in English. He was a high government official. He retired as a secretary to the government. But the bureaucratic responsibility could not be an impediment to his creative faculty. His first novel “Suprovat Bhalobasa” came out in 1977. “Amar Atotayi’, another novel, came out within a gap of three years. He has so far published 54 novels. His biographical novels on great painter Sultan, eminent sculptor Novera and self-taught philosopher Aroj Ali Matubbar have earned appreciation of readers. This is a genre very few people have explored. Besides, he has 10 books of short stories, 10 books on travel and seven books on essays. He has also authored 10 books in English. His seminal novel on Sultan has been translated into English by Professor Kabir Chowdhury. His books on Rabindranath Tagore and aesthetics deserve special mention. 
Hye started writing biographical novels with Mahapurush (1982), which brought him success – success in drawing a single character, named Syed Belal. It is worth mentioning that this first attempt took a fictitious character as its subject. But later on, Hye turned to characters who are real and well-known personalities like Aaraj Ali Matubbar, S M Sultan and Novera. Encompassing the uncommon and dramatic situations of their lives he wrote novels Sultan (1991), Ekjon Aaroj Ali (1995) and Novera (1995). With brilliant exposition of actual figures, Hasnat Abdul Hye has enriched this genre in our literature.
He received the national award Ekushey Padak for his contribution to literature in 1994. His novel Sultan was nominated for the Irish Impact Award in 1997.
Hasnat Abdul Hye was born in Kolkata on May 19, 1937. His ancestral home is in Kosba upazila of Brahmanbaria district. He studied Economics at Dhaka University and served the same institution as senior lecturer for one year. He joined the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) in 1965. Later, he studied at Washington and Cambridge universities. He retired as secretary in 2000. 
He worked in different branches of literature. Various changes regarding content and form of his novels overwhelmed readers. Urban life, its problems and complexities have been depicted in some of his novels. There is depth in his novels and short stories. The style of his story-telling is simple but penetrating. He is a keen observer of life and nature. He unveiled the inner human psychology. He narrated the problems of rising middle class faithfully. His narratives bear imprint of wide experience and insight. The characters in his novels and short stories came alive through his portrayal of urban and rural life. They belong to various strata of life. His novels show considerable maturity in terms of theme and choice of diction. 
A widely traveled person, Hye also wrote some fascinating books on travel. Those shed interesting light on people and places, their way of life, tradition and culture.   
Hye’s literary works have been acclaimed by eminent personalities like Dr. Akhtar Hamid Khan, Professor Khan Sarwar Murshid, Professor Kabir Chowdhury, Professor Zillur Rahman Siddiqui, Professor Anisuzzaman, William Radice, Murtaza Bashir, Belal Chowdhury, Shamsuzzaman Khan and Selina Hossain. 
He received the Bangla Academy Award in 1978 and the Ekushey Padak in 1995 for his contributions to literature. The other awards include Sher-e-Bangla Fazlul Haque Award, Maulana Akram Khan Award, Jagadish Chandra Basu Award, Shilpacharjya Joynul Abedin Award and Alokta Sahitya Puroskar.  I wish him a long active life.      

The writer is an Assistant Editor of The Independent                       

 

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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