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22 October, 2021 09:55:24 PM
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Remembering Aziz Misir

October 23 is the death anniversary of late Aziz Misir. The last decades of his life saw him as a successful writer of television plays. His plays too depicted the woes and sufferings of the people living in rural areas. Some of his plays like “Dekhe je mone hoy”, “Cactus”, “Lattu”, “Aiman” were much acclaimed by the viewers and in 1989 got the best playwright of year award from Tenasisas.
M Harunur Rashid
Remembering Aziz Misir
Aziz Misir

He passed away on this day in 2002. His actual name was Sirajul Islam and those who read prestigious journals like ‘Natun Shahitya’ and ‘Parichaya’ published from Kolkata may perhaps still remember him as a promising short story writer of late forties and early fifties. He became famous when he was around twenty years of age.  He was a contemporary of Alauddin Al Azad, Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury and Hasan Hafizur Rahman. His stories were published in Hasan Hafizur’s “Ekushey Sankalan” and Sikander Abu Zafar’s “Samakal”. As a young student of Chittagong College he came in contact with Shawkat Osman, Kalim Sharafi, Mahbubul Alam Chowdhury, and other cultural activists of the leftist movement. Chittagong in those days, immediately after the partition in 1947, became the hub of leftist movement, perhaps as a legacy of the Chittagong Armoury Raid in1931 by Surya Sen and his comrades. In my early teens I saw in his room books on Marx and Angels and other leftist literature and above his book shelf the photographs of Ananta Singh and Ganesh Ghosh, who took part in the Armoury Raid. He wrote for ‘Simanta’, a monthly journal edited by Mahbubul Alam Chowdhury and used to edit a quarterly literary journal called ‘Parichiti’. As a left-oriented cultural activist he became closely associated with ‘Prantic Nabanattya Sangha” and acted in some of the superb productions like “Plaban” and “Chenratar”.

He was a member of the communist party and was under the surveillance of the secret service. That is perhaps why he changed his name to Aziz Misir when he came to Dhaka in 1958 looking for a job opportunity. He started editing a Cinema magazine, “Chalantika” from September, 1959. I was then a student doing my honours in English and staying in Salimullah Muslim Hall. I became the publisher of the paper and helped him with collecting ads for the paper. As a cine-journalist he became very intimate with late S M Parvez and film producer and director Fazlul Haque. He wrote a column for “Chitrali” edited by S M Parvez (we used to call him Parvez bhai) for long 30 years. Chalantika became very popular and it turned out to be the forum for young budding writers of the time. Chalantika published stories and novels by Fazal Shahabuddin, Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, Alauddin Al Azad, Hasnat Abdul Hye, Fakruzzaman Chowdhury, and others.

After the demise of “Chalantika” he joined The Daily Azad and then after Bangladesh’s independence in 1971 joined “Banglar Bani”. It is in this daily that he wrote the best columns of his career under the pseudo name ‘Padatik’. The columns reflected his sharp views about the sufferings of the common people. He was devoted to his socialist ideals until his death. He was a great admirer of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the nation but was not blind to the errors of his party, the Awami League. Perhaps that was why he was unceremoniously given a termination letter from Banglar Bani. He later worked for Bangla Bazar Patrika edited by Matiur Rahman Chowdhury. At the fag end of his life he became an advisory editor of Manavzamin edited by Mahbuba Chowdhury who had tremendous regard for him.

The last decades of his life saw him as a successful writer of television plays. His plays too depicted the woes and sufferings of the people living in rural areas. Some of his plays like “Dekhe je mone hoy”, “Cactus”, “Lattu”, ”Aiman” were much acclaimed by the viewers and in 1989 got the best playwright of year award from Tenasisas. He got some other prestigious awards like “Parvez Memorial Award”, Bangladesh Cinejournalists Association Award, Rainbow Film Society Award, etc. Some of his publications are “Bhabte Bhalo Lage”, “Natyajaner Natyakatha”. His stories were posthumously published in 2008 under the title “Galpa Shamagra” – the writer being obviously Sirajul Islam and not Aziz Misir.

He was my eldest brother, older than me by nearly 10 years. There was a strange quiet rapport between us two – more expressive in silence than sounds. But I knew he was fond of me and he knew I was fond of him. And we both followed an unwritten code – he rarely mentioned to others I was his younger brother (not even when I became the DG of Bangla Academy), I too rarely mentioned he was my eldest brother even when he was at the height of his national fame. But the love that bound us found expressions in times of calamity. When I staged a hunger strike at Bangla Academy, he came running and stayed the whole day talking to the members of the Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee. In the afternoon, Ms Jahanara Imam came and assured me that her people would abide by the rules of the Book Fair and offered me a glass of water to break my fast.

Today he is no more but I would like to tell him if I could how proud I am of him as my eldest brother. He was a man of integrity who never compromised his ideals for any material benefit. That is rare indeed in our present-day society.

The writer is a distinguished professor of English and former Director General, Bangla Academy. He is also a noted columnist and literary personality of Bangladesh.  

 

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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.

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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