Cultural Deaths 2016: Men of the stage and of letters, and a woman of substance
Dhaka: Bangladesh lost a number of poets, writers, actors, and actresses in 2016 who served our cultural arena with great distinction, leaving behind substantive bodies of work in their chosen fields. In some cases their contributions stand unparalleled or almost incomparable.
The loss of the trio of poets - Rafiq Azad, Shahid Qadri and Syed Shamsul Haque, each a vanguard of the modern era in Bangla poetry, in particular may be the most keenly felt.
Renowned poet Rafiq Azad passed away in March 12 who was also a freedom fighter, died at the age of 74.
Rafiq Azad was honored with Ekushey Padak in 2013 and Bangla Academy Award in 1984 for his works.
Azad, one of the leading young poets in the post-liberation period, was born on February 14, 1941 at Guni village in Ghatail upazila of Tangail district.
His notable works include Asombhaber Payae, Semabadha Jalae, Simito Shobuja, Ekjibona, Haturier, Nichae Jibon, Porikirno Panchala Amer Swadesh, Khub Bashi Durea Nay, Khamakaro Bahoman Hay Udar Omiyo Batas, Karo Ashuro Pat, Pagolar Thekay Pramikar Chiti, Apar Arannya, Moulobir Mon Bholo Nay and Poems on Love Environment and Other Difficulties.
'Bhaat De, Haramjada, Noyto Manchitro khabo' is one of his most famous lines.
Ekushey Padak-winning Bengali prominent Bengali poet Shahid Qadri passed away on 28 August at the age of 74.
Shahid Qadri received prestigious Ekushey Padak in 2011 for his contribution to the Bengali language and literature and he was awarded Bangla Academy Award in 1973 for his poetry.
He had published four books of poetry which are Uttaradhikar (Inheritance, 1967), Tumake Abhibadan Priyatama (Salute to You, Dearest; 1974), Prem Biraha Bhalobasar Kabita (Poems of Love and Separation), Kothao Kono Krondon Nai (Weeping Nowhere) and Amar Chombongullo Pouchhaya Deo (Please, Convey my kisses).
He was born on August 14 in 1942.
Syed Shamsul Haque
Versatile writer Syed Shamsul Haque passed away on 27 September at 81 fighting with deadly lung cancer. He left behind his wife Anwara Syed Haque, son Ditio Syed-Haque, daughter Bidita Sadi .
Born on 27 December 1935 at Kurigram, Haque has become one of the country's leading poets and playwrights and earned the title of wield equal mastery over essays, novel, poetry, and plays.
He received the Bangla Academy Award in 1966, Ekushey Padak in 1984, and Swadhinata Padak in 2000 for his contributions to Bengali literature.
His literary works were included in the curricula of school, secondary, higher secondary and graduation levels Bengali literature in Bangladesh.
Shahidul Islam Khokon
Prominent filmmaker Shahidul Islam Khokon died at 59 on the 4th April suffering from 'motor neuron disease'.
He was admitted to the hospital as his condition deteriorated on December 31, 2015.
Films directed by Khokon include Loraku, Birpurush, Bojromusthi, Biplob, Akorma, Shotorka Shoitan, Bishdant, Rongbaj, Utthan Poton, Lal Sabuj and Palabi Kothai. He was born in Barisal in the then East Pakistan.
Farid Ali, a freedom fighter and an actor, died from cardiac arrest on 22 August at the age of 75. Farid started his acting career by performing in a stage drama "Kone Dekha" by Shahidul Amin in 1962. He first appeared in BTV through "Ektala-Dotala" drama in 1964.
His debut in silver screen was in 1966 through acting in "Dharapat" directed by Amjad Hossen. He also acted in famous films including Sangram, Gunda and Titas Ekti Nadir Nam. He made a dialogue "Taka Den Dubai Jabo... Bangladeshe Thakbo Na" popular among television viewers.
Dr Fazlul Alam
Eminent essayist and litterateur Dr Fazlul Alam passed away on November 16 at the age of 75.
The world renowned School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London has selected a novel titled Krantikaley Protarak published by Anyaprokash in 2004 to introduce European students to a contemporary Bangla novel.
He became popular with his talk show "Kora Alaap." The talk show planned and moderated by him is considered the first topic based talk show of the country.
Dr Fazlul Alam is the recipient of City Ananda Alo Sahitya Puroshkar and Bangla Academy's Saadat Ali Akhand Sahitya Puroshkar.
Fazlul Alam received master's degree in Ethnic Relationship and PhD in Cultural Studies in London. After returning to country in 1996 he joined the University of Dhaka as the Librarian. He initiated the Library Automation Project in the university.
Dr Ranjit Kumar Biswas
Former senior cultural affairs secretary Dr Ranjit Kumar Biswas passed away at Chittagong Circuit House on the 23rd June of the last year at 61.
Ranjit, also a prominent writer, reportedly suffered cardiac arrest while taking rest at the Circuit House after attending a family programme.
Dr Ranjit is survived by wife, one daughter and a host of relatives and well-wishers to mourn his death.
Born in 1956, Dr Ranjit was an ardent lover of art and culture. Prior to joining the Civil Service in 1981, he was a working journalist.
Also a SHORT story writer, columnist, satirist and a cricket analyst, he used to contribute to national and regional dailies regularly.
A good connoisseur of music and recitation, Dr Ranjit earned appreciations, laurels and awards for literary acumen and attributes. His self-nurtured and cultured ability of recitation made him quite different from many other government officials.
Parveen Sultana Diti
The popular actress of the 90's Parveen Sultana Diti lost her battle with brain cancer on the 20th March.
She was diagnosed with a brain tumour and underwent a surgery at Madras Institute of Orthopaedics and Traumatology in Chennai, India on July 29 last year.
On her return after the operation, Diti again fell ill in November and went under another operation in India.
Diti was married to film actor Sohel Chowdhury who had died in 1998. She is survived by daughter Lamia Chowdhury, son Shafayet Chowdhury and a host of relatives and well-wishers to mourn her death.
Diti won the Bangladesh National Film Award as the best actress in a supporting role in 1987 for her performance in 'Shami Stri'.
Her best films include Hiramoti, Dui Jibon, Bhai Bondhu, Usila, Lady Inspector, Khuner Bodla, Ajker Hungama, Shesh Upohar, Chorom Aghat, Shami Stri, Aporadhi, Kaliya, Kaal Sokale, Megher Kole Rod, Akash Choya Bhalobasha and Mayamoy.