Eminent elocutionist, architect and cultural personality Qazi Arif passed away last night at a New York hospital. He was 65.
Doctors at Mount Sinai St. Luke's hospital withdrew life support from him around 10:55pm (BST) in front of his family members, said Ahkam Ullah, general secretary of a Bangladeshi recitation organisation, who was present at the hospital.
Arif was on life support as his health condition deteriorated following a heart operation at the hospital on April 25.
A freedom fighter, Arif was famous for poetry recitation in Bangla.
He was born on October 31, 1952 at Rajbari in the then greater Faridpur. He grew up and took his education in Chittagong. He got his higher academic degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).
Arif took part in the 1971 Liberation War in Sector-1 under the leadership of Major (retd) Rafiq. He was one of the pioneers who took Bangla recitation to the institutional level in the 80s. He was serving as general secretary of Jatiya Bashanta Utsab Udjapan Parishad (national spring festival celebration committee).
Renowned elocutionist and general secretary of Sammilito Sangskritik Jote Hasan Arif said Qazi Arif was an unrecognised life and soul of the art of recitation.
“Qazi Arif, a popular freedom fighter of Chittagong [Sector-1], pioneered the realm of recitation amongst other forms of art after 71. Those who didn't see him must have heard his outstanding voice in the popular radio programme 'Uttoron' and 'Darpan' during 70s and 80s. His recitation cassette 'Patraput' is perhaps the first of its kind in Bangladesh.”
“Qazi Arif-er Premer Kobita” was another popular recitation album. He was actively involved with prominent cultural organisations like Jatiya Kabita Parishad, Sammilito Sangskritik Jote, Abritti Samannay Parishad, Abrittikar Sangha, Jatiya Basanta Utshab Udjapan Parishad and more.
Qazi Arif began celebrating Chaitra Shongkranti programme at his residence during 80s. He is the founder of “Muktokantho Abritti Academy”.
He received Kazi Sabyasachi Memorial Award 2016 with legendary Indian actor-elocutionist Soumitra Chatterjee.