Eminent Bangladeshi musicologist, litterateur, researcher, educationist, translator, editor and columnist Professor Karunamoy Goswami passed away on the night of June 30. He was 74. Dr. Goswami was suffering from high fever since Thursday. On Friday, he fell on the bathroom floor at his residence and his condition deteriorated. He was taken to United Hospital in Dhaka where doctors pronounced him dead, his nephew Sourav Bhattacharya told The Daily Star.
His last rites may be held on Tuesday after arrival of his son Sayantan Goswami and daughter Tithi Goswami who are living abroad, Sourav added.
Though Goswami is widely known as a Nazrul exponent, he has also published several widely acclaimed research-based works on Tagore and Bangla songs. Goswami completed his PhD on the topic “Bangla Kabyo-geetir Dharaye Kazi Nazrul Islam-er Sthan” from University of Dhaka in 1988. His notable works on Nazrul are “Aspects of Nazrul Songs”, “Kazi Nazrul Islam: A Profile” and “Introducing Kazi Nazrul Islam”. “Rabindranath-er Palestine Bhabna O Onnanyo” is one of his notable works on Tagore. His other works include “Rabindranath, Huntington o Bharat Bhag”, “History of Bengali Songs”, “Ranga-Byanga”, “Bangla Ganer Swaralipi Itihas”, “Bangla Ganer Vivartan” and “Bangla Ganer Katha”.
Dr. Goswami received many awards including Nazrul Memorial Gold Medal and award (1987) by Nazrul Institute, Bangla Academy Literary Award (2008), Ekushey Padak (2012) and Tagore award (2013).
Eminent personalities spoke to The Daily Star about the contributions of Dr. Goswami. Excerpts:
Mofidul Haque, writer and publisher
Karunamaya Goswami has diverse contributions towards music, literature, research and education. There are many fine artistes of music, but he was a rare class of musicologist. He worked on various types of music ranging from folk, classical, Tagore and Nazrul songs, and more. He was a gifted esraj player. He predominantly upheld the opulent heritage of Bangla music through his practice, studies, analysis, research and judgement. “Sangeet Kosh” is his unique lexicon that was published by Bangla Academy in 1985. You can find almost everything of world music in it.
He was a great soul dedicated to the sublime profession of teaching. Wherever he taught, he left an impression among his pupils. He was closely involved with noted cultural organisations like Chhayanaut, Rabindra Sangeet Shilpi Parishad, Sudhijan Pathagar (Narayanganj) and Nazrul Institute. He delivered many lectures on Nazrul, Tagore and Bangla Music both at home and abroad. He was working on “The Art of Nazrul Songs” that remains incomplete. “Stories of Africa” (1975), a translation by Goswami, is the first published work on African literature in our country. He wrote novels – “Lahorer Rahim Kher” and “Bharat Bhager Ashrukana” on the partition of the Subcontinent.
Professor Emeritus Rafiqul Islam, chairman, Nazrul Institute Trustee Board
Born in Mymensingh, Dr. Karunamaya Goswami was a student of English Literature at the University of Dhaka. Initially, he would sing and started writing literature. Later, he extensively accomplished research-based and original works on Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Sangeet. Sudhin Das and Karunamaya Goswami importantly contributed to Bangladeshi music and culture. The passing away of the duo is an immense loss for Bangladesh and the Bangladeshi culture. Professor Goswami has also an outstanding contribution towards education. After retiring from Government College as principal, he served as the principal of Cambrian College.
Md Mahbub-ur Rahman, music and art connoisseur and deputy CEO, HSBC Bangladesh
I am deeply shocked at the sudden demise of Dr. Karunamaya Goswami. A perennially enlightened person and a friend, he contributed immensely towards the arena of music, literature and culture. We met each other many times and received his assistance and mentorship on many regards. I worked closely with him when we at HSBC Bangladesh, organised an event “Shoto Borsher Bangla Gaan”. The realm of music and research lost an iconic person.