Namita Ghosh, the first female voice artiste of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, passed away at the capital's Popular Hospital last night. She was suffering from cancer, and undergoing eye treatments. She tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed deep shock at the death of the eminent singer.
Born in Shakhari Bazar of Old Dhaka, on October 6, 1958, to Haresh Chandra Ghosh and Joshoda Ghosh, she had four brothers and three sisters. Her ancestral home is in Bikrampur.
She was diagnosed with cancer in 2020, along with major eye ailments. At the time, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina provided BDT 20 lakh for treatments.
Ghosh last appeared at a programme for the 50th Independence Day celebrations, on Bangladesh Television on March 12. Soon after, she was admitted to Azgar Ali Hospital, before being moved to Mugda Medical College Hospital. After her condition deteriorated, she was shifted to Popular Hospital, where she breathed her last.
"She was the first ever voice artiste of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra. Sadly, she was not recognised properly, even though her contributions to the country were immense," added noted singer Fakir Alamgir.
Ghosh joined Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra at the age of 14, in 1971. She was also a fierce freedom fighter.
On March 27, 1971, she crossed the Buriganga River at night to arrive at Keraniganj. She went to Cumilla after that, before reaching Agartala. She introduced herself to the freedom fighters, and took part in the making of a documentary.
From Agartala, Ghosh travelled to Kolkata, where she joined the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra team. Her contributions as an artiste and warrior will remain invaluable in the pages of history. She was an artiste at Bangabandhu Shilpi Goshti. With her team, she travelled to several refugee camps, inspiring the freedom fighters, with music.
She finished her matriculation from Banglabazar Girls High School and later, went to Jagannath College. Her mother Joshoda Ghosh, a radio artiste herself, inspired her to pursue a career in music. Later, she received lessons under the tutelage of Pandit Barin Mazumder, Ustaad Munshi Roisuddin and Ustaad P C Gomes. She also received lessons on Nazrul and Rabindra Sangeet from several teachers.
Ghosh started her singing career at Dhaka Betar in 1969. She was a student at the 'Sangeet Shikkha Ashor' of Dhaka Betar during 1964. She also started singing on television in 1969.
"She was a devoted artiste, who loved her craft," shares Rafiqul Alam, a Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra artiste. "At Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, she was always ready to take up any work that Samar Das assigned to her. Even after independence, she was always there whenever we needed her."
"Namita was the youngest artiste at the Swadhin Bangla Betar, and she was among the first ones to join," shares Shaheen Samad. "We all adored her and she always respected us. She and I were great friends, she used to stand beside me at every programme. Namita left us all, but our love for her will remain intact."
"Namita was a regular artiste on radio and television and she was mainly a chorus artiste at the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra," says Monowar Hossain Khan, General Secretary of Swadhin Bangla Betar Employees Council. "She was an excellent human being. Her death is a grave loss for us all."
"I've known Namita since her childhood," shares Bulbul Mohalanobish, one of the artistes from Swadhin Bangla Betar. "She struggled a lot in her life. Her death was very sudden for us all."
A Guard of Honour was accorded to the artiste on March 27, in Old Dhaka. Her last rites took place at Dhaka's Postagola.
Translated by Rasheek Tabassum Mondira