The voice of the deprived (video) | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 28, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:46 PM, July 29, 2015

The voice of the deprived (video)

Remembering Ahmed Sofa

“I come from a family of farmers. It is very hard to overlook this fact. I do not want to exaggerate anything. My forefathers had been directly involved with agriculture. I feel proud to be a part of them. I want poor farmers and labourers to eat rice and sing in a jovial mood,” said Ahmed Sofa, in an interview in a book “Ahmed Sofar Samay”, written by Nasir Ali Mamun.

One of the most prolific writers of Bangladesh, Ahmed Sofa was born in 1943 at Gaachbaria in Chittagong. Among the contemporary fiction writers in Bangladesh, Sofa ranked first for his thought-provoking and contemplative writings. Most of his writings are vital and pensive, with messages about the the social, political and economic milieu. He wrote novels, stories, essays, poems, translations, songs and critical writing Sofa was outspoken but bold in expressing the truth. He hardly practised religion but his religious belief was unquestionable. 

Today marks the luminary's 14th death anniversary. He passed away on this day in 2001, at the age of 58.

Sofa was very closely associated with noted painter SM Sultan. Both were bohemians, bachelors and had no interest in fame, money or other earthly elements. “We could not find such a personality in the last 100 years. His themes were all-encompassing. He is the icon of Bengal. He is the greatest painter of the soil. He is also a philosopher. Nobody has come forward to explore him truly. We need Sultan because he was the son of a farmer. Zainul Abedin, Quamrul Hassan are not presented in such way. They are gentlemen. They do not identify with peasants and workers,” said Sofa in “Ahmed Sofar Samay”.

Sofa's novels are usually in small volumes. All his novels draw the attention of the reader for their well-projected, familiar and lively characters. His works plunge deep into the suffering people and their miserable living conditions.

Sofa embarked on his career as a novelist with “Surjo Tumi Sathi”. Published in 1967, the literary work received rave responses. Readers felt that after a long time they had found a writer who spoke their language.

Sofa wrote what he believed in. He disliked pretense, and his writing is devoid of exaggeration. His writings strongly voice the concerns of underprivileged people in our country. Writing was his passion. He led a very simple and ordinary life with little place for comfort and luxury. For a long time, he stayed in a single room with nothing else but a bed, chairs, table and bookshelves.

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