Ekushey Padak recipient and Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra artiste Indra Mohan Rajbongshi passed away yesterday at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital in the city after he tested positive for Covid-19.
He was 75.
Born in Dhaka, Indra Mohan belonged to a family with five generations of singers. His wife Deepti Rajbongshi and son Dipankar Rajbongshi are also singers.
Deepti has been ill and is currently under treatment. Dipankar resides in Australia and Indra Mohan's daughter Shangita Rajbongshi lives in Japan.
Indra Mohan served as the head of the folk music department at Dhaka Music College for several years. He was a valiant voice artiste of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra in 1971.
During the Liberation War, on his way to join the Muktibahini, he was caught by the Pakistani military and forced to work as a bilinguist under a different name. Later, he joined the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra.
Mainly known for his expertise in folk music, he proved himself to be a talented singer from the early days of his career. He was adept in Bhatiali, Jari, Shari, Bhaowaiya and Murshidi, among other genres.
He was also a researcher and a teacher and worked tirelessly to preserve and collect folk songs of our country.
He was the founder of Bangladesh Loko Sanskriti Parishad. He was a playback singer for several films as well, starting with the 1967 film "Chena Ochena". He was also renowned as a Rabindra Sangeet singer.
The esteemed artiste received the Ekushey Padak in 2018 for his contribution to folk music. He had earlier received many other awards and accolades.
"Indra Mohan Rajbongshi was a researcher, composer and above all, an artiste. He was a voice warrior. He was considered as our second Abdul Alim," said noted singer Fakir Alamgir. "On December 16, 1971, Indra Mohan and I performed in an event at India's Medinipur, when we heard of Bangladesh's victory. We could not control our emotions and embraced each other in joy."
Fakir added, "Indra Mohan shared his disappointment over the lack of participation of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra artistes during the 10-day celebrations for the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence. He used to share everything with me, we have so many memories together."
"He was a talented artiste and a meritorious person," said Shaheen Samad. "He devoted his life to singing. May he rest in peace."
"One by one, all our friends from Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra are leaving us," said Rafiqul Alam. "We lost yet another good artiste. His demise has left a void in our industry."
Indra Mohan Rajbongshi was presented with a Guard of Honour before being cremated at the Kali Mandir in Dhaka's Rajarbagh area yesterday afternoon.