Shamsur Rahman and his effortless eloquence
The nation paid tribute to poet Shamsur Rahman on his fourth death anniversary on August 17. Among his famed works are “Roudro Korotite”, “Biddhasta Nilima”, “Niraloke Dibyaroth” and “Adiganta Nagna Padaddhani”. Besides poetry, he also contributed to the realms of essays, stories, novels, translation and columns. Rabindra Bharati University and Jadavpur University of India conferred honorary D.Lit. degrees on him. His poems have been translated in many languages. Rahman was a recipient of Swadhinata Padak, Ekushey Padak, Adamjee Puroshkar, Bangla Academy Puroshkar and Jibanananda Puroshkar.
Veteran poet Mahadev Saha recalled: “Rahman was undoubtedly one of the foremost Bengali poets. I met him in the late '60s in Dhaka. I had spent a fair share of time with him at seminars, recitations, tours overseas and cultural programmes.
“Rahman, the greatest poet of his generation, was a man of paradoxes. As a poet, he expressed an infinite range of moods. He believed in secularism. His writings are powerful and eloquent, and often address the common's man's life.
“Rahman often conflicted with reactionaries, undemocratic forces and religious fundamentalists.
“I fondly remember our times together. In 1972, we went to Kolkata to attending 'Bharat Bangladesh Moitri Mela'. Laila Samad (noted writer) and her husband were also with us. We stayed over at South Point School's dormitory. The school was renowned for having some veteran writers as teachers, including Komol Kumar Majumdar and Ashish Shanyal. We stayed up the whole night, talking away about all kinds of issues.”
Noted literary critic and Professor, Department of English, University of Dhaka, Syed Manzoorul Islam talked about Shamsur Rahman and his poems. “Throughout a career spanning over six decades, Shamsur Rahman had written numerous poems and published over a hundred books. His poetry remarkably articulates urban alienation.
“Rahman was deeply influenced by Jibanananda Das and Sudhindranath Datta and his early poems demonstrate a subtle quality, and a predilection for intellectual objectivity, as if he were moving himself from the scene he was describing. His first book, 'First Song Before the Second Death,' contains poems written in the 1950s, combines a composed eye for details with an artistic finesse that demand close attention of the readers.”
Noted poet Shujauddin Kaisar said, “I met him in the mid '70s. At that time he was very popular among promising writers of Dhaka University.
Rahman bhai studied English at Dhaka University and started his career as a journalist. He started writing poems in 1949. His first book of poetry was published in 1960.
“Shamsur Rahman is widely regarded as the greatest Bangladeshi poet, indeed, in the view of some, the greatest Bangladeshi of his era, for giving the country a poetic identity. Rahman was not light reading. He delved deep into the complex worlds of revolution, solitude and social conflicts.”