Veteran composer Ajit Roy passes away
Veteran music director, artiste and composer Ajit Roy, passed away on September 4 at Birdem Hospital at 1:00pm. He had been suffering from cancer and recently developed pneumonia. He was 73.
Born in 1938, Ajit was inspired by the spirit of the Language Movement and took to singing in 1952. After his matriculation, in 1963 he began to perform on radio and TV. Ajit Roy has been a passionate singer since 1963. He has composed several timeless patriotic songs including "Ekti Bangladesh tumi jagroto janatar", "Apomaney tumi shedin joley uthechhiley shedin barnomala", "Banglar mukh ami dekiachhi", "Hey bango bhandarey tabo" and more which went on to become hugely popular.
Renowned singer Rathindranath Roy said he knew Ajit Roy since the 60s. “I was then a student of Nilphamari High School while Ajit lived in Rangpur. In his early life, Ajit Roy played tabla. But as his mother would sing, he was inclined towards singing as well. In April, 1971 when liberation war was on, we went to Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendra through Jessore to embolden the morale of freedom loving people. We would sing together many songs including "O Amar Desh-er Mati", "Himaloye Thekey Sundarban Hothath Bangladesh." Ajit composed tunes of many songs during that time. He also directed music. We would also sing together during mass upsurge of 1969, Tagore and Nazrul birth anniversary and in many other programmes. Ajit Roy was a great man. New generation singers might compose many patriotic songs, but no one can take the place of Ajit Roy. He was a true patriot and a great musician. I pray for peace to the Almighty for his departed soul,” said Rathindranath.
In the mid-60s Ajit used to compose a new song on the occasion of the Language Movement Day every year and present that particular song on the auspicious day. It was Ajit, who sang Bidrohi by Rebel Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, composed by Altaf Mahmud on one such occasion.
Ajit joined Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra (SBBK) in 1971 that inspired the nation to fight the Pakistani army.
Ajit rendered “Amar Sonar Bangla” and “Jago Onashono Bondi” and composed many timeless songs on SBBK. He composed the first song announcing the victory of Bangladesh: “Shwadhin Shwadhin Dikey Dikey Aj”.
In 1972 he joined Bangladesh Betar (radio) as a music director, and retired in 1996. He is also the founder of a musical organisation, Abbhudoy Sangeet Academy.
Renowned singer Subir Nandi said: "I have been introduced with Ajit Roy since November, 1974. From then on, I regularly met him at Radio on a monthly basis. He was a big hearted man. We are the disciples of the same guru Swami Bhuteshananda Maharaj. During liberation war, his contribution as a Shabdo Shainik at Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendra was immense. Not only Rabindra Sangeet, he popularised and promoted Ganosangeet, Adhunik songs and many more. He was a committed personality who never hankered after money. His patriotic zeal is incomparable. Wherever he performed on stage, he would wrap up with the rendition of national anthem. I have never seen him getting angry on anyone. He has a great contribution in making singers. In a word, we lost our guide."
Tagore singer Tapan Mahmud said that he was introduced to Ajit in 1968. He remembers Ajit as an energetic tabla player and a committed activist. Tapan was lost for words to express his grief at the passing of Ajit.
Noted adhunik and playback singer Rafiqul Alam also shared his memory of Ajit: “Many of our greatest patriotic songs were consigned to scholarly books and initiated circles before Ajit Roy popularised them in the 50s.” He added, “Songs like 'Ora Amar Mukher Bhasha Kaira Nitey Chay', 'Karar Oi Louho Kopat', and even our national anthem 'Amar Shonar Bangla' were introduced to the masses in different parts of the country by Ajit and his comrades. Rafiqul Alam knew and had almost been an aficionado of Ajit Roy since his childhood. “It's hard for me say a few words about Ajit Roy. He was an activist, an organiser and an artiste with great commitment,” he said.
Ajit has several awards to his credit: Swadhinota Padak, the highest award of the country in 2000, Gunijan Padak from Rabindra Sangeet Sammilon Parishad, Sraddhanjalipatro from Bangladesh Rabindra Sangeet Shilpi Shangshtha, Shabdoshainik Padak from SBBK, Sequence Award 1988, Begum Rokeya Padak, Chittagong Youth Choir Award, Wrishijo Shilpo Goshthi Padak and Robi Rashmi Padak.
Ajit's mortal remains will be taken to the Central Shaheed Minar at 10:30am today. His fellow artistes, well-wishers and people from of all walks of life will pay tribute to the valiant singer and composer.