One of Kangalini Sufia's most famous songs, “Poraner Bandhob Re, Buri Hoilam Tor Karone...” is ironically coming true in the artiste's life, who is in a very difficult situation – financially, socially and physically.
Recently, Sufia went to the Savar Municipality seeking financial help for her treatment, where the municipality mayor allotted only Tk 1,000 for her. She said that she has been suffering from her sore in neck and throat and needs immediate treatment.
She also said locals blocked the path to her house, on a small piece of land in Bhatpara in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital. They demanded Tk. 200,000 to reopen it.
Sufia said she once traveled the world to perform and earned a lot of money, but in recent times, she has not been called to perform anywhere.
Kangalini Sufia is a regular artiste of Bangladesh Betar and BTV, and has performed on various private TV channels. Apart from Bangladesh, she has performed in the UK, South Korea, Qatar, Italy, Hong Kong, US, Thailand, China and India. She usually performs with a five-member troupe that includes Baul Jahangir, Baul Mander Fakir, Pushpo (Sufia's sister), Chumki Kangalini (Sufia's granddaughter) and Bilkis Banu.
“For the last two years, I have had no calls to perform; I do not know why. May be it's because I am old now,” she told The Daily Star. “These performances are our livelihood. Of the seven members in my family, four are singers. And as a result, I am going through acute financial crisis. I receive Tk 5,000 per month from the Prime Minister's fund. That's my only source of money.”
She informed that a group of local land grabbers have blocked the main entrance of her house and demanded Taka 200000 for the path. “As I could not manage the money, they have kept it blocked. I now have to pass through my neighbour's house,” she said.
The artiste, now 55, was born at Ramdia village of greater Faridpur (currently in the Rajbari district). As a young girl, she stood apart from her peers, as she wanted to sing constantly. At the age of 14 or 15, she began singing at village functions and was received with resounding applause.
Three years after the Liberation War, she converted to Islam and took on the name Sufia Khatun.
Sufia made a name for herself with her unique style on stage, though she initially emulated the well-known Ustad Halim Boyati and Aynal Boyati of Faridpur.
Eminent artist Mustafa Monwar, christened her “Kangalini Sufia” and she later attained fame with this name across the country.
Sufia has some volumes of songs to her credit, the most popular ones being “Narir kachhe keu jaiyo na”, “Bondhu Bichched”, “Poran-er bandhob re” and “Konba pothey Nitaigonj-e jai”. She has also done playback for three films: “Dorodi Shatru”, “Agun” and “Raj Shinghashon”.
Sufia sought help for her simple living, saying “If the artiste is not cared for, no one will want to be an artiste.”