Celebrating the birthday of a celebrity | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 24, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 24, 2016

Life's lyrics

Celebrating the birthday of a celebrity

Last week we celebrated the birthday of Mustafa Zaman Abbasi. Through an interesting design of God, it happened to be the birthday of his grandson too-Alvi Mustafa Kaiser. The two Mustafa's cut a birthday cake and another significant Mustafa ie Sujit Mustafa, entertained us with his melodious songs, full of passion and ripeness of delivery. It was indeed a hattrick!

Mustafa Zaman Abbasi is the youngest son of legendary singer Abbasuddin Ahmed. He was originally christened `Mustafa Zaman ' in the family tradition. He went to erstwhile West Pakistan and recorded some songs which were going to be in his first album. He wondered if people would recognize him as Abbasuddin's son and thus added the surname `Abbasi' to his name. At the  brink of turning octogenarian, there remains no doubt that he is the son of Abbasuddin Ahmed. His entire life and works speak so. He is currently a Senior Research Scholar at the Independent University,Bangladesh (IUB) where he has pioneered a centre titled  Kazi Nazrul Islam and Abbasuddin research and study centre the first of its kind ever in any university of Bangladesh. Thanks to the trustee board of IUB, specially Mr. Towhid Samad for encouraging such a unique center. Other music departments in Bangladesh teach biographies of Miah Tansen, Munshi Raisuddin, Ustad Amir Khan,not Abbasuddin Ahmed. Abbasi teaches a course on the life and works of Abbasuddin Ahmed, he holds exhibitions of photos highlighting the salient points of Abbasuddin-Nazrul duo and has made these pictures immortal through his book titled `Nazrul Abbasuddin smritimoy album'. His most recent book from the centre is `Abbasuddin Ahmed, manush o shilpi', and before that `Kazi Nazrul Islam,man and poet' and even earlier a novel on Nazrul Islam's life titled `Puribo ekaki' from Onnoprokash publications. The list continues with his own biography,travels,providing leadership to Rotary Club, translations of poems by Rumi, original poems with wife Asma Abbasi, novella in Bangla, two volumes of books on bhawayya  and related personalities along with lyrics and staff notations. I do not know where to start and where to end regarding his achievements. A few years' back he wrote in the Daily Star that his father had dreamt of exact career goals for his three children. Mustafa Kamal (the eldest) was to be a lawyer, Mustafa Zaman, a writer and of course Ferdausi Rahman a musician.

His initial years of life was dedicated to music, specially folk music. He sang, he taught, he researched and presented shows on BTV `Bhora nodir bake ' or `Amar thikana'. He gave breaks to new artists who are household names today, his TV show brought out the best of folk music in East Bengal and if archived properly, will be the greatest collection of audio visual folk music as well as information on the lyricists and tuners which he has provided meticulously. He was awarded the Ekushey Padak by the government, an additional recognition would be to archive his works in some form, (utube or website), making it available for the rest of the world.

Having said so, I once again turn to his writing. Amongst all works of Mustafa Zaman Abbasi,my favourite is his biography of Hazrul Muhammad (RA), from Ononnya Prokashona ` Mohammader Nam'. Being a student of Islamic History, it is not coincidental that he has researched and written on the Prophet, but that is only one dimension of the book, because Abbasi added the Islamic ghazals written by Nazrul  and he added life to the book by placing them as excerpts in appropriate places.His thoughts travelled with him and those thoughts are a part of the book. The combination of Mustafa's actual life, Islamic history,travels in Saudi Arabia, command of Bangla and his knowledge of Nazrul's Islamic songs as well as his ability to translate the Quran have all found fruition in this volume. To celebrate his life is a rare honour, and matching this celebrity is indeed another task.

The author is an Academic, Nazrul exponent and translator

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