A Tribute to Dr. Mohammad Moniruzzaman
Versatility of his works
The 3rd of September is the 10th death anniversary of Dr. Mohammad Moniruzzaman, a multitalented figure in the world of Bangla literature and songs. Primarily known as a poet and researcher, he was a lyricist of repute who enriched the quality of Bangla songs, including many that were used in the famous films of his time. We remember him with great respect for all of his contributions.
Born on 15 August 1936 in Khorkipara of the Jessore district of Bangladesh, he had his BA (Hons.) and MA degree with distinction in Bangla Literature in 1958 and 1959 respectively, followed by a PhD degree in 1969 from the same university. Immediately after completion of his Masters degree, he joined as a fellow in the Department of Bangla in 1959 and then as a Lecturer in 1962 at the University of Dhaka. For his remarkable performance as a teacher and researcher, he was promoted to a Professor in 1975. He chaired the Bangla Department of the University during 1978-1981.
His poetry and lyrics are characterized by an assemblage of highly-appealing figurative expressions and prosodic purity. Of more than 50 books that he authored, the remarkable books of poetry are titled: Durlov Din (1961), Shonkito Alokay (1968), Biponno Bishad (1968), Valobasar Haatay (1976), Vumiheen Krishijeebee Ichchhe Tar (1984), Mohammad Moniruzzamaner Kabbyosongroho (1998), etc. A collection of the English translation of his poems was published in 1979 from Honolulu.
Adherent to his belief that prosody is the bloodstream of Bangla poetry and lyrics, his multifaceted works also include a book on Bangla prosody that is widely used by students and teachers of Bangla literature and will expectedly be used for many more years. As many as 40 researchers obtained their PhD degree under his supervision.
In addition to working as a guide for research works by Masters and PhD students, he himself developed and completed several pioneering research protocols on important aspects of Bangla literature. His remarkable research works include: Adhunik Kahinikabbye Muslim Jeebon O Chitro (Portrayal of the Life and Scenario of the Muslims in Modern Epics); Adhunik Bangla Sahittyo (Modern Bangla Literature); Adhunik Bangla kabbye Hindu-Muslim Somporko (Hindu-Muslim Relationship as Portrayed in Modern Bangla Poetry); Dhaka Bishwobidhyaloy Bangla Bivager Itihas (History of the Department of Bangla in the University of Dhaka); Bangla Sahittye Uchchotor Goveshona (Higher Research in Bangla Literature); and many more. He worked as editor of a number of books on topics ranging from folklore to works and biographies of departed writers published by Bangla Academy. His translation of the poetry of Emily Dickinson evoked much interest in her poetry in this region of the literary world.
For his ardent pursuit of research into multiple aspects of Bangla and world literature, he obtained a prestigious scholarship for post-doctoral work during 1969-1970 in the School of Oriental and African Studies under London University in the UK.
While studying at the University of Dhaka, he worked as editor of the esteemed Bangla periodical Millat and later introduced a new literary magazine in the DU Department of Bangla. He continued as editor of the magazine for a long period from 1978 to 1993.
For his remarkable contributions in Bangla literature, he received several awards and honors that include: Bangla Academy Award in 1972, Ekushe Padak in 1987; he received the Certificate of Merit for Distinguished Contribution to Poetry in 1969 from London-based International Who's Who in Poetry.
Dr. Moniruzzaman was affiliated with many national and international associations, societies, and clubs. He was elected Fellow of the London-based Royal Asiatic Society in 1969, Fellow of Bangla Academy in 1972, President of the DU Teachers Association in 1982, General Secretary of the Bangladesh Asiatic Society in 1984, and Governor of Rotary International for the 1986-1987 term.
The heart-touching songs based on his lyrics made him a legendary figure among the general audience of the Bangla-speaking world. The patriotic songs, like Amar desher matir gondhe vore achhe sara mon, Protidin tomay dekhi surjorage, and Swadhinota ek golap fotano din; modern songs, like Tumi ki dekhechho kovu jeeboner porajoy, Oshru diye lekha e gaan, and Oi dur dur durante; and folksongs, like Holud bato mendi bato represent the best musical products of his time and, without doubt, continue their journey toward posterity.
Due to cardiovascular and pulmonary complications, Dr. Mohammad Moniruzzaman expired on 3 September 2008 at the age of 72 but will be remembered for his contributions in the world of Bangla literature and music, for days to come.
The writer is a poet, essayist, and lyricist