THROUGH THE EYES OF DAHLIA AHMED | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 10, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 10, 2018

THROUGH THE EYES OF DAHLIA AHMED

Dahlia Ahmed is a renowned name in the field of poetry and recitation artistes in Bangladesh. Her eloquent renditions in both Bangla and English connect her with audiences like a breath of fresh air. She graduated from the Department of English, Dhaka University. Her cultural activities budded since she was an Undergraduate student. She mastered the Classical Monipuri Dance as the disciple of the Legendary Guru Srimati Shanti Bala Sinha. In 1986 she performed at the Shaw Theatre, London at Tagore Festival as a member of the dance troupe from Bangladesh. Her horizon of stage performances span from Bangladesh to the United Kingdom, United States of America, Japan and India. In her early life, Dahlia ardently participated in cultural activities like dancing, poetry recitation and drama at Bharateshwari Homes, Tangail. Her interest commuted from dancing to recitation as the years progressed and today she is better known as a recitation artiste. Dahlia's biggest pride is that she is a freedom fighter. She fought in the Liberation War of 1971, in Sector 11 under the Command of Col. Abu Taher Bir Uttam.

Early life

My student life initiated at Bharateshwari Homes in Tangail. I spent ten years of disciplined school life there; it was like my second home. I took special interest in poetry recitation beyond our regular curriculum. Participating in competitions came naturally for me; for recitation, textbook poems were our only resource. After completing 12 years of school and college, I enrolled myself as a graduate student in the Department of English of Dhaka University. University environment gave an opportunity to discover elements in me for cultural activities. I found a sense of freedom to explore my inner strength and traversed into the realms of dancing, drama and anchoring programmes, all inspired by Liaquat Ali Lucky (Director General of Shilpakala Academy). Under the aegis of his brilliant leadership we formed Dhaka University Cultural Team and scrapped the 'Rag Day' to establish 'Biswabidyalay Dibosh' (University Day). I still reminisce those glorious days of our cultural activities! One day, while rehearsing for an upcoming dance programme, I heard the euphonious voice of Bhaswar Bandopadhyay, who was reciting E Lash Amra Rakhbo Kothae by Nirmalendu Goon. With Lucky Bhai's consent I entered the next room and expressed my keen interest for recitation. Seeing my vigour, Bhashwar'da asked me to recite the same poem and at the end of the session he announced that I had merit. As an ongoing process, Lucky Bhai invited Jayanto Chattopadhyay (eminent actor and reciter) to conduct a workshop on recitation. Many of us participated and at the end of the programme, he appreciated each of our performance. Before leaving he especially mentioned my name to Lucky Bhai, saying that I had potential. This fired my aspirations and I embarked on my journey into recitation.

Recitation in Foreign Languages

Primarily I recite poetry in Bangla. I have this urge to proliferate the rich fabric of Bangla language and literature into other languages too. My companion Rana Thakur is my relentless support. As I have a zest for languages, years ago I learnt the Japanese language and I am able to recite a few poems in Japanese too. Ever since UNESCO declared 21st February to be the International Mother Language Day; with the help of my friends from various nationalities I had translated a two-line poem Juddho by Nirmalendu Goon into nine languages and rendered them in a programme titled Ami Tomae Bhalobashi in 2010 to commemorate the International Mother Language Day. In the same programme I read poems translated by Professor Kabir Chowdhury, Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam, Professor Khandakar Ashraf Hossain and Rana Thakur.

Current work

I am working for Biman Bangladesh Airlines for the last 28 years. I started my career as a language instructor and now I am in the DGM Training Customer Service. Being a trainer, I enjoy imparting training to cabin crew and front-liners in technical aspects of their jobs. Beside my regular job, I participate in different cultural programmes at home and abroad, conduct private and government programmes as an MC, participate as judge in competitions in schools and universities, give voice in documentaries and do radio and TV programmes.

Inspiration

The pleasant memories of returning home during vacations from Bharoteshwari Homes has been sculpted in my mind. I yearned to see my mother Ashrafunnessa. She had cared for and inspired all of her 11 children in performing duties from household chores to going to the Liberation War of 1971. My elder siblings inspired me to appreciate the values of life. Reading poetry was an interesting pastime in the family. My bother Col. Abu Taher Bir Uttam, Dr Anwar Hossain and Waresat Hossain Belal, MP, Bir Protik were also wonderful poetry reciters. When human emotions and intricate values of a poem touch my inner-self; poetry itself becomes inspiration. When I come across a poem that has a beautiful message to convey, I feel it's my duty to spread it among others. My husband and my sister Dr Julia Ahmed continually inspire me to be a better human being.

Philosophy

I amwhat I am. I dislike phoniness, I dislike envying. I am a ceaseless learner. Nature and the people around me are my greatest teachers.

Views on her profession

I enjoy what I do. Besides in-house students of Biman, I teach crew members from different private airlines. At times I encounter foreign students too. I gain new experience when exposed to new people. I work with cabin crews, it's all related to aircrafts; training courses include safety and emergency procedures, fire-fighting, cabin decompression, dangerous goods regulations, in-flight security, etc. In the process of teaching I too get to learn so much from my students.

Books

Reading books has always been my choice pastime. My favourite books include Geetanjali, Shanchoyeeta, Prothom Alo, Purbo Poshchim, A Quiver Full of Arrows, Crutcher Colonel and stories by Shamoresh Basu.

Music

I love listening to any music that touches my soul. Rabindra Sangeet is my all-time favourite; it never fails to amaze me. Music that soothes my soul and is devoid of noise is my heart's treasure. Music that appeals to my senses and elates my heart's liking; it could range from pop music to Lalon Geeti to Bhajan, Shayma Sangeet, the list can be endless.

 

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