Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Sunday, November 30, 2014, Agrahayan 16, 1421, Safar 6, 1436 Hijr

Humayun Ahmed
A bright light in Bengali literature
Mohammad Shafiqul Islam
Published : Sunday, 30 November, 2014,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 66
A bright light of Bengali literature, , who left us three years from now, is still as fresh as the moon and rain in the hearts of Bengalis. The whole Bengali-speaking world felt blank at the untimely and early passing away of the prince of Bengali literature. I can remember the most thought-provoking reaction of Alamgir Rahman, 's family friend, "As I did some great virtuous work in my life, I could come into contact with . But I lose him so early because I probably committed a sin." To evaluate the importance of a writer and person, no one can render any better reaction.
 As a writer, is great and popular, and as a human, he's greater and magnanimous. He lived like a monarch leading the kingdom of literature. Whatever genre he came up with, it received his Midas touch - it scarcely happened that he wrote a book and the book didn't sell thousands of copies within a few days. His readers were many who would eagerly wait for a new book by their favourite writer. He was undoubtedly the best storyteller among his contemporaries, and claims, I believe, a superior position among the all-time great writers in Bengali literature.
also made his presence felt in the film industry and drama with his charismatic power of presenting the subtleties of human emotions in the lives of Bengalis. Like readers of his books, fans of his films and dramas would wait for a new film or drama. He could measure the map of the Bengali psyche adroitly, and painting the portraits of common people insociety, he touched the hearts of tens of thousands of people. His stories and films and dramas depicted Bengali life as closely as he observed it. He wrote with ease and confidence as he had a natural acumen to tell stories. His works were bestsellers for about four decades. One cannot find a second author in the world who has tasted suchsuccess. The writer in him began with Nandita Narake (In Blissful Hell), published in 1972. The new sun in the sky of Bengali literature rose with all commitment and charisma. Ahmed Sofa was a great inspiration in his life, and Sofa discovered the writer in first.
After the publication of Nandita Narake, did not have to look back. Beginning in 1972, he wrote with the same energy in 2012. A gifted writer, gradually reached the peak of popularity. Bengali-speaking people worldwide would madly run to bookstores whenever a new book of his would come out. The annual Ekushey Boi Mela would always bring extra excitement for readers with the arrival of new books by . If sales in the book fair amounted to, say, fifty crore taka in total, 's books would claim half of that amount. His popularity was proved yet once again when we saw hundreds of thousands of his readers, with eyes full of tears, coming to Dhaka to pay their last homage to their favourite author. Tear-filled tributes poured in from around the world. Young people still show respects to their beloved author by wearing yellow panjabis on different occasions - the attire that Himu, one of 's most influential characters, wears.
could actually reveal the subtle emotions of middle-class Bengalis in his novels, dramas and films. Young generations dream of being akin to his characters, especially Himu. Every reader takes Himu to be his brother, friend or neighbour. Many believe the writer has ingrained himself in Himu, who loves the moon, nature, rain and many other things that the writer would love in his personal life. When was asked if Himu embodied him, he said that he had taken the name from the Himalayas because Himu is as cool, excited, large and high as those mountain ranges. As a human, Himu stands at the peak of the Himalayas. He thus approximates the persona of Kazi Nazrul Islam --- "My head is ever held high!"
Misir Ali is another great character that depicted with all his love. The character certainly stands for logic. There is nothing eccentric in him as we find in Himu. Misir Ali is 's most favourite character. As he was asked whom he would choose between Himu and Misir Ali, he said that though both of them were his favourites, he would side with Misir Ali. Human life is filled with philosophy, logic, mystery, and people strive to live with them. They try to understand life more deeply on a scale of philosophy and mystery. And has presented the deeper part of life through Misir Ali.
's works have been weighed on various scales, and many critics have cast him as a cheap writer, and his works as pointless. His novels have been declared thrown-away literature. But has remained the most popular writer for many years. He is the author who made Bengalis love reading books. Before him, the capital of Bengali literature was Kolkata, and he alone brought it back to Dhaka. People would read only West Bengal writers, and he turned the wave - a writer alone made the revolution silently without having people take to the streets.
would avoid purple prose because common middle-class Bengalis were on his mind. He had an extraordinary ability to make readers laugh, and then shed tears within moments. The depth of emotion and feeling that he incorporated in his works is rare in Bengali literature. deliberately avoided complexity, which is why he could connect withreaders so easily. Selina Hossain, a prominent novelist, noted in an interview that had outshone all writers of Bengali literature in both popularity and greatness. His novels, stories, dramas, science fictions can never be measured as minor literature. He did not want to be a star, but would always strive to be a writer, and he did become one.
wrote about three hundred books, of which the Himu and Misir Ali series have been most popular. But Nandita Narake (In Blissful Hell), Aguner Parashmani (The Stroke of Fire), Madhyanya (Noontime), Jyotsna O Jananir Galpa (The Moon and Ma), Matal Haowa (The Crazy Wind) are among his best works. Madhyanya is considered by many to be the most notable work, the masterpiece, and said that he would be happy if someone translated this book into English. But if remains alive for readers, it is because of his short stories. The most remarkable stories include "Jalil Sahib's Petition", "Eyes", "Ants", "The Smell of Death", "The Shadow Companion", "The Funeral Procession", and "Nineteen Seventy One" among many others.
was a great lover of nature - Nuhash Palli reminds us of his close contact with nature. He'd spend time with trees andbirds. He loved rains and the moon, so much so that the reference to rains and the moon repeatedly appear in almost all his works. Watching his films and dramas, reading his stories and novels, very few readers can resist the temptation of bathing in the rain.
's last novel Dewal (The Wall), a historical novel, though unfinished, is another remarkable work, based as it is on the heinous murder of Bangabandhu, the Father of the Nation. He also used humour at a very serious moment in the plot development of the novel with the depiction of sycophants in our history. He had incredible qualities to pinpoint the obsequious, decayed and despicable rogues of society, and presented them as minuscule bugs, harmful to humankind.
Out of many scintillating drama serials, Kothao Keo Nei (There's Nobody Anywhere) was the most popular. People still remember the character Baker Bhai. When the play was running on BTV, people would wait for Tuesday, the day the serial ran. Viewers both in villages and cities remained glued to the screen when it was screened. Some interesting events took place in Bangladesh because of this play. About 150 lawyers attempted to file a lawsuit against because he showed, they complained, the lawyers as dishonest that tarnished their image in society. explained that there was an honest and ideal lawyer in the drama as well - why do these lawyers see their images in the evil ones? The whole nation was furious when an innocent Baker Bhai was about to be hanged for a crime he had never committed.
When Baker Bhai was hanged, thousands of people took to the streets shouting slogans against - they even threw brick chips at his house, and he was warned to stay away from home.
was a very courageous writer, and he didn't care about who'd be happy or sad with his writings. Truth came out through his mighty pen. There were times when writing or uttering the word 'razakar' was prohibited as the anti-liberation forces were in power. was such a bright and brave writer and dramatist that in a play, he made a parrot say "tui razakar" (you're a quisling). As a committed writer to people and society, he had a strong sense of humanity and sensitivity.
had his own views of death. He did not like the words death, corpse, grave and so on - these were unbearable to him. He felt that human beings were so creative that they should live several hundred years for the welfare of humankind. It was part of his robust optimism as he believed that one day science would discover something that would certainly conquer death.
is still alive and will remain so for years to come, for poetry says, "Death, thou shalt die." We invite you, dear writer, to "come in the rain if you feel sad."
, whose debut collection of poetry 'Wings of Winds' is forthcoming, teaches English at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet. 

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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