Double Issue, 48pp
Shamsur Rahman (1929-2006) was one of the poets who not only
wrote poetry but also maintained a very good relationship with
poets of different generations. While the poets of his age found
a good friend in him, poets of later time realized that they had
someone who would give them love and affection and would help them
whenever needed. He maintained an open door policy throughout his
whole life. One may think, a poet who produced more than seventy
volumes of poetry and numerous collections of essays including a couple
of memoirs would generally be busy with his own writing all the time.
But, surprisingly, he managed to invest his time into political duties
as well. Not that he was involved in politics like a politician, rather
he supported all the national political movements through his poems
and columns, and he, many a time, was seen to be with the street processions
whenever a national crisis had blistered in the heart of the country.
And so, he was loved by everyone. Probably, no Bengali poet, other than
Tagore and Nazrul, got so much love and honor from the people of the
country in his life time. That is why, millions of people attended his
funeral chanting his poems, while the fundamentalist backed government of
the time even failed to arrange an official burial for him. Well, one thing
he never did was compromising with the fundamentalists.
Rahman was called the Poet of Freedom. He earned this title after his poem Freedom, which was written during the Liberation War in 1971. In the poem, he describes freedom with examples of many national treasures and monumental figures, and in the end, he says, freedom is like his poetry writing notebook, where he can write whatever he wants and however he likes.
In about fifty five years of his writing career, he became such a figure who gradually pasted himself with the history of Bangladesh. A major poet indeed, though not much known by the rest of the world due to lack of translation, Shamsur Rahman would be there as long as Bengali and Bangladesh would exist.
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Shabdaguchha, A Journal of Poetry, Published in New York, Edited by Hassanal Abdullah.