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Al Mahmud: A prominent Poet

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Literature Desk :
Mir Abdus Shukur Al Mahmud commonly known as Al Mahmud is a poet, novelist, short-story writer. He is considered as one of the greatest Bengali poets emerged in 20th century. His work in Bengali poetry is dominated by his copious use of regional dialects. In 1950s he was among those Bengali poets who were outspoken by writing about the events of Bengali Language Movement, nationalism, political and economic repression and struggle against Pakistan Government.
He was born on July 11, 1936 in Morail Village, Brahmanbaria district, Bangladesh. He started his career as a journalist. He came into recognition after 'Lok Lokantor' was published in 1963. In succession, he wrote 'Kaler Kalosh' (1966), 'Sonali Kabin' (1966) and 'Mayabi Porda Dule Otho' (1976). In addition to writing poetry, he has written short stories, novels and essays such as Pankourir Rokto and Upomohadesh. He took part in the Liberation War of Bangladesh as a freedom fighter in 1971. After the war, he joined The Daily Ganakantha as Assistant Editor. He was jailed for a year during the era of the then government. Later, Al Mahmud joined Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in 1975 and retired in 1993 as Director of the Academy.
Al Mahmud is one of the most prominent poets in Bengali literature. In his early youth he entered Dhaka city having a broken suitcase from which, like a magician, he showed us all the rivers of Bangladesh. The conscious readers of poetry have watched his magic spellbound and become his fan. Al Mahmud is one of those poets who have contributed a lot to the progress of modern Bengali poetry. He is a very popular poet in Bangladesh. He has innumerable admirers at home and abroad. But it is a matter of sorrow that very few of his poems have been translated into English, for which the non-Bengali readers are yet deprived of having the taste of his poetry.
A good number of poetry books of Al Mahmud have been published. Lok Lokantor, Kaler Kolos, Sonali Kabin, Mayabi Porda Duley Otho, Odristabadider Rannabanna, Bokhtiarer Ghora, Arobyo Rojonir Rajhas, Mithyabadi Rakhal, Doel 0 Doyita etc are remarkable ones. But the book which has been accepted by the Bengali poetry readers as a classic piece is his Sonali Kabin. The Golden Kabin is an English version of this very book. 'Kabin' means a matrimonial contract in Muslim society. Al Mahmud has picked up this very word ever-known to all but never allowed in poetry and used so successfully that it has got a symbolic meaning and has drawn the attention of scholars, both in Bangladesh and West Bengal.
Al Mahmud entered into the realm of poetry following the paths of Jasim Uddin and Jibanananda Das, his two preceding poets. Jasim Uddin uniquely depicted the picture of rustic Bengal in his poems. People of the agro-based Bengali Muslim society got their identity in literature. Their sorrow, sufferings, poverty, hunger and love, depicted vividly in his poems, attracted not only the Bengali educated society but also the whole world. Unlike Jasim Uddin, Jibananando Das depicted the scenic and the spiritual beauty of Bangladesh. Another difference between them is that Jasim Uddin followed the language of rustic people in poetry, whereas Jibanananda Das was very sophisticated in using poetic dictions. Walking the paths of his two great forerunners, Al Mahmud had to struggle a lot to find out his own identity. At last he reached his goal; his distinction as a poet became obvious, in his third book the Sonali Kabin.
Philosopher Sibnarayan Ray commented:
"Al Mahmud has an extraordinary gift for telescopic discrete levels of experience; in his poems I find a marvelous fusion and wit which reminds me occasionally of Bishnu Dey. The complete secularism of his approach is also striking ... he was born and brought up in a very conservative Muslim religious family; it is not a secularism forced by some ideology, but present naturally and ubiquitously in his metaphors, images and themes. "
Awards, Ekushey Padak, 1987; The highest literature award of Bangladesh Bangla Academy Award, 1968, Chattagram Sangskriti Kendro Farrukh Memorial Award,1995 Kabi Jasim Uddin Award, Philips Literary Award, Alakta Literary Award, Sufi Motaher Hossain Literary Gold Medal, AI Mahmud's Works: Lok Lokantor (1963) Kaler Kalos (1966) Sonali Kabin (1966), Mayabi Porda Dule Otho (1976), Arobyo Rojonir Rajhash (The Goose of Arabian Nights) Bokhtiyarer Ghora (The Horse of Bakhtiyar), Dinjapon (Passing Days), Ditiyo Bhangon (Second Collapse) Ekti Pakhi Lej Jhola Golpshomogro, Jebhabe Gore Uthi, Kishor Shomogro, Kobir Atmobisshash (The Confidence of Poet) Kobita Somogro- 1, 2, Pankourir Rokto (1975) (Blood of Bird) Na Kono Shunyota Mani Na, Nodir Bhitorer Nodi (River Inside River),  Pakhir Kache, Phooler Kache (To Birds, To Flowers), Prem 0 Bhalobashar Kobita (Poems of Love and Romance), Prem Prokritir Droho Ar Prarthonar Kobita (Poems of Love and Prayer) Premer Kobita Somogro, Upomohadesh (The Continent), Upanyas Somogro- 1, 2, 3. n

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