Poet Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah was born in Barisal in 1956. His actual name is Sheikh Mohammad Shahidullah; however, later he chose ‘Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah’ to be his name. His mother was Shiria Begum and father Sheikh Waliullah who was a physician.
On the occasion of his 62nd birth anniversary, Kobibandhu, a cultural organisation arranged a discussion and musical soiree at National Public Library in the city on October 16. Noted poets, rhymesters, cultural and social activists, essayists, journalists attended the event and delivered their experiences, concepts and Rudra’s contributions to Bengali literature. The discussants opined that he was secular, liberal and patriotic by nature. He was very sincere and dedicated to his creations.
Rudra was noted for his revolutionary and romantic poetry. In the popular culture of Bangladesh, Shahidullah’s most well known contribution is the song “Bhalo Achi Bhalo Theko”, popular ever since it was written. In 1991, an annual fair called Rudra Mela was started to commemorate the poet.
Poet Rudra was the husband of writer Taslima Nasrin. His notable song “Amar Bhitor O Bahire” is regarded by some people as a suicide note to Taslima Nasrin. The works of this brilliant poet were popularised later by Indian singer-songwriter Kabir Suman and Bangladeshi famous singer Sabina Yasmin. As once famously stated by Kabir Suman, the song “Amar Bhitor O Bahire” became an all time popular song for the Bengalis of both Bangladesh and West Bengal. The longing embedded in the lyrics add to the poignancy of the piece.
Rudra completed his SSC from Dhaka West End High School, HSC from Dhaka College, BA (Hons.) in Bangla from Dhaka University and MA from the same university. In his student life, two of his poetry books namely Upodruta Upakul and Firey Chai Swarnagram were published and these earned him instant reputation. These two works reflect his keen observation of contemporary society and culture. His poetry promotes the establishment of a discrimination-free society. He soon came in limelight as a vigorous poet in the 1970s.
Other notable poetry books by Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah are: Chhobal , Galpo, Diyechhile Sakol Akash, Maulik Mukhosh and Ek-glass Andhokar. Although he was mainly a poet, he had profound interest in composing music, and in writing drama, short story and essay.
His literary practice was devoted to the country, humanity and humanness. As recognition for his literary achievements, he was given Munir Chaudhury Memorial Award in 1980. He died in Dhaka in 1991.
The writer is a freelance contributor.