Poet Asim Saha a Beacon of Truthfulness and Idealism

Hiren Pandit: Poet Asim Saha, a beacon of truthfulness and idealism, departed on Tuesday, 18th June 2024, around 4:00 pm, while undergoing treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU). Born on February 20, 1949, in the Netrakona district town, he spent much of his life in Madaripur due to his father’s work. As a resident student of Jagannath Hall in the Department of Bengali Literature at Dhaka University, he immersed himself in the world of words. His dedication to literature was recognized when he was awarded the prestigious Bangla Academy Literary Award in 2012, followed by the Ekushey Padak, the country’s second-highest civilian honor, in 2019 for his contribution to the Bengali language and literature.

He always talked about misogyny in our art, culture, and journalism. At the end of his life, he wanted to devote more time to the newspaper. He wanted to publish a daily called Dainik Chirodin under his editorship, but he disagreed with the Financer, so this taste remained incomplete. He worked in various dailies but always told us about the disrespectful conditions and painful experience of salary allowance; maybe we had nothing to do standing in this ruined society. Ultimately, he had to struggle a lot to meet the medical expenses. The government has also assisted.

He also joined the Jatiya Grantha Kendra and left the institute in anger, sadness, and shame, unable to work independently under the pressure of influential Bureaucrats. However, you can leave the world with respect and self-respect. It is enough nowadays. Poet Asim Saha is one of the leading poets of this country. Deserving son of father philosopher Akhil Bandhu Saha. He is the second among three brothers and three sisters. His ancestral home is in Teota village of Shibaloy Upazila of Manikganj district. Honest, ideal devotion seems to have been inherited from ancestors. For four years of his childhood, he spent a happy life in this small village on the bank of the river Jamuna. But when the philosopher father, Akhil Bandhu, moved to Madaripur in 1948 for a job at Sahar College, he settled there permanently after a few years.

After passing secondary school in 1965 from Madaripur Nazimuddin College in 1967 and higher secondary in 1969, he was admitted to the Bangla Department of Dhaka University in 1969 and stayed at Jagannath Hall as a resident student. Bangabandhu’s movement to liberate Bangladesh began. He participated in that movement every day as a street soldier. Although the university’s final examination was supposed to be held in 1971, the examination was not held again after the non-cooperation movement and later the declaration of independence by Bangabandhu on the night of March 26. Later, in 1973, he received his master’s degree.

Poet Asim Sahar’s writing career began in 1964 as a class 10 student in Madaripur. In 1965, he started writing nationally for children in a newspaper in Dhaka. Since then, Poet Asim Saha has continuously written poems, stories, novels, essays, rhymes, juvenile poems, songs, etc. He was a writer in all aspects of literature, believed in wisdom, and worked with time as he thought. He had a happy family with his wife, poet Anjana Saha, and two sons, Avro Saha and Arghya Saha.

Poet Asim Saha witnessed the war of liberation with mature consciousness. In the 1960s, the rise of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, the great hero of the Bengali nation and the glory of the national hero, invigorated and enlivened the youth of the 1960s. He participated in various movements of the liberation war, including multiple movements of 1962, 1966, and 1969, and played a role as a successful organizer in the Liberation War of 1971.

Poet Asim Saha was vocal against atrocities such as the persecution of religious minorities, as well as his commitment to humanity. The bold utterance of a sensitive poet bloodied by various inconsistencies thus becomes a part of history and poetry. He presented the dark times in multi-dimensional terms. He writes refugees and speaks of the stateless people with great eloquence. After the destruction of the Babri Mosque in 1992, the ‘Harmony and Human Rights Movement’ was started by the conscientious people of the country to protest against the attacks and torture of the minorities in this country.

After the general election in 2001, he protested against the brutal persecution of religious minorities and raised it among the people of this country through writing. He always went forward with any healthy movement in Bangladesh. He involved himself with journalism and the printing industry to pursue his profession. He once served as the executive editor of Anandapatra magazine and wrote columns in daily newspapers. He once worked as the Joint Editor of the new style magazine ‘Amader Natun Somoy’.

I met with Asimda (Poet Asim Saha) in 1987 when I was a student at Dhaka University. One day, I first met him at his office, Ityadi of Neelkhet. After that, my unwritten address and regular chat became a matter of course. Apart from writing, poet Asim Saha was always involved in various organizations. One was Bengali-German Harmony (BGS)—an organization bridging German and Bangladeshi citizens. Professor Kabir Chowdhury was the president, writer Ahmed Sofa was the general secretary, and poet Asim Saha was the cultural secretary. Later, due to my association with BGS, I closely saw the respected poet Asim Saha. I have seen up close an ideal man moving forward with confidence.

I saw love for mother, soil, and motherland in him. I have never seen any compromise on honesty, devotion, and ideals to uphold the spirit of the liberation war and the liberation war of this country. Because of this ideal and righteousness, he has to be dissatisfied with many people. Repeated death threats are also haunting him. But nothing could sway him from ideals. It isn’t easy to find ideal people like him these days. He was an exception to the current trend of the perfect society. He was always the first target of anti-independence and fundamentalist forces. At every moment, the name of poet Asim Saha is being spread falsely. In our society, those who are honest, idealistic, and believe in the spirit of the liberation war always have to endure such insults.

Based on Nirmalendu Goona’s poem Nekabbar’s Mahaprayan, the film starred poet Asim Saha, Nirmalendu Goon, and many others. Nekabbar’s Mahaprayan is a 2014 Bangladeshi drama film directed by Masud Pathik. Moreover, poet Asim Saha has directed a cultural group named Sahajia, written several songs, and composed them himself as a music director.

We always wish that the culture of ideals and trust that poet Asim Saha has left before us continues. Poems, stories, novels, essays, rhymes, juvenile poems, songs, etc., poet Asim Saha will live on in his creative works. Some of his notable books published by him are: Purba Prithibir Asthir Jyosna (1982), Under Black Feathers (1986), Restoration (1992), Refugees (1994), Mid-Night Echoes (2001), Festival of Death in Darkness (2006), Poems of the Moment (2006), Saur-Ramayana (2011), Poems (translation) by Octavio Paz and Derek Walcott (2011), Grave Digging Imam (2011), Prempadavali (2011), Old-Day Grasses (2012) (Poetry). Progressive Literary Style (1976), Agnipurush DeRozio (1990), Udasin Day (novel) (1992), Shosanghater Mati (story) (1995), Killer Chote Kanthal Pake (2002), Fox’s Dig (2007), Henry DeRozio (2010).

One of the leading poets of the 60s – Alaol Literary Award (1993), Mymensingh Sahitya-Sanskriti Forum Award (2009), Satkhira Jatiya Kavita Parishad Poetry Award (2010), Kavita-Bangla Poetry Award (2010), Bindubisarga Poetry Award (2011), Dikchihnho Poetry Award (2011) ), received the Kendriya Khelaghar Asar Kabisammannana (2011) and Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin Award (2012) and Kabitalap Award (2012). Poet Asim Saha has walked into the poetry arena holding the banner of freedom war with the hand of eternal ideals and faith and has remained modern, contemporary, and steadfast in faith every day. You had much more to give to Bengali literature. The self-respect you always carried will be our source of inspiration. Be well above and forgive us who could do nothing for you.

The writer is a, essayist, researcher & columnist

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