Ajit Roy remembered through music and discussion
Artistes recently paid tribute to the late eminent singer-composer Ajit Roy by singing songs composed by the late Tagore artiste at a memorial event which was recently held at National Art Gallery Auditorium of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Segunbagicha in the city.
Cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor, veteran journalist and cultural activist Kamal Lohani and Director General of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Liaquat Ali Lucky were present at the memorial meeting. The discussants talked about life and immense contributions of Ajit Roy at the programmme. The guests uttered that Ajit Roy was soft-spoken, secular, reserved by nature. He was a cultural and social organiser. He was the founder of the Abbhuday Sangeet Angan, a reputed cultural organisation, He founded it in 1990. June 29 marked the 80th birth anniversary of this reputed musician.
Artistes paid tribute to Roy, also a renowned Tagore singer and an artiste of defunct Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, by rendering songs composed by Roy. They also sang popular songs of Rabindranath Tagore and others.
Ajit Roy was a Bangladeshi Rabindra Sangeet singer. Born in 1938, the singer was inspired by the spirit of the Language Movement and took to singing in 1952. After his matriculation, in 1963 he began to perform on radio and TV. Ajit Roy has been a passionate singer since 1963. During the Liberation War of 1971 he sang inspiring songs called Gana Sangeet to inspire people to take arms against the Pakistani forces. He has composed several timeless patriotic songs including "Ekti Bangladesh Tumi Jagroto Janatar", "Apomaney Tumi Sdhedin Joley Uthechhiley Shedin Barnomala", "Banglar Mukh Ami Dekiachhi", "Hey Bango Bhandarey Tabo" and more which went on to become hugely popular.
Roy was born in the village Ulipur in Kurigram district in 1938. His father Mukunda Chandra Roy was a government official in Rangpur while his mother Konika Roy was a school teacher and cultural activist. He took lesson on Tagore music from his mother Konika Roy in his childhood.
Roy came to Dhaka in the 1960s and began working with the country's government-run radio station and also worked with the country's only television channel from its inception. He gained in popularity in composing many patriotic songs during the war.
In the mid-60s, Roy used to compose a new song on the occasion of the Language Movement Day every year and present that particular song on the auspicious day. It was Roy, who sang Bidrohi by Rebel Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, composed by Altaf Mahmud on one such occasion. In 1972 he joined Bangladesh Betar as a music director, and retired in 1996. He is also the founder of a musical organisation, Abbhudoy Sangeet Academy. He lent his voice to several feature films including 'Jibon Thekey Neya', 'Reporter', 'Je Agune Purechhi', 'Janmabhumi', 'Kothai Jeno Dekhechhi' and 'Kasai. He also played a character in the film 'Suruj Mia'. Ajit rendered "Amar Sonar Bangla" and "Jago Onashono Bondi" and composed many timeless songs on SBBK. He composed the first song announcing the victory of Bangladesh: "Shwadhin Shwadhin Dikey Dikey Aj".
In his early life, Ajit Roy played tabla. But as his mother would sing, he was inclined towards singing as well. In April, 1971 when Liberation War was on, we went to Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendra through Jessore to embolden the morale of freedom loving people. He composed tunes of many songs during that time. He also directed music. He would also sing during mass upsurge of 1969, Tagore and Nazrul birth anniversary and in many other programmes.
Ajit joined Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra (SBBK) in 1971 that inspired the nation to fight the Pakistani army. He was a committed personality who never hankered after money. His patriotic zeal is incomparable. Wherever he performed on stage, he would wrap up with the rendition of national anthem. Nobody seen him getting angry on anyone. He has a great contribution in making singers.
Ajit rendered "Amar Sonar Bangla" and "Jago Onashono Bondi" and composed many timeless songs on SBBK. He composed the first song announcing the victory of Bangladesh: "Shwadhin Shwadhin Dikey Dikey Aj". In 1972 he joined Bangladesh Betar (radio) as a music director, and retired in 1996. He is also the founder of a musical organisation, Abbhudoy Sangeet Academy.
Ajit has several awards to his credit: Swadhinota Padak, the highest award of the country in 2000, Gunijan Padak from Rabindra Sangeet Sammilon Parishad, Sraddhanjalipatro from Bangladesh Rabindra Sangeet Shilpi Shangshtha, Shabdoshainik Padak from SBBK, Sequence Award 1988, Begum Rokeya Padak, Chittagong Youth Choir Award, Wrishijo Shilpo Goshthi Padak and Robi Rashmi Padak.
The writer is a freelance contributor.