Barsha Kairy : January 14, 2014 marks the sixth death anniversary of Natyacharya Selim Al Deen. To observe the occasion, Selim Al Deen Foundation in association with Dhaka Theatre and Gram Theatre is going to organise a three-day long commemorative programme from January 14. The programme features an offering tribute at his grave on Jahangirnagar University campus, staging of his plays and more. On January 14 the programme will begin with offering floral wreathes at Selim Al Deen's grave at 10 am that will be followed by a seminar at 3 pm at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy National Theatre Hall. On January 15, a reading session from Selim Al Deen's 'Nimojjon' and 'Dinolipi' will be held at 6:30 pm at the BSA Experimental theatre hall. On January 16 'Dhaboman' directed by Shimul Yousuf will be staged on the BSA main theatre hall at 6:30 pm. Theatre troupe Swapnadal is also organising a four-day festival, with the slogan "Oitijher Dhara'y Rabindranath, Rabindranath theke Selim Al Deen, Bangla Natya kobhu noy deen-heen".
On the eve of his 6th death anniversary prominent journalist Safiqur Rahman who was one of Selim Al Deen's roommates at Muhsin hall of University of Dhaka said, 'Selim Al Deen was talented, extraordinary and progressive. He used to cherish the spirit of Liberation War within self. He is an invaluable treasure for world literature and that is why his absence is irreparable loss to Bengal Literature.'
This exceptionally brilliant dramatist was born in Shenerkhil village of Sonagazi Upazila of Feni on 18 August, 1949. He passed matriculation in 1964 from Manglakandi High School and in 1966 he passed I. Sc. from Feni College. In 1967 he got admitted into Dhaka University to study Bengali literature. But later he moved to the Korotia College and completed graduation from there. Later he came back to Dhaka University and obtained his M. A. degree from the Bengali Department. In 1995 he obtained Ph.D. from the Jahangirnagar University. His first job was in an advertising firm as a copywriter. However, in 1974 he joined Jahangirnagar University as a Lecturer.
Selim Al Deen carried out extensive research for his doctoral dissertation in which he proved that the history of Bengali drama is older than that of European drama. He studied Bengali Jatra which prompted him to write his first unique drama Kittonkhola. His subsequent works named Bashon, Atotai, Saifulmulk Badiuzzaman, Keramat Mangal, Hat Hodai and Chaka followed the pattern of Epic realism which he inaugurated in Bengali culture. He also brought out the folklore tradition called Kathya-natya to his dramas like Joiboti Koinnar Mon and also in Hargaaz. Realization that Bengali drama was lagging far behind other branches of Bengali literature, Selim Al Deen did not divert his attention away and continued his focus. He started experimentation in forms and styles to explore different possibilities. The early nineties saw Selim Al Deen focusing on a new style derived from folk traditions. Selim Al Deen was one of the founding members of Dhaka Theatre which is a leading theatre group of the country and rendered vital contribution in advancing the progressive drama movement. He achieved many awards including Bangla Academy award for literature in 1984, Kathak Sahitya Puroshkar in 2002, Best Tele-playwright Award in 1994, National Cinema Award for best dialogue in 1994 and Ekushey Padak in 2007. Selim Al Deen alleviates us to understand our very own root through his plays. Selim Al-Dee'ns last speech was "Let's turn back to Allah before turn to dust".