December 7 marked the 92nd death anniversary of legendary songwriter Hasan Raja.
Hasan Raja was a zamindar, mystic devotee and music composer. He was born on January 24 in 1854 in a zamindar family of village Lakshmansree in Sunamganj district. His father Dewan Ali Reza Chowdhury was a zamindar of Lakshmansree and Rampasha.
His mother was Hurmat Jahan Bibi. His forefathers came from Audh in Uttar Pradesh and first settled in Jessore and then in Sunamganj. His grandfather Birendra Chandra Simha alias Babu Khan was a Kshatriya Hindu who accepted Islam with the faujdar of Sylhet. Hasan Raja's father Dewan Ali Reza Chowdhury inherited vast landed property from his paternal and maternal forefathers, and established his zamindari estate in Sylhet. Hasan Raja succeeded his father to the zamindari estate at the age of fifteen. He did not take any formal education. Like most of his aristocratic contemporaries, Hasan also got education from family environment and tradition. Hasan successfully administered his zamindari estate for long fifty two years by dint of his intelligence and self-enlightenment.
He was not above sensuality and luxury, caprice and whim. At the same time, he was kind, generous and devoted to the service of the needy. At the mature age, Hasan Raja had a great change in his outlook to life. Under the influence of a sufi, he got inclined to spiritualism and began composing mystic songs. These songs are the outcome of his creative genius manifesting the reflection of his philosophical and spiritual thoughts. The lucid style of expression of the spiritual knowledge in easy language made them popular to common people. His mystic songs earned him immense social reputation during his lifetime and after. The lyrist Hasan Raja is now a household name in Bangladesh. His songs composed in regional dialect of Sylhet used to be transmitted verbally from one person to another. Now a days, the songs of Hasan Raja are practiced in educated society and are transmitted through all sorts of medias.
Hasan Raja died in 1922 at the age of sixty eight.