Shamsur Rahman was noted as an urban poet, columnist and editor. Major themes in his poetry and writings include liberal humanism, human relations, romanticism, democracy, religious fundamentalism and more.
Yesterday marked the 9th death anniversary of the pre-eminent poet. On the occasion of his death anniversary, a number of social, cultural and literary organisations arranged varied programmes across the country.
The bard was born in his grandfather's house in Dhaka. His paternal home is situated on the bank of the river Meghna in Narshingdi district. He was the fourth of thirteen children. He passed matriculation in 1945. Later he took his I.A. as a student of Dhaka College. The poet started writing poetry at the age of 18, just after graduating from Dhaka College. He studied English Literature at Dhaka University for three years. After a break, he received his B.A. in 1953. He also received his M.A. in the same subject.
The bard wrote more than 60 books of poetry. His first book of poetry, "Prothom Gaan Dwitio Mrittyur Agey," was published in 1960. He witnessed the political turbulence of the 60's and 70's, which reflected in his poems clearly. He wrote his famous poem "Asad-er Shirt" as a tribute to the mass uprising of 1969. During the Liberation War he wrote a number of poems, which brilliantly articulated the aspiration of a nation fighting for its existence.
The poet had a long career as a journalist and served as the editor of a national daily, Dainik Bangla and the weekly Bichitrain the 1980s.
About Shamsur Rahman, renowned poet Muhammad Samad said, "Rahman was undoubtedly one of the foremost Bengali poets. I had spent a fair share of time with him at seminars, recitations, tours overseas and cultural programmes. I fondly remember our times together. His poems and essays motivated people during historic movements. His immense contribution to Bangla poetry during the Liberation War is really praiseworthy. He was mainly recognised for his choice of words and phrases. Throughout a career spanning over six decades, he wrote numerous poems and published over a 100 books. His poetry remarkably articulates urban alienation. He was deeply influenced by Jibanananda Das and Sudhindranath Datta."
Internationally acclaimed Bangladeshi poet Aminur Rahman said, "Rahman was very reserved, soft spoken and belonged to an altogether different world. He was always against communal force and religious bigotry. His works (both poems and essays) highlighted the needs and issues faced by the masses and their way of life. Rahman's poems are courageous; patriotism and political ambiance recurrently got the focal point. An introvert by nature, he became an outspoken liberal intellectual in the 1990s against religious fundamentalism and reactionary politics in Bangladesh."
The poet received many prestigious awards in his life time. Rabindra Bharati University and Jadavpur University of India conferred honorary D.Lit. degrees on him. He was a recipient of Swadhinata Padak, Ekushey Padak, Adamjee Puroshkar, Bangla Academy Puroshkar, Jibanananda Puroshkar, Kabitalap Purosker, Abul Munsur Gold Medal, Bhasani Puroshkar and more.
The poet passed away in 2006.