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The ones I lost this year

by Afonso
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Bangladesh has lost many talented people in 2023. Throughout the year, many respected women in the national, art-literature-culture arena had to bid farewell. Those who died will be remembered forever for their contributions. Respect to all of them.

Sufia Khatun

Writer, teacher and social worker Sufia Khatun passed away on January 7. He was over 100 years old at the time of his death. He received the Bangla Academy Literary Award in 2021 for his autobiographical book ‘Jiwan Nadihan Banke Banke’. For 23 years she taught at Siddheshwari Girls School, Vikarunnisa Noon School and the then Cantonment Modern School. Apart from teaching and writing, he was also involved in various social development activities.

Sufia Khatun was born in May 1922 in Mymensingh. In 2006, he wrote ‘Sona Jhara Din’ for children and teenagers. Apart from this, his book of poetry named ‘Apanbhuban’, ‘Nare Khej Jal’ was also published. In 2014, ‘Emigration Achievements’ was published about his long life in exile.

Ruby Ghaznavi.  Photo: CollectedRuby Ghaznavi

Ruby Ghaznavi is one of the pioneers of the craft movement. He died on January 14 at the age of 88 after a long illness. Ruby Ghaznavi started the ‘Natural Colors’ project in 1982. In 1990, he started ‘Aranya Craft’, a natural color clothing showroom in Banani with his own savings. It is the only institute in the country where vegetable dyes are used in garments.

Ruby Ghajanbir was born on 10 December 1935 in Faridpur. However, due to his father AF Mujibur Rahman’s job, his school life was spent in Kolkata. After Partition, he completed his Honors and Masters in Economics from Dhaka University. Ruby Ghaznavi was an honorary member of the World Crafts Council and Chairperson of the National Dyes Program for the Asia-Pacific Region. Apart from this, he was a trustee of Transparency International Bangladesh and a member of Bengal Foundation. He wrote two books titled ‘Naksha’ and ‘Rangin’.

Sculptor Shamim Sikder.  Photo: CollectedShamim Sikder

Shamim Sikder, an artist with self-earned independence and many sculptures, died on March 21 at a private hospital in Dhaka. In 1974, Shamim Sikder built the sculpture of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Dhaka Central Jail. In 1988, he built the sculpture ‘Swaparjit Swadhana’ located at the TSC of Dhaka University. He won the Ekushey Medal in 2000.

Shamim Sikder was a professor of sculpture at the then Institute of Fine Arts (now Faculty of Fine Arts). From 1980 to 2001, he was a faculty member of the Fine Arts Faculty of Dhaka University.

Shamim Sikder was born on October 22, 1952 in Chingashpur village of Mahasthangarh in Bogra. At the age of 15, he was admitted to Bulbul Lalitkala Academy. He won the Institute of Fine Arts Award in 1969, 1970, 1973 and 1974. He won the Silver Jubilee Edward of Fine Art Award in 1973.

Bulbul Mahalanbeesh.  Photo: CollectedBulbul Mahalanbeesh

The name of Bulbul Mahalanbeesh is associated with the history of independence of the country. He was the speaker of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra during the liberation war. This soldier died on July 14 after suffering from various diseases related to old age.

This talented artist was born on March 10, 1953 in Vikrampur. He completed his graduation and post graduation in Bengali language and literature from Dhaka University. He has been teaching for a long time in his professional life.

On December 16, 1971, Bulbul gave his voice to the timeless song ‘Bijoy Nishan Udache Oi’ broadcast from Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra in Kolkata. ‘Muktijudda’s pre-preparation and memory 71’ is a widely discussed book written by him. Nazrul musician Bulbul Mahalanbeesh was well-known as a writer, poet, presenter, reciter and dramatist. Bulbul Mahalanbeesh received Chayan Gold Medal, Dewan Mohammad Azraf Foundation Award, West Bengal Nazrul Academy Award for his contribution to literature and culture.

Panna Kaiser.  Photo: CollectedThe Emerald Kaiser

Shahidjaya Panna Kaiser passed away on August 4 at the age of 73. He was a writer, researcher, children’s organizer, former member of parliament. In 2021, he received the Bangla Academy Literary Award in recognition of his contribution to liberation war-based research. Panna Kaiser was a member of Parliament of Awami League in the reserved seat for women in the Jatiya Sangsad from 1996 to 2001.

Panna Kaiser was born on 25 May 1950. Her husband Shahidullah Qaiser was a prominent journalist, writer and politician. He has two children, Shami Kaiser and Amitabh Kaiser.

Panna Kaiser studied in the Bengali Department of Dhaka University. He chose teaching as a profession. He was associated with various socio-cultural organizations including Khelaghar, Udichi. Panna Kaiser’s first book ‘Muktijudda: Before and After’. Apart from this, his other books include – ‘Mukti’, ‘Nilimaye Neel’, ‘Hridaye Ekatar’, ‘I O Amar Muktijudda’, ‘Muktijudda-Sagram’, ‘Ekattarre Shaheed Shahidullah Qaiser’, ‘Storytelling of Muktijudda’, ‘Hridaye Bangladesh’ ‘ etc.

Dancer Zeenat Barkatullah.  Photo: CollectedZeenat Barkatullah

Ekushey medalist dancer Zeenat Barkatullah died on September 20 at his residence in Dhanmondi of the capital. He was 72 years old at the time of his death. In 2022, he was awarded the national honor Ekushey Padak for his outstanding contribution to the field of dance. Being a dancer, he was also a good actor.

Zeenat Barkatullah was born on October 3, 1952 in Comilla. Zeenat Barkatullah started learning dance from dancer Gazi Alimuddin Mannan at the age of four. Zeenat Barkatullah joined the University’s Performing Arts Academy after completing his post graduation from the Social Welfare Department of Dhaka University. He later joined Shilpakala Academy as the director of the production department under the music and dance department. During his career, he served for a long time in Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.

In 1980, he started his acting career with BTV drama ‘Maria Amar Maria’. Apart from Ekushey Padak, this talented artist received many honors including Shilpakala Academy Award, UNESCO Award. She is the wife of playwright late Mohammad Barkatullah. His daughter is popular actress and dancer Bijri Barkatullah.

Nadira Begum.  Photo: CollectedNadira Begum

Bhavaya artist and brave freedom fighter Nadira Begum passed away on November 6 at the age of 73 while undergoing treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University. He is a renowned vocalist of Bhavaya, Palligeeti and Folk songs.

Nadira Begum was born and brought up in Joypurhat. His daughter Nadira Begum made her name in the world of music by the hand of AKM Abdul Aziz, the lyricist and composer of the song ‘Kalkal Chalchal Nadi Kare Talmal’. He enlisted as a radio musician in 1960. He taught in Government Music College and Chhaynat Music Academy.


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