Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  

Looking back to the years of glory
Ajit Roy
Days at Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra

On the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr in November 1971, when the artistes of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra glimpsed the moon, they all became emotional. As veteran singer Ajit Roy reminisced, "With due respect for the religion, nobody was in a mood celebrate the Eid, when people were in pain and agony. We could not think of celebrating the Eid. Lyricist Shahidul Islam wrote a song that said, 'The moon of Eid, please go back and return when our land becomes independent.' Everyone shared this sentiment. I composed the tune of Chand tumi phirey jao and Rupa Khan sang it."

Ajit Roy has been a passionate singer since 1963. He has composed many popular patriotic songs including Ekti Bangladesh tumi jagroto janatar, Apomaney tumi shedin jwaley uthechhiley barnomala, Banglar mukh ami dekiachhi and Hey bango bhandarey tabo.

Going back in time to mid-1971, Ajit recalls receiving a message from Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra asking him to join the radio. He recalls, "I could not avoid the urge to join the radio. So, I prepared myself for the trip to India. I went with a group of freedom fighters led by Monirul Alam Manu who arranged everything for me."

Ajit says, "I can never forget how ordinary people of this land helped me on that journey." He reached a camp of freedom fighters in Agartala and finally made it to Kolkata in July. He still recalls the first moment of his arrival at the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra (radio station). "All the people who had already joined the radio station including singers Apel Mahmud, Abdul Jabbar, Kaderi Kibria, composer Samar Das and others were overwhelmed to see me. After I joined the radio, its structure was more organised," says Ajit.

Ajit has other memories. On December 16, like other ordinary days, he went out to have a cup of tea and heard the news of victory on the way. "We could hear the blank fires all around the city and everybody was extremely excited on hearing the news. There was celebration everywhere. Very naturally our daily plan was totally changed. We took preparation to sing songs of victory," Ajit says. Akhtar Hossain wrote Shwadhin shwadhin dikey dikey aj and Ajit composed the tune. After the recording the song went on air from that very day. "We had had nothing but tea all day long. But our excitement and joy dispelled the hunger. There is nothing to compare with the feeling of gaining independence," says Ajit.

Ajit Roy