Vol. 5 Num 1022 Tue. April 17, 2007  

A rural bard's take on the eternal journey
Poet Giasuddin Ahmed's death anniversary observed

Yesterday marked the 2nd death anniversary of Poet Giasuddin Ahmed Chowdhury, a successor of the traditional mystic songs of the greater Sylhet region. Born on August 14 1935, at Chhatok, Sunamganj district, Giasuddin Ahmed penned many popular mystic songs including Morile kandish na amar daye, Amar bicharey ami-i doshi, Jedin amar domer pakhi ural diya jabe, Pran kande mono kande re and Shesh biyar shanai. The poet died on April 16, 2005.

An avid follower of the tradition popularised by Hason Raja, Radharamon and Shitolong Shah, poet Giasuddin Ahmed enriched the treasure of Bangla folk music by writing songs of diverse music genres such as mystic, marfati, murshidi, dehotatwa, jari gaan, shari gaan, biyer gaan, bhatiali and other regional songs. Moreover, he wrote over 50 kissa gaans, which were aired in Shapla Shaluk, a programme on traditional kissa gaan aired from Bangladesh Betar, Sylhet centre. Lyrics of the title-song of a programme Binonder Kissa is written by him.

Poet Giasuddin Ahmed had his own interpretation of death. And most of his popular songs are on death. Even the last song he wrote Shesh Biyar Shanai -- is on the same theme. Renowned composer Bidit Lal Das, who set tune to the lyrics, said, "He gave me the lyrics, requesting me to render the song at the book launch of Shesh Biyar Shanai, a day before he died. And he missed the launching programme, where many of his admirers such as Subir Nandi, Akramul Islam, Himangshu Goswami, Himangshu Biswas and Jamaluddin Hasan Bannah rendered songs composed by him. Perhaps he anticipated his imminent departure."

So far three books (compilations) containing lyrics written by Giasuddin Ahmed titled Shesh Biyar Shanai, Morile kandish na amar daye and Vote-r Boyan Ebong Ityadi have been published. He was a Grade 'A' lyricist of Bangladesh Betar and BTV. In the folk music festival arranged by the Transcription Service of Bangladesh Betar in 1975, his songs were highly appreciated by Palli Kabi Jasimuddin Ahmed.

Renowned novelist Humayun Ahmed dedicated his Boshonter Din to Poet Giasuddin Ahmed. According to the author, he was "enthralled by the power of Giasuddin's words Morile kandish na amar daye rey jadu dhon."

Also a journalist, Giasuddin Ahmed Chowdhury was the founding President of Chhatok Press Club.

Several organisations from the greater Sylhet region such as Giasuddin Ahmed Geeti Sangsad and Giasuddin Ahmed Smriti Ghar chalked out programmes in memory of the mystic poet.

Poet Giasuddin Ahmed Chowdhury