It's not enough to have one Shawkat Osman in our literature; at this moment, we are in need of a few like him -- discussants expressed at the 91st birth anniversary of one of the most powerful Bengali writers in Bengla literature, Shawkat Osman (1917-1998).
At the Liberation War Museum premises a discussion was held on January 2, where eminent cultural personalities shed light on different aspects of Osman's life and work. National Professor Kabir Chowdhury was the chief guest at the event. Abed Khan, editor of the daily Samakal was the special guest. Artist Hashem Khan, Matlub Ali and Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam were the discussants at the programme. Professor Bulbon Osman presided over the discussion.
The programme began with a rendition of the Tagore song, Tumi nirmolo koro, by singer Shakil Hashmi. Salehin Shipra read out a brief biography of Shawkat Osman.
Born in the Hooghly district of West Bengal on January 2, 1917, Sheikh Azizur Rahman (he later took on the pen name 'Shawkat Osman') was awarded several prizes for his writings including Bangla Academy Award (1966), Ekushey Padak (1983), Swadhinata Dibosh Padak (1997) and more. He died on May 14, 1998 at CMH, Dhaka.
“Throughout his life, Shawkat Osman was true to his identity as a Bengali. He explored his inherited power of Bangaliaana. He was the 'complete man' as per the renaissance concept,” said Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam.
Abed Khan reminisced fond memories with Osman. “Apart from being a remarkable litterateur, he was also an outstanding individual. We are badly in need of people like him in this crucial period,” he said.
Artist Hashem Khan said, “He was a bold writer and constantly addressed the prevalent social problems. His works will always remain a source of courage and inspiration to generations.”
“Through his words, Shawkat Osman stands against all kinds of injustice. His illustrious novel Kritodasher Hashi, which I had the honour to translate in English (Laughter of a Slave), contains a profound symbolic lesson which is still very relevant,” said National Professor Kabir Chowdhury.
Shawkat Osman's son Yafes Osman, read his own poems which were social satires written in the style of his father's famous Shekher Shambara.
Between the discussion, Khairul Ahsan Shohag recited from Kritodasher Hashi and Janani (Mother), two celebrated novels by Shawkat Osman.