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Monday, November 24, 2014

Sunday, February 10, 2013
Arts & Entertainment

Boi Mela Corner

Ahsan Habib: Feature cartoonist extraordinaire

Photo: Atl Aakash

Ahsan Habib grew up in a household rich with literary ambience -- with both his parents being occasional writers. His father would often tell his children to write stories -- with rewards awaiting the best work. Due to his parents' encouragement, Ahsan Habib was never out of touch with his pen. His elder brothers -- the late Humayun Ahmed and Muhammad Zafar Iqbal are considered literary titans. Habib was inspired by cartoons drawn by Zafar Iqbal -- to try and master the craft himself. As his passion grew stronger, he followed the footsteps of his brother and took up a job drawing cartoons.

After passing his Intermediate exams, Habib -- along with some of his friends -- began publishing 'Unmad', which gained popularity swiftly and eventually became the leading cartoon magazine of the country. Habib is currently the editor and publisher of the magazine. As a writer, Habib made his debut with “999 Ti Jokes Ekti Fao”. His later works on satire made him a leading writer of the genre in the country. He also writes science fiction, but prefers to write for children. His satirical pieces started with the article “Abjaab” for the weekly Bichitra. A collection of these was later published under the same title. It went on to become a huge success, prompting Habib to focus more on his writing. So far, Ahsan Habib has nearly 50 book titles under his name. The ongoing Ekushey book fair is seeing 7 new books by the writer, which include genres like science fiction, satire, children's stories and teen novels. His satire has been titled as “Baro Baro Baro”. He has also written a book about his eldest brother Humayun Ahmed, titled “Golper Jadukor”. Although he is a popular writer, Habib is more comfortable in his identity as a feature cartoonist. He says, “I don't only draw a cartoon, but also add a story to it. In order to do that, I have to lay out a lot of dialogues. That is why I like to be known as a feature cartoonist.”

Ahsan Habib likes to write in the early hours of the day, when everyone is asleep and quietness has set in. In his opinion, absolute silence is necessary for the writing process. Expressing his satisfaction with this year's Ekushey Boi Mela, Ahsan Habib pressed for expanding the area of the fair. He says, “I believe there can most certainly be stalls on the street. Since the number of publication houses are rising, how can we adjust if the size of the fair is not increased?”

Ahsan Habib also has his own publishing house -- Dinratri Publications. “My interest drew me to this field,” he adds. Habib comes to the Mela every day and stays throughout the hours. This year's book fair, however, is different from the previous ones. “This is the first time the book fair is taking place without my eldest brother Humayun Ahmed. I feel sad and miss him very much,” he says.

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