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Abdul Jabbar
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Born in Kushtia in 1938, spurred on by his mother, Abdul Jabbar plunged headlong into the world of music. In his teens, he played both football and cricket and entertained the spectators with his sonorous voice on the same ground after winning the match. Later, after passing his SSC examination in 1956, he formally learned music from Ustad Osman Gani and Ustad Lutfel Haque.

"A person with a melodious voice, will flourish sooner or later," believes Jabbar.

In 1958, he became an enlisted singer at Bangladesh Betar (Radio) and did the playback for Bangla films from 1962. In 1964 when Bangladesh Television (BTV) embarked on its journey, he was naturally signed up as his fame had grown by leaps and bounds in the meantime.

The very first song he sang and composed for Bangladesh Betar was "Hariye elam kothay bolo amar shey shathitirey", written by poet Azizur Rahman. Along with Ferdausi Rahman he playbacked in a duet "Tumi achho kachhey"for the film Notun Shur, directed by Ehtesham and composed by Robin Ghosh.

In the film “Etotuku Aasha”, Jabbar playbacked for the popular song “Tumi ki dekhechho kobhu”, written and composed by Dr. Muniruzzaman and Satya Shaha respectively. That was his debut song aired on BTV.

Jabbar is credited as a playback singer of the '60s and '70s. Among them “O rey nil doriya” (Sareng Bou); “Khelaghar barey barey keno bhengey jaay” (Chhadmabeshi); “E prithibi amar proshno shono” (Nacher Putul); “Dukkho korona bandhu tomra” (Aalor Michhil); “Amon korey bolo na go tumi” (duet with Runa Laila in the film Iman) are highly popular.

Jabbar is a Freedom Fighter. He inspired the singers of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra (SBBK) to such an extent that ultimately depicted the Freedom Fighters as being symbolic of an epic struggle for liberty. In 1971, he met the legendary singer Hemanto Mukhopadhyay in Bombay and worked tirelessly to raise public opinion in favour of the Independence of Bangladesh. Later, Hemanto Mukhopadhyay along with Gauri Prashanna Majumdar, (the lyricist of "Shono ekti mujiborer thekey lokkho mujiborer kanthoswarer") came to Bangladesh on invitation of Bangabandhu.

"My relationship with Bangabandhu was that of a son to a father.

Jabbar sang the first song of SBBK, "Joi Bangla Banglar Joi" , written and composed by Gazi Mazharul Anwar and Anwar Parvez respectively. The other patriotic songs rendered and composed by Jabbar during the pre and post-Liberation period were "Salam salam hajar salam", written by Fazle Khoda, "Mujib baiya jao rey", written by Shafi Bangali and "Banglar swadhinata anlo ke mujib mujib", written by Nawazish Ali. There are many more renditions by Jabbar that will always be treasured by the nation.

Jabbar received many prestigious awards for his outstanding works: among them Bangabandhu Swarna Padok (1973), Ekushey Padok (1980), Swadhinata Padok (1996), Zahir Raihan Chalachchitra Purashkar, BACHSAS Award and Mother Teresa Award.

Asked about the albums he has released so far, Jabbar gave vent to his ire at the lax implementation of the Intellectual Property and Copyright Laws in Bangladesh.

"There is much that is going wrong in the country. Cassette, CD and VCD companies are blatant in their acts of piracy and the government turns a blind eye to such illegal activities. Unbelievable though it may sound, I haven't published any albums yet," asserted Jabbar.

"I am working on my first album "Maa amar mashjid, maa amar mondir" that will be released soon. Written and composed by Amirul Islam and Golam Sarwar respectively, the album will feature nine songs. I am satisfied at this accomplishment, which comes after a long hiatus. I believe true music lovers and new artistes can learn and explore many facets of my music through this album," concluded Jabbar.

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