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Selim Al Deen no more

Selim Al Deen, the legendary drama icon of the country, passed away yesterday.

The 58 year-old playwright breathed his last at around 2:00pm at Labaid Cardiac Hospital in the capital.

As the news of the demise of this multitalented personality spread across the city, the hospital was thronged with cultural activists, relatives, his well-wishers and students. He left behind his wife, relatives, a host of friends, and well-wishers to mourn his death.

Selim, a pioneer of theatre movement in Bangladesh, a researcher, an organiser and a professor of Department of Drama and Dramatics at Jahangirnagar University, was born in Shenerkhil village of Shonagazi upazila of Feni on August 18, 1949.

The playwright's body is now being preserved at Birdem hospital mortuary. The body will be placed in front of the National Museum tomorrow (Wednesday) at 9:00 am. From there it will be taken to the Shaheed Minar where people will pay their last tribute to the drama prodigy.

His namaz-e-janaza will be held at Dhaka University Jaame mosque after the Zohr prayers. His body will then be taken to Jahangirnagar University. Following a second namaz-e-janaza there, Selim will be laid to rest on the campus of Jahangirnagar University (JU) -- where he was a long-time teacher at Bangla Department as well as the founder president of Department of Drama and Dramatics.

He received his master's degree from Bangla Department of Dhaka University. In 1995 he earned PhD from Jahangirnagar University on 'Medieval Bengali Drama'.

Selim Al Deen was admitted to the hospital on Friday following a cardiac arrest and had been on artificial life support ever since.

He was supposed to be flown to Bangkok yesterday afternoon for better treatment. The doctors however declared him dead at around 2:00pm.

"Bangla drama literature can be categorised into three eras -- the Girish era, the Shishir era and the Selim era. The Selim era has come to an end today," said Rahmat Ali, associate professor of Theatre and Music Department at Dhaka University.

Golam Kuddus, general secretary of Sammilito Sanskritik Jote, said, " Selim Al Deen started the modern drama movement and he is one of the best playwrights in Bangla literature."

Atiqul Haque Chowdhury, producer of Selim's first TV drama 'Ghum Nei' on BTV, said, "He was a world-class playwright and had contributed immensely to the Bangla literature. Shunning the western style, he gave a modern approach to the eastern drama. Bangladesh will not get a Selim Al Deen often."

Selim was a founder member of Dhaka Theatre. He along with Nasir Uddin Yusuf formed Bangladesh Gram Theatre in 1981-82 and Selim was its chief adviser.

His first article 'Negro Literature' was published on the literature page in the 'Dainik Pakistan' in 1968. His first radio drama ' Biporit Tomoshay' was broadcast in 1969 while his first TV drama 'Ghum Nei' in 1970.

He also compiled 'Bangla Natyakosh' -- the lone drama related anthology in Bangla. Selim Al Deen's drama is included in textbook curriculum of Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University Jadavpur University and Rabindra Bharati University in India. He was also the originator of Fusion Theory and New Ethnic Theatre.

The legendary playwright was honoured with many prestigious awards nationally and internationally, including the Bangla Academy Literature Award, National Film Award, Ekushey Padak and Olokto Shahitya Puroshkar.

Kittonkhola, Keramat Mongol, Hat Hadai, Chaka, Joiboti Koinnar Mon, Bonopangshul, Nimojjon and many other plays created by Selim have left an indelible impression on the audience.

A number of his TV serials including Gronthikgan Kahey and Chhaya Shikari have won plaudits from the television audience as well.

Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed expressed profound shock at the death of playwright Selim Al Deen, reports UNB.

In a condolence letter to Selim Al Deen's wife, Fakhruddin said Selim Al Deen was a bright star in Bangladesh's history of theatre movement. "His death has caused an irreparable loss to the country's literature," he said.

The Chief Adviser prayed salvation of the departed soul and conveyed his deep sympathy to his bereaved family members.

Press Information Department and various political, socio-political and cultural organisations also expressed deep shock at the death of legendary drama personality Selim Al Deen.

The vice chancellor (VC) of JU in a statement said Selim Al Deen contributed immensely in education, research and cultural activities of the university. He engaged himself to turn the university into the cultural capital of the country. His death has caused huge loss to the university, the country and the nation, the VC added.

Jahangirnagar University (JU), Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation, Srote Abritti Sangsad, Karmajibi Nari, Bangladesh Jubo Moitree, Workers Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Chhatra Moitree, Ka Jona, Theatre, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Bangladesh Mahila Parishad and Ain O Shalish Kendra expressed condolence at the death of Selim and conveyed sympathy to his bereaved family members.

Bengal Foundation, Jatiya Kabita Parishad, Nagorik Natya Sampradaya, Bangladesh Awami League (AL), Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Dal, Communist Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Students' Union, Charon Sanskritik Kendra, Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Gosthi and Mowla Brothers also expressed shock at the death of the drama prodigy and prayed for the salvation of his departed soul.

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