Volume 2 Issue 23 | November 24, 2007 |


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Behind the Scene

From Sylhet
Akaddas Sirajul Islam: Writer and Fighter

The calm and quiet village of Mathiura in Beanibazar upazila, is well known in the Sylhet region. Author and freedom fighter Akaddas Sirajul Islam was born in this little village on 22 November, 1922. He passed away on 2000. He was 78. His death anniversary was observed at Beanibazar last August.

On 24 March, 2002, the publication ceremony of Akaddas Sirajul Islam Rochonaboli was held in the capital's Biswa Sahitya Kendra auditorium which was chaired by the Advisory Editor of The Daily Ittefaq, Akhtarul Alam. Akhtarul Alam was a close friend of Akaddas. Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam attended as chief guest and Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed unveiled the cover of the book.

Akaddas started with writing for The Daily Azad of Moulana Akram Khan in Dhaka. At one point in his life, he had to wrap up his Dhaka life and move back to the village. He got involved in politics. But he still needed to keep writing. Like so many other freedom fighters, he had to cross the borders at the very beginning of Liberation War in 1971. A contingent of the Pakistan Army along with some people from his own village and collaborators started looking for Akaddas during the beginning of the War in order to kill him. However, sensing something wrong, he along with the family members, managed to leave the village soon after. His village home that had been there for generations was burnt to the ground.

People in groups from Sylhet region gathered in Assam's Karimganj and Silchar towns from the beginning of Liberation War. In order to gather support for the freedom movement, Akaddas started publishing his own periodical, Muktabangla which came out weekly. After the war, he came back to his own village and resumed writing in regional newspapers as well as in national ones.

His first poem was published in the weekly Nao Belal in 1951. He first wrote in the literary page of the Azad. His story Ekti Diner Halchal was published in the Azad. His first story Pir Saheb was published in Sainik in 1954. He also wrote in the monthly Mohammadi among others. Since then he resorted to writing stories and articles on issues. Akaddas's writings were published in all the literary journals and magazines in addition to the Bangla dailies published from the capital in the 1950s and in 1960s. Also, he was a regular contributor to the regional newspapers of Sylhet.

His first novel- Naya Duniya was published in 1953 by Tomoddun Library. Professor Abul Fazal wrote its preface. Then in 1965 Naoroj Kitabistan published Nirob Nodi, a composition of 3 long stories and Ponchobingshoti, a collection of 25 stories in 1967.

Bangla Academy published a juvenile adventure named 'Sabur Duniya' in 1984, although it was submitted to the national institution in 1968. Besides, manuscripts of a number of novels like Asru Muchhe Felo, a sequel to Sabur Duniya remained unpublished till his death in 2004.

He had also written some dramas. Hafij Book Centre published his drama Matir Cherag in 1969 while Sonar Bangla was staged at Beanibazar during the post-Liberation period. It earned much appreciation everywhere.

His three memoirs are, Bondi Jiboner Kichhu Kotha (1987), Karagar Theke Beriye and Ekattorer Jontronabiddho Din Gulo. The UK based Bangladesh National Students Award (BNSA) honored him with a gold medal for Literature & Journalism in 1998. He has published around 9 books.

Akaddas had lived in Kolkata since he was 13 years old because of his father's job posting. He joined the Hallwell monument movement led by Netaji Subhash Bose. While enrolled in the Ripon College in 1943, he joined Royal Indian Air Force as a clerk. He left the job in 1945 after the end of the Second World War. It was the only real job he ever held.

An activist in the Pakistan movement, Akaddas was with the Muslim League till the Language movement in 1952. Then he left the party and joined AL in 1968. He was elected General Secretary of Beanibazar thana AL. Later he took over as president of the unit.

Politically conscious Akaddas keenly observed the India-Pakistan partition, the Language Movement, the mass upsurge of 1969 and the Liberation War. So most of his writings contain historical and political events witnessed in his lifetime. In his literary works he also likes to point out the disparity and imbalances within society, whether they are about generations, trends, culture, politics or moral values.

Akaddas was arrested under the Special Powers Act after the 1975 changeover. He passed one and a half years in jail. However, he was freed uncharged. Akaddas narrated the story in his book Bondi Jiboner Kichhu Kotha published by Naoroj Sahitya Sangsad of Dhaka.


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