Behind the Scene
Monjur Anwar: Music as a Sideline
Engineer Monjur Morshed Anwar is also a talented musician with great knowledge of the field. Despite being Superintendent Engineer of the Public Works Department (PWD) of Mymensingh, he is a well-known figure in the cultural arena of the district; he also has some recognition in Dhaka. He did his post-graduate degree on Urban Development from London University and joined as the PWD as an engineer in 1974.
Born at Purana Paltan, Dhaka on January 26, 1950, he is the son of late Anwarul Haque, Superintendent of Police and late Noorjahan Begum. His interest in music started very early on in his life; there was always a strong interest in cultural things in his family.
Being the fourth of three brothers and three sisters, Monjur was inspired in his boyhood to learn to perform music after seeing the performance of his elder sister Nargis Anwar. His father encouraged him in his pursuit and did all he could to facilitate Monjur's education. He took his first lesson (taleem) under the guidance of his sister Nargis. Later he got admitted to the Nazrul Academy in Dhaka for a four-year course on music in 1972. He flourished under the guidance of mentors such as Ustad Phul Mohammed, Ustad Akhtar Saad Mani, Sheikh Lutfur Rahman, Bedar Uddin Ahmed, Sohrab Hossain and Sudin Das at the Academy. The strong classical training gave him good command on raagas Ashabhari, Maalkush and Darbari Kanada.
He finished his SSC and HSC from Motijheel Central Govt. High School and Dhaka College. Later he was admitted to the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and secured his graduation in Civil Engineering. However he continued practicing music throughout his student life.
At first, he was inclined towards classical music and Nazrul Sangeet but later he started to prefer more modern songs and practiced them along with classical music. He was a popular guy in his student life for his performances in various programs arranged locally and nationally as well as at the university campus. He is also an advocate of searching for undiscovered young talent. Shirin Akhtar Lisa, Shamima Akhtar Shima and some other young singers have benefited from his support and have gone on to perform on television and radio.
“Whenever I get some leisure time, I use it to practice and write songs”, the artist said. He was enlisted as an artist of Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar in 1990 and in 1994 respectively. He is also associated with several cultural organizations like Nazrul Sangskritik Parishad and Nazrul Parishad as well as Mymensingh Shilpakala Academy.
Among his favorite artists are Feroza Begum, Shorab Hossain, Shabnam Mustari, Syed Abdul Hadi, Neaz Mohammed Chowdhury, Rebecca Sultana, Subir Nandi and Abdul Jabbar. He said there were a number of reasons as to why the classical music of the Sub-Continent has been neglected as much as it has. Monjur Anwar commented, “there is currently a lack of proper patronization, the present generation has lost its attraction to classical music and has become crazy for the modern trends which go against our traditional Bengali culture”. He regrets this trend and adds that we should try to revive our own culture with the next generation in mind.
Monjur Anwar has released an album titled Ektai Tumi, which has gained much acclaim from listeners. Another Video CD titled Shesh Bikali Shona Roudh is expected to be released very soon. Blessed with a son Mustakin Anwar and a daughter Nawrin Anwar, both students of BUET, Monjur lives in Mymensingh town where he is posted. His wife Shirin Akhtar is a professor in the Geography Department at Dhaka College. Mustakin and Nowrin are both proud of their father. “Our father has achieved a lot in the field of music during his busy life as a high official. We hope music lovers remember him forever”, they said.
(R) thedailystar.net 2007