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Shahidullah, Rudra Muhammad

Shahidullah, Rudra Muhammad (1956-1991) a poet was born in Barisal on 16 October 1956. His parental residence was in the village of Shaheber Meth under Mongla Upazila of Bagerhat district. His actual name is Sheikh Mohammad Shahidullah; however, later he chose 'Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah' to be his name. His mother was Shiria Begum and father Sheikh Waliullah who was a physician.

Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah completed his SSC from Dhaka West End High School (1974), HSC from Dhaka College (1976), BA (Hons.) in Bangla from Dhaka University (1980) and MA from the same university in (1983).

Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah

In his student life, two of his poetry books namely Upodruta Upakul (Affected Coast, 1979) and Firey Chai Swarnagram (Looking back at my Golden village, 1981) were published and these earned him instant reputation. These two works reflect his keen observation of contemporary society and culture. His poetry promotes the establishment of a discrimination-free society. He soon came in limelight as a vigorous poet in the 1970s.

Shahidullah is a history-conscious poet. In his poem 'Batashe Lasher Gandho' (smell of dead bodies in the air), he says: 'I still find the smell of dead body in the air, / I still see the obscene dance of death on earth, / I still hear the scream of the raped woman while sleeping' / ' Has this country forgotten about that nightmarish night, that bloodstained timeFoodgrain' These lines reflect his poetic mind naturally. His revolutionary spirit leads the reader from the hopelessness of the present to the hopefulness of the future. Such a longing is reflected in his poetry book Manusher Manchitra (Map of the People, 1984) where he says: 'In your wilderness there is a dream-curved, chitol-like deer. / A Falgun night of the dreamy pigeon. White squirrel. / In your river-bank, there is alluvial salt-water, stone of water, / Dew-washed, golden Hemanta day full of crops. Other notable poetry books by Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah are: Chhobal (Snap, 1986), Galpo (Story, 1987), Diyechhile Sakol Akash (You Gave the Entire Sky, 1988), Maulik Mukhosh (Original Mask, 1990) and Ek-glass Andhokar (One Glass of Darkness, 1992). Although he was mainly a poet, he had profound interest in composing music, and in writing drama, short story and essay. His literary practice was devoted to the country, humanity and humanness. As recognition for his literary achievements, he was given Munir Chaudhury Memorial Award in 1980. He died in Dhaka on 21 June 1991. [Muhammad Saiful Islam]