Kamal, Abu Hena Mostafa

Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal

Kamal, Abu Hena Mostafa (1936-1989) poet, educationist, and composer of songs, was born in Gobinda village of ullahpara upazila in the district of pabna on 11 March 1936. After passing MA in Bangla in 1959 from Dhaka University, he taught at different local colleges before joining the Department of Bangla, Dhaka University, as a lecturer in 1963. He joined Rajshahi University as senior lecturer of Bangla in 1965.

In 1966 he went to London University on a Commonwealth Scholarship and earned PhD degree for his dissertation on Bangla writing and the Bangla press. Abu Hena joined Chittagong University in 1973. In 1978 he came back to the Bangla Department of Dhaka University as professor. He became Director General of the bangladesh shilpakala academy in 1984 and of the bangla academy in 1986.

Abu Hena was one of the young writers of the new literature of the fifties. Fond of poetry, he published an anthology, Purba Banglar Kavita (Poems of East Bengal), in collaboration with Mohammad Mahfuzullah in 1954. He also wrote poems and composed songs, many of which were sung by his friends, Abu Bakr Khan, Anwaruddin Khan and Md Asafaddaula, thus helping in the creation of modern songs. Among his popular songs was ‘Sei champa nadir tire’, sung by Abu Bakr Khan. Abu Hena also had a mellifluous voice and regularly performed on Dhaka Radio. His voice could convey intimate feelings and deep emotions, making his songs memorable.

Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal produced three books of poems: Apan Yauban Bairi (My Wayward Youth, 1974), Yehetu Janmandha (Since Born Blind, 1984) and Akranta Ghazal (Oppressed Ghazal, 1988) and a compilation of songs Ami Sagarer Nil (I Am the Blue of the Sea, 1995). He was also a fine prose writer and wrote several essays on bangla literature, which have been collected in Shilpir Rupantar (Transformation of the Artist) and Katha O Kavita (Discourse and Poetry). These books are a valuable contribution to Bangla literary criticism. He also used to write witty columns, which were greatly acclaimed. Abu Hena's research work written in English, The Bengali Press and Literary Writing, is a discussion of literature published in the Bangla periodicals of 19th century Kolkata.

An orator, narrator and conversationalist, Abu Hena was an attractive personality. He could captivate audiences with his eloquence and humour. He was also popular as a professor of literature. He died in Dhaka on 23 September 1989. [Ahmad Kabir]