Rahman, Mohammad Saidur

Rahman, Mohammad Saidur (1940-2007) Journalist, manuscript collector and folklorist was popularly known as Mohammad Saidur. He was born in the village of Binnogaon in kishoreganj district on 28 January 1940. His father was Mohammad Kutubuddin Ahmad and mother Anowara Khatun (Phulbanu). From the time of his grandfather Asmat Ali Bepari (merchant), there was an environment of folk culture in the family.

Mohammad Saidur Rahman';s early education started at Binnogaon Primary School. He then attended Tomaltola Primary School, Kishoreganj Minor School (presently PTI) and Azimuddin High School. While a student he was involved in left-wing politics and came to close contact with communist leaders like Nogen Sarker, Ajoy Ray, Robi Niyugi (Sherpur), Altaf Ali and others. During this time he joined weekly Purbadesh as a local correspondent. He also worked for the weekly Chitrali as local correspondent and Kishoreganj Barta as its editor.

While collecting information about Chandrabati, Mohammad Saidur brought together a few songs by her. And this heralded the beginning of his career as a collector. In 1956, he joined the historic kagmari conference of Maulana Bhasani with his folksong band.

Saidur collected ten manuscripts of folk stories and handed those to the Bangla Academy. In July 1962, he joined the Bangla Academy as a collector of folk literature and played a leading role in setting up a rich folklore museum there. He also took an important role in collecting folk art at Sonargaon Folk and Handicraft Foundation and at Bangladesh National Museum. Besides, after being in association with the famous artist Zainul Abedin, he made a rich treasure of quilts and rags with artistic design. He also founded a museum of folk art in his village Binnogaon.

Mohammad Saidur had very much involvement in the society of handicraft (Karushilpi parisad). A solo exhibition of his collection of folk art was held in bangla academy in 1974 and another solo exhibition of his own folk art at Open Air Exhibition of White Chapel Art Gallery in London in 1988. He had a joint exhibition of quilts and rags of artistic design at bangladesh shilpakala academy in 1989 along with the legendary artist Zainul Abedin. On that occasion, a few illustrated English essays by him were published.

In recognition of his contribution to folk culture, Saidur Rahman received Bangla Academy Fellowship in 2001, another award from Karushilpa Parisad in 2002. He died on 3 March 2007. [Sawkat Hossian]