Huq, Obaidul

Huq, Obaidul (1911-2007) journalist, cinematographer, playwright, writer, was born at Feni on 31 October 1911. His father Bazlul Huq Khan was a lawyer at Feni and a Member of the Bengal Provincial Legislative Assembly. His mother was Anjuman nessa. Obaidul Huq did his masters in philosophy and Psychology in 1934 and obtained law degree in 1936 from the University of Dhaka.

Obaidul Huq passed the Bengal Civil Service examination and joined the service as a Circle Officer. Later he served as a survey and settlement officer. He became chairman of the Debt Settlement Board for Comilla. He never enjoyed civil service and left it in 1944 and engaged himself in full time writing. His writings made him popular in the literary society of Calcutta. His short stories, novels, plays, poems and belles-letters appeared regularly in journals, such as saogat, muhammadi, Bulbul and Chhayabithi. He had great interest in cinematography. His Dukkhe yader Jeeban Gara (1946) was possibly the first film ever produced by a Muslim. The film was made in the background of the Second World War. In commercial interest, he adopted for himself the name 'Himadri Choudhury'. His other film was 'Dui Diganta'.

In 1947, he left Calcutta and came back to Feni. When the Pakistan Observer appeared in Dhaka in 1949, he started writing columns in it. He became its Assistant Editor in 1951. In due course he became its Deputy Editor (1958-62), Joint Editor (1962-71) and after liberation, Editor. From 17 December 1971 the paper's title was changed first to The Observer and then to The Bangladesh Observer. In the midst of a controversy about renaming the paper in 1984, he resigned from the post and became Editor of the Daily News. In 1987 he became Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dainik Bangla.

Obaidul Huq served as chairman of the committee for setting up the Press Institute of Bangladesh. When the Institute was established in pursuance of the committee's recommendation, he became its first chairman. He was also the chairman of the Editors Council and as its nominee became a member of the Press Council of Bangladesh several times. Obaidul Huq also served as chairman of the Bangladesh Sangbadpatra Parishad, as member of the Press Commission and as convener of the committee for framing a national code of ethics for the film industry.

Among his well-known plays are Ei Parke, Digvijoyi Chorabazar (1950), Byatikrom, Rugna Prithivi (1968), Yugasondhi and Sumachar ei; his books of poems Dwidhar Fasal, Sayanner Songlap, Gorib Hote Chai and Pother Padaboli; and his novels Ei Songram, Dwoita Sangeet and Dhawl. His novel Ei Songram was made into a film called Azan in Dhaka during the Pakistan period with Fazlul Huq as its director. His English book Voice of Thunder was written on the life of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Later it was published from London under the title A Leader with a Difference.

For his contributions to literature and culture, Obaidul Huq was awarded Bangla Academy prize in 1964, Ekushe Padak in 1983, Unicef gold medal in 1983, Kazi Mahbubullah and Begum Zebunnissa prize, Zahur Husain Choudhury prize, Atisha Dipankar prize, Millenium Award (2002) and Hiralal Sen prize in 2003. He died in Dhaka on 13 October 2007. [Sheikh Abdus Salam]