Karim, Sheikh Fazlul

Karim, Sheikh Fazlul (1882-1936) Poet, literateur and editor. Born on 9 April 1882 at village Kakina in Rangpur district. Father Amirullah, mother Kokila Bibi.

His early education began with house tutor Harshankar Moitreya, editor of the Dikprakash of Rangpur. Later he got admitted to a high school but he interrupted his education to take up employment with a local jute firm in 1901. After seven years he left the job and established a printing press at Kakina and named it Shahabia Printing Works.

Quite early in life Sheikh Fazlul Karim had his first book of poems Saral Padya Bikash published in 1894. He wrote in 1900 his book of devotional songs Trishva following the tradition of Urdu gazal. He wrote Paritran in 1903 depicting the glory of Prophet Muhammad's life and religious teachings. He wrote Vagnabeena in 1904, Premer Smriti in 1905, Vakti Pushpavjali in 1911, Path O Patheyo in 1913, Gatha in 1920, and Uchchash in the narrative and epic style.

Karim proved his distinction in prose writing as well. He wrote novels such as Laily-Majnu and Harunur Rashid. Among his biographical and historical books are Hazrat Khawaja Mainuddin Chisty, Afghanistaner Itihash (1909), Bibi Rahima (1918), Rajorshi Ibrahim (1924), Bibi Khadiza (1927) and Bibi Fatima (1927). His prose was very lucid and refined. He wrote as many as forty books in verse and prose.

Karim's poetic thoughts and literary efforts were mainly inspired by religious beliefs and moral principles. He was a follower of Chishtia school of Sufism which is amply reflected in his writings. He did not however overlook the problems of the contemporary society. Karim's writings reflected his humanistic thoughts. To further this thought he started editing a journal called Bashona (Boishakh 1335). Although the journal very short-lived it reflected some precious thinking of the contemporary society including the editor's own clear views on Bengali language. His journal stood firmly in favour of Bangla, when a crisis grew over the language of the Bengali Muslims. A prime focus of the journal was on Hindu-Muslim unity. During a period of crisis in Hindu-Muslim relations, he wrote the following in verse:

Where is the heaven, where is the hell, who says these are far off?

The heaven and hell are among human beings and the angels and demons are made of human beings.

Whenever our good senses are driven off by our cardinal passions, we burn in the hell-fire of self-remorse.

Whenever we meet in the holy bondage of love and affection, the heaven comes down to our cottages.

For his contribution to literature the Nadia Sahitya Sabha honoured him with the title of 'Sahityabisharad' in 1916 and with the title of 'Kabyaratnakar' in 1917. He died on 28 September 1936. [Wakil Ahmed]