Memories of a matchless Mahmudul Haque
Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Agency
He was the brightest literary figure of his time, says Mir Waliuzzaman about his friend the late author Mahmudul Haque.
 
Friends and fellow authors reacted with shock to the news of Mahmudul's death Monday, saying his passing away had created a great vacuum in the book world.
 
The reclusive writer died, aged 67, in the early hours of Monday morning at his father-in-law's Lalbagh house.
 
One of the renowned authors of Bangla literature, Mahmudul gave up writing in 1982 after a number of acclaimed novels. Affectionately known as Botu Bhai and always seen as a lively figure in social gatherings, the rest of the time he was said to lead a solitary life.
 
Writer Shawkat Ali told bdnews24.com: "He was a very talented writer. I have to say 'he was', as he has passed away. But he still seems such a lively presence that I cannot think him a person who is now past."
 
"It is most painful to witness the authors of Bangla literature bidding adieu one after another," Shawkat said.
 
He conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family, and urged the young generation to study profoundly the writings of the late great novelist.
 
Mahmudul's body of work encompasses six novels – Anur Pathshala (Anu at School), Nirapod Tandra (Undisturbed Sleep), Jibon Amar Bon (Life is My Sister), Matir Jahaj (Clay Ship), Kalo Baraf (Black Snow) and Khelaghar (Playhouse).
 
He wrote only one volume of short stories Protidin Ekti Rumal (Everyday, One Handkerchief) and a children's book Chikkore Kabuk.
 
The subjects of Mahmudul's novels are realistic and relevant to contemporary life, author Hasnat Abdul Hai told bdnews24.com.
 
"He was skilled in using language and created a style of his own in writing novels," said Hai.
 
bdnews24.com contributing editor Mir Waliuzzaman said: "He was the brightest literary figure during the time when he was writing. What else is there to say after that?"
 
"In our university years, we all used to gather for adda and snacks at his Elephant Road house, for hour after hour," Waliuzzaman reminisced.
 
There is no writer in the contemporary period like him, said National Curriculum and Textbook Board researcher Sarker Abdul Mannan
 
"He depicted people's inner lives with his own innovative language, which has become Mahmudul Haque's unique style."
 
Film maker Morshedul Islam felt that each of his novels could be turned into a great film.
 
Bangla Academy head Syed Mohammad Shahed told bdnews24.com at the late novelist's namaj-e-janaza held at the academy Monday afternoon: "We are grief-stricken. Mahmudul Haque was a novelist of high calibre. We lost a great writer."
 
He was a hugely talented writer, agreed Prof Monsur Musa, a former director general of Bangla Academy. "With his death our world of literature has been greatly affected."
 
Fellow novelist Anisul Haque Mithun felt the same. "Mahmudul Haq was a powerful novelist."
 
"Syed Shamsul Haq, Hasan Azizul Huq and Mahmudul Haque can be counted as the three most powerful novelists of our country in recent times. "
 
Mofidul Haque, who published most of Mahmudul's books, told bdnews24.com: "The death of Botu Bhai has shocked us. He delineated people's lives and psychology in his own brilliant writing style."
 
The publisher said Mahmudul Haque would remain alive through the uniqueness of his literary creations.

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