One of the leading Bengali Poets of the 1960s and a founding member of Bangladesh Jatiya Kobita Parishad (National Poetry Council) Sazzad Qadir left for eternity all of a sudden on April 06, 2017. He was 70 at the time of his death. A versatile litterateur, Sazzad Qadir (pseudo or pen-name) had over 70 books to his credit, including works of poetry, fiction, novel, essays, translations, anthologies and juvenile literature. He was born with the name Shah Noor Mohammad and started his career as a college teacher during the first half of 1970s. He later left his indelible mark as an outstanding journalist cum litterateur, working for renowned periodicals like the monthly Rahasya Patrika, weekly Bichitra, daily Sangbad, weekly Agamee, fortnightly Tarokalok, monthly Kishore Tarokalok and finally the daily Manavzamin, as well as for Beijing-based Radio China during the early 1980s. He also served as a director of the Press Institute of Bangladesh between 1995 and 2004. Sazzad won many literary prizes at home and abroad, but surprisingly the Bangla Academy Award for Literature always eluded him, despite many lesser mortals having political connections managing it in the past.
Poet Sazzad Qadir was born on April 14, 1947 in Delduar upazila of Tangail district and obtained Bachelor's (honours) and Master's degrees in Bengali language and literature from the Dhaka University in 1969 and 1970 respectively. It was during 1970 that his fame quickly spread as a distinguished writer cum poet, especially through his association with the 'Rahasya Patrika' edited by Qazi Anwar Hossain as well as mystery books published by the latter's publishing house 'Seba Prokashani'. The following are some of his published books, which were very well-received and widely acclaimed over many years: 'Jathechchha Dhrupad' (poetry, 1970), 'Tepantar' (children's, 1971), 'Bhashatatta Porichay' (research, 1975), 'Roudrey Padaddhani' (poetry, 1976), 'Chandaney Mrigapadachinha' (short story, 1976), 'Love Story' (translated novel, 1978), 'Doorotamar Kachhey' (poetry, 1985), 'Monpaban' (juvenile, 1990), 'Rangbahar' (juvenile, 1991), 'Darjar Kachhey Nodi' (poetry, 1992), 'Amar Priyo' (poetry, 1995), 'Apar Belay' (novel, 1997), 'Nanaranger Din' (memoir, 1997), 'Ei Je Ami' (poetry, 1998), 'Kobitasamagra' (poetry, 2001), 'Birbal Nama' (juvenile, 2002), 'Upakathan' (juvenile, 2003), 'Jane Na Keu' (poetry, 2003), 'Rash Choinik' (translation, 2004), 'Alo Amar' (poetry, 2005), 'Antarjal' (2008), 'Rajruposhi', 'Prempachali', 'Haremer Kahini', 'Narighatito' (2012), 'Khei' (2012), 'Brishtibilin', 'Rabindranath: Shanti Niketan' (2012) and 'Rabindranath: Manushti' (2012). The literary prizes he received included: Ekushey Memorial Gold Medal (1994), Kobi Jasimuddin Puroshkar (1997), Nandini Literary Prize (2001), Kobi Sukanta Literary Prize (2002), Satkhira Sahitya Academy Puroshkar (2004), M. Nurul Kader Puroshkar (2004), and Jatiya Kobita Parishad Award (2016).
The following are two poems of Sazzad Qadir translated by this scribe.
To You from Hospital
Now face to face with death
You bring down quite easily
Your lips: like the sacs of orange.
Here, in this last resting place
Your easy descent brings
Trembling desire of a thousand years,
And an infallible possibility-
It is more than the intimate embrace
Of two frenzied lovers engraved
In the terracotta clay of Mahasthangarh:
On hands, feet and chest stretch
Spider-like machine, ECG and pipes.
Here, the wait is now for the last blink,
Even then the mirth of your company
Is like the sweet union of a thousand years;
I never had anything called desire
So whatever you give me is unique and unmatched
---Flowing through the vein
They reach all corners of the heart:
With Nitro-glycerine and intravenous saline.
You woke up suddenly as if after a miraculous sleep,
You found yourself lying in a bed of sands -
Beside you flowed the rippling river, as if it was
Engrossed in a dream while breathing the air of eternity.
Up above, the evening party has ended,
And there is valedictory tune in the sky.
Stray stars twinkle at places here and there,
And on one side floats the broken red moon -
As if it is sinking amid impending frailty.
But no, you have stood up.
After crossing that faraway village and its field
Now you are wide-awake in that soft cool breeze.
Look, another person is also awake; you have smelt that fragrance -
A known or unknown flower has blossomed in a shrub nearby
Soaked in the dew.
Dr. Helal Uddin Ahmed is a former Editor of Bangladesh Quarterly. Email: email@example.com