July 31, 2021

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Humayun Ahmed: Is it just popular?

It has been 9 years since Humayun Ahmed was physically present among us. He died on July 19, 2012 at the age of 63 in a hospital in the United States. His death caused great sorrow and grief among countless people. Of course, he will remain in the minds of readers, viewers and fans in his novels, stories, plays and movies for many years, many ages.
Not to mention my personal acquaintance with Humayun Ahmed. Once or twice I went to his home in Dhanmondi’s ‘South Hawa’ for professional reasons. Talked with enough sincerity. I have also been contacted on the phone a few times. As a university student, I was fascinated and excited by reading his ‘Happy Hell’ and ‘Conch Blue Prison’. Special interest was created about him then. That, of course, did not last long. But I have watched some of his TV dramas – all these days and nights, bahubrihi, ayomay, nowhere – with interest and fascination. It can be said that I have developed the habit of watching TV while watching his plays. But my reading habits are not centered on him. I have seen and liked his films Aguner Parashamani, Shyamal Chhaya, Shravan Megher Din, Dui Duari, Chandrakatha. I read the liberation war based novels ‘Jochna and Janani’s story’, ‘1971’ with enthusiasm.
It cannot be denied that Humayun Ahmed is a very popular writer. Big kind of celebrity. As a result, from the news of his house to the news of his multi-dimensional activities, various stories about him have been published in the newspapers, the readers have read it. He has created a large readership for a large section of the population of the country, a new dimension in the country’s publishing industry, his great contribution to reducing readers’ dependence on Kolkata, popularizing television dramas, making middle-class and avid viewers interested in watching Bangladeshi films. Tola- He has played the role of many in these cases alone. He was very friendly, he was the center of attention in the company of friends, he was very serious and he could easily say jokes, he was not as serious as he looked from the outside, he was funny and a bit whimsical – all these things. Now no one is unknown. Who doesn’t know about the extraordinary character Missy Ali or Himu created by him! Some people have a magical effect that touches, touches, draws others, even if they want to, they cannot be avoided. Humayun Ahmed is probably one of them.
As a nation, we are very emotional and excited. Excessive is a special feature of Bengali. Just as we are cruel when it comes to slandering someone, we are sometimes cruel when it comes to praise. Especially when someone dies, there is no end to our worries about him. Humayun Ahmed was no exception. Since he was an impossibly popular man, as he had a large following in Bengali society at home and abroad, it was natural and expected that there would be a great stir at his death. It happened. Upon hearing the news of Humayun Ahmed’s death, Sunil Gangopadhyay, a famous writer from West Bengal, said, “I used to tell him that you have lost the popularity of Saratchandra.”
This assessment of Sunil may seem like an exaggeration to some. However, there is no way without acknowledging that Humayun Ahmed’s popularity had reached an enviable level long ago. How black Humayun Ahmed’s literature is can be debated. Debate can continue in the intelligentsia over the quality of his literature. But there is no doubt that his writings have been able to stir the minds of a large number of readers. Even after so many years of his death, the sales of his books have not decreased.
It may be difficult to say which novels or other creative works Humayun Ahmed will be remembered by readers for a long time. However, it can be said with certainty that his multiple novels, short stories, science fiction will attract the readers in the same way much later than the present time. Now is not the time to give a final verdict on whether he will be more memorable for the novel, or for the drama, or for the film.


One of our characteristics is to look for an opportunity to ink a little notoriety on one’s reputation. The thought is this, he will surpass me, I do not see if I can lose him a little! In his time, there was no shortage of people making fun of Rabindranath Tagore. It is not that these did not hurt Rabindranath. Because in any case, he was a man of flesh and blood. Where can you find a person who does not get pain when injured? There should be no shortage of people to make fun of Humayun Ahmed.
I remember an incident in context. It’s about a time in the eighties. Humayun Ahmed’s popularity did not skyrocket then as it does now. However, he has begun to gain readership and has received car gifts from publishers. At that time one day Humayun Ahmed and another powerful writer of Bengali literature Professor Humayun Azad were working on proof proofing of their respective books in a press on Nawabpur Road. I also went to that press to print Ekushey compilation or something else. I did not have much personal acquaintance with Humayun Azad or Humayun Ahmed then. But I knew both of them. They were both sitting at two tables watching the proof. I am doing my work sitting at another table. Humayun Azad suddenly said in a slightly louder voice to draw my attention, do you know that a ‘novelist’ is becoming popular in our country? I looked at him but noticed the look of ignorance on my face He sat a little farther away and silently pointed to Humayun Ahmed, who was busy editing the manuscript, saying that boys write for minors!
I did not like such comments. Later, however, Humayun Azad openly mocked Humayun Ahmed as a ‘novelist’ in an interview with a newspaper. Humayun Azad was undoubtedly a talented writer. However, the way he ridiculed Humayun Ahmed’s talent was not desirable. Why only Humayun Azad – Humayun Ahmed has had to hear similar criticisms about the literary quality of his writings from many others. It would not be fair for anyone to claim that these criticisms did not hurt him. He has managed to surpass everyone in popularity as he was able to keep the pen moving without being disturbed by anyone’s sarcasm or negative criticism. No one could make him smaller but bigger than him.
Humayun Ahmed has left a mark of creativity in the place where he has put his hand. He did not write sloganeering political literature, but the seeds of consciousness he sowed in the minds of young readers were immense. He did not indulge in blindness in his writings but gave precedence to rationalism. He was a science (chemistry) teacher at the university. That is why none of his writings reflected anything like ‘teaching’ the readers. His writing style is not serious, but his statement is not light. In my opinion, the new generation has learned to grow in the spirit of liberation war after reading his writings. There is no ugliness in his writing, there is no cruelty, there is generosity, simplicity, humanity. He has re-introduced the liberation war to many, thousands, millions of readers and taught them to hate the Razakars.
A request to those who love him intensely, blindly: read his works only a little seriously, not just because they are fun to read. It will be possible to pay true homage to Humayun Ahmed only by gaining the collective resistance of those who want to forget our liberation war and bring the country back to the Pakistani fold. After a few days of mourning over him, he muttered so-and-so, he muttered so-and-so, then the stupidity of continuing in the routine of daily life without reading, without reason, should not be found by Humayun devotees. Humayun’s lesson will be successful only if he can create himself as a modern and sophisticated person.