Renowned poet Rafiq Azad was a first-generation poet of the sixties of the 20th century. Still, his poems succeeded to cross the time limitations and remained evergreen in Bengali literature like glittering stars. Today marks the 3rd death anniversary of the poet of love and rebellion. He died on this day in 2016 at the age of 74 at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Hospital.
He was born on February 14, 1941, in an aristocratic family in the remote village of Guni in Tangail district. On February 22, 1952, Rafiq, a third-grade student of the school, attended a procession barefoot in commemoration of the language martyrs despite his parents’ strict restriction. The unparalleled love for his mother tongue has motivated him to be a poet and an ideal man in his later life. He earned bachelor’s and master’s in Bengali Literature from the University of Dhaka in 1965 and 1967 respectively. Rafiq Azad was also a brave freedom fighter. In 1971, he took part in the Liberation War with ‘Kaderia Bahini’, led by Kader Siddique.
After the First and Second World War, the modern poets were playing the harp of independence. Being inspired by them, the people of Bengal have nurtured a great dream. They started dreaming of independence. This fierce freedom fighter and poet has nourished the dream of the people. The poetry of Rafiq Azad highlighted frustration and sorrow of Bangladesh after its liberation. His poems also covered the areas of geography, murder, death, famine, coup and painful history of Bangladesh.
Rafiq Azad was famous for his use of symbolic words in poetry. For example, he became widely famous when his controversial poem “Bhaat De Haramjada” (Give me food, bastard) was published. It was an angry poem about a starving man lashing out in impotent rage- “Bhaat De Haramjada, noile manchitro khabo” (“give me food, bastard! Or I will devour your map!”). He was slightly influenced by Sudhindranath Dutta. He described himself as an ‘admirer of humans, nature and romance’. He depicted love, romance, poverty, sufferings, injustice, urban and rural life in his poems. Many of his love poems, including ‘He Doroja’ and ‘Bhalobashar Shonga’(Definition of Love), have been used and quoted many times in movies, TV dramas, and other media in Bangladesh.
For his outstanding contribution to Bangla language and literature, he received many prestigious awards like Kobitalap Award, Alaol Literary Award, Bangla Academy Literary Award, Suhreed Literary Award, Poet Ahsan Habib Award, Poet Hasan Hafizur Rahman Award, Notable Freedom Fighter Award, Ekushey Padak.
In his death anniversary, we remember him with great respect and pray for his departed soul.