|Reminiscence of the time I had |
with Azad Rahman
A famous Bangladeshi musician Azad Rahman passed away on the 16th of May 2020. He had versatile knowledge of Bengali Music. He got his Classical Music Degree with Gold Medal from the Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata. He was a vocal singer, composer, lyricist, music director and an administrator of cultural institutions. He served as a principal of the Government Music College and the Director General of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. He directed musicís of many well known singers in Bangladesh including Ferdausi Rahman, Runa Laila, Sabina Yasmin, Shahnaz Rahmatullah, Anjuman Ara, Khurshid Alam and others since the middle of 1960. He was a pioneer in Bengali Kheyal for which he was called the father of Bengali Kheyal. In the modern melodious Bengali songs he used classical and folk music in his compositions, very rare in Bangladesh music.
I have been in Australia during the period he established his name in the musical field in Bangladesh. I knew he was a well known musician and a music director. He directed many famous singers but I didnít have many opportunities to hear his musical performance. I heard about him through our family friend Khaled Asadullah who is his brother-in-law; Khaledís younger sister Selina Azad, is also a well known singer. His three daughters are also singers in keeping family traditions.
I first heard his live music performance at Parramatta Riverside Theatre and thoroughly enjoyed his superb renditions with classical touch. After the function my wife, Yasmine, and I were introduced to him. I told him that though I never met him; his name was well acquainted to me as his brother-in-law Khaled Asadullah told me about him. Since then we met many times as well as talked on phone whenever he came to visit his daughters in Australia. I visited him a few times at his eldest daughter Rumanaís residence and spent enjoyable time with him. He also came to my place once with his son-in-law Sabbir. I took him once to show him different remarkable places in Sydney; it was a pleasant 4-5 hours, not only to site-seeing but also engaged in discussions on various topics. When he heard that Yasmeen is the sister of Late Kajal Rashid, a musician and music director, whom he knew very well; he was eager to know about Kajal Rashidís early life from Yasmeen. Since then, he always introduced Yasmeen to others as Kajal Rashidís sister. Yasmeen used to get emotional for that and thankful to him for that sweet gesture. During his Australia visits, sometimes, local cultural groups organized functions for him and he gladly agreed to participate. He was an embodiment of an artist in its true sense. In his last visit before he left for Dhaka, he rang and invited me to his home in Dhaka next time I visit Bangladesh. I told him I would see him not very long as I was planning to visit Bangladesh shortly. I feel extremely sorry that in spite of my sincere desire to see him in Dhaka, I couldnít keep my promise to him as I was stricken down with pneumonia and hospitalised during the period I thought I would meet him as well as Professor Anisuzzaman. I will be my regrates always.
As a person, Azad Rahman was humble, gentle, very courteous, friendly person; a great human being difficult to forget if one met him once. Bangladesh has lost a great musician of rare talent. I understand the heart-breaking sadness his daughters, Rumana, Rubana and Annika, have been going through because they couldnít be at his bedside for the last time and attend his funeral. Our condolences in their loss, sympathy in their mourning and prayer for them that they may overcome this loss with resilience. They may get a little-bit solace knowing that we also are sharing with their sorrows. We miss him dearly but always remember him with fondness.
51 Timesweep Drive, St. Clair, Sydney, Australia.