Remembering the choir of freedom

Celebrating The 43rd Victory Day
Remembering the choir of freedom 
Remembering the choir of freedomBangladesh Mukti Sangrami Shilpi Sangstha, a travelling troupe of singers and musicians, played a significant role in boosting the freedom fighters’ spirit at the camps during the war of independence in 1971.
In addition to performing live at the freedom fighters’ camps, the troupe also performed at several fund-raising concerts in Kolakta to support the over 10 million refugees, who took shelter in India.
Just a month after the declaration of independence, this musical troupe was formed in May 1971 in Kolkata by Bangladeshi artistes under the leadership of the late cultural personality Wahidul Haque and with substantial support from some Kolkata-based Indian musicians.
The troupe included Sanjida Khatun, president of the Sangstha, Mahmudur Rahman Benu, secretary, Bipul Bhattacharya, Shahin Samad, Nyla Khan, Tarik Ali, Swapan Chowdhury, Sharmilee Bandopaddhay, Mithila Ali, Debu Bhattacharya, Sharmin Murshid and a number of other artistes who regularly used to perform in the choir.
‘In a state of war, we wanted to do something for the people and the nation. We, therefore, decided to form a platform to raise funds to help the refugees and, at the same time, motivate others to join the war,’ Mahmudur Rahman Benu told New Age.
The travelling troupe began performing at different places of Paschim Banga presenting mainly inspirational patriotic songs and traditional songs.
Two months later the troupe started to perform in the camps. ‘Since then, we began travelling to refugee camps and to training camps,’ added Benu.
The millions of mentally-shattered refugees were in an indescribable state. And the artistes of the Sangstha tried to infuse the zeal of freedom in them through their songs such as Janatar sangram cholbei, Karar oi lauho kapat, Shikal bhangar chhal, Pak pashuder hotya, Gahi Banglar gaan, Amar pratibader bhasha, Phul khelbar din noy, Jessore khulna pabna and Ore bisham doirare.
Presentation of inspirational and patriotic songs also strengthened the minds of trainee and the already trained fighters who took the oath to fight for the country till their last breath.
‘Songs are not substitutes for guns in war. But we could mobilise the passion of many to join the war and be part of the history,’ said Dalia Nowshin, a member of Mukti Sangrami Shilpi Sangstha.
The troupe also used to visit liberated zones inside the border of Bangladesh. But that was less in number and only if they had got assurance of security. In one such visit to a liberated zone near Benapole, the troupe fell under long-range shots by Pakistani army.
‘It was perhaps in the middle of July that we came to perform in a liberated zone near Benapole. Pakistani army somehow got the news and began shooting. We could, by the grace of Allah, escape the place,’ said Mahmudur Rahman Benu.
‘It was hard days for all of us, as often some bad and cruel news was in the air. We had to go through an unforgettable juncture of history of collective hardships and sorrows, dreams and nightmares, losses and victory,’ Shahin Samad, another member of the troupe said.
The activities of the troupe were kept in celluloid form by one American filmmaker, Lear Levin. ‘Lear Levin was with us to take footages of our activities for a film that he intended to make but did not complete. After almost 25 years in 1995 Tareque Masud and his wife Catherine Masud collected the footages and made the only documentary titled Muktir Gaan on us,’ shared Benu.
Evaluating the contribution of the troupe, researcher and cultural activist Lubna Marium says, ‘The Bangladesh Mukti Shongrami Shilpi Shangstha played important role to motivate and inspire the demoralised and heart-broken refugees. There were performances in Calcutta, Shantiniketan and Delhi, too, to increase the awareness of the plight of Bangladesh.’
‘But the matter of sorrow, not for the singers of freedom, but for us as a nation, is that the government so far has not conferred even a single accolade on Bangladesh Mukti Sangrami Shilpi Sangstha,’ she exclaimed.
Seasoned singer Shahin Samad, however, does not regret. ‘None of us thought of national honour or awards. We did what we could do for the country. I think none of us regret being not awarded,’ she said.

-With New Age input

Related News

Radharaman Lok Sangeet Utsab will kick off on Friday

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com The Radharaman Lok Sangeet Utsab 2022 will start on Friday at the Nazrul Mancha of the Bangla Academy in the capital. This was announced at a news conference that took place on Wednesday in the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Seminar Room. Mahmud Selim, president of the Radharaman Sangskriti Charcha Kendra, and Bishwajit ... Read more

The two-day Tagore music festival kicks up this Friday

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com According to a news release, the 33rd annual National Tagore Music Festival will begin on Friday at the International Mother Language Institute at Segunbagicha in the nation’s capital. KM Khalid, minister of cultural affairs, will be the festival’s chief guest on the first day of what will be a two-day celebration. ... Read more

Ganga Jamuna cultural festival kicks off in splendour

Cultural Desk: dhakamirror.com Ganga Jamuna Cultural Festival eventually returned to Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) at 6 pm after a year. 172 theatre troupes from Bangladesh and India will participate throughout the 11-day event. These plays will be at BSA and Mahila Samity at 7pm daily until October 31. Every day until 4 p.m., performances will ... Read more

Gallery Chitrak displaying Khurshid Saleem’s aesthetics, titled ‘Hidden Beauty.’

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com How often do we get to see a disorganized, yet orderly, display of 3D figures adorned in vibrant colors? This is true of the maximalist abstractions created by artist Khurshid Saleem, which are a remarkable illustration of the fusion of geometric shapes with impromptu flowing hues. The 80th solo show of ... Read more

Ekushey Padak winning artist Samarjit Roy Chowdhury dies

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Ekushey Padak-winning artist Samarjit Roy Chowdhury passed away at a hospital in Bangladesh capital Dhaka on Sunday. He was 85. The news of his death was confirmed by the artist’s son, Surajit Chowdhury. Surajit also mentioned how his father’s health had deteriorated over the past three days. Samarjit had been in ... Read more

Chhayanaut celebrates Sharat

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Cultural organisation Chhayanaut celebrated Sharat organising a programme at the Bakultala of fine arts faculty of Dhaka University on Friday. Artistes of the organisation entertained the audience singing songs and reciting poems on Sharat. Besides, the programme featured solo and group dance recitals. ‘Chhayanaut regularly tries to organise different programmes to ... Read more

Art Bangla Foundation starts new journey

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com The official launch of a new art platform titled Art Bangla Foundation took place on September 17, 2022 with the inauguration ceremony of a group exhibition, ‘Pratibimba Parampara’ State Minister of Cultural Affairs, K M Khalid attended this event as the chief guest. The Director General of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Liaquat ... Read more

Solo exhibition that explores nature and women’s emancipation

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com In a solo exhibition currently on view at the Edge Gallery in Gulshan in the capital, painter and printmaker Rokeya Sultana illustrates nature and women’s emancipation. The exhibition titled An Ode to Joy: Fire, Water and the Essence of Life that features 51 artworks were produced using a variety of techniques, ... Read more

Bangladeshi artworks exhibited in Nepal

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Bangladesh Embassy in Kathmandu, in association with the Siddhartha Art Gallery, is organising an art exhibition in Nepal as part of the celebration of 50 years of Nepal-Bangladesh diplomatic relations. The event, titled “Spirit of Friendship”, will exhibit artworks and paintings by renowned Bangladeshi artists at the exhibition hall of the ... Read more

Strengthening cultural awareness

Gram Theatre commemorates anniversary through a boat ride Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Gram Theater held a cultural boat ride to commemorate its 40th anniversary in Rajshahi on Saturday. The boat ride was called ‘Bangla Natyaer Naujatra’. Theater President Nasiruddin Yousuf Bachchu opened the journey from the Alupatty top of the Padma River in ... Read more

National Poet Nazrul’s 46th death anniversary today

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Today is the 46th anniversary of the death of the national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. The death anniversary of Nazrul, widely known as the rebel poet, is observed in Bangladesh on Bhadra 12 according to the Bangladeshi Bangla calendar. Different government and socio-cultural organisations, television channels and radio stations have chalked ... Read more

Pathshala opens the door for ‘Expanded’

Exhibition underway at DrikPath Bhobon Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com In the capital’s DrikPath Bhobon at Panthapath, the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute on Friday officially opened an exhibition named Expanded. The show, which has been organized to celebrate World Photography Day, August 19, features the works of eight emerging photographers from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, ... Read more

Conservationist organization hosts three-day art camp in Khagrachhari

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com A nonprofit organization named Pittachhara Forest and Biodiversity Conservation Initiative works to protect Bangladesh’s biological diversity and raise community awareness of how to coexist peacefully with nature in some of the country’s most isolated and rural areas. A three-day art camp with a focus on saving the environment has been organized ... Read more

Tareque Masud remembered

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com People from different walks of life in Manikganj remembered renowned filmmaker Tareque Masud and journalist Mishuk Munier with respect and love on their 11 death anniversary yesterday (August 13, 2022). Wreaths were placed this morning at the memorial built in their memory at Joka area of Ghior upazila of Manikganj on ... Read more

Flowers and nature are depicted in watercolor at Kaya

Entertainment Desk : dhakamirror.com In an exhibition titled Watercolor currently taking place at the Galleri Kaya in Uttara in the capital, Bangladeshi artist Sarker Helal Uddin, who lives and works in Canada, has shown a variety of flowers, scenic beauty, urban life,

Kazi Nazrul’s birth anniv today

Today is the 123rd birth anniversary of the national poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam. The birth anniversary of Nazrul, widely known as the rebel poet, is observed in Bangladesh on Jaishtha 11 according to the Bangladeshi Bangla calendar. A poet, lyricist, composer, playwright, novelist, revolutionary and journalist, Nazrul sang equally for freedom and love. In his ... Read more

Happy Days staged at Shilpakala Academy

Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days was staged at the Experimental Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Saturday. Translated by Kabir Chowdhury and adapted and directed by Shuvashis Sinha, the play is a take on the absurdity of life, an investigation into meaning and meaninglessness of human existence. Although the original play contains two

Star Cineplex’s branch at Bangabandhu Military Museum opens

Star Cineplex is set to open their branch at Bangabandhu Military Museum today. There will be one screen at this outlet, with state-of-the-art sound system and 183 seats, according to a press release. The popular cinema hall franchise’s Chattogram branch will be launched at the Bali Arcade this summer, while the Bogura branch will be ... Read more

Baishakh gets its colours back after two years

After a gap of two years due to the pandemic, the country’s people celebrated Pahela Baishakh, the first day of the Bangla new year, with due fervour on Thursday. Sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan and security arrangements were maintained in the celebrations as well. Celebrations to welcome the new

Bangla Academy to host ‘Pohela Boishakh Mela’ from tomorrow

On the occasion of Bengali New Year, a 10-day long Boisakhi Mela will start from tomorrow at the premises of Bangla Academy. The fair is organised by Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), and Bangla Academy. Industrial minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun will inaugurate the fair, tomorrow at 11 am. Director General of Bangla Academy ... Read more