A maestro, little known to his own people | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 02, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:28 AM, March 02, 2018

A maestro, little known to his own people

A language museum, commemorating Abdul Latif, the initial composer of the iconic language movement song “Amar bhaier roktey rangano ekushey February”, will not only inspire the young generation but also keep the memories of the eminent musician alive.

The versatile artiste remains quite unfamiliar even at his village of Raipasha under Raipasha-Karapur union of Sadar upazila, since no initiatives have been taken to preserve his legacy.

This correspondent spoke with many of the locals; they said they were unaware of Latif's contribution to the Language Movement, especially how he had inspired an entire generation through his music.

In 1953, Latif first composed the song “Amar bhaier roktey rangano”, written by Abdul Gaffar Choudhury. It was later re-composed to the current form by Altaf Mahmud, said language hero Nikhil Sen, who received “Ekushey Padak” in February this year.

Besides, Latif also wrote iconic songs like “Ora amar mukher bhasha kaira nite chai”, “Ami dam diye kinechi Bangla” and “Shona shona shona lokey boley shona”.

His songs also inspired millions of Bangalees during the Liberation War, said Akkas Hossain, another language hero.

“Most of the locals do not know about his achievements. We appeal to the government to protect his memories,” said Saidur Rahman, nephew of Abdul Latif.

Kamaluddin, secretary of “Abdul Latif Smriti Sangsad”, and Syed Dulal, a cultural activist, also echoed him.

On Monday, “Abdul Latif Smriti Sangsad” organised a discussion at Latif's village home in Barisal to make people aware of his contributions and achievements, marking the maestro's death anniversary.

Nurul Amin Chowdhury, president of the sangsad, said they were also planning to arrange another event at the birthplace of the musician.

Born in 1927, Latif always had a passion for music, ever since he was young. And it came from deep within his soul, mind and heart. He started singing for the “Congress Literature Group” from the age of 16. In 1948, he joined Radio Pakistan (now Bangladesh Betar) as a staff artiste.

He also wrote books on the country's musical heritage. His publications include “Duare Aishachhe Palki” from Bangladesh Folklore Parishad, “Bhashar Gaan”, “Desher Gaan” from Bangla Academy and “Dilrobab”.

Latif also worked in various capacities at Bangladesh Betar from 1974 to 1993.

He was awarded “Ekushey Padak” in 1979 and “Independence Day Award” in 2002.

He passed away on February 26, 2005. He was laid to rest at the capital's Martyred Intellectuals' Graveyard.

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