By: ANSAR AHMED ULLAH
On Saturday, 1st October, a large number of people living in London gathered at the Brady Centre in East London to remember the late Abdul Ghaffar Choudhury, the legendary journalist and columnist, Amar Ekushe’s lyricist.
The programme started with observing one-minute silence and candles were lit to pay respect to the late Abdul Ghaffar Choudhury, who wrote: “Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano Ekushey February”!
In addition, people involved in various professions, including politics, literature, culture and journalism, from the Bengali community gathered and paid their respects to Abdul Ghaffar Choudhury. One of the organisers of the Bangladesh Liberation War and veteran politician Sultan Shariff, who presided over this commemoration of Abdul Ghaffar Choudhury organised by the civic initiative in London.
Ghaffar Choudhury’s daughter Tanima Choudhury spoke: “my father wrote about Bangladesh and its ideals all his life. As he was the guardian of Bangladesh, he was also a wonderful father”.
Sultan Shariff said: “After the death of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Abdul Ghaffar Choudhury kept Bangladesh in his heart for the last 47 years. His death made him immortal”. Prominent journalist and Shottobani editor Syed Anas Pasha gave a welcome speech on behalf of the organising committee of the civic commemoration conducted by cultural activist Munira Parveen. Minister (Political) Zahidul Islam was present on behalf of the Bangladesh High Commission.
Cultural organiser, theatre personality Nasir Uddin Yusuf Bachchu and Professor Syed Manjurul Islam participated in the video by singing messages from Dhaka. In addition, Rabindra singer Rezwana Chowdhury Banya sent a video message singing Abdul Gaffar Choudhury’s favourite songs.
Poet Shamim Azad also spoke at the meeting. Freedom fighter journalist Abu Musa Hasan, Janomot editor Syed Nahas Pasha, former Voice of America journalist Shamim Choudhury also addressed the event.
Former BBC Bengal journalist Uday Shankar Das, Janomot former editor Nabwab Uddin, community activist Habib Rahman, London Bangla Press Club former general secretary Mohammad Abdus joined the remembrance programme.
Sattar, UK Awami League General Secretary Syed Sajidur Rahman Faruk, Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee UK President Syed Enamul Islam, Media Personality Bulbul Hasan, Cllr Sayema Ahmed, Poet Moynur Rahman Babul, Ajanta Deb Roy, UK JASOD President Harunur Rashid, Nooru Uddin Ahmed of 7th March Foundation, SM Zakir Hossain of Vishwa Sahitya Kendra, Abdul Ahad Chowdhury, journalists A S Masum and Jamal Khan. Urmi Mazhar, Munira Parveen, and Smriti Azad recited the poems of Abdul Ghaffar Choudhury in the memorial meeting. Sa songs written by Ghaffar Choudhury were performed by artists Himanshu Goswami, Gauri Chowdhury and Fazlur Rahman Babu. Journalist Juyewel Raj spoke about civic organisation.
In the memorial meeting, two documentaries produced by famous filmmaker Maqbul Chowdhury and journalist AS Masum were shown on the last farewell of Abdul Ghaffar Choudhury. In the welcome speech given by the organising committee, Syed Anas Pasha said Ghaffer Choudhury was our lighthouse. He was active in the movement for Bengali independence, language, liberation war and building a progressive non-communal society. He embraced death by holding Bangladesh in his heart. Rather than Abdul Ghaffar Choudhury as a person, idealist Abdul Ghaffar Choudhury was our banyan shadow. After his death, he became more necessary to us. Other speakers highlighted various aspects of Abdul Ghaffar Choudhury’s life and worked in their speeches. At the same time, various proposals were made to save his work. The 5-hour-long civic memorial service ended with the immortal song of “Ekushe” written by Abdul Ghaffar Choudhury himself.