After battling cancer for a long time, she had tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month
Namita Ghosh, eminent singer and the first female voice artiste of the wartime Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, has passed away at a Dhaka hospital. She was 63.
According to media reports, she was undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at Popular Medical College Hospital, where she breathed her last around 10pm Friday -- the day when Bangladesh celebrated 50 years of independence.
Her sister Kabita Ghosh told reporters that Namita’s body was kept at the mortuary in BIRDEM General Hospital.
She was given a guard of honour at a temple in the city’s Shakhari Bazar in the afternoon, said a press from Bangladesh Awami League.
The family is yet to decide on her funeral, Kavita said.
Namita, who joined the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra at 14 as the first female voice artiste during the 1971 Liberation War, had been suffering from cancer and eye diseases for a long time. She tested positive for Covid-19 on March 15.
Just several days before, on March 12, she had performed on a Bangladesh Television program following a long hiatus after her cancer went into remission.
At the time, Kabita told reporters that Namita -- who was suffering from fever, cough and respiratory issues due to Covid-19 -- was moved to Popular Medical College Hospital on March 16, after her condition worsened during her stay at two other hospitals.
In July last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had given Tk21 lakh to Namita Ghosh as financial assistance for the treatment of her cancer and eyes.
Namita left behind three brothers, two sisters, a host of relatives and well-wishers to mourn her.
Hasina, also the Awami League president, on Saturday, expressed deep shock and sorrow over her death and extended condolences to the bereaved family.
The ruling party's General Secretary Obaidul Quader also mourned Namita's death in a separate message.
Media reports said Namita’s mother Jasoda Ghosh was a regular radio artiste when Namita joined Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra in 1971.
The family left Dhaka on March 27, 1971, and went through Keraniganj and Comilla to flee to India through Akhaura border -- a day after the Pakistani military kicked-off the genocide of the Bangalis.
The 14-year-old met legendary singers Abdul Jabbar and Apel Mahmud at Narsingarh, Tripura, where they were planning to launch their initiative to travel to camps of freedom fighters and inspire them.
Her family arrived in Kolkata from Agartala in May 1971. Namita joined the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra following encouragement from Aminul Haque Badsha, one of the 1971 war organizers and the first press secretary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, according to reports.