Shankhachil, an art and literature magazine, dedicates its January 2017 issue to poet Shaheed Quaderi, who died in August, the month of his birth, in 2016. Work had started three months before his death. Mahfuz Pathak and Iqbal Mahfuz, the editors, had written to the poet in June 2016. The poet’s wife, Neera Quaderi; his niece, Sadaf Quaderi; poet Rifat Chowdhury, writer Adnan Syed and artist Rajiv Dutta helped the editors to bring out the issue.
The 350-page magazine has a portrait of the young poet on its cover. There is a child Shaheed Quaderi on page 10 and a boy Quaderi on page 51. There are a few rare and wonderful photographs. The articles and poems are divided into eighteen sections. The contents are certainly rich.
"Smritimegh" (Clouds of Memories) has thirteen reminiscing articles on the poet. The writers include Al Mahmud, Alokeranjan Dasgupta, Abdullah Abu Sayeed and Nirmalendu Goon. Neera Quaderi, Sadaf and Simone Quaderi are also there. So are Kabir Sumon and Helal Hafiz. Quaderi began to write in his childhood, almost playfully. His father inspired him and suggested corrections to his writing. I wonder, though, why Al Mahmud calls his close friend “Shaheed Quaderi Saheb” in his short essay. Dasgupta first met him in Germany’s Cologne in 1978. His essay is short too. Neera Quaderi’s “Amar Bandhu, Amar Priyotomo” comes straight from her heart. So do Sadaf and Simone’s recollections. Simone almost brought tears to our eyes. Abdullah Abu Sayeed speaks about Quaderi’s sorrow and wit. One day Sayeed had asked him about his not giving importance to academic education. He could be an international celebrity! Quaderi sadly replied that as a young man he had thought he would be a Tagore and wouldn’t need degrees! Yes, friends confirm that Quaderi was a prodigy. Akhter Hussain’s weeping photo over Quaderi’s coffin, also, brings tears to our eyes.
Belal Chowdhury, a famed addabaz himself, gives a lovely account of Shaheed’s adda. Shihab Sarkar’s tribute is superb. He compares Quaderi to Sudhin Dutta. He calls him the wonder boy of Bangla poetry
"Jolchhaya" (Shades of Water) has twelve essays on him. Humayun Ahmed the popular novelist attracts our attention with a good one. Rifat Munim’s English essay is well-written. The “Adda” section wins my heart with five lovely articles. Shaheed Quaderi’s brilliant friends read a lot and spent a lot of time together. Adda was necessary for their creativity. “Bish Minuter Adda” between Syed Shamsul Haq and Shaheed Quaderi on July 07, 2010 wins my heart. Excerpts:
SSH: What literature does … didn’t know own brothers and sisters, knew …
SSH: Friends. Hahaha, life is gone.
Belal Chowdhury, a famed addabaz himself, gives a lovely account of Shaheed’s adda. Shihab Sarkar’s tribute is superb. He compares Quaderi to Sudhin Dutta. He calls him the wonder boy of Bangla poetry. Only four books and a few scattered poems will keep Quaderi immortal, he feels. Iqbal Hasan and Neera Quaderi are also quite interesting.
The “interview” section is good. Adnan Syed’s interview of novelist Mahmudul Huq on Shaheed Quaderi is a nice one. Tamizuddin Lodhi, Shams Al Momin and Shikha Ahmed’s interviews of the poet are interesting. The poet calls Kazi Nazrul Islam “our Neruda,” talks of the inspiration he received from Shamsur Rahman and his brilliant poetry and confesses that it was suicidal for him to leave Bangladesh, his motherland. Twenty one poets are included in the “Poems Dedicated” section. I wonder why Abul Hasan’s name comes ahead of Shamsur Rahman’s. This won’t be liked by many a reader. Rafiq Azad, Sikder Aminul Huq and a host of younger poets are there. Shamsur Rahman, in his poem, asks the self-exiled poet if he “suddenly woke up during sleepy moments at the smell of Beauty Boarding and Luxmi Bazar.” Faruk Alamgir and Faruk Foysal dedicate long poems to him. Two sonnets by Mohiuddin Mohammad and Rabiul Alam Nabi are also there.
There are eight portraits of the poet by noted artists like Qaiyum Chowdhury, Murtaza Baseer, Mashuk Helal, Nazib Tareq and Rajib Dutta. “Chitrakabya” has a few more sketches. “Chitrakotha” has sketches in words by Nirmalendu Goon, Nasir Ali Mamun, Kabir Sumon and Imdadul Huq Milon. The poet, who has declared that poetry was his kingdom, speaks about his Beauty Boarding days.
“Music” talks about songs based on his poems. “Anugalpa” or seven micro-stories are based on his poems. Kuloda Roy and Afsana Begum are impressive. “Translation” has five very good poems translated nicely by Farida Majid, Shawkat Hussain and Sayeed Abubakar. “The Last Descendant” and “My Brother Answers The Door” are by Farida Majid. “Left Right Left” and “You Know” are by Shawkat Hussain. “Poet” and “We Three” are by Sayeed Abubakar. The “Mulyayan” or Evaluation section has thirteen essays, ranging from stalwarts like Abdul Mannan Syed and Kaiser Haq to young writers. Mannan Syed is thought-provoking as usual. Kaiser Haq’s 1974 review of Tomake Abhibadan Priyotoma is outstanding. Anu Hossain and Ahmad Mostofa Kamal have contributed two good essays. “Daakghar” has a few letters written to Shaheed Quaderi and a few written by him. Letter writers include Shawkat Osman and Fazal Shahabuddin.
The last section “Kobir Bhubon” or The World of the Poet includes three lovely essays by Quaderi, a few of his best poems and a life-sketch by Faruk Mohammad. Quaderi’s essays on Buddhadev Bose and Pablo Neruda are wonderful pieces. One of our finest modernists was a very erudite man too. Very scholarly and very witty. The magazine winds up with seven previous reviews of Sankhachil.
Sankhachil’s Shaheed Quaderi issue will attract many readers. They have thrown light on every aspect of the gifted poet’s life and works. The poet was and still is loved by Bangladeshis. This issue will also be loved by them. He was one of the best poets produced by this land.
An Art and Literature magazine
Shaheed Quaderi issue, Poush-Magh 1423
Pages 350, price Taka 150
Junaidul Haque is a bilingual writer of fiction and essays. Born in 1955, he did his MA in English Literature from the University of Dhaka. He has published two novels (Asambhaber Paye and Bishader Tarunya), four volumes of stories and two volumes of short essays. Pathak Samabesh is the publisher of his Nirbachito Galpa.