The news of essayist and researcher Dr Onu Hossain’s untimely death came as a great shock for the literary world in Bangladesh. He died of colon cancer on February 1, just before the opening of this year’s Amar Ekushey Boi Mela.
He was most well-known for his illuminating essays and research articles on different aspects of Bangla literature.
His family members, current and former Bangla Academy officials, writers, poets, academics and well-wishers gathered at the Bangla Academy premises to pay their last homages. Bangla Academy was his last workplace where he served as the Deputy Director of the Research, Compilation, Dictionary and Encyclopedia Division.
Onu Hossain was born on March 11, 1965 in Munshiganj. After getting his honors and master’s degree from the Bangla Department, Dhaka University, he also did his Ph.D from the same department. In his thesis, titled Bangladesher Kobitay Lokosongskriti (1947-96), He dealt with folk elements and cultures in Bangladesh’s poetry.
He was an avid reader, and always immersed himself in thorough inquiry and investigation into literary topics. Some of his published books are: Shilpeyr Chotuskon, Bangladesher Kobita: Lokosongskritir Nondontotto, Bodh O Bati, Shilpeyr Torongo Ontorongo, Jiboni: Abdul Mannan Sayed. Among his edited book – Abdul Mannan Sayed Rochonaboli, Upendrokishor Ray Chowdhuryr Tonatunir Golpo, Golpomala, Jyotirmoy: Sayed Akram Hossain Songbordhona Grontho and Ovibadon Shahid Qadri are notable ones. He co-edited Songskriti Sadhak Sanjida Khatun and Bangla Academy English-Bangla Dictionary: Revised & Enlarged Edition.
Throughout his life, Rabindranath Tagore had been a great fascination to him, and Tagore’s work was part of his meditation and research. In his deathbed he had been awaiting to see his compiled and edited work Somokale Rabindranath: Somokal Potrikay Robindrachorcha published.
Before joining Bangla Academy in 2010, for a long period of his professional life, he had been working for national dailies like the Bhorer Kagoj, the Jugantor and the Destiny.
In the field of research, Onu went a long way introducing newer paths unexplored. He explored different aspects of Bangla arts and literature, from ancient to modern times.