The award was presented by State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, and the prize money and ceremonial loose scarf, called uttorio, were presented by Altaf Mahmud's family members
The prestigious Shaheed Altaf Mahmud Padak award ceremony was held at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy's Music and Dance Auditorium on Friday. The recipients were Ekushey Padak winning veteran journalist and cultural personality Kamal Lohani, and joint designers of Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at Rayer Bazar, architects Farid Uddin Ahmed and Jami Al Shafi.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid was the chief guest of the award ceremony. The welcome address was given by Altaf Mahmud's daughter Shawan Mahmud, who is also the member-secretary of Altaf Mahmud Foundation. She thanked everyone for their support over the last 15 years. Altaf Mahmud's wife Sara Ara Mahmud, and cultural personalities Shimul Yousuf and Hasan Arif were also present. Theatre personality Nasiruddin Yousuff presided over the program.
The award was presented by KM Khalid, and the prize money and ceremonial loose scarf, called uttorio, were presented by Altaf Mahmud's family members.
Kamal Lohani, who received the Padak for his outstanding contribution to the Bangla language and for his cultural activism, said on the occasion: "Altaf Mahmud was a pioneering cultural activist, who had a strong political conscience. He had a heart full of courage, patriotism and melody. He sacrificed his entire life to uphold the rights of the people. None of us can forget what he did for our nation." Kamal also shared many untold stories of times he spent with Altaf Mahmud.
Farid Uddin Ahmed said: "He will forever be remembered for composing the timeless song, Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano, as people all over the world now sing this in different languages on every International Mother Language Day (February 21)."
Since 2005, Altaf Mahmud Foundation had been annually conferring the Padak in Mahmud's name on deserving personalities for outstanding contributions to their fields. The Foundation is run by family members of the martyr and guerrilla freedom fighters of the Crack Platoon. 21 renowned artistes, thespians, musicians, writers, and cultural personalities have received the award so far.
Altaf Mahmud was a singer, musician, language activist and freedom fighter. In 1952, he composed the tune to the timeless song Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano. He was a guerrilla fighter during the Liberation War. Mahmud was abducted by the Pakistani army on August 30, 1971, and was never returned. He was posthumously awarded the Ekushey Padak in 1977, and the Swadhinata Padak in 2004.