Asad Chowdhury (11 February 1943 – 5 October 2023) was a distinguished Bangladeshi poet, writer, and cultural figure. With a multi-faceted personality, he made immense contributions to the realms of poetry, writing, translation, journalism, and cultural activism. His exemplary work and dedication earned him prestigious accolades such as the Ekushey Padak in 2013 and the Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1987.
Early Life and Family: Born into the aristocratic Bengali Muslim family, the Zamindars of Ulania in Mehendiganj, Chowdhury’s lineage can be traced back to notable ancestors like Shaykh Muhammad Asad Ali and military commander Muhammad Hanif. The family’s rich history includes establishing the zamindari of Idilpur and significant trading activities during the Company Raj. Muhammad Arif Chowdhury, Asad’s father, was a direct descendant of this illustrious line.
Education and Career: Chowdhury pursued his master’s degree in Bengali from the University of Dhaka in 1964. He commenced his professional journey as a lecturer at Brahmanbaria College in 1973. During Bangladesh’s liberation war, he played a pivotal role as a broadcaster at Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra in Kolkata. Over the years, he held esteemed positions at institutions like the Bangla Academy, Dhaka, and Deutsche Welle. His affiliations with various organizations showcased his dedication to promoting Bengali culture and literature.
Death: The world of Bangladeshi literature and culture lost a gem when Asad Chowdhury passed away on 5 October 2023 at the age of 80.
Publications: Chowdhury’s literary prowess is evident in his extensive list of publications. His poems, including titles like Tabak Deya Pan, Joler Madhye Lekhajokha, and Brishtir Sansare Ami Keo Noi, captured the essence of life and emotions. He also ventured into folk tales, essays, biographies, and translations. His works have been translated into multiple languages and have found audiences in various parts of the world.
Radio and Television Production: Chowdhury’s influence extended to radio and television, where he conducted programs like Kathakali and participated in several productions of Radio Bangladesh.
Other Activities: A true cultural ambassador, Chowdhury actively participated in poetry sessions, recitations, and other cultural events organized by renowned institutions. His international engagements include reading poems at a festival in Pittsburgh in 2000 and attending the Mukti Judha Uthsab in India in 2001.
Asad Chowdhury’s life and work stand as an inspiration, reflecting his love for Bengali culture, literature, and his dedication to preserving and promoting it for future generations.