Celebrated writer Syed Shamsul Haque died at the United Hospital in the capital giving in his battle with cancer. He was 81. “He breathed his last at 5:26pm yesterday afternoon,” United Hospital spokesman Sazzadur Rahman Shuvo told BSS.
The eminent litterateur was undergoing treatment at the Oncology department of the facility under Dr Ashim Kumar’s supervision.
He was admitted to the hospital on September 1 for treatment of liver and heart cancer and was shifted to its Incentive Care Unit (ICU) yesterday as his condition deteriorated. BSS
He is survived by wife Dr Anwara Syed Haq, daughter Bidita Sadiq and son Ditio Syed Haq.
Haque’s body will be kept at the premise of the Central Shahid Minar at 11am so people of all walks of life could have their last glimpses and pay tributes to one of the greatest poets, novelists and playwrights of the contemporary period of Bengali literature.
Condolence messages continued to pour in the national news agency as the news of his demise broke while people from all walks of life rushed to hospital to console the family members of the author. President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina mourned the death of the eminent writer.
“Syed Shamsul Haq is a bright star of Bengali literature. His undertaking in all sections of literature will make him immortal,” the president said in a condolence message.
The message added: “His death is an irreparable loss to the Bengali literature. The strong writing of Syed Haque, a soldier of pro-liberation forces, will show path to the nation forever.”
The prime minister, who is now in Washington on the last leg of her US visit, received the news with profound bereavement, PM’s press secretary Ehsanul Karim told BSS over telephone. Terming Haque as a conscience of the nation the prime minister said the country lost “a writer who was devoted to the truth while she personally lost one of her well-wishers at his death”, the press secretary quoted her as saying.
“Syed Shamsul Haque has viewed Bangalee, Bangladesh and Bangabandhu as inseparable entities and through his powerful writings he showed the nation the dream of a secular country,” the premier said.
She added: “Syed Haque’s death is an irreparable loss of the national arena of literature and culture.”
Syed Haque was earlier being treated at a London hospital where Sheikh Hasina visited him and took the responsibilities of his treatment.
Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in a message said the country lost its eminent writer and poet “who reflected the great spirit of our War of Independence in his writings”.
Public Administration minister Syed Ashraful Islam also condoled the death of Syed Shamsul Haque.
Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu rushed to the hospital receiving the news and conveyed his deep sympathy to the bereaved family members and close friends of the family. He also prayed for the peace of the eternal soul of the writer.
Leader of the opposition Raushon Ershad, Health Minister Mohammad Nasim, Asaduzzaman Khan, Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain, Cultural Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid and information secretary Murtaza Ahemd issued statements mourning the death.
Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique also issued a message expressing his profound shock at the death.
Syed Haque was born in Kurigram on 27 December in 1935. He left mark in all areas of literature like poetry, fiction, plays, lyrics and essays.
His literary works were included in the curriculum of school level, secondary, higher secondary and graduation level Bengali literature.
A strong writer against the fundamentalism Haque received the Bangla Academy Award in 1966, Ekushey Padak in 1984 and Swadhinata Padal Award in 2000 for his contributions to Bangla literature.
Among his numerous literary works are: Ekoda Ek Rajje (Once upon a time in a kingdom, 1961),Boishekhe Rochito Ponktimala (Verses of Boishakh, 1969), Birotihin Utsob (The ceaseless festival, 1969), Protidhonigon (The echos, 1976), Opor Purush(The other man, 1978), Kobita Samagra (Collected Poems) in 3 Volumes , Ek Ascharja Sangamer Smriti, Ek Mahilar Chhobi (Portrait of a Woman, 1959), Anupam Din (Best Days, 1962), Simana Chhariye (Beyond the Bounds, 1964), Neel Dangshon (The Blue Sting, 1981), Smritimedh (Massacre of Memory, 1986), Mrigayay Kalakshep (Spending Time in Deer Hunting, 1986), Payer Awaj Paoa Jay (We hear the footsteps), Nuruldiner Sara Jibon (The entire life of Nurul Din), Ekhane Ekhon (Here, now) and Ganonayaka (The public hero).