Al Mahmud

(11 July 1936 - / Brahmanbaria / Bangladesh)

Biography of Al Mahmud

Al Mahmud poet

Mir Abdus Shukur Al Mahmud commonly known as Al Mahmud is a Bangladeshi Poet, novelist, short-story writer. He is considered as one of the greatest Bengali poets emerged in 20th century. His work in Bengali poetry is dominated by his copious use of regional dialects. In 1950s he was among those Bengali poets who were outspoken by writing about the events of Bengali Language Movement, nationalism, political and economical repression and struggle against West Pakistan Government.

Early Life and Career

He was born in Morail Village, Brahmanbaria District, Bangladesh. Mahmud started his career as a journalist. He came into recognition after Lok Lokantor was published in 1963. In succession, he wrote Kaler Kalosh (1966), Sonali Kabin (1966) and Mayabi Porda Dule Otho (1976). In addition to writing poetry, he has written short stories, novels and essays such as Pankourir Rakta and Upamohadesh. He took part in the Liberation War of Bangladesh as a freedom fighter in 1971. After the war, he joined The Daily Ganakantha as the assistant editor. He was jailed for a year during the era of Awami League government. Later, Al Mahmud joined Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in 1975 and retired in 1993 as director of the academy.

Literary Works

Al Mahmud is one of the most important poets in Bengali literature. In his early youth he entered Dhaka city having a broken suitcase under his armpit, from which, like a magician, he showed us all the rivers of Bangladesh. The conscious readers of poetry have watched his magic spellbound and become his fan. Al Mahmud is one of those new poets who have contributed a lot to the progress of modern Bengali poetry. He is a very popular poet in Bangladesh. He has innumerable admirers at home and abroad. But it is a matter of sorrow that very few of his poems have been translated into English, for which the non-Bengali readers are yet deprived of having the taste of his poetry.

A good number of poetry books of Al Mahmud have been published. Lok Lokantor, Kaler Kolos, Sonali Kabin, Mayabi Porda Duley Otho, Adristabadider annabanna, Bokhtiarer Ghora, Arabya Rojonir Rajhas, MithyabadRakhal,Doel o Doyita etc are remarkable ones. But the book which has been accepted by the Bengali poetryreaders as a classic piece is his Sonali Kabin. The Golden Kabin is an English version of this very 8book.`Kabin' means a matrimonial contract in Bengali Muslim society. Al Mahmud has picked up this very word ever-known to all but never allowed in poetry and used so successfully that it has got a symbolic meaning and has drawn the attention of scholars, both in Bangladesh and West Bengal.

Al Mahmud entered into the realm of poetry following the paths of Jasimuddin and Gibananando Das, his two preceding poets. Jasimuddin uniquely depicted the picture of rustic Bengal in his poems. People of the agro-based Bengali Muslim society first got their identity in literature. Their sorrow, sufferings, poverty, hunger and love, depicted vividly in his poems, attracted not only the Bengali educated society but also the whole world. Unlike Jasimuddin, Gibananando Das depicted the scenic and the spiritual beauty of Bangladesh. Another difference between them is that Jasimuddin followed the language of rustic people in poetry, whereas Gibananando Das was very sophosticated in using poetic dictions. Walking the paths of his two great forerunners, Al Mahmud had to struggle a lot to 9find out his own identity. At last he reached his goal; his distinction as a poet became obvious, in his third book the Sonali Kabin.

Philosopher Sibnarayan Ray commented:

“Al Mahmud has an extraordinary gift for telescopic discrete levels of experience; in his poems I find a marvelous fusion and wit which reminds me occasionally of Bishnu Dey. The complete secularism of his approach is also striking…he was born and brought up in a very conservative Muslim religious family; it is not a secularism forced by some ideology, but present naturally and ubiquitously in his metaphors, images and themes. ”


Ekushey Padak, 1987; The highest literature award of Bangladesh
Bangla Academy Award, 1968
Chattagram Sangskriti Kendro Farrukh Memorial Award,1995
Kabi Jasim Uddin Award
Philips Literary Award
Alakta Literary Award
Sufi Motaher Hossain Literary Gold Meda

Al Mahmud's Works:

Lok Lokantor (1963)
Kaler Kalos (1966)
Shonali Kabin (1966)
Mayabi Porda Dule Otho (1976)
Arobbo Rojonir Rajhash (The Goose of Arabian Nights)
Bokhtiyarer Ghora (The Horse of Bakhtiyar)
Dinjapon (Passing Days)
Ditiyo Bhangon (Second Collapse)
Ekti Pakhi Lej Jhola
Jebhabe Gore Uthi
Kishor Shomogro
Kobir Atmobisshash (The Confidence of Poet)
Kobita Somogro- 1, 2
Pankourir Rakta (1975) (Blood of Bird)
Na Kono Shunnota Mani Na
Nodir Bhitorer Nodi (River Inside River)
Pakhir Kache, Phooler Kache (To Birds, To Flowers)
Prem O Bhalobashar Kobita (Poems of Love and Romance)
Prem Prokritir Droho Ar Prarthonar Kobita (Poems of Love and Prayer)
Premer Kobita Somogro
Upomohadesh (The Continent)
Upanyas Somogro- 1, 2, 3

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Comes More Not

Keeping the stone of Paharpur on the left ,
crossing the canal if anyone approaches the moat,
never he comes back --- you knew it well,
nevertheless why did you allow him
to enter the heart of the hut?

They who used to dye your Shika;
They who used to bring you cock-flowers
if you once reject their hands, they won't return

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