Biography of Hayat Saif
Hayat Saif (Bengali: হায়াৎ সাইফ) is a twentieth century modern Bengali poet and literary critic from Bangladesh. A career bureaucrat, he retired in 2000 and since then is engaged in the corporate private sector and divides his time in World Scouting and literary and artistic pursuits. He has been translated in English and Spanish and, in Bangladesh, is generally acclaimed as an intellectual interpreter of contemporary life and culture. Born in 1942 as Saiful Islam Khan he assumed this pen name in 1961 when contributing to literary journals.
Early life and Career
He was born to Moslem Uddin Khan and Begum Sufia Khan in 1942. After high school, he studied English literature and obtained his M. A degree in 1965. After graduation, he taught in colleges for about three years and then joined the Pakistan Superior Service in the Finance cadre in 1968. He was involved in the revenue administration and tax policy making for more than three decades. He acted as Chairman of the National Board of Revenue and retired in 1999. In early 1960s, still a student, he worked as a casual announcer and newscaster in the Dhaka centre of the then Radio Pakistan and later in Pakistan Television at Lahore Center. He still continues his interests in broadcasting and telecasting and anchors literary programmers and talk shows.
He is one of the major poets of Bangladesh belonging to the generation of 1960s who set a clear trend of modern poetry in Bangladesh along with such poets as Rafiq Azad, Asad Chowdhury, Mohammad Rafiq, Abdul Mannan Syed, Rabiul Hossain, Imrul Chowdhury and others. His publications in Bengali include eight collections of poems apart from two collections of essays and a huge number of poems and articles published in various periodicals. One of his important books is titled Pradhānata Māṭi o Mānusha. His collection of literary essays Ukti o Upalabdhi was published by Shilpataru in 1992. In 2004, he jointly with Mahbub Talukdar compiled and published A Selection of Contemporary Verse from Bangladesh. His latest collection of poems Prodhanoto Smriti ebong Manusher Pathchola (Mainly memories and man's path-walking) published in 2009 contains fifty seven poems "woven in a fine thread of thought".
Works in translation
There are two collections of some of his prominent poems in English rendition. One of these is Voice of Hayat Saif edited by Faizul Latif Chowdhury, published by Dibya Prakash in 1998. It contains forty-five poems translated by different hands. The volume titled Hayat Saif: Selected Poems was published by Pathak Samabesh, Dhaka, in 2001. The poems included in this volume have been translated by different hands.
In 1993, he launched a periodic journal under the title Fiscal Frontiers. He edited it until 2000. Fiscal Frontiers was focused on revenue policy and administration, fiscal policy and international trade.
He is working as the Managing Editor of a magazine titled Information Communication and Entertainment, ICE in short, since 2005. This monthly is published from Dhaka.
In spite of all the innovations, verse is still verse as differentiated from prose pieces.
Music is the basic attribute of the language of poetry that differentiates it from other forms.
The idea of perfection itself suggests that the condition is not achievable, at best not in the physical sense.
I don't know really, why I write poetry. I suppose I write poems because I have to; because I have nothing better to write.
His poetic fervour emerged when he was a student of grade-VIII. In 1962, his first poems published appeared in the literary periodical Shomokal edited by Sikander Abu Zafar. In writing poetry, his preferred metrical style in 'Okkherbritta' or 'Poyer', which is the most popular among modern Bengali poems. He is prone to use Bengali language words of Sanskrit origin.
He has been involved in national and international Scouts movement since early 1990s. He has been the National Commissioner of Bangladesh Scouts for a long time and has been awarded Bronze Wolf, the most prestigious decoration of World Scouting for outstanding contribution to the international movement.
There are two collections of some of his prominent poems in English rendition. His publications in Bengali include eight collections of poems apart from two collections of essays and a huge number of poems and articles published in various periodicals.
Hayat Saif's Works:
Roshuon Bonar Eti Katha
Voice of Hayat Saif
Poetry and Other Issues
Ukti o Uplolobdhi
International Trade and Protectionsim
. Maati o Manush
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Hayat Saif Poems
From the suddenly swollen seasonal clouds Ceaseless rain falls In unending streams it comes pouring down Onto our present barren soil.
Felling A Tree
From behind the still vibrant foliage one can see The crunching edges of the saw A humming shaft of sound.
For a long time with unbound bent eyes With folded supplicating hands Am ceaselessly meditating only you Your nature in an amorphous assurance
In My Bony Hands
How much can these swollen veined Bony quivering hands contain When I am bedeviled by the scorched gray of an impersonal ominous landscape all around?
The Sleeping Lady
My mother is now asleep under the cold soil of Hetom Khan's graveyard. I hear now, in this town live a million people, But I never see my mother anymore.
Living In Violence
Rising up dropp by dropp from the ocean Water comes down in torrents form the mountains Though the plateau on the plains Gushing forth and tearing down the ramparts of stones,
The Revelation Of St. John The Divine
If you can, ventriloquist, Make this blabbing city Cry.
Inside All Creation
Inside my very birth my death exists. Within my distance sleeps My innocent nearness.
She, who I love Never presents herself through surrender Indeed she never gives herself, Never drops with exhaustion
Light And Shade
When darkness falls And night deepens, you are far away I can no longer see you But then distances disappear
Not love, hate or ambition but something else deep Fluctuates like the mercury of a barometer In my middle-aged soul.
There were human beings then, And spreading green, and rebellion, The journey of time,
Since you possess me, My utterances Become those of others.
Life entwines like a vine On the fence, around the tree On the hard brick of a derelict building.
Often when I hear your rhymed words,
I can touch your inner nature
Just through your words?
Quickly you gather the leaves of your words,
and together with them
the musical flower of your laughter,
and your bouncing words.
hold my hand