Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, a journalist who wrote famous Language Movement song, dies at 88

Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, a journalist and columnist best known for writing the lyrics to ‘Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano’ – a tribute to the martyrs of the 1952 Language Movement, has died at the age of 88.

He passed away at a hospital in London on Thursday morning, confirmed Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem.

“Gaffar Chowdhury had been in hospital for the past few days,” she told bdnews24.com. “His daughter told me that he died at 7 am this morning. We are deeply saddened at the loss.”

Gaffar Chowdhury witnessed many turning points in the history of Bangladesh.

He was the editor-in-chief of the weekly Joybangla, the mouthpiece of the Mujibnagar government of 1971. Though he had lived in London since 1974, he was always vocal in support of the Liberation War, Bangabandhu and liberal values.

Despite living abroad, he regularly wrote political commentary and discussed contemporary issues in Dhaka newspapers. He also wrote poems, stories, novels, plays, memoirs and essays.

President Md Abdul Hamid expressed his deep grief over his death and sent his condolences to the bereaved family.

Gaffar Chowdhury suffered from diabetes and kidney disease and was admitted to North Week Hospital in London two months ago. His daughter Binita Chowdhury died in April while he was in the hospital.

Binita was the third of Gaffar Chowdhury's five children. She lived with her father in London and took care of him. She was 50 years old at the time of her death.

The Bangladesh High Commission in London says it is in touch with his family and will inform the media once decisions are made regarding his funeral service.

BANGLADESH HAS LOST A LEGEND: HASINA

“Bangladesh has lost the wisdom of a legend who has enriched the nation's history and culture through his writings and research,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in a condolence message.

“Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, who wrote the lyrics to ‘Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano’, has elevated the spirit of the country’s Liberation War through his writings and cultural contributions. Until his death, he worked to protect secularism and the accurate history of the country, supporting Bangabandhu’s dream of a 'Sonar Bangla' or 'Golden Bengal'.”

“He inspired freedom fighters through his writings at Joybangla, a weekly newspaper published by Bangladesh Awami League during the 1971 Liberation War. Later. even when he lived as an expatriate, he wrote about the ideals of the Liberation War for local and foreign media.”

Saida Muna said the remains of Gaffar Chowdhury would be brought to Bangladesh for burial next to his wife at Martyred Intellectual Graveyard in Dhaka’s Mirpur following his wish.

The body will also be kept at the Central Shaheed Minar for people to pay their last respects. The high commissioner could not specify a date when the body will be brought to Dhaka.

She said they were trying to organise funeral prayers for Gaffar Chowdhury at Brick Lane Mosque in London on Friday. They are also planning to take the body to Altab Ali Park so that the Bangladeshis in London can pay their respects.