Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Monday, March 27, 2017 08:52:14 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Prof Hassan Shaheed Suhrawardy: Forgotten pride

photo by

By
24th-Feb-2017       Readers ( 276 )   0 Comments
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all (0) »

Sunil Bandopadhaya :
The Art Advisory Committee for the decoration of the first three buildings of the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, which were officially inaugurated in 1958, held its first session from May 16 to 18, 1955. It included Herbert Read, Professor Hassan Shaheed Suhrawardy, then Pakistan’s Ambassador to Spain. Suhrawardy had become a living legend because of his astonishing linguistic attainments and scholarly achievements. He was one of those rare men who broke the barriers of language and custom with ease. Of Iranian descent, the Suhrawardys were settled in Midnapur district of West Bengal. Later they migrated to Calcutta.
This family comprised of distinguised scholars, politicians, lawyers and public servants, the likes of Dr. Abdullah Al Mamun Suhrawardy, who was awarded the first Ph. D from Calcutta University in 1908 for his dissertation on The Sources of Muslim Laws.
Dr Abdullah studied at Kings College, Cambridge, and travelled widely in France, Germany, Austria, Egypt and Turkey from where he got the title of 'Eftekharul Millat' (Pride of the Muslim nation). He mastered many Oriental languages and ventured to write a trilingual version of the Upanishads (in collaboration with his friends, like the brilliant scholar linguist Harinath De of Dhaka and Ernst Theodor Bloch) in 1909.
Shaheed Suhrawardy, son of Barrister Zahidur Rahman, popularly known as Sir Zahid Suhrawardy, a judge in the Calcutta high court, nephew of Dr. Abdullah Al Mamun, elder brother of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, the pre-partition Premier of Bengal and former Prime Minister of Pakistan, was born on 24 October 1890. He graduated with honours in English from Calcutta University in 1908 and left for Oxford the following year with a scholarship to study history and law. When Rabindranath Tagore received the Nobel Prize     in 1913, Suhrawardy     was in Oxford. He later wrote an article, Tagore At Oxford, in the Calcutta Municipal Gazette (13 September 1941), where he recalled, "I was introduced into a large size room where I first saw the poet. He was sitting on a divan. There were many chairs occupied by men and women Indian, British and continental who sat in rapt silence, as if in a prayer hall. In one corner of the room an English lady was modeling the poet's head in clay whilst in another, a fierce man, a Pole perhaps, was sketching, as I saw from a corner of my eye, the fine folds of his robe. The windows were wide open onto the embankment and I do not remember if incense was burning in that room, but if it was not, then it ought to have been because the atmosphere was so charged with awe and admiration".
Suhrawardy was at Sorbonne, France, during 1910-1911. He graduated from Oxford with honours in history in 1914. Robert Bridges knew him well, D.H. Lawrence referred to him more than once in his letters and Robert Treveleyan wrote a poem on him. Among his friends and admirers were Suniti Kumar Chattetjee, Probodh Chandra Bagchi, and Dilip Kumar Roy who wrote two articles on him in 1922 and 1965. Suhrawardy met Jawaharlal Nehru while in England and they remained friends for the rest of his life.
In 1914, Suhrawardy went to Russia on a scholarship to study the Slavic languages. He was appointed reader of English language and literature at the Imperial University of St Petersburg and the Women's University in Moscow. He taught English to Alexander Kerensky, Prime Minister of the short lived democracy in 1917 (before Lenin took over) and helped him write his memoirs. In 1918, Suhrawardy staged Rabindranath's Raja at the Moscow Art Theatre, where he worked with Konstantin Stanislavsky. The success of the play promptly gave him the chair of Joint Register. But being a supporter of the Social Revolutionary Party, he fell out with the Bolsheviks. His friends, the actress Germanova and the actor Katchalov, escaped with him to Berlin where the Moscow Kuenstler Theatre dazzled thousands of spectators by its exemplary performances. Hassan Shaheed Suhrawardy went to Paris from Berlin in 1920 and joined Paris University. He also taught at Prague University. From 1921 to 1928, he became one of the producers, together with the exiles, of the Moscow Art Theatre. The next three years saw him as the theatre expert (art section) of the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation under the League of Nations in Paris.
All the while, his friends were insistent that he should return to India. He delivered a course of lectures on Musalman Art in Spain as a special reader in Calcutta University in 1931. Next year he was appointed Bageswari Professor of Fine Arts, department of ancient Indian history and culture in Calcutta University. In the same year, he went on to become the Nizam Professor of Islamic culture and delivered a series of lectures in Viswa Bharati.
The years he spent at Calcutta University proved to be the most creative period for Hassan Suhrawardy. His lectures were collected in a volume called Prefaces, published by Calcutta University in 1938. This was one of the earliest detailed appreciation by Jamini Roy. Of Musalman Culture, Suhrawardy's English translation of Vassili Vladimirovich  Bartold's English translation of famous work in Russian was published in 1934. In 1937, his essays in verse, experiments in language which was not the author's mother tongue, were published. Bridges praised these delicate lyrics.
He served The Statesman as its Art critic from 1940 to 1947. Lindsay Emerson regarded him “the most accomplished that this journal has ever had.”
From 1943 to 1947, he was a member of the undivided Bengal's Public Service Commission and after Partition, left India rather reluctantly, to take up a similar post in Karachi where he worked till 1952.  He was then appointed a Professor of Oriental Art at Columbia University, USA.
Prof. Hassan Shaheed Suhrawardy later became involved in the task of assessing the qualifications of members and prospective members of the Pakistan Foreign Service. This was quite appropriate because besides English, he could speak fluently in Russian, French, Italian, Spanish and German. Suhrawardy also studied Chinese with Prabodh Chandra’s help. In 1948, he translated the poems of Lee Houchu from Chinese with the help of the poet Lih Yihling.
What was this man like? When he was invited to the birthday party of the Russian pianist Minna Parlemann, he arrived half an hour late for dinner. Parlemann pouted her lips and said: “You ought to have been punctual, monsieur. Came the rejoinder: "I beg your pardon mademoiselle. But punctuality is the beginning of materialism.”
    -- Bangladesh Forum for Heritage Studies

0 Comments. Share your thoughts also.
Write a comment
Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

We must prove worthy of people`s supreme sacrifice


THE nation celebrates the 47th Independence and National Day today although we achieved our real independence on the Victory Day on December 16 when the country was freed from Pakistani occupation forces in 1971. March 26th is observed as the day of Declaration of Independence that led the nation to ...

Football »

Mexico`s Jurgen Damm controls the ball during a 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying soccer match between Mexico and Costa Rica at Azteca stadium in Mexico City on Friday. Mexico won the match 2-0.


City »

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, among others, stands in a solemn silence marking the Genocide Day at Shikha Chirantan (Eternal Flame) in the city's Suhrawardy Udyan on Saturday.


Entertainment »

Aupee Karim returns as host


Entertainment Desk :Famous actress, model and dancer, Aupee Karim is all set to host a show again after a long time. Titled Surjodoyer Gaan, the program she will be hosting will feature five special songs, paying tribute to the martyrs of the Liberation War. The program has been made under ...

International »

Modi befriends Trump as Putin and Xi move closer together


Newsweek :Are we witnessing seismic shifts in the Russia-India-China triangle? It would seem so-but the shifts are long in the making.Historically, Indo-Russian relations have been far stronger than Sin-Russian relations. In recent years, however, and especially since the onset of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014, the dynamics of this ...

International »

Troubled EU seeks unity in Rome on 60th birthday


AFP, Rome : European Union leaders celebrated the 60th anniversary of the bloc's founding treaties at a special summit in Rome on Saturday in a symbolic show of unity despite Britain's looming departure.Meeting without Britain, the other 27 member countries will endorse a declaration of intent for the next decade, on ...

Cricket »

Happy birthday to Shakib Al Hasan


Hadn't he born, Bangladesh cricket team would have deprived of many outstanding victories.Number one all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who demonstrated his magical batting and bowling displays many times to ensure victories for the Tigers, stepped into 31st year on Friday.However, he was celebrating his birthday with his teammates in Sri ...

Editorial »

Fire at BB head office raises many questions


THE fire incident at Bangladesh Bank has come as a renewed shock to the nation prompting questions from many quarters how the central bank is falling is so insecure as a highly sensitive establishment from national security perspective. The incident just within one year of the sensational money heist of ...

Entertainment »

Moushumi`s film career turns two eras today


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :On March 25, Friday of 1993, viewers for the first time watched today’s popular film actress Moushumi on the screen in movie Keyamat Theke Keyamat. It was made by Sohanur Rahman Sohan and it was produced under the banner of Ananda Mela Cinema Ltd. Late popular hero ...

City »

Fire fighters making frantic efforts to extinguish the fire which was originated at Rafas Tower in the city`s Karwanbazar on Friday.


International »

Iraqi forces prepare new push, tactics in Mosul as civilians flee city


Reuters, Mosul :Iraqi forces are preparing a fresh push against Islamic State using new tactics, but operations to drive the militants out of their last stronghold in the country are on hold, military officials said on Friday.Families streamed out of the northern Iraqi city during the lull in fighting, part ...

International »

Merkel does not expect more EU departures after Brexit


Reuters, Berlin :Chancellor Angela Merkel does not fear that more countries will leave the European Union, she told a German newspaper as the bloc's leaders prepare to celebrate 60 years of union on Saturday days before Britain files for divorce.Prime Minister Theresa May will next Wednesday launch a two-year countdown ...

Editorial »

We mourn with brave British people who will not waver


THE very fact that Western cities are yet extremely vulnerable to extremists "Lone-wolf" attacks was once again proved on Wednesday when such an attacker drove a vehicle randomly along London's Westminster Bridge towards the Houses of Parliament - killing five including a police officer and maiming innocent bystanders as the ...

Cricket »

Miraz drafted in Tigers' ODI squad


Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz has been included in the Bangladesh ODI squad for the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. Miraz is scheduled to reach Colombo later today, said a BCB press release on Thursday.Meanwhile, off break bowler Naeem Hasan, who made his first class debut for Chittagong Division in ...

City »

Former President of Chhatra League Noor-e-Alam Siddiqui speaking at a discussion organised by 'Prakton Chhatra League Foundation' at the Jatiya Press Club on Thursday marking Flag Day.


 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news