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My favourite poet Bande Ali Mia Azad Miah

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29th-Sep-2017       
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One day I suddenly developed an urge to recite a poem which I learnt many years ago. There was no particular reason, I just felt like reciting it. But the problem was, I could only remember one or two lines from here and there. So I recited those lines about seven/eight times, and then slowly the rest of the poem came to me. When I managed to recall the whole poem, I realised that I couldn’t remember who the writer was. So I recited it few more times and finally the writer’s name came as well. That poem was one of five or six of my favourites. Like all Bengalis, I memorised most of the things I read when I was tiny. The poem is Amader Gram (Our Village) by Bande Ali Mia. When I finally managed to recall the writer’s name, I was wondering why I don’t hear/read much about this writer. So I did some browsing, sadly I didn't find much information about him. Other than Banglapedia, which had some really useful information, there was only one other website from Pabna.
In my school days, and even today, unless you go to any high-class private school (not available in villages), students used to get one book per subject for the whole year. School textbooks are produced with some of the lowest quality papers, with boring black-n-white graphics. Getting new books, after waiting for one full torturous year, used to be the most exciting thing for me, mainly because of new graphics and pictures.
The first thing I used to do after getting new books is to go page by page of all my books and look at all the new pictures and photos. I always had, and still have, a weakness for colour, pictures and graphics. Most of the drawings in those books were done by eminent artist Hashem Khan. Those poems that didn't have nice drawings (even if they were very good poems) were no good for me. I found them boring! Amongst my favourite poems were: Tagore’s Chhuti (Aaj amader chhuti o bhai) and Amader Chhoto Nodi (Amader chhoto nodi chole), Pollikabi Jasim Uddin’s Mamar Bari, Nazrul’s Khokar Shadh, Farrukh Ahmad’s Brishtir Chhora (Bristhi elo kash boney), Rukonuzzaman Khan’s Hashi (Haste naki jane na kew, ke bolechhe bhai), Nobokrishno Bhattachary’s Kajer Lok (Moumachhi moumachhi, kotha jao nachi nachi) and one other poem (I forgot both the title and the writer’s name). I just remember one line, Shada bok chok chok ure jay dakiya.
At the back of our village house there was a small jungle and in the evenings hundreds of storks would come to spend the night there.
In my mind, I could easily connect the picture that came with the poem and the jungle at the back of our house. It was like ‘seeing,’ not ‘reading,’ that poem in real life! It was beautiful. But my most favourite was always Bande Ali Mia’s Amader Gram.
According to the two sources that I have found, Bande Ali Mia’s date of birth is 17 January 1906. Regarding his date of death one source says that he died on 17 September, 1979. Hopefully our readers can help me out with this date. Also, is there any museum, library or monument in Dhaka in the memory of Poet Bande Ali Mia?

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