Syed Haq left behind a huge corpus of unfinished writing: Noor29 September 2016 bdnews24.com
Acclaimed poet, author and playwright Syed Shamsul Haq, who died Tuesday, was nowhere near his swansong, Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor says.
"Syed Haq was a busy and regular writer even to his last day as he used to say he has a lot left to write," the minister said. "It was hard to believe that his zest for life was interrupted so abruptly."
The minister rushed to United Hospital at the news of the demise of the maverick. Holding back tears while interacting with journalists at the hospital in the evening, Noor said, "We had never thought we'd lose him so soon." "The life expectancy in Bangladesh has increased now, and for a man as disciplined as he was …it (his death) is quite unexpected," he said with tears in his eyes.
Bangladesh's premier writer was diagnosed with lung cancer in London in April this year. After three months of treatment he returned home on Sep 1. Alluding to his UK meeting with the litterateur, the minister said, "I had met him barely two days prior to his return from London.
"His determination convinced me that he would win the fight against the killer disease and come back to us," he added. "Even then he continued to write regularly. He used to say 'I have a lot to write yet. There's a lot in the head that is left to be put down on paper." "We also thought that he would surely finish all those before departing. But he left it all unfinished," the minister lamented.
Noor believes this sudden demise is a big blow to the Bengalis, its culture and literature.
"After Rabindranath Tagore, there has been none but he who could wield the pen with such flair in every genre of literature," he said as he remembered the contribution made by Haq in the field of literature.
Poet Md Samad called Haq the biggest teacher of Bengali literature after Tagore, the minister mentioned.
"Rabindranath is a great teacher of Bengali literature. Those who have been the teachers of the literature for the next generation include Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee and Syed Shamsul Haq," the Dhaka University teacher said.
Samad called Haq a multi-faceted talent who was a playwright, author, storyteller, scriptwriter, sculptor and more - all rolled into one is a rarity in literature and second only to Tagore.
"The passing of such a great writer leaves a void that cannot be filled easily," he added.
State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim said Syed Haq was uncompromising on the question of Bangladesh's liberation and the struggle for it.
Remembering her association with him at several such movements she said, "We always found him by our side whenever we needed him."
Tarana said he dismantled the myth that a cultural activist or a poet should maintain an ideological ambiguity and said he campaigned for the Awami League from a very neutral standpoint.
"He had elevated his stature from just a veteran writer to a position from where he would champion the cause of various progressive movements alongside the Awami League," she remembered.
"Many would have hesitated if attending an event or joining a cause would brand them as a supporter of a particular political view, but Haq was above that dithering."
"Syed Haq managed to bust such bubbles and rose over the others in upholding the values of the freedom movement," the minister and social activist recalled about the late author.
"His demise has been sudden, sudden in the sense that we always hoped for a miracle to happen. We had hoped he would be among us for a few more days, at least," Tarana said, her voice tinged with sadness.