Hason Raja
হাসন রাজা
Born
Dewan Hason Raja Chowdhury

(1854-12-21)21 December 1854
Died6 December 1922(1922-12-06) (aged 67)
Sylhet, Assam, British India (now Sylhet, Bangladesh)
Occupation(s)Raja, Musician, songwriter, mystic and poet
Children4
Relatives

Dewan Hason Raja Chowdhury, or simply known as Hason Raja, Bengali: হাসন রাজা; 21 December 1854 – 6 December 1922), was a Bengali mystic poet and songwriter from Sylhet, Bengal Presidency (now Bangladesh).[2] His unique style of music made him one of the most prominent figures in Bengali folk culture.

Biography

Early life

Raja was born on December 1854 in Lakshmansree, now Sunamganj to a Bengali Muslim zamindar family. His father was Dewan Ali Raja, the grandson of Birendraram Singhadev. His great-grandfather later converted from Hinduism to Islam and changed his name to Dewan Raja Babu Khan.[3][4] Hason Raja's mother was Hurmat Jahan Bibi, the last and fifth wife of Dewan Ali Raja Chowdhury of Kauriya. Hurmat was previously a widow after the death of her former husband, Muhammad Asim Chowdhury. Hason Raja spent most of his childhood in Lakshmansree with his mother as his father married widow of his first cousin late Amir Baksh Chowdhury who was living at Lahshmansree (Sunamganj) the most north-eastern part of now Bangladesh. His father started on and off living in Lakshmanshree of Sunamganj, 33 miles away from Rampasha, for at least three or four months of the year. Ali supervised and managed his wife's properties at Lakshmansree. That is why Lakshmansree was his birthplace of the poet.[5]

The death of Raja's elder half-brother, Ubaidur Raja, followed by the death of his father (in about 40 days gap), put the power and responsibility of the whole family upon Hason Raja at a very young age.[6] His sister Sahifa Bano would also become a poet, the first female poet from Sylhet; she wrote in the Urdu language.[7]

Later life

Raja practiced Sufism.[3] Raja established schools and religious centres like mosques and he is said to have been widely engaged in charities within his immediate communities. He donated vast land properties for the well-being of the people. He was interested in the well-being and protection of birds and animal life. He spent a large quantity of his money on those lives. The 12 June 1897 Assam earthquake was one of the biggest earthquakes that occurred in the Assam and Sylhet area. The largest known Indian interpolate earthquake (at 8.0 on the moment magnitude scale) resulted in the destruction of structures over much of the Plateau and surrounding areas, and caused widespread liquefaction and flooding in the Brahmaputra and Sylhet floodplains. He found out many of his kin and relatives as well as his people wounded and killed. His thatched house was fully damaged. He lost many of his tamed birds and animals.[8]

Death

Grave of Raja
Hason Raja Museum, Sylhet, Bangladesh

Raja died on 6 December 1922.[note 1] Two museums were established in his name in two places. One, Hason Raja Museum sponsored by "Hason Raja Museum Trust" at Sunamganj[10] at his birthplace, Lokkonshri, Sunamganj, and another, Museum of Rajas' at RajaKunjo, Sylhet, sponsored by "Educationist Dewan Talibur Raja Trust".[6]

In popular culture

In 2002, the film Hason Raja was released, detailing his life and times, where Raja was played by Helal Khan. It was reported by Washington Bangla Radio in May 2013, that an epic Bengali feature film Hason Raja is under production, based on the life and music of Raja played by Mithun Chakraborty, directed by Ruhul Amin, and produced by Galaxy Films between UK, India and Bangladesh.[14] In 2017, the film was released.

Raja's songs are collected in books Hason Udas and Shaukhin Bahar[2] A volume called Hason Raja Samagra was also published. It contained 500 poems and songs.[15]

Critical response

Author Humayun Ahmed brought Hason Raja's work in limelight again in modern days after using Raja's various popular folk songs in his movies and television dramas.[16][17] Author Rabindranath Tagore quoted on Hason Raja, 'We realise it through admiration and love, through hope that soars beyond the actual, beyond our own span of life into an endless time wherein we live of all men.' and 'It is a village poet of East Bengal who preaches in a song the philosophical doctrine that the universe has its reality in its relation to the Person.'[18]

Notes

  1. ^ Sources vary regarding the month and day of his death. Banglapedia (Second edition) says he died in November.[2] The Hason Raja Museum Trust, Dewan Muhammed Azrof and Dhaka Tribune say he died on 6 December.[9][10][11] Banglapedia (First edition) says he died on 7 December.[12] The Daily Star says he died on 8 December.[13]

References

  1. ^ খাতুন চৌধুরী, রাবেয়া (1993). সিলেটের কাব্য সাধনা (in Bengali). p. 101.
  2. ^ a b c Tasiqul Islam (2012). "Hasan Raja". In Sirajul Islam; Miah, Sajahan; Khanam, Mahfuza; Ahmed, Sabbir (eds.). Banglapedia: the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Online ed.). Dhaka, Bangladesh: Banglapedia Trust, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. ISBN 984-32-0576-6. OCLC 52727562. OL 30677644M. Retrieved 3 April 2024.
  3. ^ a b "Hasan Raja - Banglapedia". en.banglapedia.org. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  4. ^ BanglaAcademy-Publication-Jan1998-/Prashanga-Hason-Raja/book/Moromio Kobi Hason Raja-ProvathKumarShorma
  5. ^ openlibrary.org/books/OL24244644M/Loker_Raja_Hason_Raja
  6. ^ a b "Hason Raja". Sylhoti.multiply.com. 21 November 2007. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  7. ^ Husam, Shamshad. "বাংলা সাহিত্যে সিলেট". Thikana (in Bengali).
  8. ^ Khan Bahadur Dewan Ganiur Raja, "Din Panjika" Manuscript Diary, Sunamganj, 1932
  9. ^ BanglaAcademy-Publication-Jan1998-/Prashanga-Hason-Raja/book/Dewan Hason Raja-DewanMuhammedAzrof
  10. ^ a b "Hason Raja". Hason Raja Trust. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. – 6 December 1922
  11. ^ "Hason Raja's 92nd death anniversary today". Dhaka Tribune. 6 December 2014. Hason died on December 6, 1922
  12. ^ Tasiqul Islam. "Hasan Raja". Banglapedia (First edition). Archived from the original on 20 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013. He died on 7 December 1922.
  13. ^ "Musical programme on Hason Raja on Banglavision". The Star. 6 December 2009. Archived from the original on 2 February 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2015. Hason Raja died on December 8, 1922.
  14. ^ Uddin, Romuz (8 May 2013). "Interview-Film-Maker Ruhul Amin on HASON RAJA Bangla Movie Starring Mithun Chakraborty and Raima Sen". Washington Bangla Radio. Washington. Archived from the original on 14 February 2022. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  15. ^ Mahammad, Deoyan Ed. Hasan Raja Samagra.
  16. ^ "Humayun Ahmed's musical creations under spotlight". The Daily Star. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Humayun's Love For Music". Daily Sun. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  18. ^ Rabindranath Tagore, "The Religion of Man: The Man of My Heart, Being The Hibbert Lectures for 1930", The MacMillan Company, New-York, 1931

Further reading