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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A lyrical homage to Sheikh Russell

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Nasrin Jahan Luna portrays her views about some profound verses on Sheikh Russel

It hurts us deeply to think about Sheikh Russell's tragic death at the hands of killers when he was a small boy. It fills our hearts with grief. AFM Modasser Ali is well-known for his patriotic spirit which is reflected through his poems. His book "Chhoray Chhoray Sheikh Russell" got published in the Ekushey Book Fair of 2018. It was published by Dari Comma Prokashoni while its cover page was designed by artist Momin Uddin Khaled. All the rhymes in this book movingly recall Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's youngest son Sheikh Russell. The poems on Sheikh Russell in this book are based on the lifesketch of Sheikh Russell penned by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana in a text about Russell's brief but vibrant life. 

Sheikh Russell's birth, upbringing and some other remarkable things about his life have been illustrated by AFM Modasser Ali by means of the poet's admirable poetic skills. According to this book, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was in Chittagong when Russell was born. Another poem says that Bertrand Russell was Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's favorite philosopher. That's why Bangabandhu named his youngest son after the philosopher he liked the most. It unveils the fact that Bangabandhu was fond of reading philosophic books and he had a strong leaning towards the life stories of esteemed philosophers and global think-tanks.

AFM Modasser Ali depicted the colorful boyhood of Sheikh Russell. Russell loved to play with pigeons, some of the poems in this book tell us. Bangabandhu used to release pigeons as symbols of peace on different occasions. This striking similarity between father and son has been adorably presented by AFM Modasser Ali in his poems. Russell's pet dog was called Tommy. The poet has mentioned Russell's love for the pet dog as well.

Sheikh Russell's closeness with his father was another vital dimension of his life which also has been sketched by AFM Modasser Ali. Russell liked to eat vermicellies made by Hasu Apu (Sheikh Hasina), according to another poem. When people asked Russell what he wanted to become after growing up, he often answered that he wanted to become an army officer. But this noble aim of Sheikh Russell did not come true as he lost his tender life to the bullets of assassins at a very minor age.

Sheikh Russell loved chocolates. He loved his family. The inhuman murderers took away Russell's life but he is ever immortal in the minds of all patriotic people of Bangladesh.While the glorious Liberation War was going on, Sheikh Hasina, her mother and other women and children of the family were under house arrest by the Pakistan army. Sajeeb Wazed Joy, who is one of the architects of today's Digital Bangladesh, was an infant at that turbulent time. Sajeeb Wazed Joy used to cry hearing the loud sounds of gunshots and bombs during the war as he was too small during 1971. Sheikh Russell used to put cotton inside Joy's ears to keep away the heavy noise caused by bullets and explosives while the war was going on. This was a reflection of Sheikh Russell's love for Sajeeb Wazed Joy.

 AFM Modasser Ali has dedicated this book to Sajeeb Wazed Joy who is Sheikh Russell's beloved nephew. This book calls back to our minds the innocence and vivacity Sheikh Russell still signifies to the whole nation. The poems of this book will win readers' hearts I believe.

 Childhood is the sweetest time in everyone's life. Sheikh Russell had a lovely childhood too but the bullets from the guns of killers took away his smile. Sheikh Russell's immaculate face on the pages of books and newspapers, on posters and on banners remind us of the tragedy that swooped on Bangladesh on 15th August 1975.

 At the same time Sheikh Russell is a source of inspiration for today's youngsters who will be driving the country forward in days to come. We will have to transform our sorrow into strength by elevating Bangladesh to the status of a prosperous nation which would be the greatest tribute to the divine memories of Sheikh Russell.

 The history of Bangladesh's struggle for independence is marked with bloodbaths. Bangladesh defeated the Pakistani occupation forces during 1971 by means of the valor and sacrifices of three million martyrs. We got our nationhood, our flag and this beautiful landscape by fighting the fierce war of 1971 under the unwavering leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The reviewer is Sub Editor, International Affairs, The Asian Age.

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