Saogat Editor Inspiration For Young writers15 September 2021
Mohammad Amjad Hossain :
I am feeling somehow encouraged to write for the present young generation of Bangladesh about Mohammad Nasiruddin, who was Editor of Weekly Saogat, died at the age of one hundred and seven on 22 May of 1994. In fact, he was a towering personality in the British India plus Pakistan and Bangladesh too.
Mr. Nasiruddin had begun his mission with a missionary zeal to bring neglected Muslim society in the limelight during the Rule of the British in India. And as a matter of fact, his Saogat played a very significant role in reakening the Muslims in the Brtish India when the influence of Rabindranath Tagore and young kollol group writers was at its overriding height. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in fact wrote a letter to Mr. Mohammad Nasiruddin congratulating him for bringing out such a standard journal. Incidentally, Saogat paid back by publishing a poem: Pather Sathi of Rabindranath Tagore in the second issue of the journal. Saogat had developed its own style to cater to the needs all strata of the society, particularly backward Muslim society. Saogat in fact carried poem, short stories, novels also provided forum for the women. Saogat also carried exclusive photo section of the women. I have had impressed to notice in the third issue of Saogat in Kartik 1336 (October-November of 1929) coloured pictures of renowned women. My father was inquisitive of mind that used to subscribe journals like Saogat and Mohammadi in old days. There was any iota of doubt that Editor Nasiruddin has had inquisitive bend of mind. As an editor Nasiruddin combined the wide knowledge of the society with the power of communicating to the ordinary people of the society.
Since Kazi Nazrul Islam used to write to Saogat who's first article Memoir of Vagabond, a short story and a poem Samadhi published in Saogat after six month publication of Saogat in 1918. Nasiruddin also established Saogat Shahitya Majlish which planned to accord reception on 15 December of 1929 to rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam who raised his voice against the British in India. The reception was held at Albert hall of Calcutta and presided over by renowned scientist Profullah Chandra Roy while another revolutionary leader Netajee Subash Chandra Bose, editor of Bharatbarsha Roy Bahadur Jaladhar Sen and literature S Wajed Ali spoke in the reception of Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Kazi Nazrul Islam has had closely associated with Mohammad Nasiruddin. Nasiruddin offered Kazi Nazrul one room to stay in Calcutta in his residence when Nazrul was in financial crisis. Both Nasiruddin and Kazi Nazrul Islam closely worked in Saogat. During hey day period of Saogat a good number of Muslim writers like Abul Mansur Ahmad, Abul Fazal, Mansoor Uddin, S. Wajed Ali, Rowshan Ali and Jasimuddin and Mohammad Barakatullah used to contribute to Saogat.
Being inspired by contribution by women writers like Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain, who was a pioneer among Muslim writers, Mrs. R. S. Hossain, Mahmuda Khatun Siddika, Razia Khatun, Aktar Mahal, Sajeda Khatun Mohammad Nasiruddin planned to bring out a weekly journal exclusively for women. Weekly Begum was brought out from Calcutta in July of 1947 under the editorship of Sufia Kamal and editorship was handed over to Nurjahan Begum when the Saogat and Weekly Begum moved to Dacca in 1956. Nurjahan Begum was the only daughter of Mohammad Nasiruddin who graduated from Lady Brabourne College in Calcutta.
Mohammad Nasiruddin practically imbued the women community in Pakistan with the spirit of freedom of expression. To get rid of conservatism and to spread the idea of free thinking he established Begum Club in 1954 at Patuatuli and Sufia Kamal was made its advisor. Nurjahan Begum has begun to editing the journal Begum until her death. Nurjahan Begum steered the wheel of the vehicle of Begum and Begum Club as well which got rolling by the grand old man. Mohammad Nasiruddin gave serious thought to bring out Shishu Saogat to groom younger generation as to bear responsibility of the society in future. It was really challenging task to bring out and sustain a children journal.
Mohammad Nasiruddin maintained a disciplined life and was punctual at his work till his departure from this world having attended reception on the occasion of his 106 year birthday on 30 November of 1993 which was arranged at the auditorium of National Museum. Mohammad Nasiruddin established gold medal in 1976 for writer and journalist.
Kazi Nazrul Islam was brought by Banghabadhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to Bangladesh and repeated requests by littérateurs and intellectuals led by Mohammad Nasiruddin, a house was given to National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam at Dhanmondi where Nazrul Islam' works will remanied preserved. Mohammad Nasiruddin served as the first Chairman of Nazrul Institute. As a matter of fact, Mohammad Nasiruddn was awarded Bangla Academy award in 1975, Ekushe Padak in 1978 and Independence Day award in 1984. Last but not the least Mohammad Nasiruddin was awarded by Central Kochi-Kachar Mela on 15 December in 2006.
(Mohammad Amjad Hossain, retired diplomat from Bangladesh and former President of Nova Toastmaster International Club of America, writes from Falls church, Virginia).