Humayun Ahmed

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Humayun Ahmed
Humayun Ahmed 13Nov2010.jpg
Ahmed in 2010
Native name
হুমায়ূন আহমেদ
Born(1948-11-13)13 November 1948
Kutubpur, Kendua, Netrokona, East Bengal, Dominion of Pakistan
Died19 July 2012(2012-07-19) (aged 63)
New York City, United States
Resting placeNuhash Polli, Pirujali, Gazipur, Bangladesh [1]
OccupationWriter, film director, academic, dramatist
EducationPhD (polymer chemistry)
Alma mater University of Dhaka
North Dakota State University
Notable awards Bangla Academy Literary Award
Ekushey Padak
Years active1972–2012

Signature Signature Humayun-Ahmed-13Nov2010.jpg

Humayun Ahmed ( [ɦumaijun aɦmed] ; 13 November 1948 – 19 July 2012) [2] [3] was a Bangladeshi writer, dramatist, screenwriter, filmmaker, songwriter, scholar, and lecturer. [4] His breakthrough was his debut novel Nondito Noroke published in 1972. [5] He wrote over 200 fiction and non-fiction books, many of which were bestsellers in Bangladesh. [6] [7] His books were the top sellers at the Ekushey Book Fair during the 1990s and 2000s. [8] He won the Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1981 and the Ekushey Padak in 1994 for his contribution to Bengali literature.

Bangladesh Country in South Asia

Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a sovereign country in South Asia. It shares land borders with India and Myanmar (Burma). The country's maritime territory in the Bay of Bengal is roughly equal to the size of its land area. Bangladesh is the world's eighth most populous country as well one of its most densely-populated, to the exclusion of small island nations and city-states. Dhaka is its capital and largest city, followed by Chittagong, which has the country's largest port. It forms the largest and eastern part of the Bengal region. The country's geography is dominated by the Bengal delta with many rivers; while hilly and mountainous areas make up the north-east and south-east. The country also has the longest sea beach and the largest mangrove forest in the world. The endangered Bengal tiger is a national symbol.

Debut novel first published by an author

A debut novel is the first novel a novelist publishes. Debut novels are often the author's first opportunity to make an impact on the publishing industry, and thus the success or failure of a debut novel can affect the ability of the author to publish in the future. First-time novelists without a previous published reputation, such as publication in nonfiction, magazines, or literary journals, typically struggle to find a publisher.

Ekushey Book Fair

The Ekushey Book Fair or Amar Ekushe Grantha Melā, popularly known as Ekushey Boi Mela is the national book fair of Bangladesh. It is arranged each year by Bangla Academy and takes place for the whole month of February in Dhaka. This event is dedicated to the martyrs who died on 21 February 1952 in a demonstration calling for the establishment of Bengali as one of the state languages of former East Pakistan.


In the early 1990s, Ahmed emerged as a filmmaker. He went on to make a total of eight films - each based on his own novels. He received six Bangladesh National Film Awards in different categories for the films Daruchini Dwip , Aguner Poroshmoni and Ghetuputra Komola .

<i>Aguner Poroshmoni</i> 1994 film by Humayun Ahmed

Aguner Poroshmoni is a 1994 film based on the novel of the same name written and directed by Humayun Ahmed. The film won National Film Award in eight categories including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Plot. It was the first movie directed by Humayun Ahmed.

<i>Ghetuputra Komola</i> 2012 film

Ghetuputra Komola is a 2012 Bangladeshi musical film written and directed by Humayun Ahmed and produced by Impress Telefilm Limited. The film is Humayan Ahmed's last film before his death. The film was selected as the Bangladeshi entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist.

Early life and background

Ahmed was born in Kutubpur village under Kendua Upazila in Netrokona District to Foyzur Rahman Ahmed (1921–1971) and Ayesha Foyez (née  Khatun) (1930–2014). [2] [9] [10] Foyzur served as a sub-divisional police officer in Pirojpur District and was killed in 1971 during the Bangladesh Liberation War. [11] In 2011, politician Delwar Hossain Sayeedi was put on trial for the killing but was acquitted of the charge in 2013 due to a lack of evidence. [12] [13] Humayun's brother, Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, is a writer and academician. Another brother, Ahsan Habib, is a cartoonist. He had three sisters – Sufia Haider, Momtaz Shahid and Rukhsana Ahmed. [14]

Kendua Upazila Upazila in Mymensingh Division, Bangladesh

Kendua is an Upazila of Netrokona District in the Division of Mymensingh, Bangladesh.

Netrokona District District in Mymensingh Division, Bangladesh

Netrokona is a district in northern Bangladesh. It is a part of Mymensingh Division.

Faizur Rahman Ahmed was a police officer and a freedom fighter of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. He was killed by Pakistani military personnel. He received the Independence Day Award from the Government of Bangladesh in 2017.

During his childhood, Ahmed lived in Sylhet, Comilla, Chittagong, Bogra, Dinajpur and Panchagarh where his father was on official assignment. [10]

Sylhet Metropolis in Sylhet Division, Bangladesh

Sylhet, is a metropolitan city in northeastern Bangladesh. It is the administrative seat of Sylhet Division. The city is located on the right bank of the Surma River in northeastern Bengal. It has a subtropical climate and lush highland terrain. The city has a population of more than half a million. Sylhet is one of Bangladesh's most important spiritual and cultural centres. It is one of the most important cities of Bangladesh, after Dhaka and Chittagong due to its importance to the country's economy.

Comilla City in Chittagong Division, Bangladesh

Comilla, officially known as Cumilla, is a city in the Chittagong Division of Bangladesh, located along the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway. It is the administrative centre of the Comilla District, part of the Chittagong Division. Comilla is the second-largest city of eastern Bangladesh after Chittagong and is one of the three oldest cities in Bangladesh.

Chittagong Metropolis in Chittagong Division, Bangladesh

Chittagong, officially known as Chattogram, is a major coastal city and financial centre in southeastern Bangladesh. The city has a population of more than 2.5 million while the metropolitan area had a population of 4,009,423 in 2011, making it the second-largest city in the country. It is the capital of an eponymous District and Division. The city is located on the banks of the Karnaphuli River between the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the Bay of Bengal.

Education and early career

Ahmed studied in Chittagong Collegiate School. [15] He passed the SSC examination from Bogra Zilla School in 1965. [10] He then graduated from Dhaka College and earned his bachelor's and master's in chemistry from the University of Dhaka. [10] He joined as a faculty member of the same university. [10] Later he earned his PhD in polymer chemistry from North Dakota State University. [10]

The Secondary School Certificate, also called SSC or Matriculation examination, is a public examination in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan conducted by educational boards as completion exam of secondary education in these countries. Students of 10th grade/class ten can appear in these examinations. It is equivalent to GCSE in England and first two years of high schools in United States.

Bogra Zilla School

Bogra Zilla School is one of the oldest high school in the Bogra district of Bangladesh and one of the top-ranked schools in the country. It provides education from class three (Grade-3) to class ten (Grade-10). It was a private English medium school before becoming a public school.

Dhaka College higher secondary college in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka College is a public college located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It offers higher-secondary education (HSC). It has bachelor's degree and master's degree programs as well which divisions are affiliated to the University of Dhaka.



Ahmed wrote his debut novel Nondito Noroke (In Blissful Hell) during the 1971 Bangladesh independence war while he was a university student. [16] [17] The novel was published in 1972 by the initiative of writer Ahmed Sofa under Khan Brother’s Publishers. [18] [19] From his very first novel, his themes included the aspirations of average middle-class urban families and portrayed quintessential moments of their lives. [20] His second novel was Shonkhonil Karagar . [21]

Ahmed Sofa Bangladeshi writer, thinker, novelist, poet, and public intellectual

Ahmed Sofa was a Bangladeshi writer, thinker, novelist, poet, and public intellectual. Sofa is considered by many, including National Professor Abdur Razzaq and Salimullah Khan, to be the most important Bengali Muslim writer after Mir Mosharraf Hossain and Kazi Nazrul Islam. A writer by occupation, Sofa wrote 18 non-fiction books, 8 novels, 4 collections of poems, 1 collection of short stories, and several books in other genres.

Shonkhonil Karagar is a 1973 novel by Bangladeshi author Humayun Ahmed. It was his second book after his debut novel Nondito Noroke.

Ahmed wrote fictional series featuring recurring characters such as Himu (21 novels), Misir Ali (20 novels) and less frequently, Shubhro(6 novels) [21] [22] [23] He wrote several novels based on the Bangladesh Liberation War – Aguner Poroshmoni, Paap, 1971, Srabon Megher Din, and Jochona O Jononir Golpo . [21] His wrote some romantic novels including Badol Diner Prothom Kodom Phool, Noboni, Krishnopoksho, Aj Dupure Tomar Nimontran, and Tumi Amai Dekechhile Chhutir Nimontrane. [21]

Ahmed wrote autobiographies - Hotel Graver Inn, Amar Chelebela, Rong Pencil and Fountain Pen. [24] [25] [26] [27] His novel Gouripur Junction was translated in nine languages. [21]

Television and film

Ahmed's first television drama was Prothom Prohor (1983), directed by Nawazish Ali Khan. [28] His first drama serial was Ei Shob Din Ratri (1985). This was followed by the comedy series Bohubrihi (1988), the historical drama series Ayomoy (1988), the urban drama series Kothao Keu Nei (1990), Nokkhotrer Raat (1996), and Aaj Robibar (1999). In addition, he made single episode dramas, most notably Nimful (1997). [29]

Ahmed directed films based on his own stories. His first film, Aguner Poroshmoni (1994), based on the Bangladesh Liberation War, won the National Film Award in a total of eight categories, including the awards for the Best Film and the Best Director. [30] [31] Another film Shyamal Chhaya (2005) was also based on the same war. [32] His last directed film, Ghetuputra Kamola (2012), the story of a teenage boy, was set in the colonial period. [33]

Shyamol Chhaya and Ghetuputra Kamola were selected as the Bangladeshi entries for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006 and 2012 respectively, but were not nominated. [34] [35]

In 2009, Ahmed appeared as one of two judges for the reality television music competition show Khudey Gaanraaj. [36]


Ahmed composed around 40 songs which he used in his films and television dramas. [37] The songs were based on the folk music of the north-eastern part of Bangladesh. [37] His notable singles include "Lilabali Lilabali Ghoro Joubothi Shoi Go", "'Pubali Batashey", "Ekta Chhilo Shonar Konya", "O Amar Ural Ponkhi Rey", "Jodi Mon Kadey", "Ke Porailo Amar Chokh-e Kolonko Kajol", "Ami Aaj Bhejabo Chokh Somudrer Joley", "Cholona Brishtitey Bhiji", "Channi Poshor Raite Jeno Amar Moron Hoy", "Hablonger Bajarey Giya" and "Konya Nachilo Rey". [37] The songs were rendered by Subir Nandi, S I Tutul, Meher Afroz Shaon and others. [37]

Critical response

Nobel laureate economist Muhammad Yunus assessed Ahmed's overall impact saying: "Humayun's works are the most profound and most fruitful that literature has experienced since the time of Tagore and Nazrul." [38] Similarly, according to poet Al Mahmud, “one golden age of Bengali literature ended with Tagore and Nazrul and another began" with Ahmed. [38] Writer Imdadul Haq Milan considered him to be "the almighty lord of Bengali literature, controlling all their actions and thoughts". [38] Dawn , Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper, referred to him as the cultural legend of Bangladesh. [39] Times of India credited Humayun as "the person who single-handedly shifted the capital of Bengali literature from Kolkata to Dhaka". [38] Sunil Gangopadhyay described him as the most popular writer in the Bengali language for a century [40] and according to him, Ahmed was even more popular than Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. [41] However, during his lifetime author Shahriar Kabir dismissed him for "always speaking for the establishment." [42] Literary critic Azfar Hussain said: "I am not surprised he talks like a pro-establishment writer. I find him ignorant." [42]


On 11 May 2012, two chapters of Ahmed's future novel Deyal were published in the daily Prothom Alo. [43] 3 days later, Attorney General of Bangladesh Mahbubey Alam drew attention of the High Court on a discrepancy about a detail of the historical event of killing Sheikh Russel in Ahmed's writing. [44] [43] The court later issued a suo moto rule and asked the authorities to provide Ahmed copies of relevant documents and judgements of the killing case, so that Ahmed could rectify the writing. [45] [46]

Personal life

Ahmed married Gultekin Khan in 1976. [30] [31] [47] Together they had three daughters, Nova, Shila and Bipasha, and one son, Nuhash. Shila Ahmed went on to become a television and film actress. In 2003, Ahmed divorced Gultekin. He then married actress Meher Afroz Shaon in 2005. He had two sons from the second marriage, Nishad and Ninit. [48]


Ahmed had open-heart surgery at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. [49] A few years later, during a routine checkup, doctors found a cancerous tumor in his colon. On 14 September 2011, he was flown to Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York City for treatment. [49] During his stay there, he wrote the novel, Deyal, based on the life of the first President of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. [50] In January 2012, he was appointed as a senior special adviser of the Bangladesh Mission to the United Nations. [51]

On 12 May 2012, Ahmed returned to Bangladesh for two weeks. [52] He died on 19 July 2012 at 11:20 PM BST at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. [53] There was some tension in the family over the selection of his burial site, but eventually his estate, Nuhash Palli was selected. [1] [54]

Nuhash Palli

Ahmed at Nuhash Palli (2010) Humayun ahmed gossip.jpg
Ahmed at Nuhash Palli (2010)

In 1987, Ahmed founded an estate, Nuhash Palli, named after his son Nuhash, near Pijulia village, 25 km from Gazipur City, in Gazipur District, [55] which grew to cover 40 bigha (approximately 14 acres). [56] He would spend much of his time at the estate when he was in Bangladesh. He formed a collection of statues there by local artist Asaduzzaman Khan and another of plants from around the world, particularly medicinal and fruit-bearing trees. [55]


Exim Bank, a commercial bank and Anyadin, an entertainment magazine jointly introduced an award program, Humayun Ahmed Sahitya Puruskar, which would be conferred to two writers every year on Ahmed's birth anniversary – November 12. [57]

Several cinematographic adaptations of Ahmed's stories are made after his death. Anil Bagchir Ekdin (2015), directed by Morshedul Islam, won six Bangladesh National Film Awards. [58] Krishnopokkho (2016) was directed by Meher Afroz Shaon. [59] In October 2016, she announced the production of her next film based on Nokkhotrer Raat. [60] Debi (2018) is produced by a grant from the Government of Bangladesh. [61] [62]


1992 Shonkhonil Karagar Yes Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Story
1994 Aguner Poroshmoni YesYes Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Film
Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Story
Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Dialogue
1999 Srabon Megher Din YesYes Bachsas Awards for Best Lyrics
Bachsas Awards for Best Story
2000 Dui Duari YesYes
2003 Chandrokotha YesYes
2004 Shyamol Chhaya YesYes Bangladeshi submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
2006 Durotto Yes
Nondito Noroke Yes
Noy Number Bipod Sanket YesYes
2007 Daruchini Dwip Yes Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Screenplay
Saajghor Yes
2008 Amar Ache Jol YesYes
2009 Priyotomeshu Yes
2012 Ghetuputra Komola YesYesBangladeshi submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Director
Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Screenplay
Meril Prothom Alo Awards - Best Film
Meril Prothom Alo Awards - Best Director
Meril Prothom Alo Awards - Best Screenplay


In Bengali
In English


Ahmed signing books (2010) Humyun ahmed signing a book.jpg
Ahmed signing books (2010)

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Further reading