27 October 1901|
Tufanganj, Cooch Behar, Bengal Presidency, British India
|Died||30 December 1959(aged 58)|
Abbasuddin Ahmed (27 October 1901 - 30 December 1959) was a Bengali folk song composer and singer born in the Bengal province of British India. He was known for Bhawaiya folk song which is a style commonly found in Rangpur and Cooch Behar.
Ahmed was born in Tufanganj subdivision of Cooch Behar district (now in India). His father, Zafar Ali Ahmed, was a lawyer at Tufanganj court. His early education was from schools and a college of North Bengal. He came closer to music through the cultural programme at schools and colleges. He was largely a self-taught song composer and singer. For a brief period he learned music from Ustad Jamiruddin Khan in Kolkata.
Ahmed started his career by singing modern Bangla songs for the HMV studios, followed by modern songs of poet Kazi Nazrul Islam,the national poet of Bangladesh. He then proposed to Nazrul Islam to write and tune Islamic songs, which he sang in numerous numbers and recorded for the HMV studios. He has a pioneering role in bringing the music to the home of the Indian Muslims and arousing them from a state of backwardness. He was the first Muslim in erstwhile India who used his own name in the record labels. Before Abbassddin Ahmed, Muslim singers would use pseudo names, so that their Muslim identity would be anonymous. He later recorded Bhawaiya, Khirol and Chatka which were famous in Cooch Behar and Rangpur. Later he started to sing other folk songs like jaari, sari, bhatiyali, murshidi, bichchhedi (songs of estrangement), marsiya, dehatattwa, and musical plays. He also collaborated with, Jasimuddin and Golam Mostafa.
Abbassddin Ahmed first born Justice Mustafa Kamal was named by poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, he was the Chief Justice of Bangladesh (June-Dec 1999) and a very learned scholar. Ahmed's only daughter, Ferdausi Rahman is a legendary figure being an exponent of classical music, folk Nazrul shongeet, Urdu ghazals,playback in both Bangla and Urdu. She has also taught music on BTV since its inception in December 1964 and still continues teaching in 'Esho gan shikhi',popularly known as Khalamoni, she has her own Abbassddin Shongeet Academy,in Dhaka, where she teaches the children. His youngest son, Mustafa Zaman Abbasi, is a folk researcher, writer, singer and social worker.He is currently a 'Research scholar' in the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB). He has written more than fifty books, many of which are unique in nature contributing to the 'Bhawayya' genre,with documentation of the songs, their scales and authors etc. titled 'Bhawayyar Jonmobhumi (1 and 2)', 'Mohamamder Nam' (Bangla biography of Prophet Muhammad), book on Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam titled ' Kazi Nazrul Islam, man and poet'.
Abbassddin Ahmed's granddaughter, Nashid Kamal, daughter of Justice Mustafa Kamal, is also a noted singer, professor of Demography and writer. She was a Professor and Chairman of Public Health at the North South University (NSU). She has translated her grandfather's autobiography and many songs and poems of Kazi Nazrul Islam. She has been a "child prodigy" appearing in BTV as a child aged five in 1964 and receiving prizes for debates and oratory skills. Nashid Kamal's daughter Armeen Musa is also a renowned vocalist, composer, writer. She trained in music from the Berklee College of Music and graduated in 2015 in the Dean's list.