In memory of those who died in 2020

In 2020, Bangladesh lost many in the fields of politics, film, education, literature and culture amid the raging pandemic. The country will remember them for their accomplishments and contributions to society in the days to come.

Published : 31 Dec 2020, 09:19 AM
Updated : 31 Dec 2020, 09:19 AM
Fazilatun Nasa Bappy

Former reserved-seat MP and Supreme Court lawyer Fazilatun Nasa Bappy died at the age of 49 in a Dhaka hospital.

Bappy was involved in politics as an Awami League activist. She remained loyal to Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina when some of the leaders and activists proposed 'reforms’ to the party during the army-backed emergency rule in 2007-08.

Bappy was a deputy attorney general and worked for the International Crimes Tribunal as a prosecutor.

She was a member of parliament from a reserved seat, chosen twice by the ruling Awami League.

Bappy took oath as an MP from a reserved seat in the ninth parliament on Dec 15, 2011 following the 15th amendment when the number of reserved seats was increased.

Later, she served as MP from a reserved seat again in the 10th parliament.

Bappy proposed a bill on confiscating the assets of the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and convicted war criminals in the national parliament in 2016 which was passed unanimously. She also raised the proposal to draft the law to punish those distorting the history of the genocide and Liberation war of 1971, which was passed in 2017.

Burhanuddin Khan Jahangir

Literary critic Burhanuddin Khan Jahangir passed away at the age of 84 with old-age complications.

Burhanuddin was born on Jan 9, 1936 in Kachua. He began his career as a lecturer in Dhaka University’s Political Science department. Later, he became a professor there. He was also the vice-chancellor of National University.

He received the Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1969 for his contribution in short stories and Ekushey Padak in 2009 for his impact in Education and Research.

Shamsur Rahman Sherif

Shamsur Rahman Sherif, an Awami League lawmaker from Pabna-4 and a former land minister, died at the age of 79. He was suffering from various old-old complications.

Shamsur was born on Mar 12, 1941 in Pabna Sadar Upazila’s Char Shanirdiar village.

He was arrested for taking part in the Language Movement as a student of class V and was also involved in the protests against Ayub Khan’s martial law dictatorship, the six-point movement and the mass uprising of 1969.

Sufia Ahmed

National Professor Dr Sufia Ahmed, a Language Movement hero, died at a Dhaka hospital. She was 87.

Born on Nov 20, 1932 in Faridpur, Sufia Ibrahim enrolled in the Dhaka University’s Islamic History and Culture Department in 1950.

She was one of the students who, two years later, on Feb 21, defied a ban on gathering by taking out a procession during the Language Movement.

Sufia joined her department as a teacher in the 60s. She also worked in several institutions abroad.

The government awarded her Ekushey Padak for her role in the Language Movement in 2002.

Saadat Husain

Saadat Husain, former cabinet secretary, who had also worked at Bangladesh Public Service Commission as its chairman, died at the age of 73. Saadat was suffering from kidney complications and bacterial meningitis.

Saadat was in charge of the Cabinet Division from 2002 to 2005. He headed the PSC from 2007 to 2011. He had also worked at the National Board of Revenue as its chairman.

Saadat studied economics at the Dhaka University. He also received his PhD from the Boston University.

He joined the civil service in 1970. Saadat wrote in his book “Muktijuddher Din-Dinanto” how he had worked for the wartime government in exile in India during the 1971 War of Independence from Pakistan.

Jamilur Reza Choudhury

National Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury, 77, died of a heart attack in his sleep. He was involved in the development of almost all the major physical infrastructures in Bangladesh in the last few decades.

Choudhury was born in Sylhet on Nov 15, 1943 to Hayatun Nessa Choudhury and Abid Reza Choudhury.

The founding vice-chancellor of BRAC University, Choudhury was working as the VC of the University of Asia Pacific.

Graduating from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Prof Choudhury was an adviser to a caretaker government. 

He was awarded Ekushey Padak by the government in the science and technology category in 2017. The government honoured him as a national professor in 2018.

He chaired the expert panel advising the construction of Bangabandhu Bridge over the river Jamuna, the first mega project in Bangladesh. He had been leading the international advisory panel for Padma Bridge.

Besides, he also led the panel of experts in many other mega projects, including Dhaka Elevated Expressway, Karnaphuli Tunnel, Dhaka Subway and Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway.

He was honoured with the Order of the Rising Sun: Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon -- a prestigious honour conferred by Japan.

He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa) by Manchester University in 2010.


National Professor Anisuzzaman passed away at the age of 83 at a time when the nation was reeling from the COVID-19 outbreak. Following his death, a sample test showed he also had the infection.

Born in 1937 in Calcutta, Prof Anisuzzaman was a recipient of the Bangla Academy award for research (1970) and the Ekushey Padak, the second-highest civilian award in Bangladesh, for his contribution to education in 1983.

The Rabindra Bharati also conferred on him an honorary DLitt in 2005 and the University of Calcutta the Sarojini Basu Medal in 2008.

He authored many books in Bangla and English, including Muslim Manas O Bangla Sahitya, Swaruper Sandhane, Purono Bangla Gadya, Factory Correspondence and other Bengali documents in the India Office Library and Records, Creativity, Reality and Identity, Cultural Pluralism and Identity, Religion and Recent History.

Azad Rahman

Azad Rahman, a music composer and winner of National Film Awards, died at the age of 76. Called the father of Bangla Kheyal, Azad had taught at the Nazrul Institute.

He won the National Film Awards as a singer once and as a music director twice.

Among the famous songs composed by Azad are Jonmo Amar Dhonyo Holo Maa Go, Bhalobasar Mulyo Koto, O Chokhe Chokh Porechhe Jokhoni, Monero Ronge Rangabo and Dorakata Dekhe Bagh Chena Jai.

He debuted in film music through “Miss Priyambada” premiered in Kolkata in 1967. Azad and Subir Sen jointly worked for the film’s music and legendary actor Bhanu Bandopadhyay starred in it.

Niloufer Manzur

Niloufer Manzur, founding head of Sunbeams School, died in hospital care from the COVID-19 at the age of 74.

Niloufer was the wife of Syed Manzur Elahi, a former caretaker government adviser and chairman of Apex Footwear Ltd and daughter of late Dr Mafiz Ali Chowdhury, a former minister in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s cabinet in 1972.

Niloufer established Sunbeams in 1974, elevating the school to one of the best English-medium institutions in Bangladesh.

Abdul Monem

Prominent industrialist Abdul Monem, the founder of conglomerate Abdul Monem Ltd, died at the age of 86.

A civil engineer by profession, Monem arrived in Dhaka in the early 1950s with a secondary school certificate and barely any pocket change.

He started out as a construction contractor in a partnership but he later launched his own business, with an initial working capital of Tk 20,000.

The firm, specialising in the construction of roads and highways among other things, went on to leave an indelible mark on Bangladesh's infrastructure before diversifying into other industries, including foods, beverages, pharmaceuticals and energy.

Among the group's business concerns are Igloo Ice cream, AML Construction, AM Mango Pulp Processing, Igloo Foods, Danish Bangla Emulsion, Igloo Dairy Products, Abdul Momen Sugar Refinery, AM Bran Oil, Novus Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Servicengine BPO, AM Securities & Financial Services Ltd and AM Beverages, the authorised bottler of Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite.

The establishment of Abdul Monem Economic Zone propelled the conglomerate to new heights in 2015. Monem, who maintained a keen interest in sports, was also a former president of Mohammedan Sporting Club.

Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

Mohammed Nasim

Former health minister Mohammed Nasim died at the age of 72. The Awami League stalwart served Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in four different cabinet roles. He was elected MP six times and also served as the opposition chief whip in 1991.

His father, Mansur Ali, was one of the four national leaders slain inside Dhaka Central Jail in 1975 after the assassination of founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Nasim became active in politics after the killing of his father.

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the state minister for religious affairs, died at the age of 74. The technocrat minister suffered a heart attack.

Having worked as the parliamentary representative of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Gopalganj-3 constituency several times, he took charge of the ministry as state minister after the 2018 election.

He started doing politics when he was a student. Abdullah passed the Bangladesh Civil Service exams in 1973 but opted for politics and eventually became the general secretary of the Awami League’s Gopalganj unit. He had been working as the religious affairs secretary of the ruling party’s central committee as well.

Saiful Azam

Saiful Azam, who died at the age of 80, is regarded as a legendary figure in Bangladesh and beyond, due to his record as an ace fighter pilot.

A hero with the rare experience of fighting for four different air forces, Azam received gallantry awards from Jordan, Iraq and Pakistan, while the US gave him the Living Eagles title.

The aviator downed at least five enemy planes during a 20-year military career.

Saiful Azam worked as the chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh in 1982-84 and 1987-88.

In 1991, he was elected MP with the BNP’s nomination from a Pabna constituency of his ancestral home.

Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran

Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran, the first mayor of Sylhet City Corporation, died from COVID-19 in Dhaka. He was 69.

He served as general secretary of the Sylhet town unit of Awami League since 1989 before becoming president of Sylhet city chapter in 2002. Kamran continued in this role for 14 years. He became a member of the ruling party’s Central Working Committee in 2016.

Kamal Lohani

It was in Kamal Lohani's voice that Bengalis heard the news of victory that they had been longing for on Dec 16, 1971.

The prominent cultural activist and journalist died in hospital care after being diagnosed with COVID-19 at the age of 86.

In 1953, he was sent to jail for his part in the attempts to block the arrival of Muslim League leaders, including Nurul Amin, in Pabna. Shortly after his release, Kamal was arrested again in 1954 and it was at that time that he was drawn to the ideology of communism.

He was arrested again a year later and this time he ended up sharing a jail cell with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Tajuddin Ahmad.

In 1962, Kamal became the general secretary of cultural organisation Chhayanaut. Later in 1967, he formed Kranti, a cultural organisation reflecting his political ideology, which gave a platform to numerous famous artists.

Kamal began his career in journalism with the Daily Millat. Since then, he worked in important positions in Azad, Sangbad, Purbodesh and Dainik Barta. He has also served as the president of Dhaka Union of Journalists.

Kamal, who was awarded Ekushey Padak, the second-highest civilian award in Bangladesh, in 2015, served as the director-general of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy from 2009 to 2011.

Latifur Rahman

Latifur Rahman, chairman of Transcom Group, was known for his ethical values in business in a country where businessmen are often blamed for a moral deficit. Rahman died at the age of 75 from a combination of health complications.

Rahman started his career in his family-owned jute mill. He established Transcom Group in 1973. Rahman elevated Transcom that started off with tea plantations in 1885 to one of the country's best-known conglomerates comprising 16 public and private companies. Many of his enterprises are now leaders in their own spheres -- be it newspaper, pharmaceuticals, printing, electronics or food industries.

He was the founding director of Mediaworld and chairman of Mediastar, which owned The Daily Star and Prothom Alo newspapers respectively.

For his social responsibility and ethical values, Rahman was awarded the prestigious 2012 Oslo Business for Peace Award.

Andrew Kishore

Popular playback singer Andrew Kishore died at the age of 64 after a long battle with cancer.

Andrew Kishore was born in Rajshahi in 1955. Since childhood, he was keen on pursuing a career in music and began taking lessons from Abdul Aziz Bachchu, who later became the chief music director of Rajshahi Betar.

He had rendered more than 15,000 songs in movies, earning him the moniker of ‘playback king’ in the Bangla film industry.

Kishore made his debut as a playback singer with the song ‘Ochinpurer Rajkumari Nei Je Tar Keu’ in the movie “Mail Train”. An eight-time winner of the National Film Award for his outstanding contribution to the music industry, Kishore also earned recognition for his work in Urdu and Hindi films.

The singer also ran a production house that used to produce television dramas and commercials.

His songs -- ‘Jiboner Golpo Achhe Baki Olpo’, ‘Dak Diyachhen Doyal Amare’, ‘Haire Manush Rongin Fanush’, ‘Amar Shara Deho Kheyo Go Mati’, ‘Amar Buker Moddhe Khane’, ‘Amar Babar Mukhe Prothom Jedin Shunechilam Gan’, ‘Bhengeche Pinjor Meleche Dana’, ‘Shobai To Bhalobasha Chae’, and many others -- will linger in the hearts of his fans.

Sahara Khatun

Sahara Khatun, the country's first female home minister, died at a Thailand hospital at the age of 77.

Sahara was a three-time MP from the Dhaka seat. She was made the home minister in 2009 and later served as the post and telecommunication minister.

The Awami League fielded her as the candidate for Dhaka-5 against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the 1991 election after Sahara had played a courageous role in the movement to topple military dictator HM Ershad.

Nurul Islam Babul

Nurul Islam Babul, the chairman of Jamuna Group, died after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He was 74.

For more than four decades of the company’s operations, Babul led Jamuna Group into electrical, engineering, chemical, leather, garment and textile, cosmetics, toiletries, beverages, real estate and media businesses.

The Jamuna Future Park that houses a shopping mall and a commercial complex is one of the key projects of the company.

His wife Salma Islam, a former state minister for women and children affairs, is a parliament member.

Shahjahan Siraj

Shahjahan Siraj, former leader of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal who once served the Khaleda administration as the forest and environment minister, died in hospital care at the age of 77.

One of the four prominent leaders of Chhatra League during the Liberation War, Siraj read out the declaration of independence on behalf of the students on Mar 3, 1971.

Siraj played a pivotal role in laying the foundation of JaSad on parting his ways with the Awami League after independence.

Siraj joined the BNP in the 1990s and went on to become its vice-chairman before death. He served as the forest and environment minister during BNP’s regime in 2001.

Siraj was arrested during the military-controlled caretaker regime in 2007 and jailed for tax evasion. His health deteriorated following his release and he gradually withdrew himself from active politics.

Emajuddin Ahmed

Educationist Prof Emajuddin Ahmed died from cardiac arrest at the age of 88.

He was appointed the vice-chancellor of Dhaka University in 1992. He continued teaching after his retirement in 1998.

He was awarded Ekushey Padak by the government in the education category in 1992.

Alauddin Ali

Legendary musician Alauddin Ali who has composed scores of popular playback songs died at the age of 68.

Alauddin Ali’s career in film began in 1968 as a violinist with musician Altaf Mahmud. Ali had also worked with Anwar Parvez and many other popular composers as an assistant.

In his decades-long career, he received national awards for his works in the films ‘Golapi Ekhon Train E’ in 1979, ‘Sundori’ in 1980, and ‘Kosai’ and ‘Jogajog’ in 1988. He directed music of Gautam Ghose’s ‘Padma Nodir Majhi’.

The songs composed by Ali include ‘Ekbar Jodi Keu Bhalobasto’, ‘Je Chhilo Drishtir Simanay’, ‘Prothom Bangladesh Amar Sesh Bangladesh’, ‘Bhabobasha Joto Boro Jibon Toto Boro Noy’, ‘Dukkho Bhalobeshe Premer Khela Khelte Hoy’, ‘Hoy Jodi Bodnam Hok Aro’, ‘Achhen Amar Moktar, Achen Amar Barrister’ and ‘Sukhe Thako O Amar Nondini’.

Murtaja Baseer

Eminent artist Murtaja Baseer died after being diagnosed with the coronavirus infection, at the age of 88.

The son of Dr Muhammad Shahidullah, a famous linguist, Murtaja Baseer was born in Dhaka’s Ramna in 1932. He was the chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Chattogram University.

Baseer took an active part in the political campaigns of the Communist Party in 1950 and would later spend five months in Dhaka Central Jail.

He was at the forefront of the Language Movement of 1952, the Liberation War of 1971 and the anti-authoritarian movement of the 1990s.

A pioneer of surrealist art, Bashir has produced many famous paintings, including 'Dewal,' 'Shahid Shironam,' and 'Pakha’.

He received the Ekushey Padak in 1980 for his contribution to art. He also received the Swadhinata Puroshkar in 2019.

CR Dutta

Bangladesh war hero Chitta Ranjan Dutta, popularly known as CR Dutta, has died in a Florida hospital at the age of 93.

Dutta was a sector commander of the 1971 Liberation War. He was awarded the title of 'Bir Uttam' after independence.

In 1973, Dutta was given the responsibility of forming a border security force for an independent Bangladesh.

He came up with the name for Bangladesh Rifles, now known as Border Guard Bangladesh. He was appointed as the first director-general of Bangladesh Rifles.

In 1977, he became the chairman of Bangladesh Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust. After serving as the chairman of BRTC for some time in 1979, he was re-appointed as the chairman of Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust. He retired in 1984.

He formed the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council in 1988 and served as its president until his death.

After the formation of the Sector Commanders Forum, he travelled around Bangladesh demanding the trial of war criminals.

Rahat Khan

Author and journalist Rahat Khan, who acted as editor of the Daily Ittefaq, died at the age of 80.

He cut his teeth on journalism with the Dainik Sangbad in 1969. Later, he worked as an assistant editor and acting editor of The Daily Ittefaq. In 2013, the Dainik Bartoman was launched with Rahat Khan as its editor.

Khan earned fame after the publication of “Dilur Galpo” a collection of short stories for children, Sirajee said.

The novels and short story books of Khan include “Amal Dhabal Chakri”, “Chhaya Dampoti”, “Shohor”, “He Shunyota”, “He Ononter Pakhi”, “Modhyo Mather Khelwar”, “Ek Priyodorshini”, “Montrisobhar Patan”, “Dui Nari” and “Kolahol”.

Rahat Khan won the Ekushey Padak in 1996 and Bangla Academy Literature Award in 1973.

Abu Osman Chowdhury

Abu Osman Chowdhury, commander of sector-8 during the Liberation War, died after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus infection.

He had been battling against old-age complications for a while.

“His impeccable role in the implementation of the ideals and spirit of the war and towards the welfare of the nation and its people will continue to inspire us," Hasina said in a condolence message.

KS Firoz

Veteran actor KS Firoz died from COVID-19 at the age of 76.

Before he rose to popularity in acting, Firoz joined the Bangladesh Army in 1967. He began his career as an actor regularly after retiring from the army in 1977.

The veteran actor worked both big and small screens. He was the president and senior member of a theatre group, Natyadal.

Firoz came to the limelight by playing the protagonist in ‘King Lear’ when he began his career. Firoz also worked in television advertisements.

Sadek Bacchu

Veteran actor Sadek Bachchu died from the COVID-19 illness at the age of 66.

Bachchu was suffering from heart ailment, diabetes and other complications for a long time. He went under a heart surgery in 2013.

Bacchu, a former employee of Bangladesh Post Office, entered the filmdom in 1985 through the movie ‘Ramer Sumoti’ and acted in many other films.

He rose to fame by playing villains in movies. Bacchu bagged the National Film Award for playing the “best villainous role” in “Ekti Cinemar Golpo” in 2018.

Shah Ahmed Shafi

Shah Ahmed Shafi, chief of the radical Islamist group Hifazat-e Islam, died in hospital care in Dhaka. Shafi, said to be 103, was suffering from weakness due to old age, diabetes, high blood pressure and respiratory distress for a long time.

Called the ‘Baro Hujur’ by Qawmi madrasa students, he was regarded by a section of Muslims as one of the top Islamic scholars in Bangladesh.

Shafi was also president of Bangladesh Qawmi Madrasa Board – Befaqul Madrisil Arabia Bangladesh.

Mahbubey Alam

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, the longest-serving chief legal officer of the state, died at the age of 71 after suffering from the COVID-19 illness.

A former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, he began practising law in 1975.

He had been the attorney general of the country since 2009.

As the state’s chief legal officer, he played an immensely significant role in ensuring the trial of the crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War.

He also played a key role in a number of crucial cases, including those involving the Fifth, Seventh, 13th and 16th Amendment to the constitution.   

He was involved in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman murder case.

Alam worked as the state’s chief counsel in the case over the killings during the BDR mutiny.

Rashid Haider

Noted writer Rashid Haider, known for his work in war memoirs and collections of prose, died at the age of 80.

Haider joined Bangla Academy in 1972 and retired in 1999 as its director. Later, he served as the executive director of Kabi Nazrul Institute.

His works of fiction include Nankur Bodhi, Asomo Brikkho, Khachai, Ondho Kothamala, Uttarkal, Noshto Josnay E Kon Aranya, Brihannala O Onnano Golpo and Purbapor.

He published more than 70 books.

Haider, was honoured with Ekushey Padak, the second-highest civilian award in Bangladesh.

Rafique-Ul Huq

Veteran Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Rafique-Ul Huq died at the age of 85. He played a significant role as a lawyer during the military-controlled caretaker government, fighting cases for Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and many other politicians.

He was also known for his involvement in various social and charitable causes.

He also served as an examiner at the universities of Dhaka, Rajshahi and Chattogram at different times.

Haider Anwar Khan Juno

Communist leader and freedom fighter Haider Anwar Khan Juno died at the age of 76.

Juno, the younger brother of communist leader Haider Akbar Khan Rano, was introduced to communist politics during his school life. Although he held a master’s degree in physics from Dhaka University, he chose to be a politician.

He was involved in the communist movement of the sixties and was in the pro-China camp. When the Revolutionary Students Union was formed in 1970, he became its president.

Juno trained as a guerrilla during the Liberation War of 1971. He was working on making bombs at the time.

In addition to his political activities, Juno has also played a role in building a progressive people-oriented cultural movement. He was the president of the Gano Sanskriti Front.

Abul Hasnat

Eminent writer and journalist Abul Hasnat died at the age of 75. He was born on July 17, 1945 in Old Dhaka. He wrote under the pseudonym 'Mahmud Al Zaman'.

He has published numerous books of poetry, including 'Jyotsna O Durbipak', 'Kono Ek Din Bhubandanga', 'Bhubandanga Megh O Nadhar Kalo Beral'.

He also wrote several books for children and adolescents such as 'Juddhodiner Dhushor Dupure', 'Ranur Dukkho-Bhalobasha' and 'Tuku O Samudrar Golpo', for which he received the Agrani Bank Children's Literature Award in 1982. He was also made an honorary fellow of Bangla Academy in 2014.

Hasnat served as the literary editor of the daily Sangbad with distinction for 24 years. At the time of his death, he was the editor of the acclaimed literary magazine 'Kali O Kolom'.

Shawkat Ali

Former Deputy Speaker Shawkat Ali, one of the accused in the Agartala Conspiracy Case, passed away at 84.

Shawkat served as a captain in the Pakistan Army and took an active part in the 1971 Liberation War. After independence, he returned to the army. He was discharged from the army after the assassination of Bangabandhu and his family in 1975.

The retired colonel was elected MP six times from Shariatpur-2 constituency. He was the founding chairman of Muktijoddha Sanghati Parishad and the chief advisor of 71 Foundation.

Badal Roy

Former Bangladesh football star Badal Roy died after a battle with liver cancer.

Badal had played for the national team from 1981 to 1986. He had also played for Mohammedan Sporting Club from 1977 to 1989 and won five league titles for the club.

He contested the 1991 parliamentary election.

Aly Zaker

Aly Zaker, a towering figure in theatre, television and film arena in Bangladesh, died after a four-year battle with cancer. He was 76.

For his contribution to Bangladesh theatre, he was awarded with the state award of Ekushey Padak in 1999. Aly was the president of Nagorik Natya Sampradaya and directed and acted in several plays for Nagorik. He adapted plays by Moliere, Brecht, Zuckmayer, Chekov, Albee and Shakespeare.

Apart from acting and directing, he was a playwright and had a knack for writing.

Aly was the group chairman of Asiatic 3Sixty, a communication group in Bangladesh that started with a single company in February 1972.

Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf

Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf, a former minister and BNP's vice-chairman, died in hospital care at the age of 80 after contracting the COVID-19 illness.

Kamal served two terms as a minister in the cabinet of Bangladesh's former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

He was elected to parliament from Faridpur-3 constituency five times and served as state minister for LGED, minister for relief and disaster management and minister for health.


Manzur-I-Mawla, a poet and former director-general of Bangla Academy, died in hospital care at the age of 80.

Mawla had served as secretary in various government ministries. He became the director-general of Bangla Academy in the early 1980s.

‘Amar Ekushey Boi Mela,’ the longest-running book festival in the world, was launched during his three-year tenure at the academy.

In addition to renovating the historic Burdwan building, organising the first national folklore workshop, giving fellowships to folklorists like Aroj Ali Matubbar and Khoda Baksh Sai, Mawla was instrumental in publishing books on the history of Bangla literature, Davidson's Medicine and Anisuzzaman's old Bangla prose.

Mannan Hira

Mannan Hira, the dramatist who was involved with the street theatre movement of Bangladesh, died at a Dhaka hospital.

He served as the president of Bangladesh Pothonatok Parishad.

Hira also ran the theatre group Aranyak and wrote numerous dramas for theatre and TV.

He won the Bangla Academy Literature Award for his works in 2006.

Besides theatre, Hira made the government-funded film “Ekattorer Khudiram”. He also directed short films “Gorom Bhater Golpo” and “71 Er Rong Pencil”.

MA Hashem

MA Hashem, the founding chairman of Partex Group, died from COVID-19 in hospital care. He was 78.

The businessman was elected MP with the BNP’s ticket in Noakhali's Begumganj constituency in the 2001 elections.

He was arrested on corruption along with many other businessmen and politicians during the 2007-08 military-controlled caretaker government. Later, he announced the severance of political ties with the party.

Having ventured into tobacco trade half a century ago, Hashem expanded his business from real estate to export-import, particleboard, steel, plastics, consumer products, bank and insurance in five decades.

Hashem, chairman of the North South University Trust, had also worked as a director of City Bank Limited and United Commercial Bank. He founded the Janata Insurance Company.

Abdul Kader

Abdul Kader, a popular actor known for his comedic roles on television, died in hospital care at the age of 69.

Kader shot to prominence with his rendition of the character of 'Bodi', in Humayun Ahmed's television serial 'Kothao Keu Nei'.

He served as an executive at Bitopi advertising agency before joining leading footwear retailer Bata in 1979, where he remained for 35 years.

Until 1975, Kader was a member of the executive council of Dhaka University Central Students’ Union theatre troupe ‘Natya Chakra’. He had been a member of the troupe since 1973 where he served as the joint secretary for four years and as general secretary for six years. Later, he also worked as the director (training) of the theatre.

Kader started his acting career on TV with the children’s drama 'Esho Golper Deshe’ on BTV. He has acted in about 30 stage plays and 3,000 TV dramas. He was also a regular on BTV's popular magazine show ‘Ityadi’.

Apart from acting, the veteran actor has also appeared in several commercials.

In recognition of his long acting career, Kader received the TENASHINAS Award, Mahanagari Sanskritik Gosthi Award, Magician PC Sorcar Award and the Television Audience Forum Award, among others.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher