Ansar Ahmed Ullah:
Hundreds of people paid homage to the mortal remains of Abdul Gaffar Choudhury, the creator of the Ekushey song.
Following the arrival of the legendary writer, journalist & composer of Ekushey song Abdul Gaffar Choudhury to Dhaka on Saturday, 28 May, on behalf of the government, the Minister of Liberation War Affairs A K M Mozammel Haque received the body and paid homage. Gaffar Choudhury’s body was then taken to the Central Shaheed Minar at 1.15 pm. People from all walks queued to pay their respects. His body was then taken to the National Press Club at 4 pm for journalists to pay homage.
After paying homage and giving a guard of honour, the funeral prayer was held at the Central Mosque of Dhaka University at 3.30 pm and taken to the national press club at 4 pm. Finally, his body was buried at the Mirpur Martyred Intellectuals Cemetery at 5.30 pm next to his wife as his last wish.
Abdul Gaffar Choudhury came to London in 1974 for the treatment of his wife with the support of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Today, almost five decades later, the daughter of Bangabandhu, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, had arranged for his burial in his beloved homeland, next to the grave of his beloved wife.
Abdul Gaffar Choudhury passed away on Thursday, 19 May, at Barnett hospital while undergoing treatment. He was 88 years old. A source close to the family said he was suffering from old age complications. After the first Namaz-e-Janaza of Abdul Gaffar Choudhury at the Brick Lane Mosque in East London on Friday, 20 May, people of all walks of life, including members of the British-Bangladeshi community, paid their last respects to him at the Shaheed Minar in the historic Altab Ali Park in East London.
He also dramatised several plays, including Nobab Uddin’s play ‘New Home’ staged at Logan Hall, London in 1997, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Oldham, and Aston University in Birmingham. Gaffar Choudhury wrote the script for other Nobab Uddin’s plays, including Anal, Bhalobasha chai, Marichika and Saira. Abdul Gaffar Choudhury had produced a play on the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called Polashi Theke Dhanmondi, 21 August, Ekti Rokto Gulap and Ershad Mariamer kechcha against military rule.
Abdul Gaffar Choudhury was also very much involved with the UK Bengali diaspora. He taught children to learn Bangla in a community school. He was involved with BENTH, an organisation set up to improve the educational achievements of the community. He acted as advisor and patron to numerous cultural, social and political organisations, including the Nirmul Committee. He was awarded the Freedom of London Borough of Tower Hamlets. In 1999 Tower Hamlets granted him the Honorary Freeman for his exceptional contribution in the borough. Abdul Gaffar Choudhury was also a lifelong member of the London Bangla Press Club. He was an award winner of the 2010 British Bangladeshi Who’s Who. In addition, the British Bangladeshi Power & Inspiration listed him under media.