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391556_477941988901389_959954807_nToday, my facebook page was a collage of grief. Every single friend of Bangladesh origin had something to say about the death of Humayun Ahmed — some sadness to share, some feelings of loss to express.

My friend Arif is a busy surgeon in Dhaka; his fondness of Humayun Ahmed sometimes tends to cross the limit of normalcy. He calls me around 2:20 Eastern US time, 12:20 at night Bangladesh time. He is angry. Using all his surgical terms, a pure doctor to doctor thrashing is thrown at me. “Why the damn surgeon in America did do the anastomosis so quickly — who does not know it would leak, perforate! Why the surgeon did not keep a colostomy/ ileostomy loop for a few weeks before doing the end to end anastomosis? They have experimented on him!” I try in vain to explain that the procedure that was performed on Humayun Ahmed, was by no means an experimental procedure. It was a state of the art standard procedure, backed by robust research data. It is bad luck for Humayun Ahmed, his family and the people of Bangladesh that his surgery went wrong. This happens only in a very small minority of the patients. Infection inside the belly overwhelmed the whole body, a deadly condition called “severe Sepsis” developed. Unlike most others, Humayun Ahmed’s condition kept on deteriorating instead of improving. Severe Sepsis led to a multitude of other deadly conditions. These include ARDS causing his lungs to fail — respiratory failure. One after another organ started failing. A domino effect. Kidney, heart — acute kidney failure, acute circulatory failure — all the organs started failing one by one. A breathing machine was doing the work of the lung, a dialysis machine would replace kidney’s works, some medications will be infusing directly inside the heart every second to keep the blood pressure from dropping to zero and the heart going. When the body is in such a frail condition, the floodgate for infections open up, one after another presumed stubborn infections keep on attacking the body. A combinations of critical care doctors, dozens of specialist physicians one for each organ, highly skilled nurses, bunch of machines — dialysis machine, breathing machine, this and that — keep locked in a relentless battle with death. Death eventually prevails. I try to explain to Arif — all my explanations go in vain. I give up. Like a good listener, I listen to his expressions of loss, his despair, hopelessness, anger.

Every Bangladeshi feels the same way today. They all recall, like me, how all week they waited for Tuesday 830 PM. BTV would show Humayun Ahmed’s first drama serial “Ei Shob Din Ratri”. There will not be too many educated Bangladeshi who has not read Humayun Ahmed’s books. People say Humayun Ahmed created book readership in Bangladesh. But Humayun said, he created readership for his book only. It was more of a rule than exception that one reader would feel the bond only with Humayun Ahmed books, not even knowing the names of any other literary figure in Bangladesh. Humayun created his readers, his followers, his fans — he made millions of Bangladeshi fall in indomitable love with him.

In his TV characters like Baker Bhai, Tuni, Chhoto Mirza; novel characters like Himu, Misir Ali, Fiha — he created a phenomenon. An intense emotion evoking following. This level of authority in playing so easily with such vast number of readers’ minds is a rarity in modern day literature.

Little Tuni of “Ei Shob Din Ratri” drama serial dies while being treated for cancer in Germany — when the death news comes via phone at midnight — all of Bangladesh cries. Today, all of Bangladesh again cries when the death news of Humayun Ahmed himself, getting treatment of cancer in USA, comes via phone at midnight.

TV news dominate this news, talk shows stop their nightly political pechal and instead mourn Humayun Ahmed. Newspapers make headlines. Reminds me of death of poet Nazrul. A leading Dhaka newspaper made a banner headline, “Ghumiye gechhe shanto hoye amar ganer bulbuli”.

Few other figures adorned our literary sky as brightly as Humayun Ahmed did. Not going into comparison, it can be safely said that like the way Robi Thakur shone light on and influenced all literary acts in Bengal for at least half century after his death and still doing, Humayun Ahmed was our Robi Thakur. ‘Our’ meaning the generations of Bangladesh growing through ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s to the beginning of this century. When we wrote a prose, when we wrote few lines to express ourselves, subconsciously we adopted Humayun Ahmed style non formal mode of writing. Humayun Ahmed revolutionised our TV drama culture. He made people go to theatres and watch movie. Again not going into comparison, during contemporary period, only one other cultural figure with such multitude of talent, from the other side of Bengal, may be credited to impact the people of Bengal so deeply, so immensely. This other figure is Satyajit Roy.

Reading Humayun Ahmed very closely, all of his avid readers will note that it seemed he knew about his imminent death throughout the last year. He was talking more and more about death. He was very eager to take as many photos as possible with his toddler age boys — keep as much memory as possible for the boys. Many in Bangladesh may not have liked some of his acts in his personal life, some did not approve the way he treated his daughters. Yet they could not stop loving this man. May be some of his later year writings were not as immense as his earlier writings, some might have created some unnecessary controversy — all these are small drops of sand in a vast ocean of boundless love for him.

We will miss Humayun Ahmed. We do not know when there would be another author for whose writings only we will buy the Eid issue of periodicals. We probably would have to wait long time for more dramas like Ei Shob Din Ratri, Kothao Keu Nei, Bohubrihi, Ayomoy, Shomudra Bilash Pvt Limited, etc. Our Ekushey Boimela will be less attractive for many more years to come. Without new books of Humayun Ahmed, whose books people will line up to buy and the publishers will pile up to sell?

Yet, unlike most others, his physical death will not take him away from us. His creations will adorn our book shelves for ages to come, thanks to ever improving technology, his dramas, movies will keep being played at our homes. Once we come out of the intense sadness at the loss, we may be able to think a bit more rationally. Humayun Ahmed left the world at the peak of his popularity, career, and creativity. If we can stop thinking about the little boys and young wife he left behind, we can console ourselves thinking that this man lived a full, productive, celebrated life. He wanted to live his life to the lees, and indeed he did. Isn’t it the best way to depart?

Humayun Ahmed wanted to live many thousand years. In his books, songs, dramas and movies, he sure will live many thousand years more.

Rumi Ahmed, a blogger and political analyst, writes from Florida, USA.

62 Responses to “Humayun Ahmed: A thousand more years”

  1. Ada ahmed

    Humayun Ahmed ‘s family life was complicated. He remarried despite of a beautiful wife and loving girls. Life is too short, I don’t understand why he married such a young girl of his daughter’s age.

  2. ASM Alamgir

    Okay now it’s over. We will remember Humayun Ahmed forever. But I want to raise a few things. I have received numerous phone calls from the print and electronic media about the unknown viral infection, as per my knowledge in a hospital setting it is obvious that there might be nosocomial infection after operation, as Humayun Ahmed had to take 12 chemo before going to operation, his immune system was compromised, that mean the action of antibiotics and antivirals also compromised. And finally he died of viral infection as the doctors of NYC hospital said. But my question is if it was not in USA; think that if it is happened in a hospital of Bangladesh, peoples reaction and aftermath?

    And nosocomial infections or hospital acquired infections caused by known viruses and bacteria, as most of the hospitals in the developed country’s regularly monitor the organisms those are responsible for nosocomial infections, so it was not an unknown virus and it should not be.


  3. Bhuiyn

    Please think what would be beneficial to late Humayun after his death and what would be the right place for him to be burried, where his soul will be peaceful through frequent prayer and the activities in accordance with Quran and Islamic rules for every Muslim.

    • Tanvir

      Let’s honour Dr Ahmed by building a cancer hospital in Bangladesh; let’s not honour him with prayers in ‘Islamic tradition’ only! Let’s make efforts that young people in Bangladesh continue to read books and explore the literature of this ‘majestic’ language. Let’s not bring up religion, as it is personal. Let’s read Buddhadev Bose, Shudhindro Dutta, Jibonanondo Das, Bishnu Dey and Amiyo Chakravarty. Let’s read ‘SHONGBORTO’ by Shudhindro Dutta.

  4. London Eye

    Look, all humanity that exist in Bangladesh, Bengalis in India and certainly, the third capital Bangladeshis in Britain mourn the death and thank you writer for an honest assessment. Can all commentators of dubious nature, please spare a moment for writer Humayun Ahmed to be buried in the land which he so eloquently described in his many writings. Humayun was greater than your thinking.

  5. Abdallah Habib

    Strangely, both public and press are deadly silent on writer Humayun’s first wife.

    Come Monday, his second wife must declare that all assets of Humayun will be shared with the writer’s first wife in keeping with decency and norms of a civilized society. Provided, of course, the first wife may like to accept her late husband’s properties, both physical and intellectual.

    Let not Humayun be only a story- teller without morals.

  6. M.Q.Islam

    I have many things in common with Dr. Humayun Ahmed, we both are from Shaheed family, we both are chemists and both got our degrees from USA and we both returned to Bangladesh after completing our education. I met him once for 5 minutes in a seminar at Dhaka. I do not know much about him personally but without a question he was a talented man who commands love and respect from common people. He is not Tagore, true, but he was much more popular to common people than Tagore was in both East Bengal and West Bengal.

    • Tanvir

      It’s sad that we really have to talk about ‘popularity ‘ when we discuss Dr Ahmed. Dr Ahmed was loved by many and the outpouring of grief that was shown by people is unprecedented. We should refrain from bringing up names like Tagore! That’s a dangerous precedent. It’s not only disrespectful , it’s unfair to our young people who grew up reading Dr Ahmed’s books and learned to appreciate the beauty of our language, our literature. I have the greatest respect for Humayun Ahmed for bringing our younger generation back to the ‘Book Fair’ and making them read books. We must make sure that we don’t look for ‘our Rabindranath’; Rabindranath is very much ours; he’s always been; we DO NOT look for ‘alternative’ for Tagore. We make sure that there is no such thing called ‘Bangladeshi Literature’; it’s our ‘Bengali’ literature, our language that we should be proud of. We should read Buddhyadev Basu and Shudhindro Nath Dutta; we should explore complex prose of Jibonananda, Bishnu Dey and Shudhin Dutta and learn more from them. This is how we can show our respect to the memories of Humayun Ahmed. Only ‘Buddhadev’ is closet to Rabindranath, no one else.

  7. Syed Imtiaz Ali

    Such a passionate and fitting tribute to the best Bengali writer of Modern Times!
    Some like to compare! Humayun Ahmed with Tagore! Were do I hide?
    No this is not at all doing justice to any of them. Please do not belittle anybody; while Tagore is a ‘world’ in his own right, Humayun is a very popular writer. Yes, modern Bengali literature will be poorer without him and his works.
    But he will have a hearty send-off!

  8. russel

    I am an avid fan of this great personality.” “He is no more”- this cruel sentence makes me speechless. I just can’t believe it. In Bangladesh there is no bookshelf without at least one book of his.

    May he rest in piece. 🙁

  9. Zakiul Kabir

    We all mourn Humayun Ahmed’s death. We also should celebrate his life. He lived with passion and always dreamed big. His own life was a dream come true. Many of us live our lives vicariously through him – not necessarily his later life of affluence or fame, but the way he appreciated simple things in life, common miracles of nature or just the innocent smile of a child.

    We now live in a world of negativity. Humayun Ahmed was our beacon of positive energy! Let’s keep the candle burning! Let us all take part in one good deed, extend one helping hand, dream one big dream! We can do it!

    Humayun Ahmed did everything he was sent on this earth to do. Now this is our turn.

    Rest in peace Humayun Ahmed. I will miss you.

  10. Zahir Uddin Mahmoid

    Very well written Sir. I just want to add my following humble tribute.

    Thanks Humayun Ahmed for entertaining us for over last two decades by your literary work in fictions and non-fictions, dramas in TV and movies. We can assure you none entertained this nation of Bangla speaking people more than you did for the last two decades or so. Bon voyage on your eternal journey….we will miss you.

  11. Golam Arshad

    An innings in beaming light comes to an end. Humayun Ahmed will thrive and prevail in the momentous solitude of peace in joy. May Almighty Allah grant him Jannat.

  12. Sani, Toronto

    Well written Rumi Bhai! Humayun Ahmed will be missed for sure; I hope people don’t stop reading and new generation of writers step into his shoes! May he rest in peace.

  13. Israr

    When I was class eight, I learnt to read Bengali story books. The writer was Humayan Ahmed. He is the guy who taught me to read books with his story. It was fun, joy with sorrow.

    It was Humayan Ahmed, who made me enjoy Bangla natak, made me smile, cry with unforgettable dialogues.

    It’s great loss for us, for the nation.

    Our literary arena will never be the same again.

  14. Ehtesham

    Rumi Bhai, this is a great piece. Humayun Ahmed’s contribution to our cultural legacy is immense and will be felt for a long time to come.

    We should also not forget how his own life story is intertwined with the story of Bangladesh itself. Son of a Liberation War hero and martyr, struggles in the post-liberation years, having to spend nights under open sky after being evicted from government-allotted home, and then finally professional success.

  15. Israr

    When I was calss 8, I learnt to read Bengali story books. The writer was Humyan Ahmed. He is the guy who taught me to read books with his story. It was fun, joy with sorrow.
    It was Humyan Ahmed who made me enjoy Bangla Natok, made me smile, cry with unforgettable dialogs. Its a great loss for us.
    its empty now. It will never be the same.

  16. Rehan

    Rumi Bhai – thanks for a wonderful tribute to one of the greatest our nation has ever produced.

  17. Tamara Quaiyum

    Thank you Rumi. Thank you so much for the article.

    • Hasin

      Tragic death of writer Humayun. Being a medical professional, I am deeply concerned of the American ‘experimentation’ on a ‘Bangladeshi’ patient.

  18. Flower man

    Bangladesh has lost a brilliant son of the soil.It’s a mourning day for Bangladesh and Bangladeshis.

  19. sabrin

    A beautiful piece written with passion and emotion. We readers were looking for a place to express our emotion. Thank you.

  20. Irin

    Thank you Rumi Ahmed for such a beautiful piece. You shared all our feelings ever so eloquently!

    Thank you.

  21. Ferdous

    I want to share this article but can’t. The facebook share button isn’t working. Do something bdnews24.com!

  22. Tahmid

    Can anyone tell me whose book I will read? Does anyone understand what effect his death will create?

  23. Samiul Ahsan

    Yesterday a Bangladeshi scientist and a writer died of cancer in New York. Millions of Bangladeshis from many countries of the world are shedding tears for him because Dr. Humayun Ahmed was a Hero, a national hero who will continue to live through millions of hearts.
    We learnt about colour of love, beauty of moonlight, the magic of rain, the power of logic and the mystery of death through his writings. We learnt to enjoy reading because of him. Dr. Humayun Ahmed you will be missed very badly.

  24. Gazi Naeem

    Humayun Ahmed, you will be missed. Your early works both in literature and drama provided endless joy to millons of Bangla readers, including me. I did not follow you later but saw your popularity never waned, a rarity anywhere in the world. Thank you.

  25. Fakhrul Hasan

    RIP Humayun Ahmed – a man with an amazing sense of humour!

  26. Enamul Haq

    We have lost one of our most brilliant sons, and yet Gholam Azam lives on. How unjust it is!

  27. emran


  28. dina khan

    What a tremendous loss! Who will fill-up the vacuum. Will it ever be filled?

  29. csa

    I cannot seem to share this piece on facebook? What is the problem?

  30. Bipul Halder

    Humayun Ahmed contributed in making our youth so memorable with his passionate, yet simple, everyday stories…

    May his soul rest in peace!

  31. alaxpaul

    I am so heartbroken! Humayun Ahmed cannot die. He just cannot!

  32. Alam Khan

    Humayun Ahmed created the reading habit among the Bangladeshis. Before him, we used to read the poschimbonga books only. Humayun single-handedly created a readership on which our publishing industry thrust. I really wonder what will happen next.

  33. anamika

    Today is such a sad day for us! I can’t seem to stop crying. It’s just breaking my heart!

  34. Tanvir

    Please do not compare Humayun Ahmed to Tagore. It only shows your utter ignorance . I understand your feelings but let’s not make fool out of ourselves ; he was a popular fiction writer ; if he were not to write any of his novels , Bengali Literature would have been fine ; he was NOT our TAGORE , he was our Niharanjan Gupta instead; take care.

    Tanvir from Dallas, TX.

    • Tasbir Ahmed

      You are a complete and utter fool is what you are. Do you have any idea what vaccum Humayun Ahmed’s death has created in our country? Who will the publishing houses survive on? Why would the younger generation, let alone others, visit Boimela from now on? Which Bangladeshi writer’s book we will read? Comparing these Humayun Ahmed is definitely comparable to Robi Thakur, and you think he is our Nihar Ranjan? I pity you, Tanvir from Dallas!

      • Tanvir

        I Appreciate your thoughts ; I am well aware of your ignorance regarding Bengali Literature and Ahmed’s place in it ; again , DO NOT MAKE ASS OUT OF YOURSELF MY FRIEND ! Mr Ahmed is NO TAGORE ! perhaps , you need to read more .

      • Tasbir Ahmed

        As i said you are an utter fool. And i have read and still read. Not only Bangla literature but world literature as well. You are probably stuck in Robi era, Nihar Ranjan. Snap out of it and then reply.

        And also your usage of offensive language speaks ample of you and your taste.

      • Tanvir

        I feel sorry for you . Hopefully , you will read more in the future and you will stop comparing Ahmed to Tagore. I do not know if you are a 6-year-old but if you are, rest assured, you’ve been forgiven.

      • Tomal

        I guess, both of you are right. In terms of quality literary novel, Humayun may be discounted, but if we are talking about quantity and popularity, Humayun Ahmed even crossed the milestone to beat Sharat Chatujje. Moreover, he created a new dimension in book reading in our modern Bangladesh, among readers of all ages!

      • russel

        Sunil Gangapadhay says “he (Humayun Ahmed) has surpassed Shorotchandra”. Just keep your eyes on newspaper Tanvir. God bless you.

      • Quayum

        I think the analogy to Satyajit Ray is more appropriate. But Nihar ranjan? Come on, Tanvir. He is the ultimate storyteller, holding you spellbound in his books, in his dramas, in his movies. You have to be some sort of genius to do all that.

      • Mesbah Ahmed

        Well – Mr. Tanvir from Dallas – I wish you had the minimal decency to wait for the right time to express your so-called expertise in Bengali literature. I wish you had the intelligence to understand that NO WHERE IN THE ARTICLE THERE WAS A COMPARISON MADE ABOUT LITERARY GENIUS OF TAGORE AND HUMAYUN AHMED. I wish you had the brains to fathom that this article was ALL ABOUT THE IMPACT HUMAYUN AHMED HAD ON ALL OF US BANGLADESHIS GROWING UP READING HIS BOOKS.

        In the end – I wish you had the hearts to appreciate the sorrow and loss we are going through at his untimely demise…

  35. Md. Nurul Islam Siddque Lablu

    It has been excellent; passionate, informative and highly appreciable. I wish the writer all the best. He has done really fine, particularly the part of technical side; it has been possible as he is a doctor. He deserves more than a mere “thank you”.

  36. Towfiqul Islam

    Thank you for this beautiful piece of writing with some explanations on medical terminology. I still remember how passionately I used to go through his novels during the ’80s and ’90s. During those days his every publication was a source of clebration in my otherwise somber life. ’80s and ’90s were his hey days. At that time he was more focused, free flowing, lucid and penetrating. He was a prolific writer and produced around 200 books (novels and short stories). It is true that some of his writings were not as immense as the other ones. It’s the responsibility of our literary critic to identify his best works from the vast pool of his creations. I strongly believe many of his works will enjoy the test of time. He was a prince of our time. The prince charming is no more. Long live the prince.

  37. mamun

    Still colostomy/ileostomy was better option (retrograde thinking).
    Yes his is our Robi Tahkur.
    We will miss him during Eid, Ekushey boi mela.
    Himu, Misir Ali, Rupa won’t come back anymore.
    Personally I am very shocked along with others.

  38. Bina

    Thank you for writing this moving tribute Rumi Bhai. Truly, Humayun Ahmed’s words, his vivid description of the forest under the glow of the full moon; his portrayal of a quirky Himu or the mysterious Misir Ali; his poignant romanticism for other idiosyncratic characters; his ways of depicting cruelty, both in love and in war have stirred something deep within many of us. Nondito Norokey is a masterpiece. Respect.

    My mother, a cancer survivor, reminded me today that Humayun Ahmed stated, if he returned fully cured, he would build a cancer hospital in Bangladesh for those who were unable to travel overseas to seek treatment. In addition to providing specialist health services for patients, this hospital would also offer free cancer treatment for the poor. Perhaps there is a way to pay our respect to the master storyteller…

  39. Mohammad Al-Amin

    Humayan Ahmed is someone who follows through the vein and artery of Bangladesh. The sense of loss for his death can never be expressed in words. A vacuum no to be filled in our everyday life for hundreds of years to come.

  40. Mohammad Zaman

    Never met him face to face; but I have seen him once at yonder in 1987 – at Tung King (a Chinese restaurant at Elephant Road), alone and pensive with a cigarette burning as his only company.

    I am a physician. I knew, things are not right. Odds are tilted against. And yet, I kept my hopes alive. Thus, a few minutes back, when the news came as a post in Asif Saleh’s face book, it came as a shock, expected though, still piercing my total entity like a nefarious vice.

    Humayun Ahmed is gone. Nobody shall paint the little sorrows and littler joys of our daily vagaries. Nobody shall walk the “naked magic” in the moon and in the rain. And nobody shall bear the burden of life with such vigor …

    I did not, but yet I did met him as a teenager – it was “Shonkho Neel Karagar”; and since then through numerous of his breathtakingly absorbing stories. And yes, he also gave us the best of Bangla science fictions.

    It is an unreal time for him to leave the arena when the supercollider at CERN is exploring the surreal nature the Higg’s molasses and the ever-energetic theoretical physics is offering extra-dimensional peep shows of ultimate mathematics of the Godly “STRING”. Humayn’s ‘Nii Palli’ is busier than ever before – but he has taken the quantum leap some unseen dimension…

    Not feeling well.
    At office.
    Few charts are yet to be signed off.
    Do not feel like working.
    Wish to go home and plunge myself into the tomes he left for us to ponder; may be “ACHIN PUR” …

    Morbar Por Ki Hoy – Humayun Sir?
    What’s after life ….

    • Tayyaba

      hi, I was searching for “achinpur” and stumbled on this post. You have mentioned Achin Pur in your reply to the article. I am really interested to know a little about this concept What does it mean? from where the term came? and what literary meanings it has? I would really appreciate if you can email me at anwaar.tayyaba@gmail.com and send me a some references on it or drop me a line about the concept. Something very basic would also work. Something to give me a start. Many Thanks in advance.

  41. trisha

    I can’t believe he is no more. I still think it’s all a joke, he will come back with a big smile saying ‘I am very much alive’. He cannot die, at least not now, not so early.

    • Mohammad Al-Amin

      Humayan Ahmed follows through the vein and artery of Bangladesh. The sense of loss in his eternal departure cannot be expressed in words. He will be with us, despite his death, for hundreds of year to come saturated in love and respect.


  1.  Humayun Ahmed: A thousand more years | Bangladesh Progress Alliance of N.A.

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