Shahidul Jahir

Shahidul Jahir

Shahidul Jahir, also spelled Shahidul Zahir (September 11, 1953March 23, 2008) was a Bangladeshi novelist and short story writer. He was reputed for extra-ordinary prose style and diciton and considerd a genuine founder of post-modern fiction in Bengali.

Life and Career

Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1953 as Shahidul Huq, he joined the Bangladesh Civil Service in the Administrative cadre in 1981. In 2008, he was appointed as a permanent Secretary to the Government of Bangladesh. A confirmed bachelor, he lived a quiet and a very simple life. Hardly he agreed for a formal interview for publication.


In his writing career spreading over more than two decades, Jahir published only three novels (1988, 1995, 2006) and three collections of short stories (1985,1999,2004). Two collections of his selected novels and short stories wree published in 2007. His birthplace (Bhuter Goli in Narinda, part of the Old Dhaka city) had been a recurring theme in many of his stories and novels.Two of his short stories have been made into films, "Chaturtha Matra" by Nurul Alam Atik from the story with the same name and another, "Phul Kumar" from his short story,"Ei Shamay". There has been other attempts to document and fictionalise Shahidul Jahir by Sarwar(?) based on "Kothay Paabo Taare". Jahir's many memorable characters include Abdul Karim (the unemployed youth), Akalu (the village migrant) and Shefali (the mysterious girl whom nobody seems to find).

Literary style

Shahidul Jahir was one of the most important contemporary writers in Bangladesh. He died very recently on March 23, 2008 in early morning. He was known by some as the Márquez of Bangladesh, carrying on the legacy of magic-realism with strokes of his own unique surrealist style, deeply imbibing the politics, history and culture of Bangladesh, his own country home in Sirajganj and his place of birth. However, his style also remidns of Syed Waliullah, a modern Bengali fictionist of Western lineage. He relied more on narration than dialogue between characters. His diction was symbolic and mystified. He resorted to colloquellism in order to infuse reality into the context and story-line. The name of his last published story was, "Miracle of Life". Here is an excerpt (translated from Bengali) from his swan song:

Quote|An adolescent girl, or a young girl, or who is just a gal...whatever, what do we do with her? She can have a name, since she is a human being, and human beings do have names, so her name could be Pari, Banu, or Ayesha... ...If she stands at the edge of the dirty drains, standing inside her home, as broke as the ragged nest of a magpie (babui), her mother runs around...her mother goes around cooking for others, she cooks rice, she cooks curries,she makes chapatis, there are people who swallow them, or maybe they rebuke her, What the hell have you cooked,woman!......Perhaps at that moment, Pari or Pari Banu, is standing at the rail ways of Dayaganj or Shamibag, holding the hands of her little sister or brother, and their father runs around, he too goes to places, maybe he does things, pulls someone else's rickshaw, pushes someone else's cart, or maybe he does nothing, he just lies down on his bed and suffers from piles. Then, what do we do with this Pari? The leader, or the official of this republic, the officers, or the civil society - none of them know...We have no idea what to do with her...


Shahidul Jahir was awarded the "Kagaz Literary Award" in 2005 for his collection of short stories, "Dolu Nodir Hawa O Onnanno Galpo".


* "Jeeban O Rajnaitik Bastabata" (Novel;1988;??)
* "She Raate Poornima Chhilo" (1995;??)
* "Mukher Dike Dekhi" (Novel; 2006; Mowla Brothers, Dhaka)
* "Shahidul Jahir: Selected Novels" (Novels;2007; Shamabesh, Dhaka)

"Short story collections"
* "Parapaar" (1985; Muktodhara, Dhaka)
* "Dumurkheko Manush O Onnanno Galpo" (1999; Shilpataru Prakashani, Dhaka)
* "Dolu Nodir Hawa O Onnanno Galpo" (2004; Mowla Brothers,Dhaka)
* "Shahidul Jahir: Selected Short Stories" (Short Stories;2007;Shamabesh, Dhaka)


* [ Shahidul Zahir's labyrinthine technique]
* [ Nuh'er naukay Shahidul Jahir, by Nasima Selim Aulic]
* [ Writer Shahidul Zahir passes away]
* [ Shahidul receives kagaj literary award]
* [ Theme gelo Dakkhin Maishundi aar Bhuter Golir Galpo] , by Shahaduz Zaman,
* [ On "Phulkumar", based on Zahir's short story]

External links

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NAME=Jahir, Shahidul
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Bangladeshi novelist
DATE OF BIRTH=September 11, 1953
PLACE OF BIRTH=Dhaka, Bangladesh
DATE OF DEATH=March 23, 2008

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