State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid said on Wednesday that eminent Bengali music composer and folk maestro Abbasuddin Ahmed inspired the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to fight for saving the mother language and rescuing the country from its oppressors.

"Folk legend Abbasuddin Ahmed is widely revered for his mesmerizing songs, and he motivated our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in person when they met. He told Bangabandhu, an avid fan of his songs, that the glorious Bengali language must be established as our state language and our culture must be saved, and the movement eventually sparked our battle for ultimate independence."

The State Minister shared his remarks as the chief guest while attending an event titled "The Emperor of Folk Music Abbasuddin Ahmed and his artistic life" on Wednesday at the Sufia Kamal Auditorium of Bangladesh National Museum, Shahbagh, in the capital.

Organized by Bangladesh National Museum, the event was arranged marking the 120th birth anniversary of Abbasuddin Ahmed, also known as the emperor of folk music.

At the event, the keynote speech was presented by prominent writer, musician, vocalist and freedom fighter Bulbul Mahlanbish. Eminent singer Ferdausi Rahman, also the only daughter of Abbasuddin Ahmed, virtually joined the event and discussed the article.

Hosted by Khondoker Mostafizur Rahman (NDC), Director General of the National Museum, the event was presided over by the President of the Board of Trustees of the Museum, Prof Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique.

"Abbasuddin Ahmed began his career performing modern Bangla songs for HMV studios, and then he started successfully working with our National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam who wrote and composed Islamic songs in large quantities, and the duo recorded the songs for HMV Studios. He was a trailblazer in bringing music into the homes of Indian Muslims and awakening them from a state of backwardness, as he was the first Muslim in the former Indian subcontinent to use his own name on record labels - prior to that, Muslim musicians used aliases and pseudo names, to hide their Muslim identity," Mahlanbish said in the keynote speech.

Ekushey Padak and Independence Day Award recipient artist Ferdausi Rahman reflected on her father's eventful journey and career, as well as his personal life as a family man at the event, while Prof Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique emphasized on the legacy of Abbasuddin Ahmed and his influential role in Bengali folk music.

Several other cultural organizations have also celebrated the 120th birth anniversary of Abbasuddin Ahmed in the country, including 'Bhawaiya Angan' which arranged a special Facebook live on Wednesday at 8:30 pm, joined by Rangpur City Corporation Mayor Mostafizur Rahman as the chief guest.

Abbasuddin Ahmed was born in the Tufanganj subdivision of British India's Cooch Behar district in 1901. Apart from the Bhawaiya songs for which he was a specialist, he also performed Jaari, Sari, Bhatiyali, Murshidi, Bichchhedi, Dehatattwa, and Pala songs, as well as composing songs written by noted poets Jasimuddin and Golam Mostafa.

His most noted performance came through his majestic collaboration with Kazi Nazrul Islam, when he sang the Nazrul song "O Mon Ramjaner Oi Rojar Sheshe," which has since become a staple of Bangladesh's Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations. He recorded around 100 Nazrul songs in his career.

Abbasuddin Ahmed was posthumously awarded Shilpakala Academy Award in 1979 and Independence Award in 1981, for his contribution in Bengali folk music.

He breathed his last on December 30, 1959, at the age of 58.

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