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“Ekushey Award 2017” to Ustad Azizul Islam (Merchant Marine Captain)!

“Ekushey Award 2017” to Ustad Azizul Islam (Merchant Marine Captain)!
“Ustad Azizul Islam – Master of Sea and Master of Symphony!”

17 eminent personalities are declared to be awarded with the “Ekushey Padak 2017” in recognition of outstanding contribution in their respective fields.

And our (Merchant Marine Captain) Ustad Azizul Islam of 1st Batch of Bangladesh Marine Academy is 1 of the 17 recipients! Alhamdulillah.

The 17 awardees are:

Professor Dr Sharifa Khatun (language movement),
Shushama Das ( music),
Julhas Uddin Ahmed (music),
Ustad Azizul Islam (music),
Tanvir Mokammel (film),
Syed Abdullah Khalid (sculpture),
Sara Zaker (acting),
Abul Momen (journalism),
Syed Akram Hossain (research),
Professor Emeritus Sr Alamgir Mohammad Sirajuddin (education), Dr Zamilur Reza Choudhury (science and technology),
Professor Sr Mahmud Hasan (social welfare),
Late Poet Omar Ali (language and literature),
Sukumar Barua (language and literature),
Swadesh Roy (journalism),
Shamim Ara Nipa (choreography), and
Rahmatullah Al Mahmud Selim (music).

Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will formally present the Ekushey Awards to the awardees on February 20 at Osmani Memorial Auditorium.

About Ustad Azizul Islam
Ustad Captain Azizul Islam’s Flute Recital

Performance at Bangladesh National Museum on January 20, 2107

Our very own Captain Azizul Islam (First batch) had this infatuation with flute from his childhood. He used to practice or participate in flute music when he was away on the week end or vacation from the Juldia Marine Academy.

Ustad Azizul Islam, a leading flute player of Bangladesh, once a sailor by profession, from the first batch of Marine Academy, Chittagong, was born in District Rajbari on May 2, 1944.

He passed Matric from Government Muslim High School Chittagong, Intermediate from Chittagong College and then joined Juldia Marine Academy, Chittagong, to pursue a sea career.

His first Guru (teacher) in music was late Priyada Ranjan Sen Gupta of Arya Sangeet Samity, Chittagong, and after a short period of learning from him, he became a pupil of classical vocalist Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan of Agra Gharana, who used to reside in Chittagong. In the process, the flute maestro Panna Lal Ghosh became his source of inspiration and a pathfinder as well. He was inspired so much that he practiced fervently during the long voyages aboard ships mastering in flute music.

After ending his seafaring days in 1973, he settled in Chittagong where he availed the opportunity to practice regularly with various maestros in Tabla and Tanpura. Under the tutelage of famous Sarod wizard, late Ustad Bahadur Khan, he acquired Knowledge in performing a style of Seni Gharana. He also had the privilege to receive practical guidance from famous flute player Late Pandit Devendra Murdeshwar and Pandit V.G Karnad, both disciples of the great flute maestro late Pandit Panna Lal Ghosh.

While leading a difficult life as a sailor and away from his homeland, he was unable to take guidance from the tutors. On the other hand, life at sea provided him privacy and ample time to sharpen his skills in flute playing. He used to spend his time on the ship mostly listening to the records of the flute maestro, late Pannalal Ghosh, and other famous classical musicians. After retiring from his sea life in 1973, he had the privilege of becoming the disciple of late Ustad Bahadur Khan, the famous Sarod player, from whom he acquired excellent skills in the performing style of Seni Gharana. Subsequently, he received lessons from two famous flutists, Late Pandit Devendra Murdeshwar and Pandit VG Karnad, both disciples of late Pandit Pannalal Ghosh. Under Pandit VG Karnad’s guidance, Captain Azizul Islam’s musical aptitude reached a crescendo.

The main inspiration behind Ustad Azizul Islam’s divine flute playing originates with his serene life at sea where time did not matter. The blue seas and long voyages gave him the opportunity to love pristine nature and at the same time ample time to practice his passion.

Listening to Ustad Aziz flute renderings, one will be reminded of what the Persian poet Rumi once articulated that a flute in its tune cries for uniting with the mother bamboo (reed) from where it originated.

“Listen to the reed (flute), how it is complaining!

It is complaining about the separations:

I want a heart that is torn, torn from separations,

so that I may explain the pain of this love.

Whoever has been parted from his source;

seeks to return to the days of origination.”

Rabindranath Tagore once said, his secrets are only expressed through the rendering of his flute.

“LISTEN, MY heart, in his flute is the music of the smell of wild flowers, of the glistening leaves and gleaming water, of-shadows resonant with bees’ wings. The flute steals his smile from my friend’s lips and spreads it over my life.”

Ustad Islam’s tunes from his flute carry one to a deeper depth of his/her heart.

Ustad Azizul Islam’s flute performances have been held in a wide number of places in Bangladesh, India, Europe and Australia. His solo flute recital programs were organized in Kolkata by Sangeet Research Academy, Saptasur, and Salt Lake music festival and in the Habitat Center of Delhi earned him wide applause, popularity, and respect from the audiences in the Indian subcontinent. Internationally reputed Indian Tabla player Ustad Sabir Khan, Pandit Samar Saha, and Pandit Subhen Chatterjee accompanied him in some programs held in Chittagong, Dhaka, Kolkata and Delhi.

Ustad Islam had the rare privilege to perform “Jugal Bandi” with the great Violin Maestro Pandit V.G. Jog [Padma Bhusan] in Kolkata and also at Dhaka, which were highly treasured by houseful audience.

On Pahela Baishakh, 1406 [14th April 1999], Bengali new year, a day-long program at D.C. Hill Park, Chittagong was inaugurated by Ustad Islam in the early hours by his “Thumri Bhairavi” on flute which held thousands of audiences spellbound. He also performed in music programs organized by Shilpakala Academy, Bangla Academy, National Museum, National Press Club, Sangeet Prasar Goshti, Bengal Foundation, Hindol, Sangeet Bhavan, Institute of Architects Dhaka, in memory of Badrul Islam [younger brother of Azizul Islam] organized by Economic Association, University of Chittagong and many other cultural organizations.

Monthly SARGAM, a widely circulated monthly music magazine of Bangladesh, organized a program in Dhaka on 21st April 2001 where he was honored with the title of USTAD in the presence of houseful audience of music lovers.

Many Rotary Clubs in Bangladesh namely Rotary Clubs of Agrabad, Islamabad, Srimangal, Sonargaon, Dhaka, Dhaka North East, Jahangirnagar Dhaka, Metropolitan Dhaka and Rangamati organized his solo flute program and honored him. Rotary International District 3280 also hosted his solo program in Dhaka. He was especially honored by Rotary Club of Metropolitan Chittagong, Rotary Club of Kalighat Kolkata, Shelter Promotion Council [Monish Koirala Memorial Award] Delhi, National Museum Dhaka and Bangladesh Surveyors Association, Chittagong. A regular performer at Radio Bangladesh and Television, Ustad Azizul Islam also had the rare privilege to be on the air through “Voice of Planet,” a U.S. Television Channel.

He was awarded Gold Medal and Crest jointly by Rotary Club of Metropolitan Dhaka and Ashfaque-Najma Foundation for his contribution to music. He was also recognized by the Rotary International Dist. 3280 for his extraordinary talent in music.

He has the unique distinction of participating in Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, Australia where he presented the Indian Classical Music before of the Australian Audiences. He is the first Artist from the Indian subcontinent to perform in this prestigious venue. He also played in Melba Hall, Melbourne, Australia and Bangladesh Language and Cultural Foundation, Singapore.

It is, indeed, the sea that has shaped Captain Islam’s music oeuvre. His style of playing and selection of ragas, it seems, pay homage to the lonely, profound and melodic sea.

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