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IPDC Ogroj: Ramendu Majumdar on life and drama

  • Published at 05:29 pm January 10th, 2021

Over the past decades, he has regularly published the magazine “Theater” to document the history of the eponymous art in Bangladesh

IPDC Finance Limited Presents Ogroj is streaming its eleventh episode. Early episodes had featured economists, civil servants, and corporate titans, and it has gradually expanded to include cultural luminaries among the guests.

In the eleventh episode, a person whose life is intertwined with the theater scene in Bangladesh is the guest.

Born August 9, 1941 in Lakshmipur, Ramendu Majumdar obtained his HSC from Comilla Victoria College and later went on to obtain his BA and MA in English from Dhaka University.

During his university years, he met the martyred playwright Munier Chowdhury, with whom he frequently collaborated and whose sister Ferdousi would go on to become intertwined in Ramendu’s life.

After graduation, he faced unusual circumstances in securing a job. But even the ones that came without any caveats, they would often be untenable.

“I always harboured a desire to be a journalist. This led me to a meeting with veteran journalist ABM Musa at the Pakistan Observer. I was offered the position of a cultural reporter. But Ferdousi was firmly opposed to the idea of marrying a journalist and I had to abandon plans for journalism.”

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From 1958, Ramendu Majumdar has been relentlessly striving to take Bangladesh’s theatre sector to greater heights. He is one of the core founders of the principal drama troupe “Theater” which he directed and acted in throughout his life.

In 1964, he began teaching at Choumuhoni College. But after three short years, he joined an advertising agency. Later in 1993, he established his own ad firm Expressions.

During the 1971 Liberation War, Ramendu Majumdar worked on the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendro, and edited and published an anthology of Bangabandhu’s speeches.

Over the past decades, he has regularly published the magazine “Theater” to document the history of the eponymous art in Bangladesh.

“The magazine is one of my proudest accomplishments. It’s 50-year-history is monumental in the Bangla drama scene, both here and in Kolkata,” he said with fondness.

For his glowing contributions to the arts, he was honoured with the Ekushey Padak in 2009. Currently, he also serves as the honorary president of the International Theater Institute, being only the second Asian to serve in this capacity.

He reminisced: “When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina conferred the award upon me, she asked if Ferdousi had received it. I told her that Ferdousi did receive it, two decades before me! The prime minister noted that this was to be, because Ferdousi’s accomplishments warranted more immediate recognition.”

When asked how his time is spent, he replied: “I always contemplated started writing, but could hardly find any time for it. At least until the pandemic hit and lockdown began. It provided an incredible opportunity to start writing.”

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In addition, he enjoys listening to music and spend time with his friends – the latter, he noted, was another casualty of the lockdown.

As advice for the younger generations, he said: “If anyone wants to do something, they should have a passion for it. It is imperative that you have passion for what you do. A second key requirement is honesty. I have witnessed the power of honesty throughout my life, and we should all focus on honestly giving our entire efforts without reservations. We should never forget the sacrifices that we had to make to Bangladesh an independent country. We must never stop discussing the Liberation War. Whoever we are, wherever we are, we should empathize and help other human beings in need. Never stay quiet when you see an injustice, no matter how small. Because if you don’t speak out against a small injustice, others may remain quiet when a great injustice is dealt to you.”

IPDC Finance Ltd presents Ogroj takes place from 8pm-9pm every first and third Thursday of the month. Guests on previous episodes include ex-Finance Secretary Matiul Islam, CPD Founder-Chairperson Prof Rehman Sobhan, Adcomm Limited Chairperson Geeteara Safiya Chowdhury, ex-Finance Minister AMA Muhith, ex-Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Farashuddin Ahmed, ACI Limited Chairperson M Anis Ud Dowla, novelist Selina Hossain, ex-Finance Minister M Syeduzzaman, MediaWorld Limited Chairperson Rokia Afzal Rahman, and composer Shujeyo Shyam.

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