• Thursday, Feb 02, 2023
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Renowned poet Hayat Saif passes away

  • Published at 02:44 pm May 13th, 2019
File photo of poet Hayat Saif Collected

Earlier on March 22 he was admitted to the United Hospital and was kept in ICU since then

One of the most powerful poets of the sixties Hayat Saif passed away at a city hospital after Sunday midnight. He was 76.

Hayat Saif breathed his last at 12:15 am Monday at the United Hospital in the city while undergoing treatment there, family and friends said. 

He is survived by his wife, three sons, and a host of relatives, friends and admirers.

Earlier on March 22 he was admitted to the United Hospital and was kept in ICU since then.

The first namaz-e-janaza of the Hayat Saif will be held at 10 this morning at Bangladesh Scouts headquarters, Kakrail, second at 11 am at Bangla Academy and the third at 1 pm at Azad Mosque, Gulshan. Later he will be buried at Mirpur Martyred Intellectual Graveyard. 

Born as Saiful Islam Khan on 16 December 1942 in Dhaka to Moslem Uddin Khan and Begum Sufia Khan, he assumed the pen name – Hayat Saif – in 1961 when contributing to literary journals. In 2005, he was awarded Bronze Wolf, a top accolade in international scout movement. He was awarded Ekushey Padak last year for his contribution in language and literature. He was also a recipient of Kabi Fazal Sahabuddin Padak.

He was one of the major poets of Bangladesh belonging to the generation of 1960s who set a new trend of modernity in Bangla poetry in Bangladesh along with such poets as Rafiq Azad, Abdul Mannan Syed, Mohammad Rafiq, Asad Chowdhury, Rabiul Hossain and others. 

A career bureaucrat, he retired in 1999 after serving as the Chairman of the National Board of Revenue. Since his retirement Saif divided his time in the World Scouting movement and literary and artistic pursuits. 

He has been translated in English and Spanish and, in Bangladesh, is generally acclaimed as an intellectual interpreter of contemporary life and culture.

After graduation, he taught in colleges for about three years and then joined the Pakistan Superior Service in the Finance cadre in 1968. He was involved in the revenue administration and tax policy making for more than three decades. 

In early 1960s, still a student, he worked as a casual announcer and newscaster in the Dhaka centre of the then Radio Pakistan and later in Pakistan Television at Lahore Center. He later continued his interests in broadcasting and telecasting and anchored literary programmers and talk shows.

His publications in Bengali include eight collections of poems apart from two collections of essays and a huge number of poems and articles published in various periodicals. Jointly with Mahbub Talukdar, he compiled and published A Selection of Contemporary Verse from Bangladesh in 2004.

His latest collection of poems Prodhanoto Smriti ebong Manusher Pathchola (Mainly memories and man's path-walking) published in 2009 contains fifty seven poems wonderfully woven in a fine thread of thought. 

There are two collections of some of his prominent poems in English rendition. One of these is Voice of Hayat Saif edited by Faizul Latif Chowdhury, published by Dibya Prakash in 1998. It contains forty-five poems translated by different hands. The volume titled Hayat Saif: Selected Poems was published by Pathak Samabesh, Dhaka, in 2001.  

In one of his translated verse in English (Someone Exists) poet Hayat Saif says: 

 “Someone exists on the other end of this silence.
There exists someone beyond this immediate existence.
May be he is not exactly within sight.
Or maybe not even far away,
Remaining pretty close,
Throbbing near the throat's vein.
This is how one keeps on living, the heart,
Remaining in the depth of soul, unknown to others
Remains true to one's nature.”

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