My Friend AG Samad – Obaid Jaigirdar

Photo: Babul Talukdar

Abney Golam Samad, should be a name remembered by everybody. Why should he be remembered?  Really! Because he is Abney Golam Samad. You will not find another one in Bangladesh. How did I meet him? It was in Paris. Rashid was with me. I mean Rashid Chowdhury (Chittagong University), my friend, the Painter. He introduced me to him (Samad). And we started traveling. We were going to see an exhibition. And there he was laughing and talking. At that time he did not have beard on his cheeks and long hair, but he smiled and every word he was saying was very precise. A person who believes in stating any facts in its real order. Because we do not know how to keep our talk on order and we being a Bengali, we do not know how to talk. Because we mix up everything. He does not. He was very precise like a French man. He got married to a young lady whom he loved and whose mother was a Nobel laureate. I forgot her name. Then slowly, gradually we came to know each other. এবনে গোলাম সামাদ
Abney Golam Samad with his wife and son Francis in the 70s.

Abney Golam Samad then decided to come back after getting married and came back home. But here it was too much for his wife to adjust along with the circumstances, environment, personality and mainly culture. also weather conditions. Then more started going because their personality, meaning him and his wife, they could not adjust with all his friends who were professors at that time. The name ‘Rajshahi University’ was coming up at that time. He had friends like Badruddin Umar and many others. I can not remember all the names. But they were mostly highly intelligent people. But they were not so close to each other. And it is that time period, when a lot of new ideas were coming. And everybody was talking. And I don’t remember whether Bangladesh came into existence or not….. no, It was before that. 

Then she fell ill. She was not keeping good health. And that he had to allow his wife to go with their first child to Paris. And this is how they started getting almost separated. It is not intentional but circumstanced. The next phase was very sad. Because he fell ill after his wife left him. He had a child, he could not bring. Psychologically he was disturbed. At the same time, time had passed. And during the period of the sickness, the lady who looked after him, as an ‘Imandar Muslim’ he decided to get her married. And this became a kind of problem for him. Because after he got married, his friends were not coming to his house. They were not receiving it (his marriage). All the big thoughts of socialism, all the big talks of love and affection between friends and their progressivity, it disappeared. And this really put him to a position mentally, which you can call psychologically. 

I went there from London when I heard that he was not received properly by his (old) wife and all his colleagues and everybody. I decided to go and see him. And I went there. And his (new) wife I met her. I looked at her, I felt she was dressed up in this way that reminded me of my mother. As my mother used to wear only a cotton saree always. And very simple. And She did the same and I called her Vabi(sister in law).  I can not forget the face of her. She was so peaceful, so happy. She asked me if I would be staying? And I said of course, I have come to stay with you. And the love she gave me, the way she gave me food to eat  I will never forget. She is a wonderful person.

After all that, he(samad) started becoming very individualistic. And slowly came away from the gang of so many intellectuals, so-called-intellectuals. Everybody knew better, everybody knew what should be done, everybody knew what should be the future of our country. But then he slowly started thinking differently, writing differently. You all know about it. But I’m not gonna discuss his writings. I’m not going to say only it was progressive even.  I would say he opened up a door to the younger generation to start thinking differently. And his contribution you can not measure and say that to what extent he has done, but he has done it. And the proof is there. The younger generation, a new generation who are following his thinking. And I’m sure one day all of you will recognize his contribution.

Orator: Obaid Jaigirdar, The Consul General of Cuba in Bangladesh, 2022 at his residence. Transcripted by: Mahmudul Islam.

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