Abdul Mannan Syed was a renowned Bangladeshi poet, author and researcher. A versatile writer and poet, he was one of the most prolific Bengali literary personalities of post-Partition India. Until his death on 5 September 2010, he was regarded an authority on Bengali literature. Popularly regarded as a poet, he is most notable as a literary critic and editor. Born as Syed Abdul Mannan, he assumed the pen name Ashoke Syed at the debut in literatur in 1960s. He published more than 150 titles to his credit during his lifetime. His works on poet Jibanananda Das and Kazi Nazrul Islam are not only seminal but also monumental in form, content and quality.


He was born in a village called Jalalpur, on the rivulet Ichamati, in the district of Chabbish Paragana, in West Bengal of undivided India. That was 1943, the year of great famine. In 1946, just before the partition of British Indian, a lethal Hindu-Muslim riot took place and forced many Muslims to leave West Bengal to settle in East Bengal, now Bangladesh. A less discussed but equally fearsome riot took place in 1950 that drove the family of Mannan Syed from West Bengal and to settle in Dhaka of then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. He lost his motherland for ever and always felt like a refugee. They first lived in Gopibagh of Dhaka town. Shortly his father bought a piece of land on the Green Road, formerly called Kuli Road. Since then 51 Green Road has been his address till his sudden death in September 2010. His father Syed A. M. Badruzzdoza was a public official who served in many places of the then East Pakistan. He was very strict about the formal education of his children. He had six sons and four daughters. Mannan was married to his cousin Syra Syed Ranu. His only child was a daughter named Jinan Syed Shampa. In 1958 Mannan Syed passed the Matriculate examination from the Nawabpur High School. In 1960, he passed the Intermediate from the Dhaka College. He studied Bengali language and literature in the Dhaka University from where he obtained his B. A and M. A. degrees, respectively, in 1963 and 1964. Most of his life he earned his livelihood as a teacher of Bengali language and literature in government colleges. He stated his career as a lecturer in the M. C. College of Sylhet town. He also taught in the Sheikh Borhanuddin College in Faridpur. However he served in the Jagannath College for a long time from where he retired in 1998. He also served as the District Gazetteer for a period of time. Later he was appointed the executive director of the Nazrul Institute (2002–2004).


Abdul Mannan Syed is best known for his research on Bengali poet Jibanananda Das. Although he is most renowned for literary criticism, he is a versatile writer and poet. He taught as a faculty in the department of Bengali in the Jagannath College, Dhaka. Later he served as Director General of the Nazrul Institute. He was the first Scholar-in-residence in Bangladesh at North South University. For a long time he was associated with the Shilpataru, a monthly literary magazine published from Dhaka by poet Abid Azad.


He had been suffering from diabetes and cardiac troubles for a long time. On 27 August 2010, he fell sick while participating in an event of Channel Eye. On 5 September 2010, he was having an afternoon sleep when he suffered a massive cardiac arrest and succumbed to death just before Iftaar. On the following day he was buried at the Azimpur Graveyaed after three Salatul Janazas at Green Road Jam-e-Masjid, Bangla Academy and Dhaka University mosque. His death was widely mourned across the country. All national dailies carried obituary on the following day. Next Friday, all dailies carried in the literary essays on his life and works. Electronic media also featured his death in a befitting manner.


Bangla Academy Award (1981)
Alaol Literary Award (1981)
Kabi Jasimuddin Award (Chattagram Sangskriti Kendro)
Farrukh Memorial Award (1991)

Abdul Mannan Syed's Works:


Janmandho Kobita Guchcha (1967)
Jotchna-Rouddrer Chikitsha (1969)
Matal Manchitro (1970)
O Shongbedon O Joltorongo (1974)
Selected Poems (1975) ( Muktodhara publication)
Kobita Company Pvt Ltd. (1982)
Porabastab Kobita (1982)
Park Street e Ek Ratri (1983)
Mach Series (1984)
Amar Sonnet (1990)
Shokal Proshongsha Taar (1993)
Nirobota Govirota Dui Bon Bole Kotha (1997)
Selected Poems (2001)(Shomoy publication)
Kobita Shomaggro (2001)
Kobitar Boi (2006)
He Bondhur Bondhu He Priyotomo (2006)
Premer Kobita (2007)
Matal Kobita Pagal goddya (2008)
Ogghraner Nil Din (2008)


Poriprekshiter Dasdasi (Slaves of Perspectives (1974)
Kolkata (1980)
Poramatir Kaj (Terracotta, 1982)
A-Te Ajgor (A for Ajogor, 1982)
He Songsar He Lota (Oh the World, Oh the Creeper, 1982)
Gavir Gavirtara Asukh (Disease, Deep and Deeper, 1983)
Prabesh (Entrance, 1994)
Kshuda Prem Agun (Hunger Love Fire, 1994)
Shyamali Tomar Mukh (Shyamali Your Face,1997)

Editorial Works

Life on Distant Shores, written by Abdur Rouf Choudhury, Bengali novel, published by Pathak Samabesh, Dhaka, 2003
New Horizon, written by Abdur Rouf Choudhury, Bengali novel, published by Pathak Samabesh, Dhaka, 2005.
Bangladesher Chhara, jointly edited with Shahabuddin Nagari and Abid Azad by Shilpatoru Prakashani, Dhaka, 1987.
Bagladesher Kabita, jointly edited with Shahabuddin Nagari and Abid Azad by Shilpatoru Prakashani,Dhaka, 1987.

Poems by Abdul Mannan Syed

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