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Poets Biography

Bangladeshi Writer Nurul Momen 1908 - 1990

Nurul Momen (Bangla: নুরুল মোমেন) (November 25, 1908 – February 16, 1990), also known as Natyaguru, was an educationist, playwright, director, humorist, lawyer, broadcaster, philanthropist and essayist of Bangladesh. He is recognized as a pioneer of modern Bengali drama,"acting as a bridge between earlier and later playwrights in terms of content and style", and even referred to as the "Father of Bangladeshi theatre".

Born 25 November 1908(1908-11-25)
Alphadanga, Jessore, Bangladesh
Died 16 February 1990(1990-02-16) (aged 81)
Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Occupation Playwright, Writer, Educationist, Theatre Director
Language Bangla, English, Urdu
Nationality Bangladeshi
Ethnicity Bengali
Citizenship Bangladesh
Genres play, short story, essay
Notable work(s) Nemesis · Rupantor
Notable award(s) Bangla Academy Award (1961)
Ekushey Padak (1978)
Spouse(s) Amena Momen (d. 1993)
Children Momena Momen Saara (d. 1995) · Ahmad Nurul Momen (d. 2009) · Hammad Nurul Momen · Faisal Mahmud Nurul Momen

Early life and education

Nurul Momen was born on November 25, 1908, as son of Nurul Arefin, a physician and landlord in Alfadanga, at that time part of Jessore. He went to primary school in Calcutta and was admitted in 1916 into Zila School in Khulna . At the age of ten he wrote his first poem, Shondhya (Evening), in the same verse as Tagore’s Shonar Tory. In 1919 it was published in the then reputed journal Dhrubotara. In 1920, he was enrolled in the Dhaka Muslim High School where he resided in the Dafrin Hostel. After matriculation in 1924 he studied at Dhaka Intermediate College. Passing intermediate, he enrolled for an B. A. at the newly established Dhaka University from 1926 on.

While he was residing at at "Muslim Hall" of Dahaka University, the various halls staged the then new play Muktadhara by Rabindranath Tagore. After some initial resistance, Momen received the main role of “Botu”. This ignited his passion for drama and even earned him a prize, but was also the only time that he performed as actor himself.

After receiving his B.A. from Dhaka University in 1929, he studied law at the Department of Law, University of Calcutta. Upon completing his B.L. examinations in 1936 he started practicing at the Calcutta High Court.

Radio work

After the foundation of All India Radio in Dhaka, 1939, Momen picked up on the opportunity of the new medium and became its the first Muslim author. In 1941 he wrote and directed he comedy Rupantor (Transformation) for the radio. With its progressive plot and a female main character it differed vastly form traditional Muslim plays and was actually the first modern drama of Bangladesh. Upon initiative of the critic the poet and literary critic Mohitlal Majumder, the play was also published in the yearly Puja issue of the newspaper Anandabazaar.

While he was in London for higher studies form 1948 on, Nurul Momen and his friend Nazir Ahmed started a BBC Bangla program, a weekly one-hour format called Anjuman where Momen was responsible for the literary content.

Teaching career and university life

Rather than continuing to practice law after the partition of India, he joined the faculty of Law at the Dhaka University in 1945. There he was known for including elements from literature and music into the law classes He encouraged Munier Chowdhury, who would later translate You Never Can Tell, to read George Bernard Shaw and got many other students interested in theatre. From 1948 until 1951 he was on leave from Dhaka University, undergoing higher studies in England and graduating in Law from London University.

Private life

Nurul Momen married Amena Momen (died 1993). They had four children, Momena Momen Saara (died 1995), Ahmad Nurul Momen (died 2009), Hammad Nurul Momen and Faisal Mahmud Nurul Momen.


List of plays

  • Rupantor (1947)
  • Nemesis (1948)
  • Yadi Emon Hoto
  • Naya Khandan
  • Alochhaya
  • Shatkara Ashi
  • Ainer Antorale
  • Rupolekha
  • Bhai Bhai Shobai (a play with only male character)
  • Eituku ei Jibontate (a play with only female character)
  • Underneath the Law
  • We are Brothers All
  • Is Law An Ass
  • At the Alter of the Law
  • Jeman Ichchha Temon
  • Adikkheta
  • London Probashe
  • Ha-jo-bo-ro-la
  • Forbidden Pleasures
  • Andhokartai Alo (1964)
  • Thik Cholar Poth (The right way to go:a symbolic costume-play for children)

List of other works


Momen received the following awards:

  • Best New Playwright Award in Calcutta, 1954
  • Bangla Academy Award in 1961
  • Medjid Al Makky award in 1968
  • Ekushey Padak in 1978
  • Nasiruddin gold medal in 1979
  • Chader Haat Award in 1988 and
  • TENASINAS award in 1989
  • honored at India-Pakistan cultural conference in New Delhi in 1963
  • Chicago University’s International Players’ honor in 1964
  • honored by British theatre personalities in 1966
  • honored by drama group ‘Theatre’ in 1977
  • Sitara-e-Imtiaz, 1967 (which he renounced and destroyed in 1971)

Posthumous events

On November 25, 2008, his birth centenary was celebrated at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). His 102nd birthday was celebrated in November 2010 with a week-long festival, organized again by the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy together with the Aurony Mohona International Foundation (AMIF).

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