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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Legendary Bangladeshi poet dies
Shamsur Rahman
Shamsur Rahman wrote poetry for 60 years
One of Bangladesh's most acclaimed poets, Shamsur Rahman, has died in Dhaka at the age of 77.

Rahman had been in a coma in hospital for a week. Doctors said he suffered kidney and liver failure.

Rahman was considered by many to be Bangladesh's greatest contemporary poet, with 60 poetry books to his name.

His campaign for political and social justice made him an iconic figure among liberals, but he was criticised by conservative religious factions.

Iconic figure

Shamsur Rahman was a leading literary figure for more than 30 years and his works were also critically acclaimed in India.

He began writing poetry at the age of 18, before starting a career as a journalist which saw him become the editor of a national daily, Dainik Bangla.

Initially a romantic poet, Rahman began writing on political and social issues after a military coup in Pakistan in 1958.

His secular beliefs almost cost him his life in 1999, when he narrowly escaped assassination by a group of suspected Islamist extremists.

Shadhinota Tumi (Freedom, you) is considered to be his most famous poem which he wrote in 1971, during Bangladesh's war of independence.

He won many prestigious awards, including Bangladesh's most prestigious literary award - the Ekushey Padak in 1977.

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