After suffering from multiple complications including throat ache, kidney diseases, irregularities of blood circulation in the brain, and heart problems, noted folk singer Kangalini Sufia was admitted to Savar Enam Medical College Hospital in the first week of December last year.
When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina intervened, Sufia was taken to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU). After spending a long time in the hospital, the legendary singer is back to her house in Savar. However, doctors have recommended her to rest for a minimum of six months and to refrain from singing. We recently visited the 70-year old artiste in Savar to find out about her present condition.
Sufia has to take ten different medicines after lunch, as prescribed by her doctors. She is worried about the loans she took from people for taking care of her family and her treatment. “I am the breadwinner of my family. Although I receive Tk 10,000 from the Prime Minister every month, we still face many hardships,” explained Sufia. “However, I am grateful to the Prime Minister for arranging my treatment.”
Sufia's condition is quite unstable at present, as she cannot speak properly. “The doctors have told me not to sing. But singing is what I do for a living. I want to return to performing on stage,” she said.
We also spoke to Sufia's daughter Pushpo Begum, who is a mother of two.
“Currently, we have a loan of Tk 8 lakh on our shoulders,” explained Pushpo. “Creditors come to my house for their money frequently. I request them to not discuss the matter in front of my mother, as it can lead to further health issues and stress for her.”
Sufia was born to Hindu parents Khokon Halder and Tulu Halder in Rajbari. As a teenager, she began singing at village functions and was widely praised for her skills. The singer married Sudhir Halder and converted to Islam three years after the Liberation War of Bangladesh and took the name, Sufia Khatun.
In the early years of her career, Sufia emulated Ustad Halim Boyati and Aynal Boyati of Faridpur, but soon grew her own distinctive style. Mustafa Monwar, the former Director General of Shilpakala Academy, christened her 'Kangalini Sufia'.
Sufia was a regular artiste of Bangladesh Betar and BTV as well as many private stations. She also performed in the UK, South Korea, Qatar, Italy, Hong Kong, the US, Thailand, China and India.
Sufia has some of the most popular folk songs to her credit including Poraner Bandhob Re, Buri Hoilam Tor Karone, Narir Kachhe Keu Jaiyo Na, and Konba Pothey Nitaigonje Jai. She was also a playback singer for the films, Darodi Shatru, Agun and Raj Shinghashon.
Kangalini Sufia has received around 30 national awards including the Shilpakala Padak in 2017. She also has 10 international awards to her credit.