Abdul Mukith Mukhtar

Abdul Mukith Mukhtar was born in 1957 in Jogonnathpur, Sylhet. He arrived in London in 1979. Mr Mukhtar began writing while working in the factories of East London where he spent his lunch break writing poetry. His first poem was published in Janomot Newspaper in 1980. In the mid-80s, Mr Mukhtar set up a social space in his home which he called ‘addakhana’ (place for social gathering) for Bengali poem enthusiasts. This was attended by young Bangladeshis including members of Shanghati and non-Bengali East London residents, including Dr William Radice, a poet known for the translation of poems by Rabindranath Tagore and poet Andrew Wareham, who had translated a collection of poetry by Mr Mukhtar. The addakhana also served as a safe space for young Bangladeshis during the turbulent times at East London where immigrants faced constant threat of racism. The first book of poetry by Mr Mukhtar was published 1983 and since then he has published several books of poetry and literature. In 1997, he started working as a journalist for Potrika – a British Bengali newspaper. In 1998, he started his own publication, Islamic Shomachar, which focused on Islamic and Muslim cultures and in 2001, he started a tabloid newspaper, Shoptahik Hijroth.

Listen: Mr Mukhtar talking about working in factories and writing poetry in his spare time
Listen: Mr Mukhtar talking about the East London venues used for Bengali cultural activities and setting up safe cultural spaces at home.