Abdus Salique

The founder of Dishari, a Bengali musical band was born in Sylhet in 1950. He was already an accomplished musician by the time he arrived in Britain in 1970. His passion for singing and writing songs came from his mother who was also known for her musical talent. Growing up in rural East Pakistan (modern day Bangladesh), intoxicated with the socialist fervour of the renowned Bengali politician Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani (1880 – 1976), Mr Salique became naturally drawn towards the activities of the local Trade Union. In 1976, in response to the horrific condition faced by Bangladeshi factory workers in East London, he produced the Trade Union Song – calling for the Bangladeshi works to join the union to resist and take action. In 1979, he set up Dishari Shipli Goshti (Dishari group of artists) funded by Inner London Education Authority to deliver Bengali music and poetry workshop at local schools with a view to tackle racism. He continues to organise political and cultural activities in East London to serve the local community. 

Listen: Mr Salique talking about the deplorable working condition in the East End factories and the story behind the Trade union Song.
Watch: Short clip of the Trade Union Song 

Trade Union Song of Bangladeshi Workers (Translation)

We were called from a distant land,
Counting the waves
of thirteen rivers and seven seas
With hopes of a better life.
We are the workers!
We labour in the factories and the workshops,
If We unite
we can grasp our rights in our hands.
Of course we must unite
If we want to defeat the racist
If we want to break the teeth
Of the bloodsuckers who exploit us.
We must stand together
Under the trade union banner!
Trade Union!
              Trade Union!
                             Trade Union!