Azad Bokht Choudhury

Azad Bokht Choudhury, a Social Worker, was born in Usmani Nagar, Sylhet. He came to Britain in 1975 at age seventeen and took up sewing work at garment factories in East London, while taking English classes three evenings a week at Toynbee Hall. As there wasn’t much to do for the Bangladeshi youths, Mr Choudhury decided to set up the Rainbow Sporting Club, a social club for young Bangladeshis who would watch Indian or Bengali films at local cinemas or meet at Toynbee Hall for adda. During adda – some would write poems, play Ludo and other board game, and during Eid, they organised cultural events. In the early eighties, Mr Choudhury completed a course in Education and Social Work and began a career in Education with Inner London Education Authority. He also received training on Youth Work by the much-loved Caroline Adams. Mr Choudhury recently published a book of his life story in East London, which was printed in Bangladesh.

Listen: Racism in the 70s and 80s in East London and the changes - Mr Choudhury spent 9 days in hospital after receiving stab wounds during a racist attack. 
Listen: The beginning of his journey in writing in East London
ListenThe establishment of 'Rainbow Sporting Club' and the emergence of Bengali cultural scene in East London.
Listen: Reading 'Bidesher Jala' - A poem illustrating the struggles faced by Bangladeshis due to unemployment. Mr Choudhury also talks about working in the factories and monthly salary in the 70s. 



Bidesher Jala
Struggles of an Expatriate (Translation)
For a long time I had been working as a tailor
Now stuck at home – been unemployed for a year
Finding no work, I wander about.
Spending afternoon in Brick Lane
doing babugiri*.
In my pocket there is not a single penny, so
how would I meet my Father’s demand for money!
Wife has gone away to her parents’ home
crossed for not taking her for a visit back home
My lamentation does not seem to have an end.
Agonies are unending.
This is the life of an expatriate.