Tofial Uddin

Tofial Uddin, a professional singer, Radio presenter and Interpreter, moved into the heart of the Bangladeshi community in Brick Lane with his family at age sixteen. In the late 90s, along with some other members of the East London Bangladeshi literary community, Mr Uddin set up a bi-lingual Bengali newspaper, Eastern Voice. Mr Uddin started writing poetry in his formative years whilst growing up in Sheffield, where his family had originally moved from Bangladesh, just after he reached his first birthday. At thirteen, Mr Uddin joined Carousel – a South Asian youth movement in Sheffield. There he was exposed to his passion - South Asian music. He took his first classical singing lessons after moving to the East End and has received training under several South Asian musicians. In 1991, Mr Uddin joined the Basement Writers. His poem ‘Quasimodo Complex’ was published by Basement Writers in ‘xx years of Basement’ in 1993’. 


Why could you have not told me
I, who had been an ally
Through the early Jihad
I, who had stood by
In case things got worse
When they did
You selfishly fought alone.
The chewing gums we tore in two
Our wristwatches, the swap
No one noticed.
Demand I do not, to share
What you had.
But to know of your pain
Was that too much to ask?
Your handshake, that
Gave no sign.
Your choice of words,
How could I have guessed.
To the end, did you hold back
Not showing
Your distress?
Imtiaz, if we ever meet again
I will demand of you to listen.
Share with you the knowledge, of
This decade you have missed
I will.
Depart as you did without farewell
I will not.

(7th April 1992)


Stature aside, to us
  you are low.
How can you deny
  your heritage so?
Using your culture and background
  as a stepping stone
King you wish to be
  on such a worthless throne.
Immigrant’s son, you consider yourself part
  of a higher-level culture
Must you scavenge so for you master’s scraps
  like an opportune vulture?
On your shoulder is an unbearable chip
  perhaps from a curse or hex
Ever more, if you do not repent you will
  be victim of Quasimodo complex.

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