Hason Raja, (Bengali: হাসন রাজা; 1854–1922) was a Bengali poet, mystic philosopher and songwriter from Sylhet, Bangladesh, then a part of undivided India. He gained international recognition few years after his death, when Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, mentioned him in his lectures at Oxford University. Tagore said, “We realise it through admiration and love, through hope that soars beyond the actual, beyond our own span of life into an endless time wherein we live of all men.” and “It is a village poet of East Bengal who preaches in a song the philosophical doctrine that the universe has its reality in its relation to the Person.”
Raja was born on 21 December 1854 in Rampasha, Bishwanath, Sylhet. His father was Dewan Ali Raja, a direct descendant of Birendraram Singhdev (later converted from Hindu to Muslim and renamed as Raja Babu Khan). Hason Raja’s mother was Hurmuth Jahan Bibi, the last and fifth wife of Ali Raja. He spent most of his childhood in Rampasha with his mother. At the age of seven, his father started living in Lakkansree of Sunamganj, 33 miles away from Rampasha, for the most part of the year. Ali supervised and managed his paternal properties.
The death of Raja’s elder step-brother, Ubeydur Raja, followed by the death of his father (in about 40 days gap), put the power and responsibility of the whole family upon Hason at a very young age.
Raja established schools and religious centres like mosques, temples and churches, and he is said to have been widely engaged in charities within his immediate communities. He donated vast land properties for the well-being of the people. He was interested in the well-being and protection of birds and animal life. He spent a large quantity of his money on those lives. The 12 June 1897 Assam earthquake was one of the biggest earthquakes that occurred in the Assam and Sylhet area. The largest known Indian interpolate earthquake (at 8.0 on the moment magnitude scale) resulted in the destruction of structures over much of the Plateau and surrounding areas, and caused widespread liquefaction and flooding in the Brahmaputra and Sylhet floodplains. He found out many of his kin and relatives as well as his people wounded and killed. His thatched house was fully damaged. He lost many of his tamed birds and animals.
Raja died on 7 December 1922. Two museums were established in his name in two places. One, sponsored by “Hason Raja Museum Trust” at his birthplace, Lokkonshri, Sunamganj, and another, Museum of Rajas’ at RajaKunjo, Sylhet, sponsored by “Educationist Dewan Talibur Raja Trust”.
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Raja’s songs are collected in books and It was reported by in May 2013, that an epic Bengali feature film is under production, based on the life and music of Raja played by Mithun Chakraborty, directed by Ruhul Amin, and produced by Galaxy Films between UK, India and Bangladesh. A volume called was also published. It contained 500 poems and songs.