Bob Dylan at 80

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Bob Dylan is seen performing at a benefit concert for Bangladesh refugees at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Aug. 1, 1971. Former Beatle George Harrison is playing the guitar behind Dylan. Leon Russell is on the right. Photo: AP

A singer and a poet Bob Dylan always dressed informally. If anyone wished to see him in a jacket or something else was sorely disappointed! His mark depose was the guitar. Joan Baez could be seen in a gown, but other possessions were few. The priciest object they possessed was a Bike!

A wanderer, Bob Dylan was often on the road in search of something new. “You can find out a lot about a small town by hanging around its poolroom,” he used to say. Like Miss Baez, he preferred to keep most of his time for himself. He worked only occasionally, and during the rest of the year, he traveled or briefly stayed in a house owned by his Manager, Albert Grossman, in Bearsville, New York—a small town adjacent to Woodstock and about a hundred miles north of New York City. Here Bob Dylan wrote songs, worked on poetry, plays, and novels, rode his motorcycle, and talked with his friends. From time to time, he came to New York to record for Columbia Records.

He was in the forefront with Joan Baez in a march in Washington DC. He was in the Madison Square Garden crying against “Murder Most Foul”- in Bangladesh.

U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Bob Dylan the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the White House On May 29, 2012. At the ceremony, Obama praised Dylan's voice for its "unique gravelly power that redefined not just what music sounded like but the message it carried and how it made people feel".

How many roads must a man wander before “you call him a man he is ending was the beginning and the beginning was the end.”

Dylan's surprise appearance at Harrison's 1971 Concert for Bangladesh attracted media coverage, reflecting that Dylan's live appearances had become rare. And that also in the Madison Square Graden to protest the genocide in Bangladesh. His love Minus Zero/No Limit -spoke louder than a few lines that came out in the music. Bob Dylan is a mystery man who was seen only with a Guitar. Pandit Ravi Shankar had a posse of people to follow, George Harrison had minions to gloat but the mystery man was alone.

He was the only singer to ever get a Nobel Prize in Literature. Many eyebrows were raised but Bob Dylan’s Guitar charged on-

“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind

The answer is blown’ in the wind”

Pointing his guitar towards Bangladesh only he would say:

“My love she laughs like the flowers,

Valentines can’t buy her.

He also wrote a song or paint a picture to honor George Floyd. In the 1960s and 1970s, following the work of black leaders of the civil rights movement, Dylan also worked to expose the arrogance of white privilege and the viciousness of racial hatred in America through songs like “George Jackson,” “Only a Pawn in Their Game,” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.” One of his most fierce lines about policing and race came in his 1976 ballad “Hurricane”:

“In Paterson, that’s just the way things go

If you’re black you might as well not show up on the street

Unless you want to draw the heat.”

Bob Dylan's songs are rooted in the rich tradition of American folk music and are influenced by the poets of modernism and the beatnik movement. Early on, his lyrics incorporated social struggles and political protest. Love and religion are other important themes in his songs. His writing is often characterized by refined rhymes and it paints surprising, sometimes surreal imagery. Since his debut in 1962, he has repeatedly reinvented his songs and music.

Bob Dylan has also written prose, including his memoirs 'Chronicles’. Bob is a Nobel Laureate at last. As we recall, Bob Dylan won the prize in Literature on October 13, 2016, but, to officially collect the title—plus the roughly nine-hundred-thousand-dollar bundle of cash that comes with it—winners must deliver a lecture within six months of the Swedish Academy’s official awards ceremony in December, which Dylan skipped. That gave him a deadline of June 10th! Bob Dylan, true to his form, has played the whole Nobel thing mysteriously, maybe maddeningly- cool. He claimed that he couldn’t attend the ceremony because of “previous commitments,” as if it were a college friend’s wedding. When he finally showed up in Stockholm, during an April tour stop, to receive the Nobel medal, he looked more like a cat burglar than a Laureate, sneaking into the private prize hand-off through a service door, wearing a hoodie, leather jacket, and gloves.

Bob Dylan’s songs have a soulful meaning. It carries peace, freedom, and revolution.   When Bob Dylan, performed along with fellow artists- George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Leon Russell, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Ali Akbar Khan, and Alla Rakha at the New York Madison Square Garden on August 1, 1971, in aid of the displaced refugees of Bangladesh Liberation War, he set the model for future multi-artist rock benefits concert. Dylan performed some of his greatest hit numbers; "Blowin' in the Wind," along with "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry," "Love Minus Zero/No Limit," "Just Like a Woman" and "Mr. Tambourine Man.”

Dylan’s guitar sang of the soul and cried for the vanquished but the noble recognized in him as Hamlet did and said: “Denmark’s a prison” and Hamlet tries to break the prison and free his country from the rotten state it is in; perhaps he also thought of Pushkin’s Yevgeniy but he was too weak to stand up to the Bronze Horseman. And finally, he discovered Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov who was instantly followed by the boys and girls sweeping and crawling with staccato guns slung on the bunkers and surely defeated the evil incarnate that is Pakistan.

Ambassador Waliur Rahman, Chairman, Bangladesh Heritage Foundation, Fmr Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and now he is working as an Aide to the Prime Minister on International Crimes Tribunal (ICTBD).

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