The dedicated artistes of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra (SBBK) used to sing and compose songs to inspire the freedom fighters. "The songs ignited the patriotic sentiments of the common people as well as soldiers in the battlefield," said a nostalgic Ajit Roy, member of SBBK. Ajit is the veteran singer and composer of many timeless and patriotic songs, including Ekti Bangladesh tumi jagroti janatar, Apomaney tumi shedin, Katha dao kathagulo, Ami jugey jugey ashi, Edesh biponno and Hey Bango bhandarey tabo.
Born in 1938, Ajit was inspired by the spirit of the Language Movement and began singing in 1952. His mother Konika Roy taught him the basics of music. After his matriculation, in 1963 he began to perform on radio and TV. He has also rendered playbacks in films including Reporter, Jibon Thekey Neya, Je aguney Puri, Janmabhumi, Kothay Jeno Dekhechhi and Kashai. He has also enacted a role in the film Suruj Mia.
Since the mid-60s he began to compose a new song on the occasion of the Language Movement Day every year and present that particular song on the auspicious day. It was Ajit, who sang Bidrohi by Rebel Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, composed by Altaf Mahmud on one such occasion.
Going back in time to the Liberation War, Ajit says, "In 1971, I received a message from the artistes of the SBBK asking me to join the radio right away. It was almost as if I was being impelled to go. After a dangerous journey, I reached Kolkata in June or July. And after I joined the radio, the structure of the radio was more organised." He was warmly received by personalities such as Apel Mahmud, Abdul Jabbar, Shamar Das and Kaderi Kibria.
He has rendered Amar Sonar Bangla and Jago Anashan Bandee and composed many timeless songs on SBBK. He says, "I still have memories of the time I was in that station. On December 16, I composed the song Shwadhin shwadhin dikey dikey aj, written by Akhtar Hossain, which was the first song announcing our victory."
While at SBBK, Ajit used to sing diverse Bangla songs, ranging from Tagore to Nazrul and from Gono-sangeet to other patriotic songs. He also composed the music for patriotic poems, such as Banglar mukh ami dekhiachhi.
In 1972 he joined the radio as music director, and retired in 1996. He participated in a two-day programme at the Biswabharati on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Tagore in 1987. He is also the founder of a musical organisation, Abhyudoy Sangeet Academy.
Ajit has several awards to his credit: Swadhinota Padak, the highest award of the country in 2000, Gunijan Padak from Rabindra Sangeet Sammilon Parishad, Sraddhanjalipatro from Bangladesh Rabindra Sangeet Shilpi Shangshtha, Shabdoshainik Padak from SBBK, Sequence Award 1988, Begum Rokeya Padak, Chittagong Youth Choir Award, Wrishijo Shilpo Goshthi Padak and Robi Rasmi Padak.