On This Day … 09 December

People (Births)

  • 1926 – Jan Křesadlo, Czech-English psychologist and author (d. 1995).
  • 1972 – Saima Wazed Hossain, Bangladeshi psychologist.

Jan Kresadlo

Václav Jaroslav Karel Pinkava (09 December 1926 to 13 August 1995), better known by his pen name Jan Křesadlo, was a Czech psychologist who was also a prizewinning novelist and poet.

An anti-communist, Pinkava emigrated to Britain with his wife and four children following the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet-led armies of the Warsaw pact. He worked as a clinical psychologist until his early retirement in 1982, when he turned to full-time writing. His first novel “Mrchopěvci” (GraveLarks) was published by Josef Škvorecký’s emigre publishing house 68 Publishers, and earned the 1984 Egon Hostovský prize.

He chose his pseudonym (which means firesteel) partly because it contains the uniquely Czech sound ř; in addition, he was fond of creating more pseudonyms such as Jake Rolands (an anagram), J.K. Klement (after his grandfather, for translations into English), Juraj Hron (for his Slovak-Moravian writings), Ferdinand Lučovický z Lučovic a na Suchým dole (for his music), Kamil Troud (for his illustrations), Ἰωάννης Πυρεῖα (for his Astronautilia), and more.

Pinkava was also active in choral music, composing (among others) a Glagolitic Mass. As well, he worked in mathematical logic, discovering the many-valued logic algebra which bears his name.

A polymath and polyglot, Pinkava was fond of setting intense goals for himself, such as translating Jaroslav Seifert’s interwoven sonnet cycle about Prague, ‘A Wreath of Sonnets’. He published a collection of his own poems in seven languages. Perhaps his most staggering achievement is ΑΣΤΡΟΝΑΥΤΙΛΙΑ Hvězdoplavba, a 6575-line science fiction epic poem, an odyssey in classical Homeric Greek, with its parallel hexameter translation into Czech. This was published shortly after his death, in a limited edition. Only his first, prize-winning novel has been published in English translation, as GraveLarks in a bilingual edition in 1999 and in a revised edition in 2015.

He is the father of film director Jan Pinkava who received an Oscar for Geri’s Game in 1998 and also illustrated GraveLarks.

Saima Wazed

Saima Wazed Hossain (Bengali: সায়মা ওয়াজেদ হোসেন; born 09 December 1972), also known as Putul (Bengali: পুতুল), is a Bangladeshi autism activist. She is the daughter of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina. She is a member of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) 25-member Expert.

Early Life and Education

She was born to Sheikh Hasina, the present Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and M.A. Wazed Miah, a nuclear scientist. Her brother is Sajeeb Wazed Joy. She graduated from Barry University. She is a licensed school psychologist.


She organised the first South Asian conference on Autism in 2011 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is the chairperson of National Advisory Committee on Autism and Neurodevelopmental disorders. She campaigned for “Comprehensive and Coordinated Efforts for the Management of Autism Spectrum Disorders” resolution at the World Health Assembly which adopted the resolution, Autism Speaks praised her for spearheading “a truly global push for support for this resolution”. She is a member of WHO’s 25-member Expert Advisory Panel on mental health.

In November 2016, Wazed had been elected as chairperson of International Jury Board meeting of UNESCO for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

In April 2017, Wazed has been designated as WHO Champion for Autism” in South-East Asia. In July 2017 she became the Goodwill Ambassador of the WHO for autism in South-East Asia Region.


In 2016, Wazed has conferred WHO’s South-East Asia Region Award for Excellence in Public Health. In 2017, she has been awarded the International Champion Award for her outstanding contribution to the field of autism. She received a distinguished alumni award from Barry University for her activism.

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