Monajatuddin: The Minstrel Journalist

Monajatuddin (photo: Pabna News)

Monajatuddin (source: Pabna News)

by Adnan R. Amin for

The works of Monajatuddin – the Minstrel Journalist – have had more of a shaping role in contemporary Bangladesh than that of many a politicians, development-pundits, editors or litterateurs. Take for example, the Child Marriage Restraint Act 2014, only recently okayed by the cabinet. It was Monajatuddin’s keen, investigative reporting on child marriage that informed and laid the groundwork for necessary social-debates and policy-making. Continue reading

Known Unknowns of the Class War


Courtesy Naeem Mohaiemen

by Naeem Mohaiemen

When you turn to page 186 of In the Light of What We Know, you encounter an illustration. The novel’s two main characters have by this point discussed many things, and readers may have already been craving visual aids. But this is the first time the text is interrupted by a diagram. You sense, therefore, the arrival of a crucial digression. Continue reading

The Journey from Shyamapuja to Diwali

Copyright: Manisha Dasgupta

Copyright: Manisha Dasgupta

For India, it took the shape of Hindu right-wing and their counter-imposition of a false construct of Hindu and Indian identity. The irrelevant political force of Hindutva took the centre-stage, asserting its claim on the identity of ‘Indian-ness’ and ‘Hindu-ness’. And like any two compatible hegemony, down the lane, there were a political pact between the two. Once it was realised that the gullible globalised middle-class can be bought and bribed and made to want almost anything with enough packaging and with enough lucre, the only question remained how long it would take.

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Shahidullah Kaiser’s Son Speaks: Forgive me father, I could not keep this soil sacred!

Shahidullah Kaiser  Copyright: Chaman Khan

Shahidullah Kaiser
Copyright: Chaman Khan

“A country whose soil is soaked in the blood of the martyrs, a country whose soil still bears witness to the history of genocide — the soil of that country will receive the body of the Captain of the Rajakars? How are we to answer to our conscience?”

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Piash Karim (1958-2014) : Language, nation, and multiplicity

Piash Karim

Piash Karim

“One doesn’t have to succumb to a teleological faith in historical progress to ascertain that language-based nationalism is a step forward from its religion-based counterpart. But it is also equally true that like any other form of identity, linguistic identity also includes some at the expense of others.”
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The Selling of Lalon Phokir

2007, the first time Grameenphone sponsored Lalan. Photo: Amdadul Haq

2007, the first time Grameenphone sponsored Lalan. Photo: Amdadul Haq

The Selling of Lalon Phokir
by Zaid Islam for

Lalon Phokir has always been important to us for the past hundred years. But recently he has become just another venture to cash in on. Starting from individuals all the way to corporate houses and agencies have all realised that a “little bit of Lalon” is required to spice things up. Continue reading

In the Light of What We Know: A Novel that Defines Our Times

by Lamia Karim for



A mathematician by training, Zia Haider Rahman’s debut novel is a literary masterpiece. It is a deeply unsettling novel where the protagonist’s ‘descent of hope’ reveals our loss of a shared humanity. The novel is a magisterial sweep of the landscape of the 21st century that is characterized by war, migration, and rootlessness. Continue reading