by Lamia Karim for alalodulal.org
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
At Nicosia airport, Cyprus, January 9, 1972, en route from London to Dhaka after release. (left to right): Air Commodore David B Craig, UK Royal Air Force, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, PM elect of Bangladesh, Dr Kamal Hossain, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Golam Mowla, Managing Director of Great Eastern Insurance Company Limited.
Our history is never still, and there are always processes of rewriting Bangladesh’s history, erasing crucial figures. The best response to such history wars is to let the record speak, when possible. In an Alal O Dulal exclusive, we are translating a 37 page interview of Kamal Hossain (from Shaptahik magazine, 2014).Continue Reading
The Killings at Bangladesh’s Bihari Camp – Murder Mystery or Murder with Impunity?
By Nadine Shaanta Murshid
There are multiple stories. We are either to believe one of them or cast aside the whole incident as an accident. The stories are important to note, however, given that each story has a different set of perpetrators and actors, as well as a different motive behind the killings. What remains unchanged in all these stories is this: 10 Urdu-speaking non-Bengali Bangladeshi citizens who live in ‘Kalshi’ were killed, 8 of the deceased are from the same family.Continue Reading
A Place to Call Home
by Hana Shams Ahmed
A young girl writes a poem where she asks a simple question — one which no one can answer. She asks, “Who am I?” Her forefathers were born in India, they immigrated to Pakistan, she was born in Bangladesh. India has given up on them a long time back, Bangladesh will not accept them as the children of the land and Pakistan will not take them back. She says that she has many names ‘Bihari’, ‘Maura’, ‘Muhajir’, ‘Non-Bangalee’, ‘Marwari’, ‘Urdu-speaker’, ‘Refugee’, and ‘Stranded Pakistani’. But she only wants one: human. This is the state of being of the 1.6 lakh camp-based Urdu-speaking community in Bangladesh.Continue Reading
David Bergman. Source: The Daily Star.
The Trial of David B.
by Tibra Ali
“Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.”—Franz Kafka, “The Trial”
I was reminded of Kafka’s novel when I heard that the charge of contempt of court has been brought against the Bangladesh based British journalist David Bergman. Continue Reading
Bangla poster of Hindi film ‘Gunday’
Liberation through the Gunday lens
By Fahima Durrat for AlalODulal.org
Factual errors made in a fictitious storyline may seem like a trivial matter, but they can hide icebergs. The iceberg that showed its tip in the film Gunday seems to have reappeared again in the headlines of Indian newspapers. Bangladesh protests against “distortion” of history, they report. Those inverted commas reveal a deeper source of offence.
AlalODulal condemns in the strongest terms the violence that left at least 11 Urdu Speaking people (“Biharis”) dead. Anthropologist Dina Siddiqi’s research on the conditions of “stranded Pakistanis” (alternately and inaccurately called “Biharis,” but more accurately “Urdu speakers”) after 1971 is sadly newly relevant. In the current discourse around the 1971 war, the fate of the Urdu speakers at war’s end is elided. It is one of the zones of silence because it does not fit with the Bangladeshi discourse around the war. Nor does it fit Pakistan’s convenient discourse, especially after a 2008 high court decision granted them Bangladeshi citizenship. We at AlalODulal feel it is crucial to highlight those left behind in mulitple nation projects.
– Editors, AlaloDulal.org