Contrarian Thoughts on Humayun Ahmed

Contrarian Thoughts on Humayun Ahmed
– by Bookworm Blogger

So Humayun Ahmed finally died a few days ago. Not unexpected really, considering his advanced age and his prolonged battle with cancer. You don’t really win fights like those in the end. He didn’t either.

I got the news as I was sitting in the bus, going to the mall. Facebook feeds on the mobile, of course, what else. All in all – and it’s now been several days, so my reactions have had time to settle – I find myself almost entirely unmoved by this event. Except perhaps for a brief moment of heaviness just after I heard the news. After all, this IS Humayun Ahmed. THE name to contend with in modern Bangladeshi fiction.

Sure, he was a very talented writer. Yet my enduring memories of reading Humayun are few and far between. In total, I can’t say that I read more than 12-15 of his books – and the last one was a good 20 years ago. Perhaps because towards the end – and for me, that would be 1992-93 – the crap content was so high that I felt there were far better uses of my time than reading the ramblings of some loser kid in a yellow punjabi or whatever the latest fad was that the Humayun word-machine was churning out to keep greedy publishers and childish readers happy.

*


But first, those enduring memories. Being really affected, for instance, by “Shongkhonil Karagar” when I read it in my teens. Or admiring the total out-there weirdness of “Tara Tin Jon”, which was a far more imaginative book than the usual crud that is android-focused science fiction coming out of the west, far superior to Star Wars or Star Trek or Star Whatever.

I remember reading a thriller set in Rome – Omanush? Irina? – and being oh so struck by the face of the girl on the cover. Many years later I found myself standing in front of the original painting in a gallery in London, at a Modigliani exhibition. Strange tricks that time, travel and memory will play. Another memory – Dhaka, early 1990s, quiet afternoon, I’m walking in the sun towards my math tutor’s place just a few days before my O-level exams, walking down the rail tracks from Tejgaon to Mohakhali, open book in hand, Humayun’s novel “1971”. There’s a scene of gripping horror, a Bengali villager is having bricks suspended from his testicles by the Pakistani invaders. I am reading, reading, in rhythm with my footsteps on the wooden sleepers, reading, unable to stop, I reach my sir’s house, but instead of going into his flat, I head straight for the roof and read the next few pages, baking in the summer sun, in Dhaka one April afternoon in 1991. Reading Humayun Ahmed.

*

By 1992 or 1993, when I picked up the boi-mela habit, and when I had also started to read a little more widely – Western literature more so than domestic lit, I’m slightly ashamed to say – by then I realized that in every boi-mela, this guy was churning out 5, 6, 7 novels, each one no more than 50-60 pages in length, each one priced at 40-50 takas, each one pretty similar to the last one, and each one could be read usually in a single sitting, in a little over two hours even if you were a particularly slow reader. So just WHY is this called a “novel” again? The technical term, I thought, was a “novella”. Uponnashika, NOT uponnash. So why not advertise it as such? Or perhaps even call it a longish short story, because a novel, as I was coming to understand it in those days, would at the very least be defined by its scale – or mechanically speaking, its length – say, David Copperfield coming in at 500 pages, or War and Peace at 900 pages, or even Vikram Seth at 1,300 which had just been published then. (“The Stranger” or “The Old Man and the Sea” were, for me at the time, rare and happy exceptions to the rule that a novel ought to have, by rights, some heft to it.) Even the “opar” novelists – Sunil, Samaresh and Shirshendu – seemed to be operating with far more ambition, more scope and scale than Humayun Ahmed and his ilk, the whole farce of bashing out 10,000 quickie words while the publisher was sipping tea in the drawing room, waiting for a manuscript that would be coming out as a “novel” just the day after tomorrow.

Was it a publisher-driven phenomenon? Reader-driven? Author-driven? I confess I never did manage to figure it out. There was definitely some kind of market force at work, but the bottom line is that I felt short-changed more and more when I started to read a Humayun novel or novella or novelette, and by 1993 I had just about quit, out of boredom or distaste or maybe just the transparent lack, in my eyes, of honesty, effort, or literary merit. Tired of the repetition, tired of the cookie-cutter quirky characters with predictable names and predictable mannerisms, the hackneyed phrases – the “uthal pathal jyotsna” and the “oshombhob rupoboti” and the Nilu-Bulu-Nowabuddin Ahmed shahebs. Over and over again, in every book, without fail, without change.

The man became lazy, and he sussed out his readership pretty early on. So he [started to] write infantile fiction for what he realized was a largely infantilized, over-emotional audience. And he played a massive role in cultivating that infantilization. There are thousands of bookshelves in thousands of living rooms and bedrooms up and down the length of Bangladesh, where there are scores and scores of Humayun Ahmed titles, but not a single book by any other Bengali writer. No Tagore and no Sharat, no Manik and no Tara, no Shawkat Ali or Shawkat Osman, no Alauddin al-Azad or Akhtaruzaman Ilyas. No “opar” writers either. Maybe the odd Milon, the odd Sunil scattered here and there. But every time I see a bookshelf like that, I get the impression that here are readers who look upon books mostly as a form of easy time-pass, who are indifferent to the challenge of exploring a new writer, a new world, uninterested in getting out of their comfort zone, out of the warm cocoon of word-pap that Humayun Ahmed wove for them so assiduously for so many years. Indifferent, in other words, to exploring the glittering Ali Baba’s cave that is the world of books, of literature. Snobbish on my part? Perhaps, though I don’t really believe so.

Then again, it’s a global phenomenon. There are bookshelves everywhere full of Dan Brown and Michael Crichton and Stephen King and James Patterson and little else besides. So would it be fair to conclude that, although they are writers of different genres, languages, cultures and sensibilities, the Milons and Humayuns of Bangladesh perform essentially the same function as the Kings and Crichtons of the west? That is, writing best-sellers for the common reader for whom books don’t pretend to serve any higher purpose at all? No questions raised, no light shed, no facades torn away? Just dull, unchallenging stuff, repeated ad nauseam until the reader wouldn’t know good prose or a challenging book if it hit him in the face?

But maybe that’s it? To encounter challenging literature, you have to be interested in the CHALLENGE in the first place. There’s no rule that says you HAVE to be, and to claim otherwise definitely is snobbery and humbug. Everyone has their own set of pursuits which, to them, is as valuable as anyone else’s set of choices. I have no quarrel with that. My beef here, mainly, is with the blind deification of a mass-market writer of pulp fiction, easy pap, the unthinking elevation of his status into some kind of literary god, something that he really was not, something he consciously chose NOT to be.

Which is a pity really, because it will be a long time again before we get a prose stylist like him. Weaver of words that went down easier than a cold drink on a hot day, words that could spin an intimately familiar world inside your head – before you even knew it, you were right inside it. And, by the way, Elebele 1 is still the funniest Bangla book I have ever read, right up there with that first delight of reading Wodehouse. Timeless, unforgettable.

So what should Humayun have done with that inimitable unique style? Write books that explored the world around him with a bit more honesty, integrity, enquiry? More doubt and more questioning? Turn away from the hundreds of cans of vegetable soup that he churned out in the end? He made his choice. It was he who decided that a science lecturer’s salary was not for him, it was he who wanted to build Nuhash Polli for himself and his family. It was he who could afford 1 crore taka to go to the US for his cancer treatment.

On the other hand, Akhtaruzzaman Ilyas, whose name will reverberate down the decades as long as Bengali books are read, spent 25 years in a small rented flat in Tikatuly, and the last few of those years as an amputee unable to get out of the house, let alone fly to America. For all that he wrote Khowabnama and Chilekothar Shepai, wouldn’t he have wanted to be able to afford some decent treatment for the cancer that ate up his leg before he died? Who’s to say? Who’s to judge?

*


What about the stuff on TV? Oddly enough, as much as I remember loving Ei Shob Din Ratri and Bohubrihi and of course Ekdin Hothat, I also remember being bored by Ayomoy and Asaduzzaman Noor’s overstylized acting, and I remember positively being turned off by the sheer hau-kau that surrounded Kothao Keu Nei. I mean seriously? Those natoks remind me now of nothing more than the blatant, naked, emotional manipulation of which Steven Spielberg is an acknowledged master in Hollywood. The storyline designed to wrench every last emotion out of the happily complicit audience, the predictably quirky/amusing dialogue, the even more predictably oddball/lovable characters – it’s all there, right down to the last planned twitch of the puppeteer’s string. Bangali emnitei emotional jaat, so in Humayun’s hands, they were little more than putty primed for the moulding. That people were holding rallies on the street to save Baker Bhai’s neck tells you pretty much all you need to know about Humayun’s razor-sharp insight into the nature of his audience.

*

Funnily enough, somehow I also think that Humayun Ahmed wouldn’t have made it this big, had he started out today in 2012. It was easier to build a mass audience, a mass following on that scale in the Bangladesh of the 1980s and 1990s, when we were still largely one nation (at least the middle classes were), when BTV was the only channel in town, TV natok was the only real entertainment available, and books/novels had no competition, not from the internet, not from televised cricket or T20, not from Hindi serials and reality shows, not from a hundred million cable stations clamouring for your attention on an hourly basis. In the desh of the 80s, we were free to immerse ourselves in Sheba Prokashoni books as kids, and Humayun Ahmed when we were older. Perhaps his appeal was also the product of a particular time and place, the final hurrah of a unified Bangladeshi urban middle class, culturally homogeneous and mostly uniform in its hopes and aspirations, its loves and hates. And then the great fragmentation that’s taken place these last 15 years, until we have a society so atomized and self-seeking that interests and self-interest have broken down almost at the individual level, let alone at the level of family or social class.

*


As for the sad spectacle of the battles over the burial and the media pitting the wife against the ex-wife. Bear in mind that it’s not all that uncommon; there must have been a good 40 or 50 years’ gap, for example, between Picasso and Francoise Gilot. To pretend that Shawon is the devil incarnate in all this while Humayun was some dhowa tulshi pata, merely the hapless victim of a honeytrap, all that is transparent absurdity. Unfortunately, aam-public emon that even this seems to have become a matter of hot dispute among the Facebooking middle classes.

Rest in peace, Humayun Ahmed, for all that you were and for all that you could have been.

25 thoughts on “Contrarian Thoughts on Humayun Ahmed

  1. the death wasnt a surprise?..really?…i dont know who you are and what are your credentials.This is just fad you have written which is fine.Now a days with the blogs any Abul or Kashem or karim can write whatever comes to their mind.As a reader i sicerly think this writting is a real waste of time.its posted alrite but you filed to undertanding of the internal zest of Humauns writting.just mentioned you were an o-level student which doesnt surprise me.because you have not read Bangla probaly that muh as you are English medium student and you would like to publish that i am educated through english(really who cares?).Humaun come from very humble background and he made it very very big.Forgettable blogger like you would never come to know the true blue Humayun.i hope some time in your life you do because then you might taken aback thinking woah what we have lost.

    • Dear Pavel,
      I think what the author meant (I presume) is that Stage 4 cancer with 12 rounds of chemo and 2 consequential surgeries, on a 60+ year old body, usually has high risk and therefore the death was not a surprise (as opposed to a sudden heart attack, which would have been). It is relatively common that infections in a weakened body post-chemo reduce survival rate, since chemo destroys immunity along with the cancerous cells.

      The decision to come back to Bangladesh to visit his mother (probably because the doctors warned him of the risks) may have increased his susceptibility to infection (note that the doctors found an “unknown virus”, which may indicate a tropical one and not one commonly found in US).

      About the rest of the essay, I’ll let the author discuss that himself.

      • okay cool nice to know khujechi.i am not medical minded but from what i have read in the papers and from different people that he was quite good thats why he came back to bd .Anyway that wasnt the case after all .Post chemo infection is more serious .But the writting is just what the writer thinks and as i have probably read all the writtings about Humayun this one seemed like ‘Oh i dont care about the fuss..Well this is big deal although the writer seem to think he wasnt of big deal in his life so he has written it without any kind of sympathy towards a gat man who really made people like me think read and laugh at matters that would other find serious or not funny at all.Hope his soul rest in peace and this is just some unknown people twritting and i couldnt care less.hope some day the writer will read and understand the true blue humyun .

      • Dear Pavel,
        A cousin of mine is a doctor, and he said we have a complex relationship with medical science on the subcontinent: “Jodi patient bache, tahole Allah’e bachaise; ar jodi patient more, Daktar i marse.” (যদি রুগী বাঁচে, তাহলে ‘আল্লাহ বাচাইসে’; আর যদি রুগী মরে যায়, তাহলে ‘ডাক্তারই মারসে’। )

        Of course he is being slightly ironic, but I think we have complicated relationship with death in hospital, and of course all this is elevated x 10 when it is a famous writer whom we were not ready to lose.

        I lost two friends to cancer (at age 40) and an aunt to cancer (at 60+) and I know from that experience that advanced stage cancer presents a complex decision choice to patient and family. If cancer is at advanced stage (Stage 3 or 4), often the doctors will tell you that chemo and surgery will bring temporary relief, but eventually there is a 50-50 chance of the cancer coming back. So in that case, chemo becomes a complicated decision. Because chemo kills the cancer cells, but it also kills healthy cells. Essentially you are pumping poison into your body. So chemo also kills the cells that give body immunity, and in that weakened condition, even a common virus can lead to deadly infection that can collapse the body. With many cancer patients, it is the chemo side-effects that can bring organ malfunction.

        I do not know what the doctors said about Humayun’s prognosis, but my hunch is that they told him there was 50-50 chance and that is why he, being after all emotional Bangali like all of us, came back to Bangladesh to see his mother (knowing it may be his last time). He came knowing there was risk of infection (especially traveling in plane and then Bangladesh surrounded by people). He took that risk knowing that risk was there.

        Then again, I have also seen people get deadly infection in ultra-clean, sanitary hospital in Singapore, America, and Malaysia. So this is where the question of fate, faith, hayaat, “it was his time” type of thoughts come in. Not scientific thoughts, but thoughts that help us make peace.

        You may be interested in this related article by Rumi Ahmed:
        “When the body is in such a frail condition, the floodgate for infections open up, one after another presumed stubborn infections keep on attacking the body. A combinations of critical care doctors, dozens of specialist physicians one for each organ, highly skilled nurses, bunch of machines — dialysis machine, breathing machine, this and that — keep locked in a relentless battle with death. Death eventually prevails. I try to explain to Arif — all my explanations go in vain. I give up. Like a good listener, I listen to his expressions of loss, his despair, hopelessness, anger.”

        http://opinion.bdnews24.com/2012/07/20/humayun-ahmed-a-thousand-more-years/

    • Pavel, with all due respect, this is the internet in the year 2012. There is no need for us to know each other. Your comments on my educational background are also beside the point. I go back to the question: what is the purpose of books, or more specifically, literature? You and I obviously have different answers to this question. Don’t get me wrong: I too believe that the PRIMARY requirement that a book must fulfill is that it must be READABLE. I have no time for writers who are wilfully obscure or abstract. And there’s a lot of those around, in all languages, English as well as Bengali.

      But beyond readability, I need a lot more from my reading shelf. Illumination, insight, the sense of my horizons being slowly widened. A kind of AMBITION that qoes beyond the quotidian. Maybe it’s not to the taste of all readers, some crave familiarity above all else, but for me, it’s a good thing when a writer takes a bold leap. Deep-dive explorations into a particular time and place – like the portrait of pre-Muslim-invasion Bengal society in “Prodoshey Prakritojon”, or the British pillage of northern India in the early 19th century in Amitav Ghosh. Novels that have more power and potency in them than an entire library’s worth of dry history books.

      And honestly, how can I be held responsible if I somehow acquired the language skills that would allow me to read and compare more widely? The majority of Humayun lovers saw in his books a reflection of their lives that was so faithful and so compassioniate that many of them don’t need anything else, ever. In that sense, I should say my above comparison with King or Crichton is less than fair. Humayun’s emotional reach is far deeper – deeper even that what most other Bengali authors managed to reach. But Humayun also became exploitative of his talent – that is, seriously greedy in the last decade or two, and as Faruk Wasif says in his Guruchandali essay, when the very character and aspirations of the Bangladeshi middle class started to change in the mid-1990s, that specificity of time and place that made Humayun beloved of millions, that too started to evaporate. The individuals and families that he wrote about in Nondito Noroke or Shongkhonil Karagar simply no longer exist today.

      So as a chronicler of his (very narrowly defined) slice of society, he won praise and rightly so, especially with his early books. But seriously, how many times can you read about “uthal pathal jyotsna” without rolling your eyeballs? At any rate, once I got past Humayun, I went on to read writers from all over the world – and I loved trying out every bit of it. Even the bits that failed. That’s a better fate than being satisfied with reading Humayun Ahmed morning noon and night.

      And many of those writers, they went after the big questions. Probing questions that tried to get to the very marrow of their society, the good and the bad, the rights and the wrongs. What I am NOT looking for in my reading – and what I suspect most blind devotees of Humayun ARE looking for – is to have their bourgeois Bangladeshi backs continuously scratched with repetitive nostalgic drivel like “channi-poshor rait” or “oshombhob rupoboti koinna” or whatever the hell else he was cooking up in his later books. I admire his attachment to gram and prokriti, and maybe he served to reconnect the urban middle-class reader’s soul to lost things like moonlight and monsoon rain, kodom-phool and lichu-gachh. Good for him, I say, but you know, Pavel, that ain’t enough for everyone.

      Maybe I didn’t read as many Humayun books as you did but what I read was sufficient for me to form an opinion, biased or otherwise. He sold his talent to make a bundle for himself and couldn’t give less of a damn about using it to explore and expose the true nature of our society. Heaven knows the questions about THAT are endless, but honestly he was not up to the challenge of exploring that. So how about yet one more 50-page “novel” for Onno Prokash about Nilu-Bulu-Anis? That will do nicely, thank you. Sweet balm for the Bengali bourgeois soul? Yes. Anything bigger or more ambitious than that? My answer is no. If you wish, you can prove me otherwise, I’m open to arguments.

    • From: Bookworm Blogger
      Pavel, with all due respect, this is the internet in the year 2012. There is no need for us to know each other. Your comments on my educational background are also beside the point. I go back to the question: what is the purpose of books, or more specifically, literature? You and I obviously have different answers to this question. Don’t get me wrong: I too believe that the PRIMARY requirement that a book must fulfill is that it must be READABLE. I have no time for writers who are wilfully obscure or abstract. And there’s a lot of those around, in all languages, English as well as Bengali.

      But beyond readability, I need a lot more from my reading shelf. Illumination, insight, the sense of my horizons being slowly widened. A kind of AMBITION that qoes beyond the quotidian. Maybe it’s not to the taste of all readers, some crave familiarity above all else, but for me, it’s a good thing when a writer takes a bold leap. Deep-dive explorations into a particular time and place – like the portrait of pre-Muslim-invasion Bengal society in “Prodoshey Prakritojon”, or the British pillage of northern India in the early 19th century in Amitav Ghosh. Novels that have more power and potency in them than an entire library’s worth of dry history books.

      And honestly, how can I be held responsible if I somehow acquired the language skills that would allow me to read and compare more widely? The majority of Humayun lovers saw in his books a reflection of their lives that was so faithful and so compassioniate that many of them don’t need anything else, ever. In that sense, I should say my above comparison with King or Crichton is less than fair. Humayun’s emotional reach is far deeper – deeper even that what most other Bengali authors managed to reach. But Humayun also became exploitative of his talent – that is, seriously greedy in the last decade or two, and as Faruk Wasif says in his Guruchandali essay, when the very character and aspirations of the Bangladeshi middle class started to change in the mid-1990s, that specificity of time and place that made Humayun beloved of millions, that too started to evaporate. The individuals and families that he wrote about in Nondito Noroke or Shongkhonil Karagar simply no longer exist today.

      So as a chronicler of his (very narrowly defined) slice of society, he won praise and rightly so, especially with his early books. But seriously, how many times can you read about “uthal pathal jyotsna” without rolling your eyeballs? At any rate, once I got past Humayun, I went on to read writers from all over the world – and I loved trying out every bit of it. Even the bits that failed. That’s a better fate than being satisfied with reading Humayun Ahmed morning noon and night.

      And many of those writers, they went after the big questions. Probing questions that tried to get to the very marrow of their society, the good and the bad, the rights and the wrongs. What I am NOT looking for in my reading – and what I suspect most blind devotees of Humayun ARE looking for – is to have their bourgeois Bangladeshi backs continuously scratched with repetitive nostalgic drivel like “channi-poshor rait” or “oshombhob rupoboti koinna” or whatever the hell else he was cooking up in his later books. I admire his attachment to gram and prokriti, and maybe he served to reconnect the urban middle-class reader’s soul to lost things like moonlight and monsoon rain, kodom-phool and lichu-gachh. Good for him, I say, but you know, Pavel, that ain’t enough for everyone.

      Maybe I didn’t read as many Humayun books as you did but what I read was sufficient for me to form an opinion, biased or otherwise. He sold his talent to make a bundle for himself and couldn’t give less of a damn about using it to explore and expose the true nature of our society. Heaven knows the questions about THAT are endless, but honestly he was not up to the challenge of exploring that. So how about yet one more 50-page “novel” for Onno Prokash about Nilu-Bulu-Anis? That will do nicely, thank you. Sweet balm for the Bengali bourgeois soul? Yes. Anything bigger or more ambitious than that? My answer is no. If you wish, you can prove me otherwise, I’m open to arguments.

    • what on earth do u mean by ”just mentioned you were an o-level student which doesnt surprise me.because you have not read Bangla probaly that muh as you are English medium student and you would like to publish that i am educated through english(really who cares?)”. i am from english medium as well, but i have read more humayun ahmed books than u ever have. i have read about 93% of his books. how many have u read? huh huh??? so its not a case of ‘incapable of reading bangla ‘probaly’ ‘. now contrary to that, i think humayun ahmed was the best writer i ever came across. i have read plenty of english and bangla books. and none came close to his magnificent style of capturing someone’s attention just by mere words.i mean you hooked just after reading page 1. not many writer are capable of accomplishing that. now khujeci..i really like and admire your style of writing. but cant agree with what you wrote though. so you felt there were far better uses of ur time than reading the ramblings of some loser kid in a…etc etc. and how exactly did you utilize that precious time you saved by not reading about some ‘loser kid’…updating your status every 5 minutes on facebook??(being sarcastic about you finding time to check facebook) so u have time for some loser website but for a HA book?. actually ur right cuz that a faaaaarrr better way of spending your time as opposed to reading a great book.im sorry. i know everyone is entitled to their own opinion. and so do u. itz just i think your being a little harsh in your topic. i mean 60 pages or 500 pages, does it really matter?? its not like they are charging what they would charge for a 500 page novel. so how exactly is it some money making scam designed to keep greedy publishers and childish readers happy..and i would rather buy a 60 page book costing 60 taka than some 500 page ‘novel’, (out of which 100 tend to be pure crap filled with unnecessary boring details of just about anything) costing a good 500 bucks.i dont know why they call his books novels either, maybe (and this is sth purely based on what i feel) because….you know his books might not be long, but they still fill you up with the same ‘hmmm..whoaa.” kind of feeling that a good novel would.and his books aren’t like short stories either, they hold a fair amount of story so it would be wrong to call them ‘a short story’ or sth similar. anyways its not important. and listen non readers ARE NON READERS. they won’t read. i know many of them, its not some comfort zone created by HA as you put it. even if they was no HA they still wouldn’t be caught dead reading a Rabindronath thakur or Shawkat Ali.they just don’t like the kind of complex these books hold (which book lovers love, they prefer thought provoking compared to just entertainment. exactly how u feel i guess). but HA’s books are not like that. they don’t follow the usual route of complexity that any pure piece of literature is expected to have. his books are written in a simple language (infact they are better than simple. anyone and everyone can read his books), they are fun and quick. so as to that even my friends who hate to read enjoy his books. and thinking only and only about what you like is extremely selfish! now you might like books that provide a better purpose than just entertainment. but the majority is incapable of or doesn’t think that way. they don’t want to be challenged.and does that make you better than them (this would be a good test to check whether you’re modest or arrogant)? however he writes for the common people, they aren’t many like you that are looking to be intellectually challenged by books, so he is not writing for you, he is writing for the average mango people. he IS a literary marvel. what exactly is literature??? some boring shit that contains words that make you look for your dictionary, complexity and challenge, why can’t it be adding something new or create a new trend to writing. that is literature as well, just a different kind. it expands what is meant by literature, while what many other writers write is just following the trend but adds nothing new.the same old shit. and i agree with you that its EXTREMELY unfair that you have to face a choice between what you want to write and what would make money.(well in HA’s case i think it wasn’t just about making money.c’mon! the man loved writing what he wrote. so for him it wasn’t really a choice.luckily what he wanted to write was also what majority wanted to read but i feel extremely sorry for those for who it IS a choice). hey some movies make you laugh some are designed to make you cry. there’s nothing wrong with that. many enjoy tragedy. it makes them feel human. there’s nothing wrong with being emotional towards sth. the whole baker bhai maybe be hashokor to the cynical but it shows that they could emotionally connect with the character. the way of showing it might be a little over the top, but that’s bangladesh for you:D..and i like it. and you what else is typical of a bengali talking about sth they have no idea about. like you bringing up the shaon incident. you should read the papers first. yes yes papers write rubbish most of the time. but everyone lying at the same time doesn’t make sense to me.and about shaon becoming a ‘villain’ after 40 or 50 years…lol!!! oh wait you weren’t kidding?? owww…

      PS: sorry if anything i wrote was a little rude. i do really admire your vocab and writing. and aaaa…ato like felsi….i bet this qualifies as a novel huh :P?

  2. Your words ring mostly true to me and my take on the whole affair… however, since we are a people of “dukkho bilaash” and “melodrama”, I think all that the man was and all that has transpired after he left fit just fine! This is as it was supposed to be! The masses will have their reasons for loving and hating Mr. Ahmed, his ex-wife, his widow, and so on and so forth. But the more experienced and, shall I say “cultured” and cultivated, reader must take it upon themselves to filter things as they see fit. The only thing I wrote (obviously on facebook!) was that I had my criticisms for his latter “misdirected” works, but the ones that worked… boy oh boy!! Did they work or did they work!?!!?!
    Call him pulp if you will, but that too serves a purpose, an audience! As a matter of fact I had this notion of pop fiction writers as producing vapid content until I read some King and Crichton that slapped me in the face! So, it turns out, even pulp writers must actually know their craft well enough to churn out garbage that keeps selling!
    Let us just remember the man who was just that – a man! His star shone brightly and guided us in new directions! Let us celebrate that and leave the darkness alone.

  3. Posted by Robin Ahsan on Facebook

    গণমাধ্যম শাওনকে কি ডাইনি বানাবে! এই দোষ আমাদের সাহিত্যের এর দায় আমাদের লেখকদের। রবীন আহসান
    by Robin Ahsan on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 2:24pm •

    হুমায়ূনের সাহিত্যের নারী চরিত্রগুলো দেখুন। নারী কেমন নিস্পাপ, প্রেমহীন, স্বপ্নহীন, স্বামীর টাইবাঁধা তার কাজ,ঘর গোছানই নারীর কাজ, পুরুষ চরিত্রগুলো হিমু হয়,তারা বউন্ডুলে,তাদের অপার স্বপ্ন! তারা সমাজকে পরোয়া করেনা- সম-অসম প্রেমে পরে, নিয়ার সব চেয়ে স্বাধীন হলো পুরুষ! শরৎ সাহিত্য ছাড়া বাংলা সাহিত্যের অধিকাংশ পুরুষ লেখক নারীদের যে চরিত্র একেঁছেন হুমায়ূনও তাই করেছেন।

    বাঙালী পুরুষরা ঘরে একটা পুতুল বউ রেখে বাইরে নস্টামি করলে সমাজের কিছু যায় আসেনা। আহা লোকটার বউ কত ভালো!! হুমায়ূন তাঁর সমাজের পরিবর্তনের আগে নিজে এক অসম প্রেমে পরেছেন। পশ্চিমা ও ইউরোপের লেখকদের মতো রিয়ে করেছেন। প্রেমের স্বীকৃতি দিয়েছেন।

    আমাদের সমাজ প্রস্তত নয় শাওনও হুমায়ূনের প্রেম-বিয়ে ভালোবাসার জন্য। কারণ আমাদের ব্যবসায়ী সাহিত্যিকরা সমাজ এবং ব্যবসায় আঘাত করবে এমন কথাসাহিত্য তারা রচনা করেন নি। সাহিত্যের কাজ নতুন সমাজের স্বপ্ন তৈরী করা, প্রচলিত সমাজের বিরুদ্ধ বাতাসে পাল ধরা। হুমায়ূন নারীর প্রচলিত সমাজে বইরে বেরহননি। তাই গণমাধ্যম -হুমায়ূনদের তৈরী পুরুষ সমাজ শাওন ও হুমায়ুনের প্রেম-বিয়ে ভালোবাসার স্বীকৃতি না দিয়ে শাওনকে কি ডাইনি বানাতে চায়! এই দোষ আমাদের সাহিত্যের এর দায় আমাদের লেখকদের।

  4. Mahbub Morshed on Facebook

    হুমায়ূন আহমেদের সঙ্গে একবারই দেখা হয়েছিল আমার। দেখা বলতে- সামনা-সামনি হওয়া। চাইলে কথা বলা যায় এমন দূরত্বে আসা। ২০১২ সালের মে মাসে হুমায়ূন শেষ বারের মতো দেশে এসেছেন। সবাই বলছে, বাঁচার আশা নাই তো, মায়ের সাথে শেষ দেখা করতে এসেছেন। ইতিমধ্যে স্লোয়ান-কেটরিং হাসপাতালে কেমো নিয়েছেন। আরোগ্য হয়নি, অপারেশন করতে হবে। দেশে ফিরে লোকজনের সান্নিধ্যে যেতে নিষেধ করেছিলেন ডাক্তাররা। কিন্তু এবার দেশে ঘটনাবহুল সময় পার করলেন তিনি। দেয়াল, আইন-আদালত, হৈ-হল্লা কম হলো না। ষোলকলা পূর্ণ হলো তার শেষ সিনেমা ঘেটুপুত্র কমলার প্রি-প্রেস শোর মধ্য দিয়ে। এই শোর দুইদিন পর তিনি চলে গিয়েছিলেন। ২৯ মে ছিল শো। অফিস থেকে বলা হলো, শো-টা আমাকে কভার করতে হবে। বসুন্ধরা সিটির সিনেপ্লেক্সে শো। মঙ্গলবার, মার্কেট বন্ধ। পুরো মার্কেট স্তব্ধ, শুধু আট তলায় গুঞ্জন। হুমায়ূন আহমেদের ঘনিষ্ট সার্কেলের পুরোটাই উপস্থিত। দেখলাম, বন্ধু-শুভানুধ্যায়ীরা সিনেপ্লেক্সের বাইরে গোল আসনে ঘিরে রেখেছেন তাকে। একটু এগিয়ে গেলাম, থমমতো খেয়ে আবার দূরে চলে এলাম। কী বলবো? পরিচিত হয়েই বা কী করবো?

    তরুণ গ্যাব্রিয়েল গার্সিয়া মার্কেস প্যারিতে দেখেছিলেন আর্নেস্ট হেমিংওয়ে হেঁটে যাচ্ছেন, পার্কে। মার্কেস ছিলেন রাস্তার অন্যপাশে। কাছে যেতে সময় লাগতো। গিয়ে হেমিংওয়েকে পাওয়ার সম্ভাবনাও ক্ষীণ। তাই তিনি দূর থেকেই ডাক দিয়েছিলেন, মায়েস্ত্রো! হেমিংওয়ে জানতেন, এই পার্কে একমাত্র তিনিই মায়েস্ত্রো, মাস্টার, উস্তাদ। তাই বহু মানুষের মধ্যে তিনিই মার্কেসের দিকে তাকিয়ে হাত নেড়েছিলেন। বলেছিলেন, দেখা হবে বন্ধু। এই ঘটনা মাথায় ছিল। আমি মনে মনে বলেছিলাম, দেখা হবে মায়েস্ত্রো। ওই অনুষ্ঠানে দেখে, বক্তৃতা শুনে মনে হয়েছিল, নিশ্চিতভাবেই তিনি ফিরবেন। টেলিভিশনে এর আগে যেমন দেখেছি, তেমনই তো আছেন। আত্মবিশ্বাসে একটুও চিড় ধরেনি, হাস্য-পরিহাসে কমতি নেই। নিজের রাজ্যে রাজা, সর্বেসর্বা।

    ওই একবারই কথাবিহীন দেখা। দেখার সুযোগ তো কতই হয়েছিল। ঘনিষ্ট বন্ধুদের দুএকজন হুমায়ূন আহমেদের কাছে নিয়মিত যেতেন। আমারও যে দু’একবার তার বাসায় বা নূহাশ পল্লীতে যাওয়ার সুযোগ হয়নি, তা নয়। এক ধরনের আড়ষ্টতা বারবারই বাধা দিয়েছে। বিশেষ আগ্রহও হয়নি। হুমায়ূন আহমেদের ঘনিষ্ট লোকদের সূত্রে তো আমরা জানিই, তিনি কেমন, কী করেন, আড্ডায় কেমন, কীভাবে হাস্যপরিহাস করেন। ব্যঙ্গ-বিদ্রুপের খবরও তো অজানা নয়। শুধু লেখকদের বেলাতেই নয়- মানুষের সঙ্গে মেশার ব্যাপারে আমার বিরাগ আছে। বেশ কিছু মানুষের সঙ্গে মিশে জেনেছি, মানুষকে দুই প্রকারে ভালোবাসা যায়। এক, দূর থেকে। যেভাবে আমরা সেলিব্রেটিদের ভালোবাসি। দুই, খুব, একেবারে কাছে গিয়ে। যতটা কাছে গেলে ব্যক্তি মানুষের পাপ-অপরাধের ব্যাখ্যাও পাওয়া যায়। মানুষকে ভালোবাসার তৃতীয় কোন পথ নাই। অল্প কাছে গিয়ে লাভ নেই। অল্প কথা বলে কিছু বোঝা যায় না। বরং একজন লেখকের ক্ষেত্রে লেখা যতটা তাকে জানতে সাহায্য করে ততোটা আর কিছুই করে না। এ উপলদ্ধি অবশ্য সর্বসাম্প্রতিক।

    কিছুদিন আগ পর্যন্ত, বলতে গেলে বরাবরই, হুমায়ূন আহমেদ সম্পর্কে একটা অশ্রদ্ধা ও অনাস্থা পোষণ করে এসেছি আমি। বই মেলায় দেখেছি, পুলিশ প্রহরায় তিনি অটোগ্রাফ দিচ্ছেন লাইনে দাঁড়ানো শত শত নারী-পুরুষকে। একবার উঁকি দিয়ে দেখার দরকার মনে করিনি। ভেবেছি, বাজারি সাহিত্যের বেচাবিক্রি চলছে। যেন গর্হিত কোনো অপরাধ হচ্ছে। চেয়ে দেখাও পাপ। আসলেই কি বই বিক্রি হওয়া লেখকের জন্য পাপ? কোথা থেকে আমার মাথায় এমন ভাবনা এসেছিল? ফিরে দেখি। দেখতে পাই, এক ধরনের নিমবুদ্ধিজীবীতা আমাকে গ্রাস করেছিল। কিছু কিছু ভুল প্রচারণায় আমিও বিশ্বাস করতে শুরু করেছিলাম- অল্প লেখেন যারা তারাই ভাল লেখক, বই বিক্রি কম হয় যাদের তারাই অবশ্যপাঠ্য, সহজ করে যারা বলতে পারেন তারা আসলে ছেলেভুলানো লেখা লেখেন। মনে আছে, কলেজে থাকতে কেমন একটার পর একটা বই পড়েছি তার। নন্দিত নরকে থেকে শ্রাবণ মেঘের দিন পর্যন্ত। তারপর বুদ্ধিজীবীতার আঁচ লাগলো- অন্যলোকদের নকল করে আমরাও বলতে থাকলাম, হুমায়ূন আহমেদ নিজেকে পুনরাবৃত্তি করছেন, নতুন কিছুই দিতে পারছেন। আর তার গল্পে সেই গভীর অনুসন্ধান, আবিষ্কার কোথায়? মধ্যবিত্তের পিঠ চাপড়ে দিয়ে আর কতদিন? মধ্যবিত্তের পিঠ চাপড়ালে আমরা কতই না অখুশী। আর কেউ যদি নিম্নবিত্তের পিঠ চাপড়ে দেয় তো তার মূর্তি বানিয়ে রীতিমতো চৌরাস্তায় বসানোর ব্যবস্থা করতেও রাজি আমরা।

    হুমায়ূন আহমেদ সম্পর্কে আমার নিমবুদ্ধিজীবীতার অন্ত ঘটে বলতে গেলে ফরহাদ মজহারের হস্তক্ষেপে। আমার দেখা সবচেয়ে জ্ঞানী ও প্রজ্ঞাবান ব্যক্তিটির মুখে যখন হুমায়ূন আহমেদের গল্প নিয়ে উচ্ছসিত মন্তব্য শুনে ফেললাম, মনে হলো, আবার পড়ে দেখি তো। সেই পড়াটা এখনও চলছে।

    প্রথমে মুগ্ধতা, পরে অনাস্থা এবং এখন বিচার-বিশ্লেষণ। শুরুর মুগ্ধতাই তো ফিরে এলো।

    এখন অবশ্য আমি বুদ্ধিজীবীর চাইতে লেখক বেশি। একজন লেখক যখন অন্য আরেক লেখকের বই পড়েন তখন শুরু থেকে শেষ পর্যন্ত যান। আবার পাতা ওল্টান। বইয়ের বাধাই দেখেন। কভার খুলে দেখেন। পারলে সেলাইটা পর্যন্ত দেখে নেন। কীভাবে একটা উপন্যাস তৈরি হয়। কীভাবে এমন একটা উপন্যাস তৈরি হয় যা পড়া শুরু করলে শেষ না করে আর ওঠা যায় না? সেই বইটার বাধাই কেমন হয়? ভাষার গাঁথুনি কেমন হয়? কীভাবে বললে লোকে লেখা শেষ না করে উঠতে পারে না? আমি খোয়াবনামার মতো ঢাউস উপন্যাস, তিস্তাপুরাণের মতো জটিল গল্প একটানে পড়েছি। দেখেছি অধিকাংশ উপন্যাস শেষ হয় ফজরের আজানের সময়। মার্কেসের হান্ড্রেড ইয়ার্স অব সলিচুডের ক্ষেত্রেও একই ঘটনা ঘটেছে। মার্কেসে সব লেখার ব্যাপারেই তাই ঘটেছে। সারামাগোর উপন্যাসের বেলায় ভিন্ন কিছু ঘটেনি। এমনকি তলস্তয়, দস্তয়েভস্কির বেলাতেও। তাহলে কে শেখালো যে দুষ্পাঠ্য রচনাগুলো ভাল? দুষ্পাঠ্য বই কি কেউ পড়ে আসলে? আমি নিজে অনেক বই হাতে নিয়ে কিছুদূর পড়ে ইস্তফা দেই। এই ক্ল্যাসিক লইয়া আমি কী করিব? ইহার স্থান পাঠকের মনে নয়, সাহিত্য সমালোচকের নোটবুকে। অনেকটা সময় তো গেছে, কিছু বুদ্ধি হয়েছে, কিছু বোধ হয়েছে। এখনও হুমায়ূন আহমেদের বই শুরু করে শেষ করতে হয়। শুধু আমি নই- বহু বিদগ্ধ ও ঘাঘু ব্যক্তিকে তিনি নিমেষে পাঠক বনতে বাধ্য করতে পারেন। (পারতেন হবে)।

    কোন গুণে সেটি সম্ভব সেটা এখনও কেউ জেনেছে বলে আমি জানি না। লিখে গল্প বলা কঠিন কাজ। পুরো পৃথিবীতেই খুব কম লেখক লিখে গল্প বলতে পারেন। অধিকাংশই লিখে লেখেন। তাদের মুখের ভাষা এক, ভাবনার ভাষা এক, তাদের সময়ের ভাষা এক, লেখার ভাষা আরেক। প্রজন্মের একটা ভাষাভঙ্গি থাকে, কমিউনিকেশনের একটা রীতি থাকে, ঐকতানের একটা সুর থাকে। সেটা সবাই ধরতে পারেন না। যিনি ধরতে পারেন, তিনি সমকালীন হন। বাকীদের মহাকালে রায়ের অপেক্ষায় থাকতে হয়। হুমায়ূন আহমেদ সমকালীন হয়েছেন। আর কী কী হয়েছেন সেটা তো সবাই জানে। মহাকাল কী রায় দেয় সেটা দেখার ভাগ্য আমাদের হবে না।

    সমালোচনা একটাই। সে সমালোচনা করে এখন লাভ নেই।

    এক লেখক বন্ধুকে বলেছিলাম, এত ভাল লেখেন। নিয়মিত লেখেন, বড় ক্যানভাসে কাজ করেন। বন্ধুটি বললো, এইভাবে বলো না। ধরে নাও, যা লিখছি এর বেশি ক্ষমতা আমার নেই। তুমি বলবে, আমার অমুক গল্প ভাল- ওইরকম আর লিখছি না কেন? আমি ওইভাবে ভাবি না। আমি যেভাবে ইচ্ছা যা ইচ্ছা লিখবো। তুমি স্বাধীন। পারলে পছন্দ করো না পারলে নাই।

    হুমায়ূন আহমেদ মারা গেলেন। বলা হয়ে থাকে, সিরাজুদ্দৌলা বাংলার শেষ স্বাধীন নবাব। হুমায়ূন আহমেদই মনে হয় বাংলার শেষ স্বাধীন লেখক। লেখার ক্ষমতা ছিল, জনপ্রিয়তা ছিল। কাউকে তোয়াজ করার দরকার হয় নাই। অন্যেরাই নিজেদের প্রয়োজনে তাকে তোয়াজ করতো। তার কলমে নিজেদের নাম একবার দেখার জন্য হন্যে হয়ে থাকতো। রাজা হুমায়ূনের দেয়াল নিয়ে অনেকেই অনেক কথা বলেন। কত নিউজ হয়েছে। কত কথা। হুমায়ূন আহমেদ বলেছেন, একটি শব্দও বদলাবেন না। দেয়াল প্রকাশিত না হোক, তা-ই সই। কাকে বা কাদের বলেছেন সেটা নিশ্চয়ই ক্রমে বের হয়ে আসবে। আমি শুধু খবরটা দিয়ে রাখলাম, যাচাইয়ের জন্য।

    কারা যেন লিখেছে, শান্তিতে মরে গেছেন হুমায়ূন আহমেদ। ক্যান্সারের মৃত্যু কি শান্তিতে হয়? আমাদের বন্ধু বনানীদিকে দেখেছি ধীরে ধীরে মৃত্যুর দিকে গিয়েছেন। ব্লাড ক্যান্সার। বোম্বেতে তার মৃত্যুর যে বিবরণ শুনেছি, তা এতই বেদনাদায়ক যে বর্ণনা অসম্ভব। আমার দাদি ক্যান্সারে মারা গেছেন। ক্যান্সারের রোগী যখন মৃত্যুপথযাত্রী হয় তখন তার কষ্ট দেখে নিকটাত্মীয়রা প্রার্থনা করেন যেন আল্লাহ তাকে নিজের কাছে টেনে নেন। অন্তর্জলীযাত্রার কথা সবাই জানেন। মুসলিমদের মধ্যে আছে খতমে জালালি বা খতমে শেফা। মনে আছে,দাদি যখন প্রচণ্ড যন্ত্রণায় কাতর- তখন আমরা প্রার্থনা করেছিলাম, হে আল্লাহ তার যদি হায়াত থাকে তবে তা তুমি তাকে দাও। আর যদি তোমার ইচ্ছা হয় তবে তুমি তাকে নিজের কাছে ডেকে নাও। আমাদের প্রিয় লেখক কি কম ভুগেছেন? জানি না।

    আমার চাচা আলেম মানুষ। উচ্চশিক্ষিত। তিনি দাদির জানাজার দোয়ায় বলেছিলেন, যার ক্যান্সারে মৃত্যু হয় তিনি শহীদের মর্যাদা পান। নিজের মা বলেই তিনি এমন বলেছিলেন কি? নাকি সত্যিই এমন কিছু আছে? আমি জানি না।

    হুমায়ূন আহমেদ অনেক কিছুর মধ্য দিয়ে দেখিয়ে গেলেন একজন স্বাধীন লেখকের জীবন কেমন হতে পারে। তার লেখা পাঠকরা পড়বে কি না জানি না। লেখকদের পড়তে হবে। কেন পড়তে হবে তা এখন না বলে আগামীতে বলা যাবে।

    গুড বাই, মায়েস্ত্রো। আল বিদা।

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/mahbub-morshed/%E0%A6%97%E0%A7%81%E0%A6%A1-%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%87-%E0%A6%AE%E0%A6%BE%E0%A7%9F%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%B8%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%A4%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%B0%E0%A7%8B/10151907084050314

  5. Maruf Barkat on Facebook

    এর চেয়ে ফালতু রিপোর্ট জীবনে পড়িনাই। অবিলম্বে এইসব ফাইজলামি বন্ধ হোক … [ভাই, যে যেখানে আছেন, সাংবাদিকদের একটু সাংবাদিকতা বিষয়ে জ্ঞানট্যান দ্যান …]
    Gultekin arrives in Dhaka
    http://www.bdnews24.com/details.php?id=228900&cid=2#.UBAXnkKtb9w.facebook

    Maruf Barkat শেয়ার দিলাম এইটা দেখানোর জন্য, এদের কুকীর্তি, ছ্যাবলামি, মানুষকে হয়রানী করার মানসিকতা তুলে ধরার জন্য। নিউজ যে শেষ পর্যন্ত একটা জঘন্য ব্যবসা তাই দেখানোর জন্য … আর কিছু না। তবু, আমার শেয়ারটার জন্যও গুলতেকিনের কাছে ও সংশ্লিষ্ট অন্যান্যদের কাছে ক্ষমা চাচ্ছি।

    • True, but a reader must graduate. There is nothing wrong about liking Humayun Ahmed- particularly at the beginning of readership. Humayun Ahmed is great here. He does not let you put off his books – creates a craving for reading more. But as you read more, and other authors, you realize that there is much more to the world- your tastebuds crave for something more delicate, something more subtle like Ernest Hemingway, Kazuo Ishiguru, J.M. Coetzee, Akhtaruzzaman Elias, Shahidul Jahir, and on and on … writings that shakes you up, make you quiver, and rings the doorbell to eternity. Humayun Ahmed certainly deserves our kudos for opening our windows to the world of reading.
      As I matured as a reader, I honestly, tried reading Humayun again- it felt like lost love – the ealier chemistry was just not there. That’s why, in a certain way, I find it hard to disagree with the contrarion view.

  6. Interesting observation of infantalising writing. I wonder if many other people see the phenomena in the same way that you do, matches a presumptuous impression i have of him and his readers without ever having read his work.

    May sharper braver guiding and sense making intellects be forged in future. Goodness knows the society needs them. I was as a PEN event at the Poetry Parnassus in London recently and the Bangladesh representative was very unimpressive.

  7. Believe I addressed my views on this in the pechal this week. I have seen more humayun ahmed plays than read his books so maybe not the best person to speak on these things.

    I found this piece more than a tad snobbish. I think if the author was making a similar critique of pop bangla movies AoD would have hesitated a bit longer to post. After all those are the opiate of the lower classes and not the opiate of the middle, as HA was…. Besides places like jatra has made it chic to be pro bangla cinema. At a price of course.

    I kid and digress. I will assume that we put this up to be provocative. The author is spot on that HA’s fiction was infantilising. Their counterparts in Western culture however are not Stephen King novels, but rather sitcoms like Friends and How I Met Your Mother – middle class fantasies that cater to a particular audience. I don’t think HA needs any more defence of being commercial than these fluff pieces do.

    What makes the author think that HA is being mourned as some sort of icon of Bangla literature in the tradition of Tagore or Akhteruzzaman Ilias? He is being mourned as the actors Manna and Joshim were mourned. And no one needs to be told off – that too in language that sounds more than a tad elitist – for that.

  8. PP,
    Thanks for the comments. However, your response would have a tad more credibility if you had read a few of his books. See how my critique has a lot to do with HA’s writing. He was primarily known as a novelist, after all; that’s how he acquired his legend, much more so than through his TV or cinematic work.

    • I did read a few of his books though no more than a handful. My point was not about books vs other media.

      My point is that you are putting down a man for catering to a mass audience rather than making gems that few people read and appreciate like akhterruzzaman ilias. I found that elitist. Don’t need to have read much more ha to say that surely.

  9. Farzana Ahmed’s open letter to Syed Badrul Ahsan of DAILY STAR, posted here with her permission.

    Badrul Ahsan’s op-ed: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=243391

    Farzana Ahmed’s response:

    Dear Mr Ahsan:
    The death of love does not necessarily leave one in an ocean of pain. There may not even be any pain. There may be relief, anger,hatred, and a milieu of other emotions. Just because the writer’s ex wife has been silent it doesn’t mean she’s living in unspeakable anguish. Her silence should not be the justification for why you think her name should be huddled with a bunch of other names under the banner ‘perpetually-suffering-from- being- left- behind-by- horrid husband’. What makes you an authority on the remnants of love?

    Its totally in bad taste to make a list of ex wives of famous men and tell us how those ‘forgotten’ women must be living miserable lives after their rotten and selfish husbands left them and just how those rotten and selfish husbands suffered miserably in the hands of fate ( isn’t that why Humayun Ahmed was punished with death by cancer?).

    All this hue and cry about the deceased writer’s ex wife and new wife (still the other woman) is sickening and writings such as yours only fuel the undying fascination people have for nastiness and high drama.

    Your article truly makes me wonder (and not for the first time) about the sense and sensibility of The Daily Star.

    In much pain from reading your BS
    ~ Farzana

    • If silence was a language, Ms. Gultekin (I am sorry, don’t know her maiden name) is the master artist of the same. Newspaper reports say that she persuaded her children to change their stance about the burial place and yet she did not join them in visiting the burial place. Raising children, outside the limelight, in the way she did, doesn’t speak of a miserable women. For this Lady, life isn’t about high drama- but responsible actions, and that speaks a ton about the dignity of an individual.

  10. quite interesting. sir naam dhari ek banglai jemon tames nodir dhare boshe bangla bhasar sreshto lekhok bhibutir rochona niya sarcastic kotha bolsilen , pochim banglar shob cheye dheergho shomoyer mukkho montree ke bolsiln up start sherokom kisu kisu polapan ektu gyan dekhabe ta aar emon ki.
    humayun ahmed ke amar shobshomy bhalo laagto na. novelist er kimba lekhoker ki daitto?kothin proshno, lekhok likhe jaaben, pathok pore jaben, dui dik theke kono binding nai. its free choice. humayun ke tolstoy kimba garcia hemingwayr moto chinta korle humayun er dosh ki? compare korsi amra, expectation ta amader. humayun er she day nai amader asha pooron er. humayun er shob cheye boro oboda. he created a bangali class jara oparer choti kimba banglabazr er prokashokder indian nimno maaner print kora boi pora theke biroto rekhese. humauun err opor west bengal er lekhok der iirsha silo, oder bazra noshto kore diyese humayun. humayun bangali ke TV set er shamne dhore raakhto.
    er por jara ekhon kaaptani dekhacche tara ashuk shamne ei class ta ke bisshomaner lekha ooopohar dik, keu to badha dicche na.
    arre kaaptan ra apnara boshe aasen ken, u know there is a crowd waiting just start writing. khujechi, apnake obhinondon shundor obhimot er jonno., 64 yrs is not advanced, chomke uuthesilm prothom line dekhe, mone holo holo humsyun more giye prithibi ke boshobasher joggo kore gese, ami humayun er dui tar beshi boi pori ni, onnora eto oochhash keno dekhato ta bujtam na, kintu bhalo laagto je amader kono lekhok aase jake niya poddar eparer bangalira bangali oochash korto autograph newar jonno police pahara laagto, ete hingsha korar ki aase,

  11. thanks, dear BB. you spoke my mind. i can almost follow your footsteps as mine.
    it was pathetic and interesting to see sunil, syed haq, samaresh competing to make better obituaries.
    HA was an intelligent man. he never cared to be the authors author. he abandoned self critique after maybe Dure Kothao and started to use his fame only to enjoy life in the god of small things mode. he knew how to become and keep being famous. his time and use of multiple mediums couldn’t have been more perfect.
    lets see if a fraction of the new generation of HA readers turn to manik or ilyas out of the boredom of not getting HA staples anymore!
    good to hear a saner mind speaking. i hope that soon there will be a spring of young readers who will read to understand themselves, not merely to be entertained. but in this post modern
    comfortably numb world is it fashionable or even safe to ask “is there anybody out there (floyd) ? ”

    comfortably numb

    • @Sujaul
      Intriguing choice to use the phrase “god of small things” because Arundhati Roy chose the opposite path. Instead of repeating that success, or even writing a sequel novel, she completely abandoned the world of Booker Prize track and started writing blistering political essays, fiercely critiquing the Indian state. Along the way, she suffered quite a lot (people forget) including ferocious attacks for her essays about the Maoist insurgency, press campaigns against her participation in Narmada Bachao, arrests and a sedition case that she is facing even now for speaking for the rights of Kashmiris to self-determination.

      No, Humayun was NOT under any obligation to follow a similar path, but imagine what a better Bangladesh we would have had if a writer of his stature used that clout to speak out on, or write novels about, some of the most contentious issues inside Bangladesh (for example, our ongoing ethnic displacement/cleansing in Chittagong Hill Tracts).

      Instead, when the High Court ordered him to rewrite DEYAAL, he meekly submitted, saying “ami adalot er nirdesh okkhore okkhore palon korbo.” Haire Humayun, eto koti koti taka uparjon korle shudhu Nuhash Polli name ek shorgo toiri korar jonno, island resort ar swimming pool chess set banabar jonno? Ekbar book er pata holo na to defy the Court? To take a principled stand? Not even on your death bed?

  12. Pingback: The curious case of the path not contemplated « Mukti

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