In November 2012, The New York Times ran two paired pieces written from both sides of the Bengal border.
Jyoti Rahman analyzes both articles: “Naeem is a few years older than me, and Mr Ray is likely to be slightly younger. That means, all of us were born decades after partition. Ours is the generation that has not known Pakistan in Bengal. Ours is the generation that has no lived experience of 1971. Both writers describe what the ‘other’ Bengal has meant to them over the years. Obviously I can relate to Naeem’s story, but I don’t share his conclusion. And while I find Ray’s story interesting for its misconception, I do relate to the way his story ends.”
Jyoti Rahman: Being Bengali in a divided Bengal
Here are the original two articles that Jyoti is responding to.
“Instead of loop memories of a river cottage, perhaps it is better for us to think of ways to revive experiments like Juktakkhor. Once-twinned, now tragically separated, people cannot hope to now, after all this time, reverse midnight’s trajectory. But they can, at least, begin to work together as equals.”
Naeem Mohaiemen: Stranded on the Borders of Two Bengals
“In our conversations, we both avoid that which may be considered contentious. Instead we discuss the real issues that affect both of us — the best places to buy Bengali fish in the Washington, D.C., metro area and the selection strategies of Kolkata Knight Riders, Calcutta’s Indian Premier League cricket franchise, which I support and in which the Bangladeshi national hero and talented all-rounder Shakib Al Hassan plays.”