Known Unknowns of the Class War

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 “Known Unknowns of the Class War”

Killing Print Culture: Must FORUM Die?

Daily Star has announced that FORUM, it’s long-running monthly magazine, will close down as a “cost-saving” measure. FORUM was originally published in the 1960s/70s, with an editorial board that included Hameeda Hossain, Rehman Sobhan, and others. It was revived in the 00’s with Zafar Sobhan as editor. For last few years, Kajalie Shahreen Islam is the editor. It is the country’s only monthly magazine of serious, long-form, non-fiction essays in English. Continue reading “Killing Print Culture: Must FORUM Die?”

Dr. Perween Hasan: David Nalin, “friend from overseas” or smuggler of antiquities?

David Nalin: friend or smuggler of antiquities?Guest Post by Dr. Perween Hasan

I was surprised and angered to read a report in the daily Prothom Alo (March 30, 2013) entitled ‘ This country is destined to march forward: an interview with David Nalin, a friend from overseas’. Continue reading “Dr. Perween Hasan: David Nalin, “friend from overseas” or smuggler of antiquities?”

On the borders of two Bengals

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.”
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“Goodbye Bangladesh”

With all its flaws, Taslima Nasreen’s Lajja (1993) diagnosed the crisis at the heart of Bangladeshi identity. On the last page, after a week of violent communal riots, the Bengali Hindu family is finally defeated…“Shudhamoy was walking while leaning on Kiranmayee’s shoulder. Gradually the strength was coming back to his body. Kiranmayee held on to Shudhamoy with both hands.

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Shahbagh: The forest of symbols

[Crossposted from]

There is a particular way of lensing mass movements, when we are observing from within immediate tactics. In a fast moving situation, with opponents and allies squared off, the first thing to shrink is the space for internal critique. Professor Azfar Hussain uses the term “critical solidarity” for his approach to Shahbagh. A critique that seeks to help the movement, but also a critique some are not ready to hear yet. Continue reading “Shahbagh: The forest of symbols”