Audre Lorde: Translated by Kazi Jesin

(অড্রে লর্ড [১৯৩৪- ১৯৯২] একজন কালো নারীবাদি, সমকামি, যোদ্ধা ও রাজনৈতিকভাবে লিপ্ত কবি। অড্রে লর্ড তাঁর জীবন ও সৃস্টিশীল প্রতিভার মধ্য দিয়ে বর্ণবাদ, জেন্ডার-বৈষম্য, শ্রেনী-বৈষম্য ও সমকাম-বিদ্বেষের বিরুদ্ধে  লড়াই করেছেন। লর্ডের জন্ম নিউ ইর্য়ক শহরে ক্যারিবীয় অভিবাসী বাবা-মা’র ঘরে।) টিকে … Continue reading Audre Lorde: Translated by Kazi Jesin

Agha Shahid Ali by Azfar Hussain

Syed Jamil Ahmed’s first play in two decades, RIZWAN, opened on September 01 at Shilpakala Academy (closes Sep 10). The play, based on an English poem about Kashmir, is experimental, raucous, jubilant, and always challenging the material limits of a stage. The audiences have responded with hunger, Shilpakala has been running sold out shows. Responses have ranged from enthusiasm by those already used to  experimental fare from Prachyanat, Bot Tola, and others, to the nervous responses of an old guard still not able to embrace radical theater for a new Bengal.


Agha Shahid Ali (Source: Academy of American Poets)

Debates about RIZWAN range widely, but few audience members have been curious about the source material- Agha Shahid Ali’s poem on Kashmir, THE COUNTRY WITHOUT A POST OFFICE. Ali’s 1997 poem is a landmark of Indian-American/Indian diaspora poetry. Considering the popularity of the play, paired with the experimental opacity of the on-stage dialogue, we present here the original poem, preceded by a sparkling new translation done by Azfar Hussain.
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Neo-Bangladeshi Collective

by Faruk Wasif

In the name of non-standardising, a luminous (yet stupid) collective wishes to drag Bengali down to a demotic vernacular. However, to remove inherent, traditionalist inflexibility within the language, all dialects – from Tagore to Abbasuddin, from Calcutta to Sylhet – should be used profusely; so that, the real (or main) parts of the language (and its literature) can include tongues of all Bengalis. Continue reading “Neo-Bangladeshi Collective”

On the Richard Eaton thesis

Awrup Sanyal

[Please note that the review might reveal more than you want to know before reading the book. I would say skip it and read the book.]
Anyone interested in Bengal’s premodern to modern history – through the Delhi and Bengal Sultanates, and the Mughal rule in India, and consequently in Bengal – and more importantly the rise and spread of Islam in Bengal will have to go through this thoroughly illuminating seminal work from Eaton.

Continue reading “On the Richard Eaton thesis”

রাফিফ জিয়াদাহ্‌, ফিলিস্তিনি কবি – Rafeef Ziadah, a Palestinian refugee, poet and activist

রাফিফ জিয়াদাহ্‌-র পাঠঃ (As read by Rafeef Ziadah:)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2vFJE93LTI

ক্রোধের প্রচ্ছায়া
রাফিফ জিয়াদাহ্‌, ফিলিস্তিনি কবি, অ্যাক্টিভিস্ট Continue reading “রাফিফ জিয়াদাহ্‌, ফিলিস্তিনি কবি – Rafeef Ziadah, a Palestinian refugee, poet and activist”

Ekush, are you blood rose of Senegal?

মহান একুশ কতোবার যে বিপন্ন হলো ! আজো মনে পড়ে বিরাশি সালে স্বৈরশাসনের সময় কি অসহায় এই একুশ।কিছুতেই যেন তাঁর আত্মপরিচয় খুঁজে পাচ্ছে না। Continue reading “Ekush, are you blood rose of Senegal?”

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”

Mufazzal Haider Chaudhury’s Son Speaks: The Unrepentant Man

What is harder to explain, however, are the actions of us independent Bangladeshis. The fact that we allowed him to return to the country he conspired against. The fact that he was allowed to stay here for 16 years – from 1978 to 1994 – on the passport of a foreign country and practice politics, when he did not even have a valid visa.

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

“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?”

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

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

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

তোমার যাওয়া হবে না কবি/You Can’t Yet Leave, My Poet

by Shamit Mahbub Shahabuddin

English Translation by Awrup Sanyal for AlalODulal.org

তোমার যাওয়া হবে না কবি 

আর একটু হাঁটো কবি

পথ চলা এখানে থামালে যে চলবে না,

আমার তো এখনও অনেক শেখার বাকি।

Continue reading “তোমার যাওয়া হবে না কবি/You Can’t Yet Leave, My Poet”

Remembering Garcia Marquez: Latin & Bengali novel, finding the self, or the map of the human apparition


লাতিন ও বাংলা উপন্যাস: আত্মের হদিস কিংবা উপন্যাসে আদমসুরতের নকশা

ফারুক ওয়াসিফ

যে জগতের গিঁট ছিঁড়ে গেছে, যার মন থেকে মুছে গেছে দুর্ধর্ষ সব কল্পনা, যে হারিয়ে ফেলেছে স্বপ্নজননক্ষমতা, সেই জগতে মার্কেসের মতো কথাকারেরা ফিরিয়ে আনলেন পুরাণপ্রতি কল্পনা৷ Continue reading “Remembering Garcia Marquez: Latin & Bengali novel, finding the self, or the map of the human apparition”

Taslima Nasreen, ‘Duhsahobas,’ and a TV cancellation

“Taslima’s misery somehow leads us to the crossroad where an imminent change of path is indispensable. The consolidation of secular liberal voices in the subcontinent who would vociferate not against the chauvinism of religious majority of a nation but against all the extreme elements of any religion across the border and battle for the absolute separation of ‘church and state’ is the demand of the hour. Are we up for it?”
Continue reading “Taslima Nasreen, ‘Duhsahobas,’ and a TV cancellation”

Legal Matters

By Ikhtisad Ahmed for AlalODulal.org

Joya was far from comfortable. The metallic desk-chair had gaping holes in its plastic upholstery. The sharp edges of these gaps protruded outwards and mischievously jabbed the unfortunate occupier. She had positioned herself on the brink, which had no tears, but the rusty metal frame pressed against her thigh coldly. The cup of tea that rattled against the matching saucer in her shaking hands had long gone cold. The drying bag of PG Tips poised delicately on the lip of the plate muffled the sound in parts.

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Memories of her Father

Memories of her father

Lisa had always envisioned Bengal as a land of unsurpassable warmth and beauty.  Now that she was here, she thought of all those moments when her mind had done a scene-by-scene play of how she would feel when her flight touched down in Dhaka.  Would her first aerial view be of trees lining the airport road, or water bodies caressing the city’s eastern borders? Would the aircraft make a rough landing during a pre-monsoon boishakhi thunderstorm or smooth sail on a crisp, sunny, winter day? Perhaps she would arrive during the monsoons, so that the rain could rejuvenate the tree-lined streets by her grandparents’ house, to their greenest, in anticipation of her arrival.

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Humayun Ahmed: Personal Reflections on the Anniversary

Humayun Ahmed: Personal Reflections on the Anniversary
Shafiqur Rahman

In the week following the tragic death of Princess Diana of Britain in 1997, the reputedly “stiff upper-lip” British showed emotional outpouring on a mass scale such as the world has never seen before. The aftermath of Diana’s death is now recognized as a watershed moment in modernity. Continue reading “Humayun Ahmed: Personal Reflections on the Anniversary”

Know Thy Neighbour: Aruni Kashyap on Humayun Ahmed

Cross-posted from Caravan]
Know Thy Neighbour: On the Bangladeshi literary giant Humayun Ahmed
By Aruni Kashyap

Humayun Ahmed, by Caravan

MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE in Teteliguri—a village about 50 kilometres east of Guwahati, northeast India’s largest city—was a chaotic place, home, when I was growing up, to more than 20 relatives. It was there that I spent most of my school vacations, there, in that L-shaped house—where at least three women were required to lift the huge cauldron of rice off the hearth—that I began to read. Continue reading “Know Thy Neighbour: Aruni Kashyap on Humayun Ahmed”

Bangla Academy Debate

The Hay Festival controversy picks up speed as protesters demand “Prime Minister’s intervention to refrain Bangla Academy from being the host of the Hay Festival on the academy premises, resignation of Bangla Academy director general Shamuzzaman Khan and bringing charges of anti-state activities.”

The following chronology is compiled from various blog and facebook posts.

1. Somewherein blog by Tokon Thakur on who are the corporate sponsors of Hay, why this English matbori, anointment of elites. He singles out “Kaziputro” (son of Kazi, a reference to author K. Anis Ahmed) and “Anamkonya” (daughter of Anam, a reference to Tahmima Anam). Kazi & Kazi Tea and Daily Star are two of the sponsors of Hay. K. Anis released Goodnight Mr Kissinger, right before Hay, and Tahmima Anam released The Good Muslim earlier this year.

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GENDER: Shaon and our society

These days our national discourse — the facebook broadcasts, the print media junks — have made villain out of Shaon, the just widowed wife of deceased writer Humayun Ahmed.

Wife Shaon and publisher Mazhar are the villains in all Bangladeshi tabloids now a days. But these are the two people who were with Humayun during his last lap. Shaon’s struggle to save Humayun was en epic battle. Can anyone imagine how difficult it was for her to move to NY with two very young kids and a sick man who, all his life, is used to have everything done for him, including bringing a glass of water? Shaon had to start a family from scratch. Singlehandedly. Mazhar and some occasional local Bangladeshi vagabonds helped her out once a while.

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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. Continue reading “Contrarian Thoughts on Humayun Ahmed”

The Novelist and his upcoming novel

I guess Humayn Ahmed’s upcoming novel “deyal” is going to win the distinction of second most talked about ‘book-in-writing’. ( I give it second place because for hype about a ‘not-yet-written’ novel, the top place all time in the history Bangla literature will unsurpassably remain with Tahmima Anam and her novel ‘A Golden Age’, ever). Dozen of articles and op-eds have already been published in several Bangladeshi outlets ( but nothing compared to New York Times, Guadian, NPR  reviews and dozens of TV interviews of Tahmima Anam gave including BBC radio even before her first ever novel was published). Even this obscure blogger tried to write an amateurish piece in BDNews 24.com opinion page. The full piece is reproduced for AlalODulal readers across the fold.

But on the side of the fold let’s share with you one reader’s comment about the piece. The reader commented,

Humayun Ahmed has received so much help, financial assistance, and favors from the current government that he probably feels obligated to pay off some his debt, which is fine except he shouldn’t try to call his novel a piece of literature. He should, if he is honest, put the testimonial at the beginning of his novel that it is his way of paying off his debt to this government.

As the reader rightfully questions the literature value of this upcoming novel and our court and the government remains very concerned about the historical value, this blogger sees the novel as the litmus test for intellectual honesty of author-film maker Humayun Ahmed.

 

Complete piece is over the fold.

 

Continue reading “The Novelist and his upcoming novel”