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I lost my love for Tillottama very soon, SORRY!
Her Novel rajpat is an EXCELLENT example of DIVERTION!
I would not have written on TILOTTAMA. She stimulated with her WISE Writing once again!
I have already written about her power to OBSERVE and WRITE all about SOCIAL REALISM with CRUELEST PRECISION!
|Novelist Tilottama Majumder Talks About Her Philosophy of Writing|
Listen to Audio: Interview with Tilottama Majumder
Novelist Tilottama Majumder said that her philosophy of writing is to depict the true picture of society and not hide anything.
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"It is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic," Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, said at a news conference in Geneva yesterday. "The biggest question right now is this: How severe will the pandemic be? All countries should immediately now activate their pandemic plans."
Batches of seed virus are being developed for potential vaccine production, according to WHO, the UN health agency in Geneva. Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis SA, Baxter International Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline Plc are talking with world health authorities about how to produce a vaccine.
Vaccine Makers 'Alert'
"Manufacturers are on the alert," said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Once the testing protocol is done and the dosage protocol is done they are ready to begin production, should that be necessary."
Baxter will receive a sample of the swine flu virus "in the next couple days," Chris Bona, a spokesman for the Deerfield, Illinois, company, said yesterday.
"We are in constant discussions with the government about how and if we should go ahead," said Donna Cary, a spokeswoman for Sanofi's Sanofi-Pasteur unit in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania. London-based Glaxo and Novartis AG of Basel, Switzerland, also are talking with regulators, spokesmen for the companies said.
Today, a Swiss hospital said a patient tested positive for swine flu, the first confirmed case in Switzerland. In Mexico, where the toll is highest, 159 people may have died from the malady, according to government officials, with eight confirmed by laboratory tests.
Ninety-four cases were reported in 11 U.S. states, with one confirmed death, and New York City officials said they suspected hundreds were infected. The WHO's statistics, which lag behind those reported by national and local agencies, showed confirmed cases in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Austria, Germany, Israel, Spain, the U.K. and New Zealand.
Disease trackers are trying to determine whether the new H1N1 influenza strain is spreading efficiently in Spain, said Dick Thompson, a spokesman for the WHO in Geneva. The agency needs evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission outside North America to declare the outbreak has become a pandemic.
Among the 10 cases in Spain, nine involve people who had traveled to Mexico, he said today. "The tenth confirmed to us that there's some community transmission beginning," he said. "The virus is becoming established in another area. It's this new single case that is especially worrying."
The last pandemic, 41 years ago, killed 1 million people and was mild compared with the global outbreak of 1918, which may have killed as many as 50 million.
President Barack Obama asked Congress for $1.5 billion to battle an outbreak, and said parents should plan for school closings. Texas Governor Rick Perry declared a disaster, a "preemptive" measure to facilitate emergency preparations and seek federal reimbursement. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency.
"Every American should know that their entire government is taking the utmost precautions and preparations," Obama said on a televised news conference last night. "This is a cause for deep concern, but not panic."
Swine flu infections in people aren't related to exposure to the animals, and properly prepared pork is safe to eat, said Keiji Fukuda, WHO assistant director-general for health security and environment. The disease, spreading like the seasonal flu, is "unlikely" to stop, Fukuda said.
"It's clear that deaths and serious illnesses can occur in other countries, but more are occurring in Mexico," Fukuda told reporters yesterday in Geneva. "We don't know the reason for that right now."
The genetic strains around the world that have been tested are "remarkably consistent and remarkably similar to each other," he said. The three main seasonal flu strains -- H3N2, H1N1 and type-B -- cause 250,000 to 500,000 deaths a year globally, according to the WHO.
Scientists are trying to determine why swine flu, a respiratory disease caused by a type-A influenza virus, has been more severe in Mexico. The new flu results in symptoms similar to those of seasonal influenza, including fever and coughing, and may also cause nausea and vomiting, according to the CDC. It appears to be causing more diarrhea than seasonal flu, WHO said.
Hospitalizations and Deaths
The U.S. can expect more hospitalizations and deaths, Sebelius said yesterday in her first press conference after being confirmed secretary of Health and Human Services. Hand- washing and hygiene are among the most effective ways to control the outbreak, she said.
The first death in U.S. was a 22-month-old boy from Mexico City who was brought to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston last weekend and died April 27, the state health department said yesterday in a statement. The boy had "several underlying health problems," the statement said.
A Marine is recovering after being tested for the illness, and another 37 Marines are being "watched and tested" at a base in 29 Palms, California, Marine Corps Commandant General James Conway said at the Pentagon yesterday. The base, with 15,000 personnel, is located in the desert east of Los Angeles.
Three adults in Maine were confirmed as having the H1N1 swine flu virus, according to a release from Governor John E. Baldacci's office, making it the 11th U.S. state with such cases.
'Level of Calmness'
"We need to maintain a level of calmness so we will continue to manage this in a rational manner," WHO's Chan said. "Influenza viruses are notorious for rapid mutation and unpredictable behavior."
WHO raised the level on its current pandemic alert system, adopted in 2005, twice this week. It had been at 3 since 2007, when it was elevated for an outbreak of avian flu.
A stage 5 warning is "a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent" with little time left for preparation, according to the WHO Web site. It's based on the determination that the disease is established in communities in two countries in the same WHO region.
A pandemic is an unexpected outbreak of a new contagious disease that spreads from person to person across multiple borders. In such cases, almost no one has natural immunity.
"We think that we are in the process of moving toward" phase 6, Fukuda said. "I think at this point it is possible that we will move to seeing established transmission in other countries relatively quickly."
"We have been preparing all along as if this is going to stage 6," Janet Napolitano, U.S. Homeland Security secretary, said yesterday at a news conference in Washington. "Our preparations are for a situation in which this does become a full-fledged pandemic."
Athletic, academic and music competitions were canceled for more than 1 million students in Texas until May 11, according to the Texas University Interscholastic League, the largest inter- school organization of its kind in the world. Maine shut a school and a daycare center, according to a statement from the governor's office.
The outbreak in Mexico City prompted the local government to order a halt to dining service at all 35,000 restaurants. U.S. officials recommended that nonessential visits to Mexico be avoided and the European Union told travelers to avoid outbreak areas.
French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot told reporters she would ask European transport ministers to suspend flights to Mexico.
No Travel Limits
WHO doesn't recommend travel restrictions and said the focus should be on mitigating the outbreak.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged calm. He said a vaccine will probably be developed by the time next flu season starts in North America.
If a vaccine is needed, "the goal is to have one ready by September," said U.S. Representative Peter King, a New York Republican.
An experimental vaccine for swine flu may be tested in people within a couple of months, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Reference strains for the virus have been distributed and a pre-planned development process is under way, Fauci said at a press conference today in Washington.
Production of influenza vaccine for seasonal outbreaks, which U.S. health officials have said is ineffective against the new flu, should continue, Fukuda said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration signed emergency authorizations April 27 that will permit the CDC to use an unapproved lab test for swine flu and more dosing options than currently recommended for influenza treatments Tamiflu, sold by Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG, and Relenza, from Glaxo.
Australia is testing 128 passengers with flu symptoms and has taken steps to prepare for an outbreak, such as tightening quarantine rules. The country also upgraded its travel warning for Mexico, urging people not to visit the Latin American nation.
New Zealand confirmed 14 cases of swine flu as of April 29, the only definite infections in the Asia-Pacific region. Singapore today upgraded its disease outbreak alert to "orange" from "yellow," saying it will quarantine people with a recent history of travel to Mexico and tighten infection control measures at hospitals.
Egypt ordered the slaughter of as many as 400,000 pigs. South Korea is also suspending imports of live hogs from North America, while China, the world's top pork consumer, banned imports of swine products from Mexico and parts of the U.S. Indonesia said April 27 it will destroy all imported pork and swine products and fumigate agricultural goods bought from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico as a precaution.
Hindu - 19 hours ago
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Hindu - Apr 30, 2009
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An imminent pandemic
Apr 30th 2009 | MEXICO CITY, NEW YORK
The World Health Organisation raises its warning of a global pandemic of swine flu
BY THE morning of Thursday April 30th 2,500 Mexicans were known to have symptoms that looked like the result of a new strain of influenza, and more than 170 had died, though only eight of the dead were confirmed carriers of the new virus. That virus has now turned up in 12 other countries on four continents and the deaths have begun beyond Mexico's borders, starting with a baby in Texas. This could be the beginning of an influenza pandemic.
On Wednesday the World Health Organisation (WHO) promoted the new disease to level five of its six-level pandemic alert. Some countries have built up stocks of antiviral drugs. Luckily, they seem to work against the new strain. Vigilance at borders is being redoubled. China and Russia have started quarantining visitors with suspicious symptoms. Asian airports have dusted off heat-sensing equipment they had installed after earlier scares caused by cases of avian flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), to detect sick incoming passengers.
Could the new virus (a strain of the type of flu virus known as H1N1, H1 and N1 being the abbreviations for two of the virus's characteristic proteins) be a dangerous pandemic in the making? Seasonal influenza comes and goes with the virus evolving slightly from one winter to the next. But every so often a truly new influenza virus emerges, to which few humans have immunity. The resulting global wave of infections is called a pandemic.
What makes influenza different is that it is so easy to catch. Seasonal influenza is one of the top ten causes of death in America, and in less developed countries the toll is higher. Influenza viruses are also astonishingly mutable. Their genetic make-up often changes by mistake when the cells they infect churn out new virus particles. On top of that, if an animal or human is infected with more than one strain at the same time, those strains may swap genes. Most such novelties will be evolutionary failures, but occasionally one will prosper and, because it is so new, its hosts' immune systems will be unprepared for it. The result is a potentially pandemic virus.
That deaths from the new virus have mostly been confined to Mexico is probably a consequence of its having appeared there first and spread, under cover of normal seasonal flu, without anyone noticing. The suspected Mexican cases would then be the tip of an iceberg, and those who have died were just especially vulnerable or simply not treated as rapidly and effectively as they might have been in a richer country. It is also possible that there is something unique about Mexico, such as that those who died were infected with another virus which interacts lethally with the new one. Or a secondary and more lethal mutation might have emerged recently. That would be a serious problem for the rest of the world, as well as Mexico.
People worry about a new influenza pandemic for a 90-year-old reason. In 1918 and 1919 a pandemic known as "Spanish flu" (though it did not start in Spain) killed between 50m and 100m. Other influenza pandemics in 1889, 1957 and 1968 were milder. But even the most recent of these is reckoned to have killed at least 1m. A study published in the Lancet in 2006 used data from Spanish flu to predict that a modern pandemic of equivalent virulence would kill 62m people, with 96% of those deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
Even if the new virus is as virulent as the one that caused Spanish flu, a reason for hoping it will not cause so many deaths is that by good chance it is susceptible to certain antiviral drugs, including Tamiflu. But there is little hope of having enough antiviral treatments for all who would need them if a pandemic struck. What is more, if there were a pandemic it would be only a matter of time before a drug-resistant mutation of the virus emerged.
So how should governments prepare? Thankfully, prodding by the WHO and lessons from SARS and avian flu have caused governments to strengthen their disease-surveillance systems, improve communications between their health ministries and co-ordinate their stockpiling of drugs.
It is also time to begin work on a vaccine. The snag is that the world's capacity to create a vaccine against pandemic influenza is based on the smaller amounts needed to fight seasonal flu. Both more, and more effective, vaccines will be needed. Some big vaccine-makers are bolstering the conventional approach with adjuvants. These are catalysts added to vaccines to improve their efficacy and reduce the amount of active ingredients required.
However, Peter Dunnil, a biochemical engineer at University College, London, says that, even under the most optimistic calculations, and taking adjuvants into account, today's global vaccine-making capabilities would cover less than 10% of the world's population. Furthermore, only nine countries—mostly in Europe—have enough indigenous capacity to supply their own people. Even the United States is not self-sufficient.
It is possible, though, that new technology will come to the rescue. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic, an American hospital chain, argues that thanks to SARS, bird flu and fears about bioterrorism, work has been undertaken on a range of new incubation and manufacturing techniques. One example is DNA-based vaccines, which are made in cell cultures, not incubated slowly in eggs. Vocal, an American biotechnology firm, has shown in early tests that its DNA vaccine for potentially pandemic influenzas, such as strains of H5N1, is safe and effective, and it claims the technology can be scaled up easily.
If this swine flu is the next deadly pandemic, the world will curse itself for not being fully prepared. But it should not forget how much has been done in the past five years. Besides national and global stockpiles of antiviral drugs, medical equipment and financial resources, many countries and even businesses have developed plans for the outbreak of a pandemic.
France24 - 27 minutes ago
A full blown global pandemic could be declared if the new A(H1N1) influenza virus managed to spread within countries on a continent other than the Americas, ...
Austin American-Statesman - 51 minutes ago
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Brisbane Times - Apr 30, 2009
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• Dewana, Khoimala and the Holy Banyan Tree
In this masterful and deeply sensitive tale, Mahasweta Devi once again interweaves a social tapestry and the detail of human lives, crating a powerful tale of love, longing and passion set in time when the British are beginning to consolidate their hold on Bengal.
A beautiful tale of passion, vengeance and the overwhelming hunger for life.
• Bait - Four Stories
Unlike most of her works, which focus on tribals and the rural dispossessed, the four stories in this collection are located in the urban and suburban underworld, and form an unusual segment of Mahasweta Devi's oeuvre.
• In the Name of the Mother - Four Stories
The stories in this volume are linked by a common thread: the idea of the mother. They represent a range of responses to the concept of the maternal, exposing how the traditional deification of motherhood in India often conceals a collective exploitation and attempt to restrict women to their socially prescribed roles.
• Breast stories
Translated from original Bengali by critic and scholar Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, this cluster of short fiction has a common motif: the breast. The breast, as the translator points out in her introduction, is far more than a symbol in these stories. It becomes the means of a harsh indictment of an exploitative social system. In 'Draupadi', the protagonist, Dopdi Mejhen, is a tribal revolutionary, who, arrested and gang-raped in custody, turns the terrible wounds of her breast into a counter-offensive.
• Bitter Soil
With an introduction by Mahasweta Devi herself, this book, translated from original Bengali, contains four of her most powerful stories - all set in Palamau.
• Dust on the Road - The Activist Writings of Mahasweta Devi
A collection of her activist prose including most of her articles in English, several Bengali pieces in translation, and editorials from her journal Bortika.In the late 70s, Mahasweta Devi turned her attention to the marginalized tribals and untouchable poor of eastern India. She traveled widely, living with and building an intimate connection with them; and she began to contribute articles to several leading newspapers and journals, drawing on firsthand experience.
Translated from original Bengali, this piece of short fiction was earlier adapted and produced as a play in Hindi and later made into an acclaimed full length feature film. Both the short story and the play are included in this volume, along with an introductory essay that studies how and why the versions are different and what the changes signify, leading to an analysis of how the metamorphosis of Rudali allows us to address the simultaneity and asymmetry of feminist positions in this country today.
• Till Death Do us Part
This volume, spanning over three decades of writing, shows an unusually tender side to Mahasweta Devi, widely known for her satiric prose and biting indictment of societal inequities.
• Old Women - Selected Works of Mahasweta Devi
The two stories in this collection, 'Statue' and 'The Fairy Tale of Mohanpur', are touching , poignant tales, in both of which the protagonists are old women. Mahasweta Devi is at her most tender in her sensitive, delicately drawn portraits of these two old women although her trenchant pen is ruthless as ever in delineating the socio-economic oppression within which they are forced to survive. Though extremely readable as moving stories for the fiction lover, they also yield layers of deeper significance upon closer reading.
• Titu Mir
In this warmly told historical adventure tale, Mahasweta Devi brings history alive in the person of a charismatic hero.
• The Queen of Jhansi
Mahasewta Devi's first book, it traces the history of growing resistance to the British which came to a head with the 1857 uprisings.
• Imaginary Maps
An omnibus of three outstanding works of contemporary Indian fiction translated from original Bengali with a long interview with the author. This collection comprises three novels of Mahasweta Devi. These are:(1) The Hunt, (2) Douloti the Beautiful, and (3) Pteroactyl, Puran Sahay and Pirtha.
• Bashai Tudu
An original mix of documentary realism and revolutionary fantasy, history and fiction, so characteristic of Mahasweta Devi, the outstanding contemporary Bengali novelist. Translated from Bengali original, Bashai Tudu - a novelette and Draupadi, a short story, evokes a modern myth of a tribal peasant revolutionary.
• Shaalgirah kee Pukar par (HINDI)
Hindi translation of Bangla original by renowned fiction writer known for her activist writings.
• Shri Shriganesh Mahima (HINDI)
Hindi translation of Bangla original by much acclaimed Bengali fiction writer who is famous for her activist writings.
• Neel Chhavi (HINDI)
A Hindi translation of Bangla original by famous Bengali writer known for her activist writings.
• Jangal ke Davedar (HINDI)
Hindi translation of Bangla original by famous Bengali writer acclaimed for her activist writings.
• Eent ke upar Eent - Hindi
A translation in Hindi of Bangla original by famous Bengali writer who has won much acclaim and honor for her activist writings.
• 1084ven ki Maan (HINDI)
Hindi translation of a famous novel from Bangla original by a well-known Bengali writer famous for her activist writings.
• Five Plays
These plays are rooted in history and folk myth as well as in contemporary reality. The socio-economic milieus offers a view of India rarely seen in literature.Five plays are Mother of 1084, Aajir, Urvashi and Johnny, Bayen, Water.
• Our Non-Veg Cow and other Stories
This volume consists of ten favorite stories, selected by the author, and reveals a fresh new face as a writer of delightfully whimsical and funny stories.
These irresistible stories abound with unlikely and colorful characters: a vehemently non-vegetarian cow, the household pet, who wolfs down fried fish and gets
• Mother of 1084
One of the most widely-read works in Bengal, this book offers an insightful exploration of the complex relationship between the personal and the political.
This sensitive novel deals with the psychological and emotional trauma of a mother who awakens one morning to the shattering news that her beloved son is lying
• Krishnadwadashi (HINDI)
Hindi translation of a collection of 3 short stories in Bangla original by famous Bengali writer acclaimed for her activist writings.
• Bania Bahu (HINDI)
A Hindi translation of Bangla original by famous and much acclaimed Bengali writer known for his activist writings.
• 1084ven ki Maan (HINDI)
Hindi translation of a famous novel from Bangla original by a well-known Bengali writer famous for her activist writings.
• The Glory of Sri Sri Ganesh
Considered one of Mahasweta Devi's most important work, this novel written in 1981, appeared shortly after her seminal Chhotti Munda and His Arrows.
• Outcast - Four Stories
Mahasweta Devi's acute and perceptive pen brings to life with a deep empathy and sensitivity life stories of four women, who have one thing in common: the unending class, caste and gender exploitation which makes their lives a relentless struggle for survival.
• The Book of the Hunter
This charming, expansive novel set in sixteenth-century medieval Bengal draws on the life of the great medieval poet Kabikankan Mukundaram Chakrabarti, whose epic poem Abhayamangal, better known as Chandimangal, records the socio-political history of the times.
• Chotti Munda and His Arrow
This volume focuses on the gravest of contemporary threats, not only to individual nations and the civilized world, but to the long-term survival of the human race itself, and explores the complex web of terror that has established itself across the globe.
• Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay
This book depicts the life story of this great novelist, who is like a historiographer, narrating the saga of the rise, fall, continuation and resurrection of a people.
• Agnigarbha (HINDI)
A translation in Hindi of Bangla original by much acclaimed Bangla fiction writer known for her activist writings.
• Chotti Munda aur uska Teer (HINDI)
A Hindi translation of Bangla original by famous and much acclaimed Bengali writer known for her activist writings.
• Ghaharaati Ghatayen (HINDI)
Hindi translation of Bangla original by legendary Bangali writer known for her activist writings.
• Wrong Number and Other Stories
In her inimitable manner, the author brings us face to face with the reality of oppression and repression that haunts our country.
• Kaattil Urimal (TAMIL)
This book is Tamil translation of Mahasweta Devi's Akademi Award winning novel in Bengali, Aranyan Adhikar. It has been translated by S Krishnamoorthy.
• Kadina Davedara (KANNADA)
This book carries Kannada translation of Sahitya Akademi award winning Bengali Novel -Aranyer Adhikar by noted Bengali novelist Mahasweta Devi. It has been translated by G Kumarappa.
• Verrier Elwin-er Adibasi Jagat (BENGALI)
This book carries Bengali translation by Mahasweta Devi and Prithwis Saha of the Akademi-award winning English autobiography entitled The Tribal World of Verrier Elwin.
• The Bell - Stories
This book presents an eclectic collection of stories in reader friendly translations. Fine short fiction from across India, this collection is a sure way of knowing India through her stories.
• Bhiku's Diary
Dip into an unusual mix of unforgettable short fiction – fiction that is sure to enchant, amuse and provoke. This book from the Pocket Plus series presents an eclectic collection of stories in reader friendly translations.
• The Verdict - Stories
This book presents an eclectic collection of stories in reader friendly translations. Fine short fiction from across India, this collection is a sure way of knowing India through her stories.
(contact: c/o Mrs Arati Roy, Gostokanan, Sodepur,
Kolkata-700110, India. Phone:033-25659551r)
Taslima is silent on minority prosecution in
Bangladesh since she wrote Lajjaa. Lajja was the
documentation of the circumstances in which minorities
live in Bangladesh and leave it. The exodus leads to
India always. The infinite refugee influx from the
eastern border of India never stopped and minority
prosecution happens the main cause of exodus from
Self-exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin has once
again sought Indian citizenship, facing death threats
from hard-line Islamic groups in her homeland. News
agencies quote Ms. Nasrin as saying that she says her
birth country, Bangladesh, has slammed the door on
her. The Indian news agency also quotes her as saying
she would love to live in India's West Bengal state
because that would help her in her writings. She now
lives in Kolkata with a residential visa extended for
one more year recently.
Government of India faced a quandary after Taslima
Nasreen, the controversial Bangladeshi author, asked
repeatedely for Indian citizenship. The plea was
rejected in 2005. Thoughit is well known that India
stands for democratic freedom, freedom for minorities,
freedom from cast systems and above all freedom for
women. And the Indian intellegentia stands united with
The feminist author fled Bangladesh in 1994 when
Islamic extremists threatened to kill her after she
was quoted as saying the holy Koran should be changed
to give women more rights. After fleeing Bangladesh in
1994, she primarily lived in Europe, collecting some
awards for artistic courage but little peace of mind.
Taslima is a Bangladeshi writer, born in 1962. She has
published poetry, essays, a syndicated newspaper
column, and novels. She has received awards in India
and Bangladesh for her work. She sprang into
international consciousness when her novel, Shame,
which depicts Muslim persecution of Bangladesh's Hindu
minority, brought forth a death threat from Islamic
militants. She had to flee Bangladesh lived in Sweden
for some time, and now lives in France.
August 1999: The Bangladesh Government has banned the
latest novel by feminist writer, Taslima Nasreen on
the grounds that its contents might hurt the existing
social system and religious sentiments of the people.
All copies of the book in Bengali titled "Amar
Meyebela" (My Childhood Days) published last month in
Calcutta have been seized. Amar Meyebela is available
online in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, for those who read
Bengali.Taslims's true struggle for the freedom and
adventures for the equal rights of women in Bangladesh
did earn some basic dignity and respect, for herself
and for the women in Bengal, in general. Ms. Nasrin
has spoken out loud and clear in favor of equal rights
for women and has expressed opposition to the
oppression of non-Islamic minorities in Bangladesh
society. She also mentioned about the oppressive
socio-cultural enviornment during her earlier years.
This, of course, includes the Bengali women's bitter
experience of sexual exploitation by the brute
Pakistan Muslim soldiers during 1971 Pakistani Islamic
Civil War in East Bengal.
Besides Lajja, her other autobiographical works, "Amar
Meyebela" (My Childhood) and "Utala Hawa" (Torrid
Wind) were also banned. Nasreen, whose book "Ka"
described her alleged affairs with a number of
prominent Bangladeshi figures, earlier said she would
like to settle down in the Indian state of West Bengal
which adjoins Bangladesh and shares the same Bengali
The Bangladesh government has claimed that herbooks
contain anti-Islam sentiments and statements that
could destroy the religious harmony of Bangladesh, if
any such harmony really existed, except in the form of
brute Islamic repression of Hindu community. Taslima
Nasrin, thus, has been living in exile for more than
11 years. Recently, the West Bengal Government in
India also banned the sale, distribution and
collection of her book "Dwikhandito" in November 2003;
(though the Communist West Bengal Government should
not do exactly the same that Islamic Bangladesh
Government has done!). However, the ban was soon
lifted by the High Court in September 2004. Her
attempt to read an anti-war poem entitled "America" to
a large Bengali crowd at Madison Square Garden in NY,
nevertheless, resulted in her being booed off in 2005
by an Islamic Bengladeshi crowd.
On Feb. 17, 2005, Nasreen wrote to Home Minister
Shivraj Patil urging India to grant her citizenship,
saying the country of her birth had "slammed the
doors" on her possible return.The West Bengal Minority
Council then urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not
to extend the visa of controversial Bangladeshi writer
Taslima Nasreen and immediately expel her from India.
The Council said in a press release that it had
written to the Prime Minister, Union Home minister
Shivraj Patil, Foreign minister Natwar Singh as well
as Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking Taslima's
expulsion.It said xerox copies from various books,
including "Dwikhondito" on which a ban has been
imposed by West Bengal government, had been sent to
them "to expose" Taslima's "true intentions and
malicious propaganda against Islam and Muslims".
According to India's constitutional laws on
citizenship, a foreigner has to have lived in India
for at least 11 years to apply for citizenship.
Reiterating her plea Nasreen, who was present on the
occasion, said, "To live far away from people who
speak the language of my heart, the language in which
I think and write, is almost like death for a creative
writer." She hoped that the Indian government would
see reason in her appeal.
"My love for the language and the people of West
Bengal is all what prompted me to apply for Indian
citizenship," said Nasreen.
"Living in West Bengal would help me in my writings,"
said the 43-year-old author, who has been in Calcutta
during the last month waiting for the Indian
"My main wish is to live in a city that speaks Bengali
and which is a hospitable place for writers and
artists," said Ms Nasreen yesterday. "For 10 years
Bangladesh has refused me permission to return home.
In that time both of my parents have died. I just want
to be back in an environment where I feel I can
Ms Nasreen, deported from Bangladesh in 1994 after an
Islamist radical outcry over the feminist content of
her novels, said she wanted to live in Calcutta, in
India's state of West Bengal, where she could speak
her native Bengali. In 2002, she was given a one-year
prison term in absentia on charges of making
derogatory comments about Islam in several of her
Taslima is not an activist like Salam Azad, another
Bangladeshi writer who is exiled from the country. But
Azad has become the bone of contention beacause of his
fight for human rights for Bangladesh minorities on
every possible international forum. Azad wrote Ethenic
cleansing and never stopped to highlight the issue.
Taslima is not Shamsur Rahman who was a rigid fighter
for democracy and secularism. Shamsur is no more , but
he is known for his clearcut stand. But he never left
the country. Tasllima is not Humayoon Azad or Shariar
Kabeer, Not even Begam Sufia Kamal or Shaheed Jananee
Jahanara Begum. All these Bangladeshi writers are
democratic and secular and fought agnaist the system
and statepower life long. All of them were subjected
to life threats, attacks. Shamsur escaped, but
Humayoon azad was murdered. Kabeer had been put behind
bar. none of them compromised.But none of these
personalities attacked religion, for which Taslima
Nasrin is best known. But she has transformed in
thebest commercial icon of all struggles against
religious fundamentalism especially when that
obstructs women's rights. Taslima Nasreen was deported
from Bangladesh because she did not agree to succumb
to homegrown Bangladeshi Mullahs and Italianism. She
fought all her life against Bangladesh's
fundamentalism. This made all Taslima writing best
seller and it is nothing to do with a social
activists. As Taslima has nothing to do with the
refugees from Bangladesh who cover the content of
In Bangladesh Taslima`s reputation as a creative
writer is not too high.She is never mentioned with
Shamsur Rahman,Shamsul haque, Nirmalendu Gun or
mahadev saha, the prominet poets, Selina Hossain,
Kabeer, Milan, Humayoon Azadand the establised
novelists. But none of the Bangladesh writers , even
the greats like ilius, ahve been so known
internationaly.Not only self exile,but her
controversial stance against Islam and heavy imput of
sensetionalsexual experiences made her Taslima, the
unique writer. Whether it is Islam, Hindus or neo cons
in western nations trying to prohibit abortion, India
need to support the cause for freedom for women. All
religious people worldwide seem to be the enemy of
Taslima. Ms. Nasrin has her share of supporters, but
she is surely no darling within most women's groups or
literary circles. Her work is often derided. Indeed,
many are perturbed that she is linked to a literary
superstar like Rushdie by virtue of mutual
To many, Ms. Nasrin is an indiscreet, all-too-shrill
voice. In West Bengal writers like Tilottama Majumdar
and Sangeeta Bandopadhyay tried to adopt the bold
style of Taslima in their novels. Tilottama`s
Basudhara and sangeeta`s Shankheeni drew attention.
But they could not Taslima anywhere as they seek
liberation of woman in sex only and could not take any
stance against the system, religion and
statepower.Taslima's political capital is not only the
supports from the freethinker and the secularist
Bengalees but also from the liberals in the
sub-continent and from all over the the globe. She
loves to educate equal rights to all Bangladeshi women
and set them free from the repressive and abusive
so-called spiritual bondage.
Recently,the Indian government turned down Taslima
Nasreen's plea for citizenship but has granted her a
six-month multiple entry visa. She had been denied
residential visa. later it was granted. Now she
demands once again Indian citizenship.
Several personalities from the arts, literature,
education and theatre fields in West Bengal today
appealed to the Centre and the West Bengal Government
that the Bangladeshi writer-in-exile, Taslima Nasreen,
be granted Indian citizenship. If that were difficult,
then she should be allowed the right of residence so
that she could pursueher literary pursuits, they said.
The Centre should take into account her immense
contributions to Bengali literature while considering
her appeal for citizenship. A joint appeal by, among
others, the Magsaysay awardee Mahasweta Devi, the
Bengali litterateurs Sunil Gangapadhyay and Dibyendu
Palit and the economist Amlan Datta, pointed out that
though the Swedish Government had provided Ms. Nasreen
refuge, "to have to live far away from the people who
speak the language of her heart, the language in which
she thinks and writes is like death to a creative
"Taslima Nasreen is a powerful writer of the Bangla
language. To take her literature to greater heights
she needs to live in the land that speaks the
language. Since she has been expelled by the
Bangladeshi government, West Bengal is the only other
place she can let her pen flourish," the appeal,
signed by 79 creative people, said. According to them,
"India's great ethical tradition made it obligatory to
offer shelter to those who need it."
Writers, artists, academicians and actors got together
at a press conference in the evening to urge the Union
government to grant her an Indian citizenship.
"If it is not possible to consider her citizenship
immediately, she must be given a residential permit to
live in the country, where she has the maximum
readership base, and allowed to cultivate her literary
activities," economist Amlan Dutta said.
Meanwhile, Taslima had learnt "of a threat to
eliminate me, something
one does not expect in a democratic country like India
with its respect for the freedom of expression." Ms.
Nasreen also faces a fatwa issued by an imam of a city
mosque, who has reportedly offered a reward of Rs.
50,000 to anyone who smears black paint on her face
and drives her out of the country.Speaking exclusively
to The Hindu , Ms. Nasreen expressed the hope
that "neither this Government nor the people would
fanatics.""If I want to fight for humanity I
automatically will have to fight
religious fundamentalism and bigotry as they are
intolerant to human
values and women's emancipation, which is what my
books deal in."She thinks that the fatwa threat could
be part "of a conspiracy by religious zealots against
me to drive me out of the country at a time when I
have sought from the Government an extension of the
residential permit, which expires in August." Her
appeal for Indian
citizenship was rejected last year.
"All religions are hostile to women, without
exception," asserts writer Taslima Nasreen in an
interview on the occasion of the annual world
education week. "They oppose the freedom and the
rights of women, who they oppress with the same claims
that culture, conventions and patriarchal systems do.
I refer to Islam in particular, because it opposes
democracy, human rights and the emancipation of women.
In Islamic countries, the situation is worse than
elsewhere because there is no clear distinction
between religion and the state. The law is rooted in
the religion and that is the source of all evil for
women." Taslima Nasrin
In an exclusive interview with VOA, over phone,
Taslima spoke from Kolkata. She says that she has not
yet been informed of the outcome of her application
although in the newspapers she has seen that the
government of West Bengal has asked the central
government to refuse her an Indian citizenship or
residence. She regrets that the communist government
of West Bengal has given themselves up to a few
fundamentalist muslims and are trying to appease them
for political reasons. Taslima claims that she is not
a self exiled -writer. She was literally dragged out
of Bangladesh and has been forced to stay away from
Taslima does not believe that her situation is the
same as that of the writer of The Satanic Verses
Salman Rushdie. " Though the fundamentalists of Iran
declared a death penalty on Rushdie, he never stayed
in Iran. But I was in Bangladesh when the ban was
imposed on my book," she said.
Many of Ms. Nasrin's writings and pronouncements could
have set off such difficulties -- not the least her
1993 novel "Lajja," a book that depicted a murderous
rampage by Bangladeshi Muslims against the nation's
Hindu minority. But anger turned to outrage only after
Ms. Nasrin was quoted in a Calcutta newspaper as
having commented that "the Koran should be thoroughly
revised." Later, she said she had been misquoted,
though her clarifications then, like ones she offered
Tuesday, were hardly mollification. "Every religion
oppresses women," she said , "I talk about the Koran
because I know this book best. It allows for torture
and other mistreatment, especially for women. And I
despise the Sharia laws. They cannot be changed. They
must be thrown out, abolished. We don't need them."
Taslima wrote,`I lived in one of the poorest countries
in the world. I saw how poverty was glorified by
religion and how the poor are exploited. It is said
the poor are sent to the Earth to prove their strong
faith for Allah in their miserable life. I have not
seen any religious teaching that calls for a cure for
poverty. Instead the rich are supposed to make Allah
happy by giving some help (Mother Teresa's type of
help). The poor should remain poor in society, and
opportunists can use them to buy a ticket for
heaven.So I don't accept Allah, His cruel unholiness.
I have my own conscience, which inspired me to support
a society based on equality and rationality. Religion
is the cause of fanaticism, bloodshed, hatred, racism,
conflict. Humanism can only make people humane and
make the world livable.'
"To the West, Taslima is an even better victim than
Salman Rushdie because she is a woman," said Mahfuz
Anam, the liberal-minded editor of The Daily Star, an
English-language newspaper in Dhaka. Rushdie was for
years under a death sentence issued by Iran's Islamic
"She has gotten global attention, but in Bangladesh
she is not such a heroine. She has not inspired us.
She is not a great writer. We have far more
extraordinary women here who are working with the
villages and protecting women's rights."
The Bengali proverb says, 'Kaker mansa kake khai na'
(a crow does not eat flesh of another crow). But it
does. Here is an example. Sayed Shamsul Haq is an
established name in Bangladesh literary world as a
poet, lyrical dramatist and a novelist as well. On the
other hand Ms Taslima Nasrin, a medical doctor turned
into writer, is equally famous, perhaps
internationally more famous than Sayed Haq as a
champion of women' cause and humanist. Recently
Taslima wrote a novel called 'Ka' in which she made
some remarks with regard to her personal relation with
Sayed Haq that according to Sayed Haq are derogatory
and character assassination. This remarks annoyed Mr.
Sayed Shamsul Haq annoyed and obviously perturbed him
who decided to take the issue to a court for redress
instead of issuing a befitting rejoinder and honest
criticism of her so called novel.
Sayed Haq said to the BBC that she came to know her
in a post wedding dinner of Rudra Muhammad
Shahidullah, a young talented poet ceremony and
Taslima Nasrin, the bride. Mr. Haq said, 'Rudra was a
talented poet and was much younger to him in age. He
is no more now. I addressed Taslima as 'Bouma' (a
affectionate term used for daughter in law in Bengali)
from the very first day. She was affectionate to me as
a young poet. But when I felt that she was after fame
and that too had to be earned by any means, I think
from that moment I withdrew my affection from her."
After learning that Sayed Haq has sued against her for
her alleged defamatory remarks about Shamshul Haq, she
reacted by saying that, 'but Sayed Haq knew what
really happened on those occasions.' 'I don't know how
many critics have really read my book who criticized
it. After reading the remarks of the journalists I
have framed such opinion.' continued feminist writer.
'I have not written anything against any one with any
motive. This book depicts the time when I was in close
touch with those men of celebrities, we were together
then in fighting against fundamentalism. The mullahs
issued fotwas against- that was the time I started
writing against fundamentalism and fundamentalists. I
wrote columns- my books published. Those were the time
when I mix with many writers, poets and men of
cultural activities. Why should I not write about
those important personalities ? What is wrong in it?
In Bangladesh, Islamic feminism came as the natural
reaction to artificially concocted, medieval,
retrogressive and repressive Islamic spiritual
absolutism and ensuing cultural backwardness and
political absolutism in Islamic countries. In this
context, last few years have seen some courageous
Muslim women revolting against their Islamic social
background; Bengladeshi doctor Ms. Taslima Nasrin,
Iranian Ms. Maryam Namazi and Ms. Azam Kamguian, and
the Somali refugee in Netherlands Ms.Ayaan Hirsi
Aliopted for a total revolt; while Ms. Irshad Manji
and the American women Imams, alongside Ms. Asma
Jehangir of Pakistan, Dr. Riffat hasan of the USA, and
the Moroccan feminist Ms. Fatima Merniss going half
the way, are trying to reform the irreformable Islam.
Ms. Taslima Nasrin came to limelight with the
publication of her first Bengali novel "Lajja" (Shame)
and with the publication of this novel started her
long days of difficulties in Bangladesh. She had been
termed a fiery and fire-brand for her passionate
speeches on freedom of women, a human rights worker
for her ceaseless struggle for human rights, a
humanist for her philosophical trends, an atheist
feminist for her disbelief on the religious
mumbo-jumbo against women, a believer in secularism
for her outright support for non-religious moral and
ethical values, and a warrior against the Islamic
fundamentalist, for her personal history of perpetual
struggle against the Islamic fascism.
This 44 years young Lady of Mymensingh Medical College
did not suddenly became a heroine of human rights, she
had been working for quiet sometimes and just not
because some radical anti-religious activists and
freethinkers in Bangladesh and West Bengal boosted her
to a celebrity status. Of course, there are the
diehard secularist and human rights group; those have
been promoting every indivisdal like her with
unequivocal supports. That had every reason to support
her, for she was motivated by the sincrere cause. The
inequalities and injustices against women in
Bangladesh upset her. If any religion keeps women in
slavery and keeps people in ignorance, then one should
not logically accept that religion. Instead of having
irrational blind faith, she preferred to have a
rational logical mind. Thus she became a secular
humanist. To her, as for Tagore, humanity is the
ultimate and she recognized herself as an atheist.
gostokanan, sodepur, kolkata-700110 phone:033-25659551
The weather played spoilsport in Kolkata Boi Mela 2005 on Friday and Saturday. The weekend, for which the Kolkattans were so eagerly waiting for, passed into oblivion without registering anything worthwhile, leaving book lovers disappointed, to say the least. They were denied their pounds of unlimited enjoyment. The sudden unseasonal showers caught the organizers unawares. In the midst of happiness suddenly there descended chaos, people ran for cover in the shelters of the temporary book stalls getting drenched to the skin. To add to the mayhem, the electric supply had to be disconnected because, the cables had been exposed due to the sudden and heavy torrential downpour.......
But – the organizers maintained their cool.
A Seminar programmed to be held, in which leading littérateurs of Bengal and France were scheduled to speak, was held – albeit in candle light. Hand it to Kolkattans to never get unnerved.
The Seminar was held in the 'Desh' pavilion – 'Desh' and the woman's wing of FICCI had arranged for the seminar. Speakers included Sunil Gangopadhaya, Dominic Fernandez, Joy Goswami, Daniel Pennac and Tilottama Majumdar among others. The subject was – 'the changes in the concept of love and their reflections on literature'. There was constant interaction between the participants and the audience in which the translators played a vital role. The 76 year old French novelist Dominic Fernandez agreed that the meaning of 'love' has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. 'Love' today means not just a close bond between a man and a woman but also a bond between two persons of the same sex. Sunil Gangopadhaya commented that the meaning of 'love' is changing in India also but here there is still some conservativeness. Joy Goswami said that women today have become much bolder while penning down 'love' related poetry. Tilottama Majumdar, a representative of modern day writer said that in today's world, 'love' does not necessarily mean two bodies coming together but something beyond that. Today, love is a bond of mutual trust, interdependence and a search for shelter. To the new generation, friendship has taken on a different meaning.
|WHAT 'S RIGHT ABOUT INDIA|
ESSAY : REGIONAL WRITING
Little Magazine's Raag Darbari
By Pankaj Bisht
We have to understand the literature of Indian languages in this perspective. This is the epoch of intense crisis. New expressions and multiple mediums might not have totally eliminated the essence of literature, but they have certainly limited its role and importance. Literature, since ancient times the principle medium of expression, suddenly became marginalised in the early 20th century; by the time we crossed into the 21st century, the whole world had become visual. Relentless progress of technology shrunk the world and the lifestyle, language and culture of the dominant cultures and societies quickly spread across the world. Surely, these were not satellite footprints but the colonial imprisonment of dominant cultures. The 'big language' roller-coaster might not have succeeded in swallowing the 'small languages', but they were effectively turned insignificant and sidelined, while their literature was made untouchable for the ruling elite, pushed into the abyss of invisibility.
The value and importance of a language is not determined by the number of people who speak it but by its creative and collective knowledge and the dignity of the people who speak it. This is not a new phenomena in our society: Sanskrit is an example. Big languages like Hindi, Bangla and to a large extent, Chinese, became part of the market, or Baazaaru (Pedestrian) as we say in Hindi; that is, only rudimentary work can be done with this form of the language. This is crucial for the service sector. In this daily, continuous and widespread expansion of the service sector in these times, this is not a minor issue. After all, our affluent society, consumers and foreign tourists, have to routinely deal with domestic servants, cooks, waiters, taxi drivers, or prostitutes and their pimps.
Marginalisation did not restrict itself only to languages; along with them, those collectives also were getting marginalised which were unaware of the so-called 'globalised language'. This is the politics of language. In a dialectical sense, this process of marginalisation compelled these languages and cultures to find their inner meanings and strengths. Precisely because they are close to their own social milieu, they now express and represent the realism of the dalit and crushed communities. They express their pain and suffering, and their relentless struggles.
There is no doubt that the 'new story movement' (Nai Kahani) expressed the voice of the emerging middle class, but the essential voice of Hindi literature was somewhere else. That essence was discovered in the identification with the lowest and the lowest-middle classes. That this inheritance was an extension of Munshi Premchand's tradition was reflected in the entire objectivity of the 'kasba' and village. In the sixth decade of the 20th Century, Phanishwarnath Renu's Maila Aanchal, Raag Darbari of the seventh decade, and Dharti Dhan Na Apna are the first documentation of the changing villages of 'free' India's 'Hindi Pradesh'. Besides, look at the stories of Shailesh Matiyani: how intimate was his depiction of the displaced people from the villages in the urban slums, and those compelled to live and die on footpaths. You won't find this kind of intimacy in any other language. Matiyani's protagonists are beggars, pick-pockets, lumpens, drop-outs, marginalised characters. Fatedness — the lopsided policies of progress — they were its victims; and yet, their inner life was so full of humanism and faith.
This was the tradition reflected in Jagdamba Prasad Dixit's novel, Murdaghar, a unique work. Virendra Jain's novel Doob (Submergence), for the first time, outlines the human dimension of displacement. While Abdul Bismillah Agar, in his novel, Jhini Jhini Bini Chunariya, writes about the weavers of Benaras, Manzoor Ehteshaam's novel Sookha Bargad is perhaps the most powerful picturisation of Indian Muslim society after Partition. The life and struggle of workers — you can rediscover it in Sanjeev's work. You can find consumerism and modernity's dilemmas and dehumanisations with great intimacy in Asghar Wajahat, Uday Prakash, Sanjay Khati, Kshitij Sharma and Sanjay Sahay's literature.
The poetry of Muktibodh and Dhumil brought to post-Independence India the pessimism and optimism of continuous struggle. They not only gave a new direction to poets of the next generation, they gave a new idiom and agenda to Hindi poetry. If Alok Dhanwa, Manglesh Dabral, Rajesh Joshi and Arun Kamal revealed the revolutionary current of the 1970s, then, surely, they were inspired by Muktibodh and Dhumil. In the contemporary era, Jagdish Chandra Pandey, Mohan Kumar Daheria, Kumar Ambuj, Sunder Chand Thakur, Nilesh Raghuvanshi are documenting life's despair and clashes.
Another strong current is that of women's writing across the spectrum of Indian languages. This is significant in the Hindi region because women's and dalit writing is as vocal and sharp here as is the terrain of dogmatic social reality they inhabit. In the seventh decade itself the modern woman knocks at the door in Mridula Garg's writings. Prabha Khaitan, with her literary and philosophical writings, has been dismantling the cobwebs of patriarchy; this is a window reopened for the coming generations.
In dalit writing, Om Prakash Valmiki's autobiography Joothan has acquired the status of a classic. Vimal Thoral, Surajpal Chauhan, Ajay Navriya, among others, in different ways, are expressing the realism of dalit community. Literary magazine Hans is perhaps the only space of its kind where a '75-year-old young man' is leading a protracted struggle against the retrograde currents of dogmatism, orthodoxy and communalism. The truth is that the pressure of writing in your own language is so intense that there are innumerable little magazines which are creating a platform for an aesthetic which has been rejected by commercial journalism, electronic and print. This is not a minuscule platform. Indeed, it's the little magazines that are creating the big writers.
Four generations of Hindi writers are running a parallel innings. From Rajendra Yadav's intervention through thought-provoking writing, to Uday Prakash, Asghar Wajahat, Kshitij Sharma, Manglesh Dabral, Nilesh Raghuvanshi, Ramagya Shashidhar, and refreshingly new literature by Maya Gola — there are so many writers who are comparatively involved in Hindi literature's 'rewardless' world. Agreed, in Indian language writing there is neither money nor eminence, but let's not forget about that essence of literature called 'creative satisfaction'. The stoic happiness of doing something constructive.
Despite the fact that English has become the language of the ruling elite, literature in other Indian languages is also a form of creative intervention. One name is that of Mahasweta Devi, who has transcended the barriers of language. She is involved with every people's struggle. The incredible depiction of adivasi life, their daily, epical struggles — you can't find such incredible writing in entire world literature. There are others too carving a niche: Nabarun Bhattacharya, Subodh Sarkar, Mallika Sengupta, Devesh Rai and Tilottama Majumdar.
In Marathi, Rajan Gavas's novel Bhandar Bhog is sailing on a high note, while others have nourished non-English literature for years: Vijay Tendulkar, Vidya Karandikar, Sadanand Deshmukh. And let's not forget that dalit literature in Marathi was a pioneer of radicalism.What is lovely is how even in adivasi language, Santhali, Nirmala Putul is writing the fresh and original poetry of incredible images. Certainly, powerful literature is being born in little languages and dialects, which the 'other languages' and the 'English medium society' is simply not aware of. This literature is lively and brilliant, a reflection of the social and political truth of our times, a moment of multiple hope in the globalised realm of despair and struggle.
Feb 11 , 2006
Kolkata literatureThe universality of Bengali literature was established by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. This Nobel laureate was born in Calcutta in 1861 and lived till 1941. In these 80 years of his life he established himself as the redoubtable poet, writer, lyricist, composer and artist. His book "Geetanjali" was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1911. His works 'Raktakarabi', 'Rajarshi', 'Gharey Bairey', 'Sesher Kabita', 'Cheleybela' and so on are masterpieces. His musical compositions have become renowned as 'Rabindrasangeet'.
Prior to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Rishi Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Michael Madhusudan Dutta, and Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar were the stalwarts of Bengali literature. Rishi Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's novels 'Anandamath', 'Kapalkundala', 'Krishnakanter Will' are immortal works.
Michael Madhusudan Dutta was the pioneer of Bengali drama and blank verse poetry. His dramas 'Sarmistha' and 'Tilottama', and 'Meghnad Badh Kavya' written in blank verse have immortalized this playwright and poet of Kolkata.
After Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Tarashanker Bandopadhyay, Manik Bandopadhyay, and Bibhuti Bhusan Bandopadhyay emerged as the eminent novelists. Kazi Nazrul Islam was the greatest poet and composer after Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. His 'Agnibeena' and 'Sanchita' are collected by all Bengali households.
Sukumar Roy, Stayendranath Dutta, Jibananda Das, and Sukanta Bhattacharya were the renowned poets of early 20th century. Among the current generation of poets there are Joy Goswami, Shakti Chattopadhyay, and Subhas Mukhopadhyay. The present generation of writers include Sunil Gangopadhyay, Samaresh Majumdar, Budhdhadev Guha, Samaresh Bose, Ashapurna Devi, and Mahasweta Devi.
Poetry is dead in France
No it's not! It's just resting! Okay, it's dead.
Fernandez explains how the poets are increasingly being replaced by singers in the land of Baudelaire. "They write beautiful lyrics, like Barbara, but they are not poets," he reflects sadly, having just shared the dais with Sunil Gangopadhyay, Joy Goswami and Tilottama Majumdar. "Here it seems even the novelists write poetry."
Fernandez lays the blame largely on publishers and the media. "Few books of poetry are printed. Poets are never featured on the television and the radio."
But the poets are not above criticism as well. "Most of them live in intellectual ivory towers. They have become cut off from the people. Neither do they write of simple emotions like love. For that, you have to listen to songs."
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Bengali literary history|
|History of Bengali literature|
|Bengali language authors|
|Chronological list - Alphabetic List|
|Writers - Novelists - Poets|
|Novel - Poetry - Science Fiction|
|Institutions & Awards|
Bengali novels occupy a major part of Bengali literature. Though the first Bengali novel was Alaler Ghorer Dulal, the Bengali novel actually started its journey with Durgeshnondini written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1865. According to Ananda Sanker and Lila Ray, 'when the novel was introduced in Bangla in the middle of the 19th century, the form itself was new, the prose in which it was written was new, the secular tone was new in a country hitherto wholly dominated by religion, and the society in which and for which it was written was new' (Page 168). But some great novelists like Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore, Tara Shankar Bondopadhyay, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay developed the newly introduced genre in such a way that 'new' changed into 'matured' through their works. Almost all these literary activities went on in full swing in Kolkata. Dhaka, on the other hand, could not participate in the early stage but literature created by and of the people of Bangladesh area later on flourished with notable success.
 Bangladeshi novels
Novels of Bangladesh fall almost fifty years behind the Bengali novels. (First Bengali novel Alaler Ghore Dulal was published in 1858 and Anowara was published in 1914.) In its history of about one hundred years, novels of Bangladesh got a good number of novels where creative emancipation of the writers has been established.
 Themes of Bangladeshi novels
In the early stage, glorification of the religious beliefs and lives was the theme of most of the novels. Later on, picturization of real Bengali life became a common topic. By the end of the fifties, the novelists gradually turned to human mind and its analysis. A great change of the theme came after 1971. Novels about the Liberation War of Bangladesh began to come forth. Even till now it has not ceased to be an interesting topic.
The content and form of the novels saw various changes in the last fifty years. Starting from ordinary narration, now it has reached to magic realistic presentation through stream of consciousness, realism, surrealism etc.
 History of Bangladeshi novels
To many, Anowara was the most significant one among the earlier novels written in Bangladesh. This novel was written by Mohammad Najibar Rahman in 1914. But the milestone in the modern novels of Bangladesh is Syed Waliullah's Lalsalu (published in 1948). The history of Bangladeshi novels can be categorized in 3 major parts.
- Pre-partition (1947) era
- East-Pakistan era
- Bangladesh era
 Pre-Partition era
Before 1947, events like Partition of Bengal in 1905, Foundation of Muslim League in 1906 and Unification of Bangla in 1911 inspired the Muslim community of Dhaka to establish a new identity in the horizon of literature. Mohammad Najibar Rahman, Kazi Imdadul Huq, Kazi Abdul Wadud, Sheikh Idrish Ali, Akbaruddin, Abul Fazal, Humayun Kabir etc were among the novelists who tried to enrich the novels of the then East Pakistan, present Bangladesh.
Mohammad Najibar Rahman's Anowara was the first notable novel and it moved the whole Bangla Muslim community after publication. According to Rafiqullah Khan(ref) 'The novel could not create any novelty from artistic point of view, but it carried great importance for its picturization of socio-economic and political culture and ideals of the uprising populace' (Page 25, Translation). Main theme of most of the novels in this era was Muslim society and belief and orthodoxy. Examples of novels incorporating these theme is Najibar Rahman's Premer Somadhi (published in 1919) and Goriber Meye (1923), Sheikh Idris Ali's Premer Pothe (1926). In this time, for the first time the life of the Bengali farmers took an artistic delineation through Kazi Abdul Wadud's Nodibakshe (1919).
Then Kazi Imdadul Huq sprinkled a new wave. His famous novel Abdullah was published in periodicals in 1920 and it came into book form in 1933. According to Biswajit Ghosh(ref) this novel was 'bourgeois and humanitarian revolt against devotion to Peers, religious dogmas, purdah-system and disparity between Ashraf and Atraf (Page: 134, Translation). Later, 'Kazi Abdul Wadud and Humayun Kabir extended this attitude' (ref:Syed Akram Hussain:page 97). Another novelist Abul Fazal exposed human psychological analyses in his novel Chouchir (1927). He afterwards continued with his own style and wrote Prodip O Patongo (1940) and Shahoshika (1946). It is well accepted that this type of psychological approach was a first attempt in novels of Bangladesh, though not for the first time in Bangla novels.
A progressive novelist Humayun Kabir wrote an English novel Rivers and Women which was published in 1945. Later the Bengali form was published in 1952 by the name of Nodi O Nari.
 East Pakistan era
The independence of India and Pakistan from British rule bore more importance for the people of then Bengal. Since then the Bangla speaking community were divided into two parts – the East and the West Bengal. It turns into the smashing of the millennium-old culture and unity of Bengali nation. Moreover the existence of language became a great question just after the creation of Pakistan. The West-Pakistan ruling government tried to impose Urdu as the principal language on the Bengali people. But the whole society reacted strongly. This leaves a permanent impression on Bengali literature. In this tumultuous era, Syed Waliullah's Lalsalu (1948) was published. It was the foremost successful novel, both from art and reality points of view. Later Syed Waliullah translated it in English by the name Tree Without Roots. Mahbub-ul Alam wrote Mofijon, also published in 1948.
In the first years of Pakistan regime the authors mostly took village life as their theme, but they gradually diversified their interests. Newly-born urban society began to establish itself as worthy to be literary contents. Along with them political developments also took place in fiction. (ref: external link1). Among the first novelists of Pakistan period, Abul Fazal, Akbar Hossain, Shaukat Osman, Abu Rushd, Kazi Afsaruddin, Daulatunnessa Khatun, Syed Waliullah, Sarder Jayenuddin, Abu Ishaque, Shamsuddin Abul Kalam etc were most prominent ones.
Then came a whole generation of extraordinary novelists. Chowdhury Shamsur Rahman, Satyen Sen, Abujafar Shamsuddin, Ahsan Habib, Nilima Ibrahim, Abdur Razzak, Khondkar Md. Eliash, Rashid Karim, Shahidulla Kaisar, Anwar Pasha, Abdar Rashid, Alauddin Al-Azad, Abdul Gaffar Choudhury, Zahir Raihan, Syed Shamsul Haq, Humayun Kadir, Shahid Akhand, Razia Khan, Shawkat Ali, Dilara Hashim, Indu Saha, Ahmed Sofa were notable names.
In this time diversity of contents of the novel was noticeable. Village life was the core theme of a huge number of novels. Sometimes it centered the superstitious village mind or the oppression by the influential groups on the common people, some other times depressed womanhood took this place. Love between men and women in pastoral context were also a subject of many novels. Lalshalu by Syed Waliullah, Kashboner Konna by Shamsuddin Abul Kalam, Surjo Dighol Bari by Abu Ishaque, Meghabaran Kesh by Ishaq Chakhari, Adiganta by Sardar Jayenunddin, Mohuar Desh by Tasadduk Hossain, Janani by Shaukat Osman, Jhar by Syed Sahadat Hossain, Karnafully by Alauddin Al-Azad, Sareng Bou and Sangsaptak by Shahidulla Kaisar, Aranya Mithun by Badruddin Ahmad, Modhumoti by Rabeya Khatun, Hazar Bachhar Dhore by Zahir Raihan, Bobakahini by Jasimuddin, Pannamoti by Sardar Jayenuddin etc incorporated these themes.
Middle class society began to evolve in this time. Urban life, its problems and complexities, uprising middle class people, their social context and love in their life started to be portrayed in a good number of novels. Jibon Pother Jatri by Abul Fazal, Pother Porosh (1957) by Daulatunnessa Khatun, Bhorer Bihongi (1958) by Satyen Sen, Surjer Niche (1958) by Atahar Ahmad, Pathasranta (1959) by Nilima Ibrahim, Shesh Bikeler Meye (1960) by Zahir Raihan, Kanyakumari (1960) by Abdur Razzak, Uttam Purush (1961) by Rashid Karim, Ek Path Dui Bank (1962) by Nilima Ibrahim, Akash Jodi Nil Hoi (1962) and Ihai To Prem (1963) by Syed Sahadat Hossain, Prasanno Pashan (1963) by Rashid Karim, Pingal Aakash (1963) by Shawkat Ali, Akasher Rong (1964) by Zobeda Khanam, Panna Holo Sobuz (1964) by Shahid Akhand, Nirjan Megh (1965) by Humayun Kadir, Ghar Mon Janala (1965) by Dilara Hashim, Aronyo Nilima (1965) by Ahsan Habib, Antahshila (1967) by Kazi Md. Idris, Digonter Swapno (1967) by Razia Majid, Mon Ek Shet Kopoti (1967), Shaheb Bazar (1967) and Ananto Aneysha (1967) by Rabeya Khatun, Bipani Mon (1968) by Mir Abul Hossain, Sourav (1968) by Anis Chowdhury, Anishchita Ragini (1969) by Abu Rushd, Borof Gola Nodi (1969) by Zahir Raihan, Rajabagh Shahimar Bagh (1969) by Rabeya Khatun etc are significant novels of this stream.
But the background of another major event was being prepared in this time. The country began to experience turmoil. The political situation of the country became more and more prominent in the novels also. In novels like Nongor by Abu Rushd and Mon Na Moti by Anis Siddique, Jibon Khuda by Abul Monsoor Ahmed exposed the context of Pakistan Movement. Communal picture out of this movement and the restoration of Hindu-Muslim harmony also became core content in a number of novels including Ranga Probhat by Abul Fazal, Khuda O Asha by Alauddin Al-Azad, Neer Sandhani and Nishuti Rater Gatha by Anwar Pasha etc.
Then came the historic event of the Bengali Language Movement. The keen eyes of the novelists were nowhere but on this tremendous incident. Jahir Raihan's Aarek Falgoon was the most significant effort on language movement. Other political incidents like the class conflict, socialism, and movement in the cultivators was depicted in the novels like Dui Mohol (later on renamed as Alamnagorer Upokotha) by Shamsuddin Abul Kalam, Surjo Tumi Sathi by Ahmad Sofa etc. Shaukat Osman wrote wonderful symbolic political novels Kritodasher Hashi and Raja Upakhyan. Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury's Chandradwiper Upakhyan and Nam Na Jana Bhore portrayed the uprising farmer society and its conflicts.
There were some historical novels also. Abujafar Shamsuddin's Bhaowal Gorer Upakhayan about the Faraizi Movement, Sardar Jayenuddin's Nil Rong Rokto about the Indigo revolt, Satyen Sen's Kumarajiva about the spread of Buddhism, and Oporajeyo about the Sepoy Revolt etc. are a few examples among them. Some novelists favoured psychological complexities. With his unique presentation and language of his own, Syed Waliullah wrote Chander Amabashya and Kando Nodi Kando keeping psychological analysis in the centre.
Another trend of novels having emphasis on the sexual behaviours and deviations of the characters began to mark its own place during the sixties. Razia Khan's Bot-tolar Uponyas, and Anukolpo was among the first novels of this trend. Alauddin Al-Azad's Teish Nambor Toilochitro, Shiter Sheshrat Boshonter Prothomdin and Syed Shamsul Haq's Ek Mohilar Chhobi, Anupama Din, Simana Chhariye etc are mentionables in this regard.
Afterwards came the most memorable days of Bangali nation. After ten month long war Bangalis became independent nation. After the massacre of three million people and huge violation and harassment of womenfolk and loss of property Bangladesh emerged as a secular and democratic nation on 16 December 1971, and Bangladeshi novel enters into a new era.
 Bangladesh era
Most of the writers who were contributing in the pre-liberation period were also very creative in this period. Rashid Karim wrote novels based on middle-class society and their societal and psychological analysis. Alauddin Al-Azad, Shawkat Ali, Razia Khan and Dilara Hashim, Mahmudul Haque, Ahmad Sofa, Syed Shamsul Haq is among other notable names. Syed Shamsul Haq, commonly known as Syed Huq, wrote a good number of novels along with a huge number of books of other genres. He is always very experimental in both technique and form. Khelaram Khele Ja placed him in great controversy for his open delineation of human sexual behaviour. In his novels like Duratto, Mahashunye Poran Master, Ek Juboker Chhayapoth etc. Liberation war, its consequences, hopeless human existence and analysis of human mind and society take sharp pen-picture. Another powerful writer Shawkat Ali wrote Prodoshe Praakritojon, which is a real representation of the twelfth century Bangla during King Lakhkhan Sen. His trilogy Dakshinayaner Din, Kulaya Kalasrot and Purbaratri Purbadin deserve much compliment. Mahmudul Haque wrote Anur Pathshala before liberation war in 1967. He wrote Nirapod Tondra, Khelaghar (written 1978, published 1988), Kalo Borof (written in 1977, published in 1992), and Matir Jahaj (written in 1977, published in 1996). Ahmad Sofa, wrote novels with different tone. In Onkar (1975) he portrayed the suppressed Bangali mind of the pre-liberation period in a very artistic and symbolic way. In Gaavi Brityanto he presents the contemporary picture in a meticulous allegory. Ardhek Nari Ardhek Ishwari, a novel of romantic love, is widely considered as his masterpiece. His Pushpa Brikhkha Ebong Bihongo Puran is a narration of true human affinity to nature.
After the liberation war, freedom fight became a unique subject. The first of this discipline is Anwar Pasha's Rifle Roti Awrat that he wrote during the war. Shaukat Osman's Jahannam Hoite Bidai, Nekre Aranyo, Dui Soinik, Rashid Haider's Khanchai, Andho Kothamala, Shawkat Ali's Jatraa, Selina Hossain's Hangor Nodi Granade, Mahmudul Huq's Jiban Aamar Bone]], Syed Shamsul Haq's Nil Dangshon, Nishiddho Loban, Harun Habib's Priyo Joddha Priyotoma, Humayun Ahmed's Jochona O Jononir Golpo etc. are examples of novels which directly deal freedom fight as their subject. Besides this, novels like Amar Jato Glani by Rashid Karim, Ferari Surjo by Rabeya Khatun, Abelay Ashamoy by Amjad Hossain also portray the different facets of liberation war. Rashid Karim's Prem Ekti Lal Golap, Ekaler Rupkotha or Sadharon Loker Kahini are presentation of the hopeless picture of Bangladesh after the war. 'Critics say that though after the liberation huge number of novels was written about our war, none of them could depict the historic incident in necessary epic form'. (ref:externallink 1)
Selina Hossain started with Jalochchhwas and till now she has authored more than twenty-one novels. Her Hangor Nodi Granade is a success written on Bangladesh Liberation War. She has written novels like Taanaporen on coastal life and natural disaster. Gayatree Sondhya (3 volumes: published in, 1994, 1995, 1996), Kalketu O Fullora, Chandbene are some of her historical novels.
Abdur Rouf Choudhury's novel Natun Diganta (three volumes: published in 1991, 1992, 1993 and complete collection in 2005 by Pathak Shamabesh) is a quality work of art by any standard and most successful writing on pre- Bangladesh Liberation War. Choudhury most vividly depicted the unity of Bengal and the articulation of Bengali nationalism in his novel Natun Diganta (New Horizon) (vols. 1-3). Reason and humanity - these are its two eternal pillars. The essence of Choudhury's thought is a complete faith in the efficiency of these two immeasurable forces. Its most striking characteristic is its insistent association of work, precept and practice. It appeals not to controversial tests, not to any appearance of sweet reasonableness but to trials in the rough and tumble of life, and it will accept no other judgment. Natun Diganta gives warning against: 1) dogma, mysticism, ceremonial, hypnotism, the binding of the mind and will by oaths, and other inventions of external authority in religion and politics, 2) participation in violence, individual or social, and organisation's dependence on violence, 3) exploitation, luxury and material property, 4) self-degradation and 5) devotion to self-sacrifice.
Humayun Ahmed, perhaps the most popular novelist in Bengali after Sarat Chandra Chatyopadyay, appeared with his novel Nondito Noroke and then Shonkhoneel Karagar. Later he gradually turned to less serious things. Almost all of his novels are best sellers. Some of his titles are 1971, Daruchinir Deep, Brihonnola, Joyjoyonti, Kobi etc. Humayun Ahmed's Tomader Jonno Valobasa is the first science fiction novel in Bangladesh.
A serious poet, essayist and literary researcher Abdul Mannan Syed published his first novel Pariprekshter Dasdashi in 1974. Later on he wrote Kolkata, Poramatir Kaaj, O Te Ojogor, Hei Songsar Hei Lota, Khudha, Prem, Aagun, Shyamoli Tomar Mukh etc. Hasnat Abdul Hye, arrived with his Suprobhat Bhalobasa. By now he has written at least twenty novels. Along with his other novels he has introduced a different form of novels called biographical. Sultan, Ekjon Aaroj Ali and Novera are example of this form. All of these novels are based on the biographical sketches of giant Bangali characters. Rizia Rahman's Uttar Purush came in black and white in 1977. She wrote some fifteen novels in the eighties. Her voluminous Bongo Theke Bangla is an epic composition about the past culture and heritage of Bangali nation. Her other major novels are Rokter Okhkhor, Alikhito Upakhyan, Ekal Chirokal, Prem Aamar Prem, Ekti Phuler Jonyo, Harun Fereni etc. Bashir al-Helal's Kalo Elish was published in 1979. His other novels include Ghritokumari, Shesh Panpatro, Nurjahander Modhumas etc.
In the eighties, Bangladeshi novel got some senior writers who wrote novels for the first time along with some promising young ones. Among the earlier writers Abubakar Siddique's Jalarakshas and Kharadaha appeared with much novelty. His important later novel is Ekatturer Hridoybhashma. Makbula Manjoor started in the late years of the sixties, but most of her novels came out in the eighties and nineties. Kaler Mondira is one of her most notable work. Rahat Khan wrote novels about middle class city people, their joys and sorrows, love and separation. His significant works include Omol Dhabol Chakri, Ek Priyodorshini, Chhayadampoti , Hai Shunyota, Sangharsho, Shahar, Hai Anonter Pakhi, Modhyomather Khelowar etc.
Akhtaruzzaman Elias , one of the most artistic but least productive writers, wrote only two novels. He has started his journey with Chilekothar Sepai. His most prestigious work Khoabnama, which came out in 1996, is considered a milestone in the history of Bangla novels.
Another senior novelist Abu Ishaque's second novel Padmar Palidwip was published in 1986, after thirty-one years of his debut novel Surjo Dighal Bari. Appearance and disappearance of Chars (strip of sandy land), their effect on nearby humanity etc. have taken a keen narration in Padmar Palidwip.
Haripada Datta is also a worthy name. His two-volume novel Ojogor (Vol. I -1989, Vol. II-1991) chronicles the recent past history very remarkably. His previous novels are Eshane Ognidaho and Ondhokupe Janmothsob. In 2000 he wrote an epic volume titled Jonmo Jonmantor.
From the early years of the eighties, the arrival of some young novelists who, later on, obtained enough popularity, was heard. Monju Sarkar, Imdadul Haq Milon and Moinul Ahsan Saber are the few but most common names in this regard. Monju Sarkar's Tamosh, Nagno Agontuk, Protima Upakhyan and Abashbhumi, Imdadul Haq Milon's Jabojjibon (written in 1976, published in 1900), Nodi Upakhyan, Bhumiputro, Poradhinota, Rajakartontro, Moinul Ahsan Saber's Adomer Jonye Opekhkha, Pathor Somoy, Char Torun Toruni, Manush Jekhane Jai Na, Dharabahik Kahin, Opeksha, Kobej Lethel, Tumi Amake Niye Jabe, Prem O Protishodh, Songsher Japon got much recognition from the literati. Shahidul Zahir, wrote his first novel Jibon O Rajnoitic Bastobota, published in 1988 while his second, till now the last, Shei Rate Purnima Chhilo came out in 1995. Magic realism, which is a recent trend of the Latin American novels, takes place in Shahidul Zahir's narration.
The last decade of twentieth century is comparatively fruitful for Bangladeshi novels. Al Mahmud's novelistic exposition, Bipradas Barua's Buddhist life, Humayun Azad's brave creations, Akimun Rahman's novels about womanhood, Nasreen Jahan's novels of magic realism, Shamsuddin Abul Kalam's historic work Kanchongram is few mark of this decade. Syed Shamsul Haq's masterpiece Bristi O Bidrohigon, published in 1998, is a milestone on the past heritage and liberation war. Senior poet Al Mahmud's debut novel Dahuki came out in 1992 which was followed by Kobi O Kolahol , Upamohadesh, Kabiler Bone, Purush Sundor, Nishinda Nari etc. Bipradas Barua's major novels are Somudrochar O Bidrohira, Muktijoddhara, Shromon Goutam etc.
Humayun Azad commenced his novelist carrier with Chhappanno Hajar Borgomile in 1994, which was a courageous slap on martial law and dictatorship. In no time the novel brought its writer much name and popularity. His later novels include Sob Kichhu Bhenge Pore, Subhabrata, Tar Samparkita Susamachar, Rajnitibidgon etc. Mohammad Nurul Huda, a renowned poet, had also two attempts in novel. Excepting Janmajati and Moinpahar he did not make any third attempt. Akimun Rahman is the first novelist ever in Bangla language in whose writing the untold and unknown secrets of womanhood are getting tongue. She has by now written four novels, Purusher Prithibite Ek Meye , Roktopunje Genthe Jawya Machhi, Pashe Shudhu Chhaya Chhilo, and Jeebaner Roudre Udechhilo Kayekti Dhulikana. Another notable novelist is Nasreen Jahan. Her first novel Urukku arrived with much appreciation. In her novels like Chondrer Prothom Kola, Chondrolekhar Jaadubistar, Sonali Mukhosh, Ure Jai Nishipakhkhi etc, she manipulated the elements of magic realism. Anisul Hoque, a journalist by profession, has established himself as a renowned writer. His Andhokarer Ekshaw Bachhar presented him a very honourable place but Ma (The Mother) has given him international reputation. Imtiar Shamim is also a young but promising name for the novels of recent Bangladesh. In Dana Kata Himer Bhetor he presented an NGO-world. His Amra Hetechhi Jara encompassed a very touching story of the sorry saga of post-independence Bangladesh life.
 Novels of West Bengal, India
|This section requires expansion.|
- Durgesh Nandini by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
- Madhabi Kankan by Ramesh Chandra Dutta
- Gora by Rabindranath Tagore
- Ghare Baire by Rabindranath Tagore
- Shesher Kabita by Rabindranath Tagore
- Pather Dabi by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay
- Shesh Prashna by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay
- Pather Panchali by Bibhuti Bhushan Bandyopadhyay
- Aranyak by Bibhuti Bhushan Bandyopadhyay
- Ganadevata by Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay
- Nagini Kanyar Kahini by Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay
- Hansuli Banker Upakatha by Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay
- Putul Nacher Itikatha by Manik Bandyopadhyay
- Padmanadir Majhi by Manik Bandyopadhyay
- Jagari by Satinath Bhaduri
- Antarjalijatra by Kamal Kumar Majumdar
- Ekhon Amar Kono Asukh Nei by Sandipan Chattopadhyay
- Rubi Kakhan Asbe by Sandipan Chattopadhyay
- Jiban Je Rakam by Sunil Gangopadhyay
- Prathom Alo by Sunil Gangopadhyay
- Uttar Jahnabi by Syed Mustafa Siraj
- Aleek Manush by Syed Mustafa Siraj
- Trinabhumi by Syed Mustafa Siraj
- Ghunpoka by Shirsendu Mukhopadhyay
- Purna Apurna by Bimal Kar
- Kharkuto by Bimal Kar
- Banpalashir Padabali by Ramapada Choudhury
- Dwiper nam Tiarong by Ramapada Choudhury
- Mirar Dupur by Jyotirindra Nandi
- Baaro Ghar Ek Uthon by Jyotirindra Nandi
- Ei Taar Puroshkar by Jyotirindra Nandi
- Nilkantha Pakhir Khonje by Atin Bandyopadhyay
- Aloukik jalajan by Atin Bandyopadhyay
- Manusher Gharbari by Atin Bandyopadhyay
- Dubjaley Jetuku Prashwas by Malay Roy Choudhury
- Kheladhula by Basudeb Dasgupta
- Bramhavargab Puran by Kamal Chakraborty
- Brikhu by Kamal Chakraborty
- Herbert by Nabarun Bhattacharya
- Matam by Barin Ghosal
- Suryaheen by Arupratan Ghosh
 Further reading
- Bangla Academy Lekhak Obhidhan, Bangla Academy, Dhaka, 1998
- Bangla Uponyase Chitrita Jiban O Somaj, Sudhamoy Das, Dhaka, 1995
- Purba O Pashchim Banglar Uponyas, Shahida Akter, Bangla Academy, Dhaka, 1992
- Amader Uponyase Bisoy Chetona : Bivagottor Kal, Muhammad Idris Ali, Bangla Academy, Dhaka, 1988
- Bangla Academy Charitabhidhan, Bangla Academy, Dhaka, Second Enlarged Edition, 1997
- Rafiqullah Khan, Bangladesher Uponyas: Bishay O Shilparup, Bangla Academy, Dhaka, 1997
- Syed Akram Hossain, 'Bangladesher Uponyas: Chetanaprabaha O Shilpajijnansha', Prosango Bangla Kathashahitya, Mawla Brothers, Dhaka, 1997
- Annada Sankar and Lila Ray, Bengali Literature, Pashchimbanga Bangla Academy, Kolkata, 2000
- Biswajit Ghosh, Bangladesher Uponyas, Sahitya Patrika, Vol. 28 No. 01, Dhaka University, Dhaka, 1984
- Bangladesher Uponyase Char Doshok, Kalyan Mirbar, Kolkata, 1992
- Bangladesher Koekjon Ouponyashik, Subrata Kumar Das, Dhaka, 2005
 External links
- An article on Bangladeshi novels
- A link on Bangladeshi literature
- An article on Bengali literary heritage
- An Indian Bengali Webzine
- Bengali Literature Archive
- Bangla book archive
|The Contemporary Indian Novel|
Embedded in the title of this minor field are many of the questions that I wish to pose in my reading of the texts below. No study entitled "The Contemporary Indian Novel" can escape the vexed question of its geographic construction. To what extent can any of these novels be described as "Indian"? According to Amit Chaudhuri, the "Indian" novel is necessarily written in English. He writes that the qualificatory "in English" is unnecessary, as it is absurd to assume that any work in Kannada or Bengali might also be in some way "Indian"-they do not claim to participate in the fiction of the "postcolonial totality called India". In some way, the titles I have chosen do indeed participate in a fiction called India, simply because they have been associated with a body of fiction known, even in Chaudhuri's Picador anthology, as Indian Literature. Much less clear is their relationship to a "postcolonial totality". If postcolonial is in this case to mean postnational or supranational, then indeed the writers below are a part of the construction of something that is postcolonial. The nature of this postcolonial, and its relationship to a totality called India, is at the heart of the questions I wish to ask of the body of literature represented below.
In the course of my reading I wish to investigate the complex ways in which a group of texts constitutes a transnational body of literature that speaks from sites both within and outside of a greater "India" and yet has come to bear the burden of representing something called India-usually defined in relation to British India-to the English-speaking world. Does the work of these writers-from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and their emigrant communities-constitute itself as a body of Indian literature? To what extent is it a literature of a transnational Indian community? In effect, I wish to read these novels to understand if or how they constitute a transnational Indian subject for an Anglophone reading audience.
|PRIMARY READINGS |
— Afternoon Raag
— A New World
— Clear Light of Day
— Fasting, Feasting
— In an Antique Land
— The Buddha of Suburbia
— Gabriel's Gift
— A Fine Balance
— Family Matters
— Such a Long Journey
— Desirable Daughters
— A House for Mr. Biswas
— The Enigma of Arrival
— Anil's Ghost
— The English Patient
— The God of Small Things
— Haroun and the Sea of Stories
— Midnight's Children
— The Moor's Last Sigh
— The Satanic Verses
— An Equal Music
— The Golden Gate
— The Death of Vishnu
During the late 1800's, the various regions of India began to share a common purpose in reacting to the British presence in their country. A nationalist movement gradually grew in strength. This movement was the inspiration behind much Indian writing in the 1800's and early 1900's. A common pattern exists in the modern literature of most Indian languages. The spread of journalism helped the development of prose writing, with the short story becoming especially popular.
Writers such as the Bengali Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-1894) attacked colonialism and created their own brand of nationalism. Bankim's historical novels achieved popularity throughout the subcontinent and helped spread nationalism and patriotism. Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), the greatest name in modern Indian literature, made federalism an important part of his concept of national ideology. He said that the unity of India should be a unity in diversity.
Patriotic writings grew almost simultaneously in different languages as part of the resistance of a community to foreign rule. For example, Rangalal in Bengali, Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) in Urdu, and Bharatendu Harishchandra (1850-1885) in Hindi all expressed their opposition to colonial rule and wrote about the glorification of India.
The Bengali writer Michael Madhusan Dutt (1824-1873) wrote the first modern epic in an Indian language. Subramania Bharati (1882-1921) was a great Tamil poet who revolutionized the poetic tradition in Tamil. Maithili Saran Gupta (1886-1964) and Bhai Vir Singh (1872-1957), writing in Hindi and Punjabi respectively, took themes from mythology and history for their patriotic epics.
The first Indian novels appeared in the late 1800's. Krishnamona Chetty's Sri Ranga Raja (1872) was the first novel in Telugu; Samuel V. Pillai's Pratap Mudaliyar Charitram (1879) was the first in Tamil; and Chandu Menon's Indu Lekha (1889) the first in Malayalam. These novels questioned contemporary social practices and customs. Similarly, the Bengali novel Phulmani O Karunar Bibaran (1852) by the English writer H. Catherine Mullens and the Hindi novel Pariksha Guru (1882) by Lala Sriniwas Das examined social issues.
Historical novels were written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in Bengali and Hari Narayan Apte in Marathi to describe the glorious past of India and instill nationalist sentiments in their readers. Tagore wrote his novel Gora (1910) to challenge colonial rule and to give new meaning to Indian nationalism.
Gandhi's influence. The ideas of Gandhi deeply affected India in the decades leading up to independence in 1947. Gandhi, writing in Gujarati, English, and Hindi, used the language of common people. He used the weapons of truth and nonviolence and spoke out in favour of traditional values and against industrialization. Gandhi became a symbol of peace and idealism. Writers of fiction and poetry in almost all the Indian languages adopted the Gandhian figure as a theme of cultural nationalism.
Saratchandra Chattopadhyay (1876-1938) is one of the most popular Bengali novelists. A Gandhian and a socialist, his influence spread throughout India with translations of his books in various Indian languages. Premchand (1880-1936) wrote novels in Hindi. He wrote about the plight of the poor in India. His greatest achievement, the novel Godan (The Gift of a Cow, 1936), tells the story of a debt-laden peasant and his struggle for survival.
Colonial Period to Independence
The British became a colonial power in India in the 1700s and established control over much of the subcontinent by the early 1800s. In 1835 the British colonial government introduced English education for upper-class Indians so that they could serve in the administration of the colony. English education exposed Indians to Western ideas, literary works, and values. At the same time, translations of Indian literary works by Western scholars stimulated Indians to approach their own literary and cultural heritage from new perspectives. One such translation was a 1789 version of the 4th-century Sanskrit play Shakuntala, translated by British linguist Sir William Jones.
The introduction of the printing press in India made possible the establishment of newspapers and journals in English and Indian languages. These media created new opportunities for Indians to write, publish, and communicate across their large country. A major development in this period was the Bengal Renaissance, a cultural movement among Bengalis in Calcutta (now Kolkata), which was both the British capital and a center of Bengali culture. The writers of the Bengal Renaissance led the way in synthesizing Indian and Western ideas in literature and culture.
Of the early examples of modern writing in India, some of the best were in poetry. Famed writer Rabindranath Tagore began his career in the late 19th century with innovative poetry in the Bengali language, but he also drew on traditional forms of poetry and performance. Perhaps his best-known work is Gitanjali (Song Offerings, 1910), a collection of poems. Many of Tagore's poetic and musical dramas, such as Dak-ghar (The Post Office, 1912), were performed at Santiniketan, the school that he founded near Calcutta. In 1913 Tagore won the Nobel Prize for literature, becoming the first non-European winner of the award.
Two female poets of the time, Toru Dutt and Sarojini Naidu, both Bengali by birth, distinguished themselves with works in English. Dutt died when she was only 21 years old, but Naidu had a long and illustrious career in literature and politics. The Golden Threshold (1905) is a major collection of her poems, which often focus on themes relating to Indian cultural traditions and Indian women's lives. Naidu also wrote speeches and essays, and she became a leader of the nationalist movement, which sought independence from Britain. Subrahmaniya Bharati wrote some of the earliest prose and poetry in the modern form of the Tamil language. His poems reflect his passionate dedication to the cause of freedom from British rules, and his desire for progress for India as a modern nation. Other authors, such as the noted Hindi poets Sacchidanand Vatsyayan, Suryakant Tripathi, and Mahadevi Varma (a female author and winner of the literature prize of the Indian Academy of Letters), wrote works of a more introspective, personal character.
Winner of the prestigious Bangla Academy Literature Award in 1976 plus other notable literary and cultural awards in South Asia and North America, Dilara Hashem has maintained a steady literary output for four decades, totaling some 30 volumes of novels, memoirs, short stories, poetry and translations.
Her 1966 debut novel Ghor Mon Janala (Home, Heart, Window) was a major success for the young wife, mother and recent graduate of Dhaka University (M.A. Honors in English Literature). Recognized as the first significant contemporary urban Bangla novel set in the then East Pakistan, Ghor Mon Janala garnered critical and poular praise and became a feature film in Bangladesh (1993). It was further published in Russian in Moscow and Chinese in Beijing (the latter translation, in 1996 a first for any Bangladeshi novel).
The twirls of life
|SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY speaks to Nandini Guha about "Dark Afternoons", her translation of a novel by popular Bengali writer Bani Basu|
Giving voice to the vernacular Nandini Guha in New Delhi
So many times, many a great literary work remains dead to us because of its language. That language can be a barrier to literature is particularly true in a country like ours, divided by different tongues. This is what makes the role of translators important in our literature. But indeed, a translator's job is not just to present a piece of literary work from one language to another. Line by line. It is to try and make accessible the fine distinction of the language of the original work to the new readers.
Delhi University professor Nandini Guha is aware of these intricacies. "It shouldn't read like a translation," she underlines. Guha also agrees that a good translated work can become better if you can bring out the nuances of the original work without fiddling too much with it.
Such consciousness led her to take part in the Katha competition for translated works in 2001. Her entry at the competition was an English translation of "Kharab Chele", a novel by Bani Basu, a key voice of contemporary Bengali literature. Guha named her work "The Fallen Man".
"I was so moved by the novel that I felt like translating it into English so that a wider section of readers get to enjoy it too," says Basu. "The Fallen Man" bagged the Katha award for the best translated work that year. And it gave this professor of English literature the additional career of a translator. "The Fallen Man", which got published in an anthology of awarded stories by Katha some years ago, has recently been rechristened as "Dark Afternoons" and released separately as a novel by the publishing house.First work
Guha obviously is excited. "This is my first serious published work as a translator. Before that, I appeared only in college magazines," she says jocularly. "Dark Afternoons" is a gripping tale about human associations staged in the city of Kolkata. It has quite a few parallel tracks about different lives lived and their relationships with each other but the main track is that of the protagonist Jina, who takes up a job to fill her empty afternoons. It soon transforms her sheltered existence.
But the most lovable character is definitely Jina's father-in-law, adds Guha. "The way Bani Basu has portrayed this character is admirable. It can change one's perception about typical fathers-in-law. Very subtly she instils in you the thought that such characters do exist in our society," explains Guha.
Known for bringing in contemporary happenings to her pages, Bani Basu, in "Kharab Chele", also deals with the subject of AIDS quite delicately. She questions the role of NGOs working in the field and also ponders whether their vision is any way close to stemming the problem. Basu, known for many impressive novels, has also written "Moom", in a language that Marwari residents of Kolkata speak, a mix of Bengali and Marwari, used for first time to pen an entire novel.
In "Dark Afternoons", Guha fills the pages with footnotes that give meanings of different Bengali terms and usages. She explains, "I deliberately left words like 'kal boishak' as there can be no English word to give the local effect. I seriously feel that a reader picks a translated work to get the local flavour. So I didn't want to westernise it too much. The footnotes are for those who don't follow such words."
All keyed up, she is on to her next work of translation. It is yet again a Bani Basu novel, "Shwet Pathorer Thhala". A path-breaking book, it trails the plight of widowhood, where a widow questions the family of her husband why she has to be always in mourning. She asks them, "Am I the only one who lost someone?" The book will be published by Zubaan.
Bengali Literature - A brief Introduction
By Literary India on April 02,2007
The first evidence of Bengali literature is known as Charyapada or Charyageeti, which were Buddhist hymns from the 8th century. Charyapada is in the oldest known written form of Bengali. The famous Bengali linguist Harprashad Shastri discovered the palm leaf Charyapada manuscript in the Nepal Royal Court Library in 1907.
* Starting of modern era
In the middle of 19th century, Bengali literature gained momentum. During this period, the Bengali Pandits of Fort William College did the tedious work of translating the text books in Bengali to help teach the British some indian languages including Bengali. This work played a role in the background in the evolution of Bengali prose.
* Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy arrived in Calcutta in 1814 and engaged in literary pursuits. Translating from Sanskrit to Bengali, writing essays on religious topics and publishing magazines were some the areas he focussed on. He established a cultural group in the name of 'Atyio Sova' (Club of Kins) in 1815.
* Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyaya (popularly known as "Vidyasagar" which means 'ocean of knowledge') was mainly known as a social reformer and an educator. But his contribution to the Bengali literature was also crucially important . Most modern scholars agree that, it was he who played the most significant role in the inception of effective Bengali prose writing, partly laying the foundation of modern Bengali literature.
Vidysagar realized the need of educating women in the society. With his tireless effort to uplift the status of women in the society, he was able to establish some Girl's schools in different parts of Bengal. But there was no good Bengali text book for basic Bengali education. He wrote Bengali books with basic language construct and fundamentals, like, "Barnaparichay", "Bodhoday", "Kathamala" etc. and then easy grammar books like "Upakramonika" and "Byakaron Kaumudi". He also introduced some basic books for Mathematical logic. Rabindranath Tagore called him as the father of modern Bengali language. Vidyasagar translated some masterpieces of Sanskrit and English literature into Bengali: "betaal panchabingshati"(Sanskrit Kathasarit sagar, "shakuntala", "bhranti bilaas" , "sitaar banabaas" and edited books like "raghubangsha", "kumarsambhab" etc.
* Parichand Mitra
Parichand Mitra (penname Tekchand Thakur),is widely considered to be the first Bengali novelist for his novel "Alaler Ghore Dulal". This novel was published in 1858. In this novel he used the colloquial language, something that was almost unthinkable for the literati of his time.
* Impact of Nil Bidroho and Dinabandhu Mitra
In 1857, the famous 'Sipahi Biplob' (Sepoy Mutiny) took place. With the wind of it, 'Nil Bidroho'(Blue Revolt)scattered all over then Bengal region. This Nil Bidroho lasted for more than a year (In 1859-1860). The literature world was shaken with this revolt. In the light of this revolt, a great drama was published from Dhaka in the name of 'Nil Dorpon' (The Blue Mirror). Dinabandhu Mitra was the writer of this play.
* Michael Madhusudan Dutt
In this time, Michael Madhusudan Dutt emerged as the first epic-poet of modern bangla literature. Dutt, a Christian by conversion, is best known for his Ramayana-based masterpiece, "The Slaying of Meghnadh," (in Bengali "Meghnadh Bodh Kabbo" , which essentially follows in the poetic tradition of Milton's Paradise Lost. Those who have read it consider this work a world-class epic poem of the modern era. Michael Madhusudan Dutta is also credited with the introduction of sonnets to Bangla literature. He ruled the bangla literature wold for more than a decade (1858-1863).
* Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay starts his journey through bangla literature with his first publishd novel 'Durgeshnondini' (Daughter of the Fort Lord) in 1865. he is considered as one of the leading Bengali novelists and is popularly known as the author of India's first national song, "Bande Matarom" (pronounced in Hindi "Vande Mataram").
Bangla literature also become rich with its variations. It started to spread its different branches also. in poetry Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Biharilal Chokroborty, Kaykobad, in novel Romeshchandra Dutt, Mir Mosharraf Hossain, in plays Girish Chandra Gosh, in essays Akshay Kumar Boral, Ramendro Sundar Tribedy and many others contributed to enrich bangla literature in this time.
A lot of literature magazines and newspapers started to come under day light. A number of educational institutes appears all over the region. This helps a lot to nurture the future author and poets of bangla language.
* Influence of Rabindranath Tagore
Possibly the most prolific writer in Bangla is Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore dominated both the Bengali and Indian philosophical and literary scene for decades. His 2,000 Rabindrasangeets play a pivotal part in defining Bengali culture, both in West Bengal and Bangladesh. He is the author of the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh, both composed in Bangla. Other notable Bangla works of his are Gitanjali, a book of poems for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, and many short stories and a few novels. It is widely accepted that Bangla Literature accomplished its contemporary look by the writings and influence of Rabindranath.
* Kazi Nazrul Islam
In a similar category is Kazi Nazrul Islam, a Muslim who was invited to post-partition Bangladesh as the National Poet and whose work transcends sectarian boundaries. Adored by Bengalis both in Bangladesh and West Bengal, his work includes 3,000 songs, known as both as nazrul geeti and "nazrul sangeet". He is frequently called the rebel poet mainly because of his most famous and electrifying poem "Bidrohi" or "The Rebel", and also because of his strong sympathy and support for revolutionary activities leading to India's independence from British Rule. His songs and poems were frequently used during the Bangladesh Liberation War as well. Though he is acknowledged as the rebel poet, Nazrul very effectively contributed in all branches of literature. He wrote poems that lights the fire against enequality or unjust and the same time he wrote some awesome romantic poems. He wrote a lot of Islami Gazals and in the same time wrote a number of Shyama Sangeet (songs for the Hindu Mother Goddess, Kali). Nazrul was not only a poet, he was writer, musician, journalist and philosopher. He was sent to jail for his literary works against then prevailing British rule.
* Other notable names
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay was one of the most popular novelists of early 20th century whose speciality was exploring complex human psychology and drama. Tarashankar Bandopadhay was another famous novelist whose works feature a realistic picture of the many-colored fabric of life in rural Bengal in a pioneering modernist style of prose in fiction. Other famous bengali novelists are Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay, Manik Bandopadhyay, Balai Chand Mukhopadhyay(Banophool), Saradindu Bandopadhyay, Bimal Mitra, Bimal Kar, Samaresh Basu etc. Early bengali science fiction works were also written in the 19th and early 20th centuries by writers such as Jagadananda Roy, Hemlal Dutta, Jagdish Chandra Bose, Premendra Mitra, Satyajit Ray, etc.
* Short story writers
Bengali literature is also famous for short stories. Some of the famous short story writers are Rabindranath Tagore, Manik Bandopadhyay, Tarashankar, Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay, Raj Shekhar Basu (Parasuram), Premendra Mitra, Sibram Chakraborty, Saradindu Bandopadhyay, Subodh Ghosh, Narendra Nath Mitra, Narayan Gangopadhyay, Santosh Ghosh, etc.
The famous Bengali film director Satyajit Ray also wrote many short stories. One of his stories was Bankubabur Bandhu (Banku Babu's Friend) written in 1962, which was the first science fiction story to portray an alien from outer space as a benign and playful being invested with magical powers and best capable of interacting with children, in contrast to earlier science fiction stories which portrayed aliens as dangerous monsters. He later adapted the story as a script for a film called The Alien in 1967, though the film was later cancelled. However, Ray's story was strikingly similar to Spielberg's film E.T. later released in 1982, which may have been inspired by Ray's script for The Alien.
Jibanananda Das was a famous poet who, along with Buddhadev Basu, marks the beginning of the move to transcend the Tagore legacy. The new genere of Bengali poets departed considerably from Tagore's ideological style and adoped realism in their writing more pronouncedly. Titled polli-kobi (Poet of the Village) for works relating to the villages and countryside of Bengal, Jasimuddin is particularly famous for his poems that have become major highlights for pedagogical purposes in both West Bengal and Bangladesh. Shamsur Rahman is widely known for his 'playing with words'. He has built on the ground of the 30's poets, but he has developed the ground, explored into areas they thought too dark for exploration, has added new features to it, landscaped it and in the process left his footprints all over.
Seminal Hindu religious works in Bangla include the many songs of Ramprasad Sen. His works (still sung today) from the 17th century cover an astonishing range of emotional responses to the goddess Kali, detailing complex philosophical statements based on Vedanta teachings and more visceral prouncements of his love of the goddess. They are known as Shyama Sangeet and were the literary inspiration for Kazi Nazrul Islam's later, famed Shyama Sangeet. There are also the laudatory accounts of the lives and teachings of the Vaishnava saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (the Choitanyo Choritamrit) and Shri Ramakrishna (the Ramakrishna Kathamrita, translated roughly as Gospel of Ramakrishna). There is also a large body of Islamic literature, that can be traced back at least to Noornama by Abdul Hakim. Bishad Sindhu depicting the death of Hussain in Karbala is very popular novel written by Mir Mosharraf Hossain. Later works influenced by Islam include devotional songs written by Nazrul, and popularized by Abbas Uddin, among others.
* Bauls and traditional singers
The mystic Bauls of the Bengal countryside who preached the boundless spiritual truth of Sôhoj Pôth (the Simple, Natural Path) and Moner Manush (The Man of The Heart) drew on Vedantic philosophy to propound transcendental truths in song format, traveling from village to village proclaiming that there was no such thing as Hindu, Muslim or Christian, only moner manush.
The literature discussed so far can be more or less regarded as the common heritage of both Bangladesh and West Bengal. Since the partition of Bengal in 1947, the east and west parts of Bengal have also developed their own distinctive literatures. For example, the Naxalite movement has influenced much of West Bengal's literature, whereas the Liberation War has had a similarly profound impact on Bangladeshi literature.
Major literary figures in Bangladesh include Shamsur Rahman, Sufia Kamal, Hasan Azizul Huq, Akhtaruzzaman Ilias and Humayun Azad , to name a few. Some notable writers from West Bengal are Sunil Gangopadhyay, Shankha Ghosh, Shakti Chattopadhyay, Mahasweta Devi and Joy Goswami.
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