A Zoom meeting on the theme of the division of British India under the rubric ‘Presence and absence of Partition of 1947 in Bangla Literature’ was held on Saturday at 7:00pm.
Organised by Ashraf Siddiqui Foundation, the programme was moderated by Nobonita Choudhury. The participants were Ahmed Kamal, Firdous Azim, Manas Ray, Niaz Zaman, Shahab Enam Khan, Debjani Sengupta, Tasneem Siddiqui and others.
Ahmed Kamal said, ‘For those who moved from East Bengal to West Bengal, India after 1947, the experience of partition was a dreadful one as too many people settled in West Bengal. Additionally, seen in the light of ongoing riots, there are social-political implications of partition. If partition did not happen, we would not have Bangladesh. We would have been part of India.’
Manas Ray said, ‘Partition was a win-win situation for Bengali Hindus. But it was a great achievement for the Bengali Muslims, a great achievement for the self-esteem and self-establishment of Bengali Muslims. So, the families that were forced to go to West Bengal went there jobless and homeless.’
‘In West Bengal, no thought-provoking literature appeared centring on partition. The issue of partition has come up mainly in the writings of Sunil and Shirshendu,’ added Manas Ray.
Firdous Azim said, ‘I saw the situation in Burma when I was young in 1962. The Rohingya crisis can add a new dimension to the literature of Bangladesh. We should look through the lens of our literature to map what is happening today with the Rohingya.’
Niaz Zaman said, ‘We raise the issue of why there is a dearth of good writings on partition. One of the reasons is that the language movement of 1952 came immediately after the partition of the country. In the story titled Ekti Tulsi Gachher Kahini, the context of the partition of the country has come up. Besides, we should all read the stories penned by Rabeya Khatun in the context of partition.’
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